HINTS FOR HAULIERS.
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An Occasional Chat on Subjects and Problems of Interest to those Who are Engaged, or About to be Engaged, in Running Commercial Vehicles tor a Living.
IHAVE had quite a flood of correspondence this week, and, as I opened each successive letter, expected to find criticisms of the article which appeared last week but one, in which I put forward
certain suggestions as to the probable establishment charges in connection with the running of a haulage contractor's motor vehicle. I ant still, however, without any such criticisms.
I shouldlike to recall that last week I pointed out that profitable charges depended very consider ably upon the weekly mileage, and I showedisthat at
100 miles a week the. charge would have to be. 5s. .a mile, at 200 35. 2d, a mile, and at 300 2s. 7d. a .mile, a 4 ton lorry being considered in all 'cases. _Now,
every haulier knows that there are vast differences between the various contracts which he handles. In some jobs a. big mileage would be knocked up in a week ; in others, most of the time the lorry is standing, either waiting for a load or waiting to be dis charged, and the question naturally arises: How is the contractor, when making his charges, to distinguish between the various classes of customer?
This I know, from correspondence received, is a problem which has puzzled agood ninny who are new to the business; and, as a matter of fact, it is not at all an easy matter to . solve in a manner which will be equitable to all concerned.
Let us take the following as an example of the week's work carried out by a 4 ton lorry :— On Monday and Tuesday the driver carries out some long-distance runs for a, customer whom we will call A. The actual distance travelled for A. is 80 miles on each of both days-40 miles out and 40 miles back —so that the net mileage in connection with this
contract will be 160. In addition, it happens to be 4 miles from the vehicle owner's garage to the depot of his client, so that there is 10 miles dead mileage,
and the total for Monday and Tuesday is 170 miles. On Wednesday and Thursday he contracts to collect some goods from the docks for client B. So great is the congestion, however, and so many are the delays in connection with this contract, that he is only able to make two journeys of twe miles per day, which makes the total mileage eight for the client during the two days, and these, with eight. miles dead mileage, amount to 16 in all.
On Friday he carries out a long-distance run, over 100 miles out and home for a client (C.). This, with four miles dead, amounts to 104 for that day alone. For another client (D.) he runs eight useful miles and
• two dead on Saturday.; ten miles in all. The total mileage covered by the vehicle during the week is 300, of which 21 are dead, and have to be covered by what, in our establishment charges, we have
called contingencies. ..
Now, when our reader comes to make out his. accounts for these four gentlemen, he will, on the assumption that this work is on a mileage basis, charge them all at the rate of 2s. 7d. a mile. A.'s bill for 160 miles will be 220 13s. 4d. ; B's, for eight miles, 21 Os. 8d. ; C.'s, for 100 miles, 212 18s. 4d. ; and. D.'s, for eight miles, 21 Os. Sd.
It is.easy to point out the absurdity of charges such as these for we have only to compare the accounts
sent in to 33. and C. B. has the use of the lorry for a couple of days, and for that he rays just over 21— practically 10s. a day. C., for one day's use of the vehicle, is charged nearly £13; he is, therefore, paying nearly 26 times as much as B. for the use of the lorry. It is, of course, mainly, the charge to B. that is wrong, for, as reference to our table of work
ing costs will show, it costs the owner 22 10s. for standing charges alone in connection with a vehic.e ot this type ; n.ence, so long as he ie working for Id., he is losing more than 22 a day. Suppose we consider the charge on a time basis only, letting out:the lorry at so much a day ; then, in order to make our profit right, we must charge as though it really ran 30 miles a day and is orkeui out the charge at the rate of 2s. 7d. a mile.
On this basis, the accounts to our clients will work
out :—A., ; B., £11; C., £6 10s.; De 26 10s. Now this method, although it compels clients with low mileages such as B. to pay their fair share,' is almost as unfair as the other, for it is perfectly obvious that it costs more to run the lorry 100 miles a day than it does to keep it standing in the docks • moreover, obviously A. and C. get more value for their money than B. and D.
Another way of working the charges out ison the same principle as occurs with taxicabs in London, where the meter registers according to time or to mileage, whichever is the greater, so that, at the present scale, the charge is 6s. per hour or Is. a mile, and the man using the taxicab would, if hia mileage was less than 6s. an hour, pay 6s. for it; if his mileage was over that accomplished at 6s. an hour, he would pay is. a mile. If the cab was engaged for a long run of 24 miles, which could easily be accomplished in l hours, the cabby would get 24s.; on the other hand, he would not get any more if the job took .4 hours, owing to calls and waiting time.
It would be possible to work out a scale of charges for motor hauliers on these lines, and, in a good many cases, it would be found to work, no doubt, quite satisfactorily. In practice, however, it is liable to give rise to disputes; and for that reason I tents', tively put forward, in an article which appeared under this title on page 66, of the issue of December 28th, an alternative scheme in which all charges for work done were based on the hours in which the lorry was in use, plus a charge per mile. I propose to elaborate this method vain next week.
Motor Coach Competition.
I see there was another letter of interest on page 60 of The Commercial Motor for March 1st, in which a motor coach own,er, writing from Bournemouth, protested against the preposterously low rates which are being charged for the use of motor coaches in and around that district. There can be no doubt Whatever that his complaints are quite. justified, as very little examination will show. The bare working cost of a 30-seater motor coach, rtinning a mileage of 500 a week all the war round, is is. bd. a Mile, so that, at an extremely favourable basis, the minimum cost of running a round trip to Portsmouth would be 27 10s. On to that must be added establishment charges, which, in the case of a. motor coach, will be at least 21• a day and most probably more. There is, therefore, a dead loss on that journey, and a similar state of affairs will be discovered in calculating the expenses of a, run to Cheddar: I am entirely in agreement with thatscorrespondent when ,he states that the charges should be at least 30 per . cent. higher. There is no doubt that, if these ridiculously low charges be persisted in, the motor coach proprietors will find themselves very uncomfortably placed before the end • of the coming, season. If, as is most likely, it is impossible for them to show an average mileage of 500 per week throughout the year, then the case is much worse in proportion as the average weekly-milea,ge decreases. TUE SKOTCU.