This fall, as I am selling hay to horse owners, I have noticed an interesting trend.  When I market my hay, I offer hay hauling for an additional fee.  When people call to get more information about my products, about 60% ask about me hauling their hay.  My prices are based on how far I have to haul, and the barn I am stacking in.  For out of the area readers, I am talking about 3-15 ton lots, most people in Central Oregon have just a few animals and does not need a semi load. If they do have a large operation, few have the barn capacity for large 100+ ton orders.

What is interesting to me is how little people are willing to pay to have hay hauled.  I charge between $15-$30 per ton to haul in Central Oregon, and give people discounts based on the amount of the orders.  The average order for me is around 4 tons, my average rate is $20, so I am charging $80 to haul 104 bales, and I can’t believe how many people think thats too expensive!  Usually they don’t have a trailor to haul it for themselves, and many balk at paying that rate.  It usually takes me about 2-3 hours of time, including loading, driving, and unloading, and at first glance it seems that I am making a killing off my hauling rates.  I can tell you right now that bucking hay is hard work, I personally enjoy it very much, but it is tiring and dirty.  Besides the dirt and sweat involved, most trucks that are heavy enough to handle a good load of hay, get pretty bad mileage, my F-350 truck gets around 13 MPG when pulling a load, and 18 MPG when I am empty coming back.  With fuel as high as it is, getting a load of hay costs quite a bit of fuel money. 

Another consideration is safety, I shake myhead every time someone pulls up with a light duty SUV pulling a single axle, 12 foot ATV trailor and piles it down with 40 bales and starts throwing straps everywhere.  They bend down and look to make sure their tires are not rubbing on the fenders and pulls out of the barn, and I wonder how far they will make it until they blow a tire, or their light duty brake rotors give out…

So in the end,  having someone deliver your hay saves your valuable time,  reduced wear on your vehicle and trailor, as well as wear on your body!  Seems like paying someone $20 or so per ton to have it hauled and stacked in your barn is well spent money.    So grab a beer your remote, and relax the next time you need hay,  it will be worth it!