When it comes to considering effective equipment for your fleet, look at outfitting your trucks with a tarping system. Tarping systems range from fully hydraulic and adjustable to fit a wide range of container sizes down to an adjustable gantry with a “window shade” style tarp return where the driver pulls the tarp out over the load. Why are they important? Three factors come to mind:
- Productivity—More trips per day with a tarping system than without makes your routes more profitable because it takes less time to cover a load with a tarping system than manually covering the container (30 to 45 seconds for a fully hydraulic system versus 10 to 15 minutes hand tarping the load).
- Safety—Keeping your drivers on the ground reduces work related injuries and, in turn, keeps your workers’ compensation costs low.
- Convenience—Covering and uncovering a load in 30 to 45 seconds keeps the driver out of the blistering sun, torrential rain and cold snow making for a happier and more productive driver.
Researching Tarping System Features
Before you jump headlong into buying the same old tarping system, you need to ask yourself some questions while also analyzing your fleet. When you go to buy a car or truck, do you rely solely on the salesman to give you your information or do you perform your own research to complement what the salesman gives you? Do you buy the same make and model each time or do you look around to see if there is anything new on the market? Buying a tarping system should be no different than buying a car or truck as each tarping system accomplishes the same thing (covering a container), but each one goes about it in totally different ways. Below are some factors to consider before deciding on a tarping system.
Containers Size Range
Do you have a wide variety of container sizes requiring a fully adjustable tarping system or do you have one container size requiring a non-adjustable tarping system?
Cost of Ownership
Watch the equipment expenses. Sometimes the cheapest tarping systems end up costing more over the long run in truck downtime, maintenance, parts replacements, tarps, etc. Upfront pricing shouldn’t be your only consideration, but a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean quality either.