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RV Transport / NO money for the job

1 United States Review updated:

RV Transport jobs – Sad but true story Tow - away Division
I am writing this blog because in the past year something has really been bothering me. In May of 2011, I was introduced to the RV transport business by a driver from a company in Indiana. I will not mention names of the two companies but one of them is in Wakarusa, the other in Goshen.
As I investigated the thought of being an RV transport contractor I tried to look at all the aspects of the job, like operating cost, initial investment and so on. So I ventured into the business. The companies out there paint a pretty picture of so much money to be made. They even tell you that some of their drivers average over $100, 000 per year and say “you can make a nice living here”. I had an older truck that one of the companies would not take on because it was one year older than what they required- “One year” that was all. I just made my last truck payment – the truck was a 1999 Ford F350 diesel 7.3 real nice truck. So I signed on with the “other” company in Goshen because they had a less restriction policy. Great company, nice people – but had NO reloads what so ever. That outbound load that paid $1.30 per mile turned into $.65 per mile on the return trip “empty – deadhead”. So in two months I found a nice a late model truck diesel one ton dually that the “other “company would sign on. The company in Wakarusa was very nice during the orientation and I thought they were up front with all the things they were saying. They even had “reloads” that would help out in getting around the country and work your way back to Indiana to get another outbound load. So after careful consideration I deleased from the one, and signed on with the other – Now let me get to the point so I don’t lose your interest in my blog
In August of 2011 I signed on with a company that I thought I could make money with. My truck payment after trading in my paid off truck (big mistake) was $400.00 per month. After the big speech of how much I could make, three days in orientation, and about $2000.00 on my credit card to set my truck to their standards, I was on my first trip. THIS IS THE TRUTH – I really worked hard, drove many, many miles, slept in the truck several nights and ate cheap for about four months. I did get a motel on an average every other or third night to get a good night sleep and a nice shower, other times was in a Flying J parking lot and washed up in the men’s room to save money. Below are some numbers to review and really look at this and THINK about the money and cost.
Get paid about $1.28-$1.35 per mile (not counting on reloads) – turns into $.62 per mile
1000 trip = $1300 after fuel, paying your wage, wear and tear and other misc. cost you might get about 35 percent what you could say is profit (around $455.00) after expenses. Now from that you need to put money aside for maintenance, oil changes, and the big thing TRUCK REPLACEMENT LATER. So after driving 2000 miles – 1000 out and 1000 back to the terminal you get about $455.00, NOT a lot of money. Average was about $100-150 per day – still not enough money. Some days I didn’t even make a minimum wage, now that’s sad.
Bottom line numbers.
FUEL - 10 MPG loaded @ $4.00 per gallon = $.40 per mile cost to drive the truck $.35 per mile for driver(poverty level) $.45 per mile for truck replacement cost
Total so far is $1.20 per mile NOT counting on any minor repairs (GOD forbid) you have a major repair – then you are “Out of business”
Here is the big Problem – THE MONEY ALL THE RV TRANSPORT COMPANIES PAY IS JUST NOT ENOUGH TO COVER THE COST OF OPERATING. This is a Sad but True story. The other sad part is these companies have a very high turnover. If they paid so great why are drivers leaving? They have orientations almost every week. We really DON”T know how many contractors leave but I can imagine it is a high amount since new contractors come all the time.
Why can’t they pay a fair wage to keep their drivers? They know the cost of operating. If the money to be made was so GREAT why don’t they have their own trucks hauling the campers and pay a driver a decent wage? Because THEY KNOW how much it cost and pass the cost the newly hired contractor who thinks he or she can make it work. The figures don’t lie; there is NOT ENOUGH in the pay per mile to make it work. Drivers come, and drivers go ALL the time, that’s how it is. This is very sad but it happens.
If any of you out there think this is wrong let me know and come up with the numbers and tell me what I did wrong. In January 2012 after doing my taxes and figuring out all my cost and looked at what my 1099 was I was in shock to see what I really made. I will NOT say what I made because it will embarrass me. IT WAS NOT GOOD. I am not bad mouthing ANY RV companies out there, just a shame the way it is. I blame the manufactures for the “cheap” amount of money they want to pay, why don’t they pass on the cost to the customer and pay these companies and contractors a decent wage so we can ALL make a profit. The RV company is not going to lose, the loss is passed on to the contractor who is new and just “Really don’t know”
So if any of you out there are thinking of getting into the RV Transport business, BEWAERE – it’s an expensive hobby. Know the cost before you even walk out your front door. Stay home and get a local job, save your truck wear and tear, it’s not worth the trip. You can see the country (at a blur) and the money keep s going out of pocket and not too much going in. If you do venture into this business, GOOD LUCK.

