Moving a bus? by Dave Pardo


Here's a few thoughts on it.

I don't know how tall, I'd start with 10' as a guess, but an actual measurement or somebody who knows is obviously better.  Remember the scoop is the high part, not the roof.  There is a big $$ fine for going over-height, so you don't want to get it wrong.  

Most trucking firms charge by distance -- from when the truck leaves the yard to when it returns (``yard to yard''), even if going empty part of the way.  Some places charge by time, again from yard to yard.  Usually time is for tow services rather than trucking.  There may be fixed fees in addition to distance or time.  Make sure you know what you are getting in to before you sign on the line.

If you are not in a hurry, truckers can often get loads to cover part of the distance, so you get a better deal.  For example, one quote I heard was $2,000 assuming a return load from one place, $1,700 if they could ``get lucky'' and find one at another place that was closer.  But it takes longer to find an ``ideal'' return load, so it can take a lot longer to move the bus.  Or maybe you can get on as somebody else's return load for the real deal.  Depending on where you're going, be prepared to wait a year.

If you're trying to be part of a load, the price also depends on what other freight is coming out of the area.  For example, there is lots of freight coming out of Long Beach so finding an empty truck at a low price in that general area is going to be harder than if you needed to truck something in to Long Beach.

Brokers can talk to several truck companies.  Since they talk to several companies they have more ways to find you a good deal, but since they have to make a living they charge extra.  In other words, it may be easier to avoid full yard to yard charges, but the best deal won't be as good as if you can find the perfect setup.  An independent trucker may be able to use a broker to find the return load, but again the broker isn't free, they have to eat too.

Another issue is getting the rig on and off the truck.  Easiest for the trucking firm if there is a ramp, etc. at each end.  Winch it on, winch it off.  Haven't got a handy ramp?  You need a special trailer that ``comes with a ramp'' such as a Landoll(tm) or removable gooseneck(RGN).  A straight flatbed is most common, so it is cheapest; a step deck carries a taller load but is more expensive.  There are even fewer RGNs and Landolls, and they weigh more so carry less cargo (the total truck+trailer+cargo weight is restricted), making it harder for the trucker to get a return load to cover your costs.


A couple other thoughts:

There will be ``a bunch of stuff wrong'' so the ``motor in drive home'' cost needs to also include tires, oil change steering box, trans and diff, new rubber air hoses, radiator hoses, belts, brake service, maybe a radiator recore, suspension work, blah blah blah.  If you are going to have a shop do it all anyway the price difference will probably be small.  If it is stuff you would do yourself then having it done by a shop could raise the price a lot.

Dave Pardo























                                              This page was last updated 12/16/03                                                  Copyright 2000 All rights reserved.