As Southwest Trucking & Grading continues to evolve, however, so does its trucking needs. Right now, it is expanding from hourly work to bid contracts. "We will probably add one or two Super 16s when we start doing a lot more bid contracts," Rasmussen comments.
The cost of ownership vs. outsourcing depends on your particular situation. "Right now, it is probably fairly close to lease them rather than have your own trucks," Rasmussen acknowledges. As such, Southwest Trucking & Grading keeps a core fleet of dump trucks and supplements it with outsourced trucking during times of peak demand.
The company is careful not to purchase more trucks than it can keep busy at any given time. "I don't think I would take our fleet to a huge quantity of trucks, just because you can get trucking outsourced so cheap, as long as you have one of your own trucks there to maintain a group of guys," Rasmussen states. "Right now, it is pretty cheap to lease trucks and it is getting more expensive to run them. But there is a big advantage [to owning] them, because when you need them, you know they are there."
Prices for dump truck services in the Phoenix market can vary. "It is roughly between $65 and $75 an hour," says Rasmussen. "You get owner/operators who don't understand their costs so they come in at $55 or $60 an hour, but they are not reliable. I get a lot of calls from them, but you can't rely on them if you need them." To ensure continuity of service, Southwest Trucking & Grading uses preferred vendors when it leases trucking services to meet fluctuations in workload.
However, the company is careful to keep its options open in order to secure the most competitive rates. For example, it will sometimes rely on the quarries to truck materials to jobsites. "Once in a while, it is hard to beat the quarry prices," Rasmussen admits. "It is actually cheaper to have them haul it to me than to haul it myself."