Montreal or bust
July 5, 2012 12:35 PM   Subscribe

What's the going rate to drive a friend's stuff across the country?

I'm going to drive a rental truck alone for some friends from Vancouver to Montreal in August. They are covering all the expenses and my flight back. They want to know what my fee would be and have asked me to come up with a figure. What would you charge?
posted by miles1972 to Work & Money (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What's the opportunity cost for you to take time out to do this?
posted by KokuRyu at 12:37 PM on July 5, 2012

I wouldn't charge anything except food costs, because that sounds fun.
posted by amodelcitizen at 12:39 PM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh, and I suppose lodging. I suppose I would figure out the average hotel/camping cost, add in $20 for food a day, and then run that by them.
posted by amodelcitizen at 12:40 PM on July 5, 2012

How many days is it gonna take you? What would you have been doing for $$$ otherwise?
posted by jabes at 12:41 PM on July 5, 2012

I'd probably charge $25 per hour of driving.
posted by whoaali at 12:41 PM on July 5, 2012

Does expenses include food, or just hotel and gas costs? How long do you think this will take, and do you plan to stop and sightsee on the way, or just drive straight?
posted by jeather at 12:42 PM on July 5, 2012

First of all I wouldnt do it because those trucks have poor shocks and it sounds like a backache from hell.

But if I WAS going to do it - I would the following calculation:

2295 miles
average rate of no more than 50 mph (in a truck)
6-8 hours driving per day
300-400 miles per day
6-8 days
36-64 hours of my time

Some hourly rate that is fair...

360-800 dollars for my time, depending on the rate
posted by zia at 12:42 PM on July 5, 2012

$100/day PLUS expenses...ALL anything lower and you are being taken advantage of.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:43 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Will you be taking time off work to do this, or take time off from a job search? If all it's costing you is vacation time, then as long as your friends are covering hotel & meal expenses, I'd call it quits. If you are currently unemployed, figure out what that amount of time on your last job would have paid, and go with that figure.
posted by easily confused at 12:43 PM on July 5, 2012

FYI even at $50 an hour you are saving them a fortune.
posted by whoaali at 12:47 PM on July 5, 2012

Response by poster: I freelance and so I can book time off.
They are covering food and lodging.
I plan 6 days of driving.
posted by miles1972 at 12:58 PM on July 5, 2012

I'd do it for between $100 and $150 a day if I liked them and it wasn't costing me money from my real job to do it. Or, I'd say $150-$200 a day and I'd cover my own food - when race teams go away, we usually budget $50 per day for food, so I'd consider that fair and be ok with paying the extra myself if need be.

Everyone eats differently, so I hate to have someone thinking that a paltry sum is enough for food, or alternatively have someone upset because I wanted to have a $50 Steak and Beer night to treat myself because my back was hurting. Taking that on your own discretion may save bad blood and give them a much more predictable budget.
posted by Brockles at 1:09 PM on July 5, 2012

FYI even at $50 an hour you are saving them a fortune.

I doubt it. I shipped a partial container from San Diego to Toronto of my wife's belongings and it was $3,500. At $50 an hour for likely 60 hours of driving, you're up to $3K just for labour? $5-600 a day for a truck driver? That's highway robbery*. Even $25 an hour is a VERY aggressive driving rate (ie more than most people will get driving a truck. Like, ever).

*arf arf.
posted by Brockles at 1:14 PM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, if they're covering food and lodging, I'd maybe think about something like 50$ spending money a day. They're essentially paying for a vacation for you, as long as you bring their truck along. Lodging and food alone per day will cost them 100-150 a day, so really it'd be like getting 150-200 a day.
posted by corb at 1:19 PM on July 5, 2012

With your updated info, I'd ask for $500 if they're close friends, a bit more if you're not super close and are just doing somebody a favor -- maybe $750.
posted by jabes at 1:21 PM on July 5, 2012

Assuming that these are reasonably good friends, I'd probably go with something like $900 for the driving, plus food, gas and hotel. This is because a week driving a truck sounds like a chore to me, not any sort of vacation, and because I don't have friends for whom that would be an unaffordable amount. I would be modest about where I ate and stayed, though -- not dollar meals only, but not daily 50$ feasts either. It might be easier to say that you want, say, 250/day and you'll cover hotel and food out of that (150+50+50, edit as needed for hotel and food costs) so you can make your own choices about food, as Brockles suggests.
posted by jeather at 1:24 PM on July 5, 2012

Brockles, I should clarify, I don't think $50 an hour is reasonable to charge, I'm saying compared to how much a professional moving company is likely to charge that even at that rate they are likely to save money. Such a move could easily cost $4,000-$10,000 and $4,000 is on the low end and not a trucks worth of stuff. The OP is doing his friend's a huge favor. I think $1,000-$1,500 is very fair for the whole thing.
posted by whoaali at 1:47 PM on July 5, 2012

Knowing what you know about yourself, is this going to be fun for you or a chore for you? Are you doing this as hired help, a nice favor, or as repayment for a past favor/help/cash/etc.?

