RV hauling... or other "truck work"

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scottydl

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So, I've got a new-to-me (15yo) diesel dually pickup that I may use a handful of times per year to actually tow anything. I'm okay with that, and planned/spent accordingly. But... if there were a way to make a few bucks on the side in the downtime.

Anyone ever used their truck to make side money? I know there would be other cost considerations, like specialized insurance, upgraded license and/or registration, etc. I found a couple YouTubers who have hauled RVs or done other "hotshot" hauling, so I'll check those out and see what I can learn. One of them has a cost-per-mile spreadsheet that can be downloaded, to determine what kind of money could really be made after all the expenses.

I'm interested to know if anyone here has done side hauling, and what your experience was.
 

FireBob

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My brother used to own a tiny pick that he would flat tow behind Class B's and class C's.  I think he had to get a DOC endorsement, but I'm not sure.

He did get a class 5 truck and trailer and did hot shot for a year.  To be legal you have to go commercial.  Higher rates for your truck, trailer, and cargo insurance.  He always talked about companies not giving all the info or the wrong info on the load boards and he would get the runaround.  It was his job to stay legal in weight and size even if they posted false info.  He would also talk about destinations that would change at the last minute or impossible time frames.

He now dose expedited shipping in a class 6 straight truck with a drop axle.  The box has 3 lockable compartments so he can haul loads from 3 different places at a time.  Most of his shipments are 1 to 4 pallets.  I have not seen him in the last year only talk to him for about 20 minutes a week by phone.
 

Lou Schneider

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I think you'll find the extra insurance you'll need to do anything except use your truck for recreational purposes will quickly eat up any side money you'd make.

I  looked into making some money hauling new RV trailers with my truck after my divorce about 10 years ago and found the rates were too low to make any money due to lots of retired folks doing it on the side to supplement their social security, etc.  I didn't yet have SS so there was no way I could see to make a living doing it.  I could come close if I minimized my costs by running close to illegal (driving long hours with nothing but minimal liability insurance), sleeping in the backseat of my truck (no motel rooms), etc.  And that was ignoring the depreciation from the extra wear and tear on my truck.

Driving RVs from factories to dealers was even worse.  I could make some money driving new trucks that required a Class A license and paid higher rates but even there with it was simpler and more profitable just to hire on at a trucking company and let them pay all the overhead.

There are reasons many YouTubers doing this are running things like worn out airport buses or old U-Haul vans and breaking down all the time.
 

Rob&Deryl

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There are regulations for commercial hauling within your state and federal regulations for commercial hauling between states.
I know when I had a CDL I needed a medical certificate and the exam was much more rigorous for interstate.
 

Oldgator73

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You have any Amish in your area? If so they pretty good to get driven to jobs site along with their tools, to medical appointments  and anywhere else they need to go when they can?t use their horse and buggy.
 

scottydl

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^^ Not a bad idea... I know of this trend and a crew cab would be good for that! But, I'm about 1.5 hours or so from the nearest decent-sized Amish community.

Appreciate all the other comments too. I have a day job and it sounds like there aren't really a plethora of short-run local hauling opportunities. If I'd have to drive who-knows-where and be gone for several days at a time, just to net a few hundred dollars after expenses and wear & tear are factored in... probably not worth it.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The folks I know of who do that typically skirt the legal requirements, i.e. no commercial liability insurance and sometimes no CDL. In other words, off the record.  A guy I knew who did occasional deliveries for an RV dealer was hired as a subcontractor and paid a flat fee to "deliver an RV". Of course he used his own truck and his own services as a driver to get the job done, but that was below the radar as long as nothing went to badly wrong.
 

SpencerPJ

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scottydl said:
just to net a few hundred dollars after expenses and wear & tear are factored in... probably not worth it.

Especially if you end up needing a tow, and have to pay to have the cargo delivered as agreed. 
I use to do home handy man work for a few years somewhat under the radar, after I quit flipping houses. Everything fine and dandy until one customer called after replacing simple outlets etc, complaining that other electrical issues arose afterwards.  Turned out, she was just wanting more labor at n/c. I fixed all her issues, but it sent a strong signal to me about doing things under the radar and the liability.  I quit doing handy work for pay shortly afterwards.
 

Bent Valve

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Short version: Commercial or hotshot only works if you go full time, and get paying runs both ways. The insurance, repairs and depreciation and payments for the vehicle can't be offset part time.

Longer version: Mom and Dad hauled RV trailers for a while. The mileage was paid one way, then they were expected to be on a log coming back, but they weren't getting paid.

After blowing an engine and not quite making it for a while I helped dad get his Class A again and he got on with the company I ran for and went over the road. THAT finally started making them money.

They still had a lot of debt from the time hauling RV trailers.

What was fun about that time is we would have the same run from Nashville to Denver and would pass each other or get to see each other from time to time.
 

scottydl

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Good topic to bring back up, since we're now looking at selling our current RV (a travel trailer) and likely waiting 2-3 years before buying back in with a fifth wheel... which is the reason I bought this diesel dually truck last year, when I anticipated we'd made the FW switch sooner. But, I'll likely keep the truck for now so we're ready for the fiver when the time comes. I still have a rig here that I could tow a lot of stuff, but the expenses + time (doing it part time) doesn't make any more sense then it did last year when I asked. ;) This is an ongoing topic at the Duramax forums I read too, and their hotshotters' advice matches everything that's been said here.
 
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