If you’ve ever bought heavy equipment through TuffWerx, you’ve seen our Shipping Calculator, powered by uShip.
That’s where Marc Springer comes in. You may recognize Marc Springer from A&E’s reality television show, Shipping Wars. Marc got his start shipping motorcycles, but he’s grown his expertise and his business, and now ships some of the toughest freight: heavy equipment. He uses uShip.com to get jobs, so keep an eye out for his bid if you buy equipment through TuffWerx.
Though Marc may be a star in heavy equipment circles, he has a wealth of knowledge that got him there. In this interview, he draws on years of hard-earned road wisdom to help you ship your heavy equipment safely, efficiently and legally.
TuffWerx: You seem like a genuine, down to earth person. How has being a star on Shipping Wars affected you?
Marc Springer: Being on Shipping Wars has created a lot of opportunity and overall been a very enjoyable experience. It’s also provided me with a lot of business and allowed me to transport some very interesting pieces of Americana.
TuffWerx: Many heavy equipment buyers don’t necessarily understand how to ship their heavy equipment. What do buyers need to know to avoid getting burnt when it’s time to hire someone to ship a piece of equipment?
Marc: The buyer needs to ensure that any transporter they go with has the right transport equipment to move their piece of equipment. And if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is — big equipment doesn’t move around for cheap.
TuffWerx: I’m sure you’ve run into shippers who took loads that they weren’t equipped to haul. What is the most shocking thing you’ve seen?
Marc: With all the miles I travel, let’s just say that I see a lot. One thing I see pretty frequently is these enormous boats being pulled by pickup trucks. It’s absolutely crazy. I’m not sure of the circumstances around them – if it’s a for-hire hauler or just some guy’s brother-in-law with a truck – but that’s often a disaster waiting to happen.
Marc: The equipment used to carry the load has to be capable of legally carrying the load. It has to have enough axles and tires, and the right deck height – these are just a few of the many things to consider.
That’s why when people list their items on uShip, having full and ACCURATE dimensions is essential because I’ll make a decision about which trailer to bring based on information provided. If I arrive at a pickup point for heavy equipment hauling, and the dimensions and weight are different, it may mean I can’t legally take the load.
TuffWerx: TuffWerx wants to help equipment buyers choose the best shipper for their equipment. Are there any good rules of thumb you recommend? For example “My equipment weighs X and it’s Y tall, so I know I need to hire someone who has Z trailer.”
Marc: Find the companies you’re comfortable with and that have the experience. Check their uShip feedback or find other verified reviews online, because having a proven track record is essential. Make sure they’ve hauled similar equipment to yours, and aren’t biting off more than they can chew because this will only cost you hassle and money. If they only haul motorcycles with a small trailer and Ford F350, perhaps trusting them with your backhoe isn’t the best decision.
TuffWerx: If you’re in Seattle with a piece of equipment that needs to be delivered to me, and I’m two thousand miles away in Austin, roughly how many days will it take for me to get my equipment?
Marc: A good day on the road is between 500-700 miles, but any number of factors can impact this – weather, size of load, any additional loads are involved, weight, accidents, traffic, Hours of Service regulations, state permits, etc. So if I have to travel 2500 miles, we’re looking at 4-5 days on average.
TuffWerx: How far can you legally drive in a day, and what other factors affect delivery time?
Marc: According to the Hours of Service rules, commercial drivers can drive 11 hours a day before they have to shut down – and this means completely shut down. Drivers then have to wait 10 hours before they can run again. All this is kept on record through a logbook, which needs to be available on demand and in real-time when asked by a DOT or enforcement officer.
TuffWerx: We saw a video of you at Mt. Rushmore, where you talked about how you like to take the back roads. How do you research the best route to take? How do oversized loads impact your route?
Marc: The route I take really depends on timing, weather, the load I’m carrying and instinct. Sometimes I go a different way just because I want to go a different way…And I’m not saying it’s always the right move, but it’s often more fun.
Your route can be impacted when carrying oversized loads because those lanes are more heavily scrutinized – they tell you where you can go with it and it’s heavily regulated based on permitting.
TuffWerx: Are there any transportation laws that are surprisingly different from state to state? If so, did you have to learn the hard way?
Marc: 100% yes! The laws are different in every state and unless you have time to read EVERY law in EVERY state you travel, you just might find out the hard way. For example, in some states you’re required to have a drag chain on your trailer, while others don’t require it — it’s your responsibility to know that, or face fines if pulled over.
TuffWerx: If equipment buyers want to learn more about which shipping equipment (trailer, etc.) is appropriate to haul their piece of equipment, what resources would you recommend?
Marc: I recommend people utilize the Department of Transportation as the go-to resource for information like that. The FMCSA, which is part of the DOT, has detailed guidelines.
TuffWerx: If you had the chance, would you take a shot at being an ice road trucker?
Marc: Not really. I’m not a big fan of driving in snow and ice – even though I can. But I guess if the price was right, I’d talk. (laughs)
Have you been following Marc’s adventures on Shipping Wars? Let us know in the comments below!
Shipping Wars photo courtesy of aetv.com.