Apr 12, 2013
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  • Tr
      20th of Oct, 2015
    0 Votes

    I've been doing this for 6 years now and I'm doing just fine. It took me about a year to figure out a lot but after you realize some things you can really start making a lot of money. If you are intrested in some pointers give me a call 574-377-4112.
    I would be glad to help out a fellow driver.

  • Ky
      9th of May, 2017
    0 Votes

    @Truckerjoe4141 I will definitely call you for some info. Thank you

  • Ja
      4th of Jun, 2018
    0 Votes

    @Truckerjoe4141 Just came across this..i see its older but i am considering jumping into this # still good..and may i call?..thanks..Jason

  • De
      13th of Nov, 2015
    -1 Votes

    Anything under $2.00 is a joke, anyone that says they are making money for $1.50 or less a mile is operating 99% loaded, witch a very few that are in good with dispatcher will make out good or they are stealing fuel.
    Been trucking for 45 yrs and keeping records.
    Takes $2.75 a mile to make a house payment and feed a family

  • Bl
      27th of Nov, 2015
    +3 Votes

    The investment for RV transport contractors need huge investment and initial purchases.And thanks for your post .

  • Ls
      6th of Apr, 2016
    +2 Votes

    The camper, trailer, RV delivery biz is a joke! It just doesn't pay enough to even meet expenses. You get treated badly and cheated. No more for me!!

  • Ro
      13th of Feb, 2017
    0 Votes

    Very glad for this info, I was putting numbers to paper and cant figure out how anyone makes money. The RV companies need to supply the truck and fuel. One accident or big breakdown and your in debt!

  • Po
      27th of Feb, 2017
    +1 Votes

    Well, so much for this RV hauling Idea on its own merits~
    I live near the Jayco plant and have been considered pulling a few occasionally to get paid to make trips to california so I can save thousands on shipping stuff to me from China to resale on Ebay. I can get trailers to Cali from Idaho and while there load up crates of cheap china junk to sell on Amazon and Ebay.
    Guess you got to have a alternate motive to do the RV thing!!!

  • Mr
      18th of Mar, 2017
    +1 Votes

    I have done the drive away business in the past to make some money to supplement my income. I find your numbers to be in-correct. I average 12 MPG loaded so with the current price of diesel my operating cost is about 19 cents per mile loaded. With proper maintenance there is no reason why a diesel truck can't make 500, 000 miles. I met several transporters with over 1 million miles and still using their trucks. If one learns to purchase a used truck and control expenses I can make a decent living. When I see people who get into this with a truck less then a year old and a family to support I shake my head because this isn't going to work. During the slow times of the year you may have a hard time getting a load once a week so if someone has a family to support then save all you can from the spring-time loads because the summer can be a lean time.

