Heavy Haulers can beat Fr8Star’s price to ship equipment nearly every time. To prove it, we compared Fr8Star’s offers to ship a Komatsu bulldozer against the price quoted by Heavy Haulers. It wasn’t even close.
The task was hauling a Komatsu D51PX 22 Crawler Tractor from Davenport, Florida, to Londonderry, New Hampshire. The bulldozer weighs 29,000 pounds. It’s 16 feet long, 11 feet wide and 9 feet 8 inches tall, and fit on a step-deck trailer. Only the width was oversize, requiring permits from all eight states along the travel path.
Heavy Haulers issued an all-inclusive bid of $3,500 to transport the Komatsu machine. Fr8Star’s best bid to ship the machine was $5,514.
How Fr8Star Works
Fr8Star works like most online shipping services. You create your free account, then post your load by following the online directions. Fr8Star sends out notices to carriers that have registered with them that your load is available. From there, it’s up to the carriers to bid.
Transportation brokers are not allowed to participate, only carriers. Your notice provides current location and the destination of your shipment, the shipment’s exact dimensions and the type of trailer needed to haul your load.
You also dictate how long your shipping auction will run, as well as when the shipment needs to be picked up and delivered. Fr8Star provides you with an initial estimate that you can book with one click. If you don’t like the estimate, you can put your shipment up for auction. Fr8Star makes its money by charging you a flat percentage fee, on top of the bid amount.
To begin, the service offers to ship your equipment at the Fr8Star Price. Fr8Star calls this their “all-in-one” rate. If you choose not to accept the Fr8Star price, you can move forward with gathering bids from carriers.
The Fr8Star Price for shipping the crawler tractor was $6,178. The Fr8Star Price includes $4,331 for the carrier. The Fr8Star Price – including carrier pay, fees and costs – equals to $4.59/mile. At $3,500 for shipping the machine, Heavy Haulers gets the job done for $2.56/mile. That’s 44% less per mile.
Since the machine exceeds maximum width limits, it must travel as an oversize load through eight states. In addition to its fees, Fr8Star wants $1,042 for the oversize permits. Heavy Haulers can get the permits done for around $500, less than half Fr8Star’s estimate.
More than 20 carriers viewed the posting on Fr8Star. The shipment attracted just two bids. That’s disappointing, since the route is one that many carriers run regularly. Both bids arrived on the first day of the posting. Fr8Star doesn’t provide you with the identity of the companies bidding on your load, so you can’t contact them independently.
The lowest carrier bid from Fr8Star was $5,013. The carrier offered transport on a five-axle step-deck trailer, which would do the job. Fr8Star provides you with five categories of national carrier rankings prepared by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The low-bid carrier was ranked in the “bottom 17%” for vehicle maintenance, the “bottom 14%” for unsafe driving, and the “bottom 7%” for driver fitness.
The highest carrier bid was $6,525, from a carrier operating a seven-axle RGN. That’s too much trailer for this haul, which is why it would cost you so much. Unfortunately, the FMCSA scores from the high bidder were as unimpressive as the scores for the low bidder.
The Fr8star Price includes a fee that is 15% of your carrier’s bid. The fee portion of the Fr8Star Price offer of $6,178 was $805.
If you choose a carrier’s bid, your Fr8Star fee is 10% of your carrier’s bid. Watch out: The company’s Fr8Star Price includes the flat fee. But the carrier bids they send you include the costs (which are borne by the carrier) but not the Fr8Star fees. Those fees are added later, after you choose a carrier.
Including fees, Fr8Star’s best price from a carrier was $5,514. The lowest bid from a Fr8Star carrier was $5,014 Add Fr8Star’s 10% fee of $501 to the lowest carrier bid for the dozer, and you get $5,514 for the total charges. The highest bid from Fr8Star was $7,177. The carrier’s bid was $6,525 and the charges were $652, for a total of $7,177.
Heavy Haulers offered to move the dozer for less than half of the best price found on Fr8Star. At $5,514, the best Fr8Star bid was more than 57% higher than the Heavy Haulers price. The only other Fr8Star bid was more than twice the Heavy Haulers price.