We spent some time last week, with the assistance of our friends from DVSA, helping out a customer, who needed to weigh a vehicle towing a new trailer to determine the axle weights.It was the usual story; plenty of full sized plate weighbridges around but nowhere that was suitable for determining accurate axle weights, vital for this haulier's needs.
In fact it was two of the usual stories; the one above plus a customer who is trying to get a quart into a pint pot. Or put another way, far more weight on the trailer than is legally allowed. The hauliers cause isn't helped by the fact that weight limits in some European countries are higher than the UK, Holland for instance, and his customer can't understand why if it's ok to run at 50 tonnes in Amsterdam, why not in Yorkshire?
The rights and wrongs of vehicle weight legislation aside, the operator needs to comply with UK limits and in order to prove to his customer that the vehicle would be overloaded on its axles with a full load on, he needed to find an accurate, calibrated axle weighbridge.
So he approached us and we were pleased to assist by arranging a visit to a local axle weighbridge.
It's another illustration though of the dearth of publicly available axle weighing systems around the UK. And how there is a market out there just waiting to be tapped by enterprising operators installing their own axle weighing systems and charging for their use.
The one in our yard generates between £6-£10,000.00 income a year for a charge of only £6 per vehicle. As the owner of the axle weigher, you could charge what you liked. I recently heard of a £20 weighbridge fee being charged.
There is the initial investment in the equipment and installation, possibly up to £18,000.00, but that is recouped pretty quickly. And with options to spread the cost by hiring or leasing the system, the up front costs need not be as large as it seems.
|Could an axle weigher earn you money too?|
And once the system costs have been covered, it's free for your own use and generating income which goes straight onto your bottom line.
Whilst many yards are busy or some operators have justifiable concerns about security and don't want unknown vehicles on their sites, many we visit are pretty much empty during the day. The trucks are all out earning their keep and the yard stands idle. What better way to make use of a patch of ground that you're paying rates on than to offer an axle weighing service?
It's not only charging for using the axle weighbridge that could be a money spinner though. How about charging for a forklift to remove excess loads? Or storage? Or maybe even using one of your own vehicles to deliver the overload?
And rather than us have to arrange access to someone else's weighbridge, we'd be quite happy referring those customers who need to weigh axles to your site. Although it would mean that we'd miss out on some interesting chats about foreign weight limits!