Call our Sales Team on 0208 912 2120


22nd June 1920, Page 21
22nd June 1920
Page 21
Page 21, 22nd June 1920 — HINTS FOR HAULIERS.
Noticed an error?
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.

Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

An Occasional Chat on Subjects and Problems of Interest to Those Who are Engaged, or About to be Engaged, in Running Commercial Vehicles for a Living.

IGET QUITE a number of queries, all different in detail, to every one of which I can give the one stereotyped. reply. I will give first my reply, then discuss the style of question, finally considering, at length, a good concrete and practical example, one which is before me at this moment. The answer is this: " Whatever you carry, whether it be a bag of potatoes, a full load of coal, or a tin,' of sardines, you must obtain for the work an average return, per mile run, of at least the rate per mile for the particular size of vehicle which you are running which I gave in an earlier series of articles, and which were reprinted in book form under the title of 'Running Commercial Motors for a Living.' Prefer ably, you will get, at least, 10 Per cent, more than that rate, for the prices of materials, petrol, coal and Wages have risen, since those articles were written, by an amount which justifies a minimum increase on those rates of that percentage." The style of question will, by most of my readers, have been guessed by the manner' of my standard reply. It is, -nevertheless, extraordinary how frequently that type of question pops up. A man will write to me and say : "I have an offer of a 30 cwt. load to bring from A to B, a distance of 40 miles. My lorry is a three-tanner. How much should I' charge? "

Now, what do my readers think? Should a man with a three-ton lorry, beeatise the hirer only desireS to use opie, half of its capacity, be expected to let him have it for half the proper rate? If he can get another 30 cwb, load for the same journey, well and good; he can divide the charges between the two clients, with a little extra in order to cover the additional delivery costs. But 'that is really quite a different story to those which are usually related to me. In them, the lorry is nearly always expected to run partly loaded. In some cases, even the proud haulage contractor has hesitated to. charge for the return empty mileage.

Let us get right down to bedrock facts. Are .you. in the haulage business because you wish to make money—I don't say a living, note—or do you merely wish to have something. to do to keep your fingers out of mischief ? If the latter, then, for goodness' sake, stop writing to me. If the former, then just look at the matter in this light. The bare Working cost of a three-ton lorry to-day, on the assumption that not less than 300 miles he .covered per week, is is.3d. a mile. No ordinary'Aan.; who, pays thi average prices for his materials,-and who makes the proper allowance for depreciation, interest'en capital,' maintenance, wages of driver (unless he happens to drive the lorry himself), etc., can runit for less. On top. of this, there are sundry charges,. which are termed; in ordinary business ,parlance,establishment charges. They are expenses, such' as rent of dike accommodation, wages of office staff (even if it be only an errand boy), telephone and telegram costs, postage stamps, stationery, advertisements, travelling elrpenses, etc.—all small items. 'but totalling at least 3d., and probably 4d., a mile in the case of the small man with only one or two vehicles. One and threepence plus 4d.--is. 7d. a mile gone, and before a penny profit can be made, that is. 7d. must be gOt back. Then there are other Amis of expense frequently overlooked by the man who has had no experience in workng on his own, as for 'example the cost of what is called "dead mileage." How is -that going to be reckoned, as for example when the lorry is at work for a client whose base is several miles from the garage where the lorry is kept. It is no exaggeration; in the majority of cases, to state that dead mileage accounts for about one mile jn 20 run by the haulier's lorry. For that another penny a mile ought to go on to the working and establishment costs. We are now at is. 8d. Other items of possible expense have to be provided against, such as the hire of a vehicle to replace your own when it is disabled, theestablishment of a fund for use in the event of possible expensive litigation, and other items, too. Generally, as I have pointed out in these olumns, if the careful man makes-proper provision against all such things as these, his supplementary costs work out at 50 per cent, of those of working the lorry itself, and, on that basis, it is impossible to run a three-tanner, and make provision for making a profit at is. 100, a mile. The hire charge for 30 cwt. is l. 9(.1,, and that's that! The hire charge for a three-tonner is half-a-crown, which gives a reasonable margin of profib No one can pretend to charge for a three-ton lorry at the 304cwt. rate, if he is in the hiring business for anything better than the good• of his health. To which some writers would put verb, sap., which, being interpreted, means Use your own gumption—do."

Now, for the specific question which is before me, and which is really quite the mildest I have received for a long time. My correspondent has a-25 cwt. lorry. He is offered loads of the full amount in packages, and must. make arrangements to return the empty eases. The packages weigh a stone each, so that 200 constitute a load. His vehicle will accommodate that number of cases. The distance is 64 miles, out and home ; there are six trips a week offering, so that the mileage will be. 384 per week, which, although not excessive for a• chassis of that size, is nevertheless quite reasonable': He .wishes to know if 6d. per package, for which sum he will also return the empty Cage, is a fair charge.

The fair rate of hire for a 25 cwt. lorry ris is.

per mile: the journey totals 64 miles, so that, to make it pay, he ShOuld get 25 6s. 8d. Two hundred • packages 'at6d. each will return 25, so, that h6 is a little on the 'short side—actually another halfpenny a package would clear him—and should therefore try to get more. There is .another factor to be taken • into consideration. It does not actually affect the question of profit and loss on the job as offered, but it is of importance in determining whether he is likely to obtain the contract at a. little Yi'gher rate. He' is in competition with-the railway company, who a-le not giving Satisfaction to the growers or sellers on account )E delays in delivery and also in the return of empties. As a matter of fact, this is just the class of work in which the motor has the railway beaten every time. Our friend should, therefore, find out what is being paid to the railway company for the work. He will realize, from the condition' of affairs, that he is not only relieved from the necessity...of attempting to cut the railway prices, but may even put a little, perhaps only a very little, on those prices, and still get the work on account of the better service which he can offer. Incidentally, he must be careful to make what Arrangements are possible, beforehand, for the substitution of another vehicle to carry on the work in the event of his own machine breaking down, meeting with an accident, or being put out of c' mission for some other reason. One or two delays from such causes will be sufficient to damage .his reputation and, perhaps, lose him the work, for ever, and in this connection I would point out that the giving of reliable service is thc best possible advertisement. Tun SICOTCH.


comments powered by Disqus