  • Ki
      25th of May, 2017
    -1 Votes

    Does anyone have any idea what the companies like Horizon and Pinnacle are paid per mile by the manufacturer? Just curious

  • Ri
      1st of Jun, 2017
    -1 Votes

    I am guessing somewhere around $1.70-$1.80.. a lot of companies will take out 10 or 15% if you find your own load and they booked it for you which is customary considering you are going under their cargo insurance and running their numbers. And as far as making money in the business. I have only been at it a year but they are not BSing on the numbers. So far this year I am only 5 months in and already over 50k gross. When I crunch the numbers down it would equal probably about 65 K take home but I also put a lot azide for a truck maintenance Reserve as well as taxes even though I usually get all of it back because of the write-offs. So honestly my take home would be probably closer to 75 k if you figured that in. A lot of guys put aside less money . Last year was almost another 50k on the slow half of the Year even. Yes if you need to feed a family of 5 plus pay all your bills and mortgage I agree it is probably not the right gig for you unless you want to live on the road. For me, my wife also has a decent job and we have no kids. Even if you had a few children you could most likely do well. The kicker is how far do you live from the factories? I live about 45 minutes away right off of the main camper Highway as I call it. I am very flexible in the trips I take and even when it's slow the longest I've ever had to wait is a day and a half and that's being with over 100 drivers in line.. I mainly do Regional trips and I get home everyday. Always home for holidays and most weekends even taking three day weekends this last whole month. If you are smart about it and can make the short runs work you will make the same money as being out on the road all week unless you want to. I will say a lot of our drivers do live in like Texas and Florida so during the Slow Time it's definitely not easy for them if there are not loads going that way they kind of have to just zigzag around all over the place until they can get a load home if they're trying to get home... if you are flexible and work well with your dispatcher they will take care of you a little better than say somebody that just wants to go one place and whines when they cant

  • Ma
      20th of Oct, 2017
    0 Votes

    @Riddles995 can you tell us which company you pull for? I've been considering this but still doing the research; was hoping to purchase the needed truck around Dec. of this year.. thanks in advance...

  • Br
      17th of Jan, 2018
    0 Votes

    The drivers are right that the money is not great but if you fill out the log book to the max one can squeak out a living.

  • On
      10th of Apr, 2018
    +1 Votes

    I've been hauling rv's for 5 years started out with a older truck out of Goshen . The job did supplement my income retired military and enjoyed traveling and it was a good tax write off did'nt make a whole a lot of money . Wife got travel with me at time seen a lot of country side. But like others have said you can't make a lot of money doing this job. I've average take home about 25000 a year and that wasn't running real hard that's including vehicle expenses. Slept in truck most of time and received free showers at truck stop . THIS JOB INS't for everyone unless you have a supplement.

  • Tr
      19th of May, 2018
    +1 Votes

    If you really look at all the cost after reading reviews, I’ve not yet to see anyone claim tax’s in any of their numbers . Also remember the transporting company get almost half on out bound load. Exsample. Horse trailers coming out of Florida to Forrest hills Maryland pay a total of 750 per bumper pull unit driver only sees around 285. Also non of these transport company’s will never disclose what fuel surcharge rate is this is because the drive doesn’t see that charge. As they will alway say it’s built in to the price. So what is the price and what is the fuel sur charge. Another exsample a pull behind camper coming out of Goshen to Fairfield ohio pays 688. But contractor gets paid 235 to 260. And a drive away coming out of wakarusa to apex nc pays 1300 but driver gets .88 per mile again where is your fuel surcharge FYI apex nc is 649 miles from pick up to drop. These are all true figures so as you can see the transport company takes at least half in there pocket. Also tags a trans port plate is 30 for the first tag and 5 for every tag there after that that transport company gets. The transport company makes a mass amount of many off the contractors. The averger flat bed rate as of may 2018 nationwide is between 2.64 and 2.71 per mile
    National average for fuel surcharge for this time is 22.5 percent per gallon. You can check weekly what the fuel surcharge rate is by going to and go to there links
    So if you are doing double or 3 campers at a time. The fuel surge charge in it self should pay for most if not all your fuel cost . Also take in to concideration how much does the transport company take from you for other thing like tags and deposits etc. And then if you walk away how many people really see that money back? Barely any they have a way of keeping it. Also they are making interest of the money the contractor has to put up but why are they not pay interest to the driver? Many things to look at. If you going to run for any RV transport one consider hauling two at a time if possible and check the company out on the fmcs saferweb see if they have been shut done and violation and what insurance they carry. Remember when you have their name on your truck you are a contractor but there cargo and liability has to cover you.

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