Delivery & Installation, Framework, Operations, V6I6

The Hauling Equipment Conundrum

The diversity of shed-hauling equipment is one of the greatest things I like about the shed industry. There is just no possible way to put them all in one box.  

First, we have the variety of power units. Pickups vs. semis. Goliaths vs. Davids. One is made to run hundreds of thousands of miles. The other runs millions. One is agile. One is clumsy. One has brute force, the other finesse. 

Pickups pretty much stay in three brand names. Dodge/Ram, Ford, and GM. Listed alphabetically so as not to offend anyone. Yep, there are lots of bragging rights and heartaches to owning a pickup shed hauling rig. The mountains are high, and the valleys are low when you choose this route.  

Then, inside that, is the constant banter of 2500, 3500, 4500, or 5500. Even an occasional 6500, but everyone soon recognizes that is becoming mid duty, which most times gets referred to as “gutless and bulky.” Four by four is pretty much a must on these pickup rigs. 

The common saying is, “They are all junk and will break sooner than later.”  In a pickup, it is way more important to find a dealer with a good service department, or a local mechanic, and make your brand choice based on that. You are going to need it. 

Medium duty is almost nonexistent. There are a few around, but not enough to even count. Of the few that are, most brag on having 4 by 4 in their underpowered rigs, but they get the job done the same as anyone. 

Then there are the semis. The big rigs. The show boys. The working boys.  There is a huge trend in this business. The trailers are getting bigger, the sheds heavier, so the trucks have to keep up.  More and more are switching to semis.  

In the world of semis, you won’t hear as much about brand name on the hood but what’s under the hood—and there, the battle is just as fierce. Sure, those Peterbilt guys think they rule the roost, but the International guys know who puts the most money in the bank. 

CAT, Cummins, and Detroit lead the way. Any of which will be argued as to why they are the best. A CAT will work harder, and pull stronger (arguably), but will cost more in fuel and rebuild. A Cummins will “come apart” quicker, but it’s cheaper to rebuild and better on fuel. A Detroit will maximize fuel and save you a bit on rebuild,  but still more than a Cummins.  

And there you have it, they argue till they go to bed. And get up the next day and go again.  Size matters. When it comes to big toys. Er, trucks. 

So does chrome. And noise. And lights. Big riggers love all that. Don’t let them tell you otherwise. Even the more conservative guys. Watch their eyes. You can read a diesel junky like a book.  He hears a Jake brake on straight pipes, and his eyes start twinkling. His nose twitches. His ears wiggle. And he grins. It’s power. And you can hear it. That’s why most of these guys run pre-emissions rigs. Otherwise,  you’re limited to what you can do. Grins. 

Trailers. One doesn’t even know where to start in this world. Roller trailers. Skid deck trailers. Single frame. Double frame. Sideways wheels, side shift, leveling axles, and barn spinners. So many terms. 

So many options. Twelve volt, wet kit, Honda, remotes. How short can it be and how long can it stretch? Axles, come in all sizes, 6k, 8k, 10k 12, 15, 16, 22.5, and 25. Lift axle. Drop axle. Big tires, little tires. Prices vary as much as the trailers themselves. But very easily run over $100,000. The average new trailer is over $50,000.  

Then there are the ground-level “donkeys.” Mules, Cardinal calls them. How far they have come in the last 10 years. And another subject for debate fodder—the jockeys vs. the never-going-to-happen guys. Yet, every year, more guys are finding themselves saddling up and becoming donkey jockeys. Even the mighty and famous. 

As for the Mules, they come in all sizes, but everyone agrees, they keep getting bigger. The Mighty 7 is a mini Dozer. Capable of many different projects. His little brother, the 6, is no slouch either. And with their tracks, they get maximum traction and flotation. The 524 can hold his own also, and under certain circumstances,  outperform his bigger cousins. 

The 413 is still the standard. Not near as finicky, more manual hooves, not all the jazz, he simply goes out and keeps getting the job done. The 3 gets an honorable mention. 

So as you can see, there are lots of places to tie up all your money. You must plan carefully. And then others have multiple rigs, so they have to do it over and over. A complete rig averages over $100,000 in cost. Whether semi or pickup. With or without a Mule. 

And yet, at the end of the day, the end of a year, every hauler will tell you his most important tool is his brain. His ability to think outside of the box. Each shed has a different challenge. Each set, a different customer. Does he use the Mule? Does he use the trailer? Does he buy a semi? He’s had a pickup for years, can he adjust? What will happen to his costs?

He must face them all.

And face them, he does. Day after day. 

Haul on.

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