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Using U-Ship? Watch those low bidders... (Long but worth the read)

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Badfish740, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,393
    Hey all-been busy with the baby, selling my truck (finally went yesterday), and getting the wife a new car. I've also been selling this and that in order to raise some cash for a downpayment. One such item was a John Deere tractor cart I had that is popular with collectors. It went to a gentleman down South (I'm in NJ) so he used U-Ship to find someone to get it to him. U-Ship is a service kind of like Ebay from what I understand-you put up a item that you need moved and different shippers submit bids if they want the job-you evaluate the bids and decide which shipper you'll use. Apparently it's gotten pretty popular recently. Anyway, I hadn't heard from the guy for a while so I checked in and asked-he said he was only getting high bids and was holding out for a lower one. I told him that the cart was safe and sound in my garage and not bothering anything so he should just wait until he got a bid he was comfortable with.

    He e-mailed me last weekend and said that he finally got a good bid and that someone would contact me. I got a phone call from a guy (we'll call him "Jim") on Tuesday from "Jim's Shipping." He told me he was going to be in the area on Tuesday so we worked out a time. The time came and went and I got another call from the guy saying he had trouble with his truck and could he come later that day. "No problem," I told him. That time came and went-this went on and on until yesterday, which ironically was the day I sold my truck. The guy finally shows up around 10:00 p.m. He was driving a Crew Cab F-350 Powerstroke Dually pulling a trailer that looked like it came off of the top of a scrap pile. I'll say this about the truck-if it had been a horse I would have gone inside, gotten a pistol, and shot it to put it out of it's misery! The motor sounded like crap (trust me, I know what a healthy 7.3L sounds like ;) ) and the truck was beat to hell. It had plates from a northeastern state which shall remained nameless, but let's just say that it was surprising it had made it this far. The trailer was even more interesting-it was an old 20 foot double axle flatbed that had a plywood deck-the plywood was completely delaminated and rotting-the frame looked like it had seen plenty of salty northeastern winters too. I started to help him tie it down as he started telling some wild stories about the places he'd been, a stint with "The Carnival" (that made perfect sense), etc... I could tell from the inside of the truck (and the smell) that he was sleeping in it. That's when he went around to the other side of the trailer:

    "Jim" - "Uh Oh..."

    Me - "Uh Oh? What do you mean uh oh...?"

    "Jim" - "Geez I'm afraid to say...well uh...there must be a wheel and a brake drum laying alongside the road a ways back."

    Yep-he lost a wheel off of the trailer on the way down :bug: At this point I had second thoughts about letting the thing go with this guy, but the buyer worked it out with him, who was I to get in the middle? I made sure it was tied down securely and that I got my paperwork saying that it went on the truck in good shape, etc...I will say that the guy had some nice official forms with his company name and whatnot, but no DOT number or GVWR on the trailer or the truck which I'm pretty sure is required for any kind of hauling for hire. Then came the icing on the cake. He asked me if I knew anything about the Palisades Parkway which is a bi-state roadway between NY and NJ. I told him not really because I had never driven on it. He then went on to say that he had been there about six months ago driving a U-Haul he had rented for a job and got pulled over because commercial vehicles are not allowed. He said he never paid the ticket because he had been on the road and that his wife called to say that there was a warrant out for his arrest :gulp: He was asking if that was just if he got caught on the Palisades Parkway or anywhere? I shrugged my shoulders because I was pretty much speechless at that point anyway... He asked where he could get coffee so I pointed him in the direction of a diner and walked back in the house. You really can't make this stuff up!!!

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  2. sebring

    sebring Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    Messages:
    148
    Loc:
    PA
    U-Ship is popular from the new show Shipping Wars.
  3. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    1,973
    Loc:
    Near Williamsport, PA
    ....and, this would have made a good episode!!
  4. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    10,018
    Loc:
    Bend, OR
    I used U-Ship once...to get ~400 lbs of miscellaneous stuff from Bend Oregon to my daughter in Albuquerque New Mexico. It all worked out just as planned/promised, and I think I paid a fair price. The guy was personable, capable and professional and his equipment (diesel dually P/U & ~16' covered trailer) were in fine, clean condition. Luck of the draw, I guess...but I think the more you try to get the low-ball bids for your job, the more likely you're gonna get yourself hooked up with some marginal characters. As always...you get what you pay for...whether it be goods or services. Rick
  5. Badfish740

    Badfish740 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    1,393
    Sure-don't get me wrong I'm not knocking the service. It's just that the buyer had been getting bids of $350-500 and this guy came in at $135-'nuff said ;)
  6. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    10,018
    Loc:
    Bend, OR
    Oh, Badfish, I'm not getting you wrong...never thought you were somehow knocking the service. Nor am I trying to pump it up...I only used it once, and was simply relating my experience. I think the buyer in this case used some questionable judgment. The info on the bids just further confirms this for me. BTW - how's little Badfish doin' these days? Rick
  7. StuckInTheMuck

    StuckInTheMuck Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    169
    Loc:
    沖縄日本
    I've considered hauling for someone just to offset cost of fuel for a longer road trip. Kind of like ride sharing, but the box in the passenger seat doesn't talk incessantly with no coherent train of though. Haven't done it yet, but occasionally check UShip to see what people are trying to ship and the prices quoted. Didn't fully look into what the associated costs would be to do it right such as carrier insurance.

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