Many of you buying new manufactured homes these days are noticing not only higher construction prices, but also rising transportation prices. Rates for delivery of multi-section homes are worse as they require two separate trucks and sometimes additional escort vehicles. Retailers are reporting freight charges have doubled in some cases in the last two years.
Multiple factors are combining to increase delivery prices. These include:
¨ New Department of Transportation regulations regarding how long drivers can be behind the wheel have been implemented. Also, electronic reporting went into effect in January of 2018. Electronic records are more difficult to manipulate by drivers than were traditional log books. Georgia MHA Executive Director, Jay Hamilton notes, “Prior to January, drivers would make a six-hour drive to your location from a factory, drop off a home, and then drive all the way back ready to make another trip in the morning. They could note in their log book they only drove the maximum limit of eight hours and were pulled by their escort driver the rest of the way whether that was the case. But today, there is no fudging those numbers. Instead, on the way home, the driver has to stop, get a motel room, have dinner then breakfast, and then return half way through the next day. I estimate this issue alone has caused prices to increase 30%. State specific rules and regulations are often changing, too.” Texas MHA Executive Director, DJ Pendleton recently and successfully fought a City of Houston rule change that required every home move that was in, or went through the city, to carry a performance bond per trip;
¨ Wisconsin Housing Alliance, Executive Director Amy Bliss notes that, “The labor pool has tightened. It’s hard to find drivers with a Commercial License that are willing to work and have a good driving record, even for $80,000/year. Mandatory drug testing accompanied with the nation’s drug use epidemic make the labor pool even tighter;”
¨ Gas prices have risen about 50% in the past few years. Presuming a typical trip eats up 200 gallons of diesel and the extra cost is $1/gallon, that’s another $200; and
¨ Insurance rates are rising for commercial auto use nationwide. There’s two generally accepted causes for this. One, vehicles have more technology and computing systems than before. These systems are fragile and often destroyed even with minor collisions. Secondly, smart phone usage by drivers is contributing to more losses. Even professional drivers not using smart phones are at peril when passenger car drivers are making mistakes which trucks with twenty-ton cargos can’t avoid.
To better manage your transportation rates, address the issue with your factory. They should be able to explain their rate charging system. You can at least verify the mileage to and from your location as many factories charge per mile. Also, most factories allow you the option of contracting your delivery separately. If you know of a quality transporter that’s properly insured, seek quotes from them.
By Kurt D. Kelley, J.D., Publisher of the Manufactured Housing Review and President of Mobile Insurance. 281-367-9266 Ext. 117, Kurt@mobileagency.com