How Much Money Do Oversized Loads and Superloads Pay Truck Drivers?

Tuesday, Sep 29 2015 admin

Wide load truck loadGetting assigned to an oversized load is some truck drivers’ dream. After all, with this specialized level of trucking you are going to get substantially more money per mile, or in pay by percentage. Oversized loads do not necessarily require any special equipment, although some do require car escorts. However, they do require experience with handling special permit requirements, pulling heavy loads, and coordinating routes where you can haul oversized loads. As a result, you can expect the salary of someone who hauls oversized loads for a living to be impressive. If you are considering getting into the business of transporting oversized loads either part time or all of the time, learn more about what you need to have in order to make these big bucks.

Transporting Oversized Loads

When you haul an oversized load you are transporting a load that is bigger than usual. This can be a load that is 6 inches wider than the standard load width. Or it can be as much as a quarter of a million pounds in weight, which is referred to as a super load. Some loads are oversized because they exceed per-axle weight limits, even though they do not exceed the overall weight limit. Here are the US definitions of oversize loads:

  • The load is wider than 8 feet 6 inches.
  • Height and length limits are determined according to states, but most states consider anything taller than 13 feet 6 inches to be oversized.
  • The load cannot be broken down to transport in smaller segments, with the exception of a few states that do allow divisible loads to receive oversized permits.

Types of Oversized Loads

  • Heavy duty equipment, i.e. cranes, backhoes, tractors or bulldozers
  • Mobile homes aka pre-built homes
  • Industrial equipment
  • Windmill propellers
  • Aerospace industry parts, i.e. multi-stage rockets
  • Beams for bridges
  • Watercraft, i.e. houseboats or yachts

When transporting oversize loads there is always the need to get a special permit, a task that is typically handled by your dispatcher or trucking company. The permit ensures that your load is not a hazard to road traffic or roadway structures, such as bridges or overhead structures. In the permit instructions you will receive a route that you are allowed to take when delivering your oversize load. You may be required to utilize a pilot car, aka flag car or escort car, that will follow you to help to warn ongoing traffic to slow down and use caution when passing.

Hours-of-Service Rules Don’t Always Apply

As for hours-of-service rules for oversized loads, there is an exception to the 30-minute break for truck drivers hauling oversized loads. The FMCSA has determined it is dangerous for these big loads to sit on the curbs of roadways in order to meet this HOS requirement. Therefore the exception to the rule stands until 2017, at which time it will be readdressed.

Salary for Oversized Loads and Super Loads

Figuring out how much you can earn with oversized and superloads depends a lot on the exact load. After all, most of the time you are going to haul regular sized loads, unless you work for a trucking company that is exclusive to oversize trucking jobs. Here are some of the nation’s average salaries to give you some perspective:

  • CDL truck salary for oversized loads $53,000
  • Oversize pay anywhere from 41 cents to 52 cents per mile

Keep in mind that oversized hauls rarely make up your entire year's salary. Therefore this average salary will not include the amount of money made on standard sized loads.

Going Bigger with Super Loads

One type of oversized load is referred to as a super load. As the largest size of load possible for tractor-trailers to haul, a super load is over-height, over-width, too long and/or too heavy weighing 250,000 lbs. or more. In order to haul this type of load you have to go through a lot more than you would if you were hauling a regular oversized load. Here are some of the steps to contend with, keeping in mind that every state is different, i.e. a super-sized trucking jobs in Massachusetts are 130,000 lbs. or more, while its 200,000 lbs. or over for trucking jobs in NY:

  • Get a survey for your route.
  • Get an engineering survey of the load.
  • Hire pole cars.
  • Pay police escort cars to travel with you, i.e. some state troopers charge as much as $500 per trip.
  • Get a permit for every state you are traveling through.
  • The amount of time it will take a state to approve your permit request, which could take a week or several months.
  • Find out if there are any utilities involved, i.e. overhanging power lines, etc.
  • Get a shipper’s letter.
  • Complete a bridge analysis, which is not about how many bridges you’ll cross in route, but the amount of weight your trailer can hold based on your axles.
  • Get a sketch or drawing completed of the shipment.

Super loads are going to pay more, but there is a lot more cost involved on the transport side. Whether you are driving for a trucking company that is providing the overhead for the shipment, or you are an owner operator hauling super loads, expect to pay out $30,000 or more just to get the load moving. As you can expect, the payout on super loads is substantial, even in comparison to oversized loads. Therefore this specialized type of oversized load is best suited for the high rolling trucking carriers and companies with the bankroll to cover the logistics’ costs.

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