Case Study #1: Construction Equipment Transport

Written by Trusted Dispatch

February 17, 2023

3 Valuable Lessons on Why Good Communication Is Essential in Heavy Haul Transport

Hauling heavy equipment across North America is a routine industry that comes with challenges, even when everyone has all their ducks in a row. The key is to maintain good communication so that when unexpected surprises happen, you and your driver can work through them with minimal disruptions to your schedule and budget. 

We’re spotlighting a shipment between a regular customer and one of our experienced, professional drivers to demonstrate how effective communication can save the day every time.

The Details of the Haul

This case study involves a routine shipment of construction equipment from a seller in Alberta to a buyer in British Columbia. The customer used the Trusted Dispatch app to get a free quote for hauling bulldozers between Crossfield, AB and Charlie Lake, British Columbia—not a long haul, but a fair distance to travel nonetheless.

The first two shipments included Caterpillar D6T LGP heavy bulldozers that would need to be transported separately. Based on the quote produced and the equipment described, our team quickly noticed that the dimensions did not line up. A quick phone call later, Luke, one of our account managers, sorted out the details with the customer regarding the additional weight and dimensions of the blade attachment on the bulldozer. Once the quote was updated to reflect the true size of the load, it was published to the load board. 

Finding the Driver

The driver spotted the loads, had the right equipment, and had the opening in his schedule to complete on time, but the route was a bit out of the way with no opportunities for a backhaul. The driver contacted our office and talked to Luke, our account manager, to run through the details of the haul, ensure dimensions and waders were as accurate as possible. Once those details were confirmed, the driver used the “Place Offer” feature to give the customer an all-in price offer. Luke then followed up with the customer to give the breakdown and time frame. 

A Note About Quotes

While our quotes are calculated based on distance, dimensions, weight and fair compensation for professional, skilled drivers, they do not account for remote locations, costs of permits, customs fees, or necessary pilot/escort vehicles. Those additional costs are the responsibility of the customer to provide or to accept the all-in offer often proposed by the drivers themselves.

Most loads are claimed for the quoted rate or very close to it. Sometimes, a driver will make an offer, especially an all-in offer that covers any additional fees mentioned above and sometimes, customers will offer more (they can use the “boost rate” feature) in hopes of securing a driver sooner rather than later. In rare circumstances, a shipment might haul for less than the quote if it’s on a regular route or combined with another haul.  

Pick-Up Day

With shipment details agreed upon and prepayment sent in by the customer to Trusted Dispatch to be held until the successful delivery of the machine, the driver went to pick up the first bulldozer. The driver loaded the machine securely onto the trailer and drove to the weigh scale. This is where the first unexpected complication happened.

The weight of the load was over the predicted dimensions. Even with careful follow-up, it was discovered that the blade attachment was an unusual size, measuring 12.5’ instead of the quoted 11.5’ for an angled blade. This meant that the load required a pilot escort for the time of day (night and evening loads too). The load also came in at 57,000 pounds when the original listing from the customer had been 49,300 pounds, and the adjusted estimate was made for 52,000 pounds. 

Luckily, the driver had the right trailer and adequate axles to accommodate the size. The trouble was arranging pilot vehicles. 

Quick Thinking and Communication Saves the Day

The driver called Luke to explain the situation, who then contacted the customer. Between the driver and the customer, an arrangement was made for the driver to provide pilot vehicles until the Alberta-BC border, and the customer would arrange the pilot vehicle from the border to the destination in BC. The driver was also fortunate to obtain a new permit from the permit office that allowed him to continue with the plan to transport the bulldozer that same day. 

Even though all parties involved had done everything correctly to prepare for this shipment, the unusual blade size caused unexpected challenges. Thanks to good communication and problem-solving efforts by both the driver and customer, the transport plans were not derailed. 

Professional Drivers Make Happy Customers

The customer was so impressed with how the driver handled the complications with calmness, resourcefulness, and effective communication led them to post more loads using Trusted Dispatch and requesting the same driver. This time it was a CAT 336 excavator that shipped. Right off the top, the customer listed the additional items: an extra bucket and custom cab guards. The load was accurately estimated at 86,000 pounds, and the customer paid the required cost when the same driver accepted the offer. The driver picked up and delivered the excavator without any issues and was paid the fee by Trusted Dispatch upon proof of delivery.

Lesson #1: Give Your Driver Accurate Measurement and Dimensions

Most machines come with a manual that defines the specs of the base model. When you can’t find your manual, the manufacturer will often provide manuals on their website for you to browse, download, and refer to at your convenience. 

When you’re short on time or can’t find the right manual for your make and model, we also have a powerful Specs Tool that stores the base specs of over 60,000 models of heavy machinery and equipment. 

When you add custom parts, features, or attachments, such as rippers, winches, blades, and more, it changes the specs of your load, most notably in the weight. Your driver needs accurate measurements to select the right size trailer to accommodate the size and weight of your load safely. 

There are two basic options to communicate the accurate specs of your load: 

  1. Make a note about your add-ons or attachments when publishing your load to the Trusted Dispatch app.
  2. Call our team to let us know and get guidance on adjusting the measurements.

It’s always better to take a bit of extra time and research the weight and dimensions of what you need to ship before your driver arrives to pick it up. Neglecting to do so can result in delays, additional costs, and in extreme scenarios – avoidable damage to equipment. 

Lesson #2: Accurately Estimate the Weight of Your Shipment

Without the right gear, it’s not always possible to weigh your machine. This is why getting accurate dimensions is so important before getting your free shipping quote. Using the manual, getting the dimensions of your attachments, and making a note of any customizations you’ve added on – all these details can help us provide a more accurate estimate of your shipping costs. If you’re ever unsure of your numbers or don’t think your quote matches your shipment, you can give us a call. You always get to talk to a human, and we’re happy to help sort out the specs details at the start to prevent surprises and delays later on. 

Lesson #3: Be Reachable and Responsive During Transport

As demonstrated by this case study, even the most diligent and prepared customers can sometimes face surprises on loading day. When you’re shipping valuable, large equipment, it’s essential to have your cell phone turned on and to be responsive on transport day, especially during loading and unloading times. If your shipment is a long haul, you’ll also need to be reachable the entire time your load is on the road. 

Case Study by Trusted Dispatch

Parties Involved

Driver: Paul Ruel

Customer: Golden Based Contracting Ltd.

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