Start at 65% your hourly freelance rate and adjust figures aggressively and accordingly based on these factors.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:59 PM on July 5, 2012

It might be worthwhile to ask for a little more $-- when you're in a truck you can't always stay in the cheapest motel (because you need to back the van's doors up to a secure wall in order to ensure no one cuts the locks and cleans it out overnight) and you can't always go to your preferred restaurants or grocery stores (parking a giant truck in a city is HARD; backing it up to get out of a spot is a learned skill). You also may not be able to do anything where you leave the truck alone-- you can't go hiking, drop in to see a movie when it's hot, or even pop into a store because there might not be a secure place to park it.

Also, what happens if you get in an accident or the stuff is stolen from the truck? Not like $ can fix those, but might be good things to discuss.

Sorry to harp on safety/stealing, but I moved via truck from Michigan to Boston and then back, and had people break the padlocks and steal stuff both times (once at a hotel parking lot overnight, once in a rest area while we were picnicking about 200 yards away). I was traveling with 2 other people, so we could rotate watching, but you can't.
posted by holyrood at 2:07 PM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also, I would take a friend (nthing holyrood but also better safety if you have company while driving) = more safe, more fun!
posted by zia at 2:19 PM on July 5, 2012

An over the road truck driver brings in about 35 cents per mile, this trip would be worth about $980.
posted by HuronBob at 2:35 PM on July 5, 2012

And, your "freelance" rate has nothing to do with this question, since you can book around the trip. What you make doing whatever you do otherwise has nothing to do with what it costs to hire a truck driver.
posted by HuronBob at 2:36 PM on July 5, 2012

I have made the Michigan to California drive a few times now. It is nearly intolerable without some form of entertainment; a "book on tape" (actually my kindle reading aloud to me) made it much better.

OTOH, I did my trip in 3 days and you're doing yours in 6. So you'll have some extra time to make a few fun stops?

I think the rate is highly dependent on if this will be fun for you or if it's a massive chore that you're doing because you love these people. Fun - $100/day, plus food/lodging should be fine. Not so fun, I'd double that.
posted by zug at 3:40 PM on July 5, 2012

HuronBob, while OP's freelance rate doesn't have anything to do with what it costs to hire a truck driver, but it has a lot to do with the OP's lost opportunity costs, so it does have something to do with the question.
posted by craven_morhead at 3:44 PM on July 5, 2012

Couple of thoughts here and reactions to other comments:
- Canada doesn't have the crime rate of the U.S. nor the density of cities either. I don't think security is as pressing an issue as it would be in the U.S.
- Mind you, gas cost would be lower if part of the drive were done through the U.S., but then the OP would have to cope with two border crossings (with somebody else's stuff, yet) plus the crime factor, so probably safest not to.
- After the excitement of herding the truck through the Rockies it will indeed be a long flat haul across the Prairies, so entertainment will be crucial.
posted by zadcat at 4:46 PM on July 5, 2012

Best answer: I have done this several times. I usually require all my expenses be covered and ask for some token amount of money [$25/day or something] if my friends do not have a lot of money and more if they're getting their moving expenses covered or could afford to actually pay me for driving their stuff. Usually when I've set up this sort of arrangement [I have literally done it 4-5 times, end to end, though in the US and not Canada] it's because I like the idea of getting a free vacation out of it and I'm in need of a vacation. So, it's pretty clear there is no correct answer here and if it were me I'd think about things like

- whether it's a job or a vacation for you
- your friends' ability/desire to pay and whether they feel like you are doing them a favor or not
- whether it will be fun or a slog
- whether it will get in the way of paying work and whether this is an issue for you at this time in your life
- whether there is a non-cash trade that you could make that would feel more equitable all around

And yeah I'd have a bunch of what-if conversations with your friends talking about truck trouble, theft, whether they pay expenses in advance or not, etc just to make sure you're all on the same page.
posted by jessamyn at 6:18 PM on July 5, 2012

I went on a similar trip once (starting from Ottawa), one way on a Hellride (E to W) and the return was a much more leisurely return trip.

If you have the time to take it easy and visit anything you find interesting along the way; great vacation. I'd do it for gas/per diem/lodgings. Per diem, maybe something around what you'd spend on a good night out. $100? $150?

If it's all ASAP and rush and stuff, if you can do 18 hour hauls, ask for a lot more - and you might want to buy insurance for this because long haul trucking definitely is not for everyone. That they'd fly you back means that you won't be able to visit the places that you missed the first time around.

Going the Van-Cgy leg, if you aren't totally confident in the vehicle that the rental company gives you, ask for another one. Isn't an issue this time of year, though.
posted by porpoise at 8:04 PM on July 5, 2012

« Older Blender materials, what am I missing?   |   Free Online Photo Editor that works for high rez... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.