Model 348 spec maximizes profitability for G&D Hauling
Certainly, there are larger fleets around than that of G&D Hauling, the materials hauler-dump operation headquartered in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina.
But few may be more specialized to provide profitable performance than the 12 G&D Hauling Peterbilt Model 348s that have been custom- built with a spec package available from Peterbilt, its partners and key personnel within the Peterbilt dealer network.
The trucks stand out for more than their bright green appearance, which is the first indication that the G&D Model 348 is unique. But that color choice does get some attention.
“We’ve gotten a lot of business the last few years, partly through word of mouth, some through other contractors, who say, ‘Hey, we saw your trucks. Can you work for us?’” says Gina Proulx, the “G” in G&D who, with husband Don, runs the company.
“And then they’ll say, ‘Can you send only the green trucks?’ Those are our Model 348s, a truck with a custom spec that no one else uses. We do have some subcontractors with other equipment who work for us, but we get specific requests for our Peterbilt equipment.”
While the visual appearance of the G&D Hauling Model 348s is striking, their beauty is far more than skin deep. The trucks feature a purpose-driven spec that required the collaboration of Peterbilt engineers, dealer personnel and Logan Corp., the Logan, Kentucky, dump body builder, to meet the demands of Proulx’s application.
Don Proulx got his start in trucking after moving back to the quiet North Carolina town in which he was raised. Soon after Gina and Don married and started G&D Hauling, buying their first used dump truck which he drove on local construction projects. They bought another about a year later and a few more over the next few years. It wasn’t until 2014 that the Proulx decided to buy new and take a shot at growing the small operation significantly.
“One of the guys we worked for told us, ‘We’ve got plenty of work for you. Go buy a new truck because it’s gonna pay for itself.’ So we decided to take that step.”
But Gina and Don had ideas other than going straight to the cookie-cutter Class 8s that are prevalent in the field. The Class 7 Peterbilt Model 348 presented opportunities to maximize some efficiencies and profitability.
“With the help of our dealership, we discovered some spec options available to us,” says Proulx. “For example, we extended the front end four inches to give us another North Carolina bridge-law foot. Every foot gives us the capability to carry extra weight, so with Peterbilt’s and the dealer’s help, we’ve been able to improve our carrying capacity and remain legal.”
Proulx figured he had to bulk up the chassis to deliver the loads he planned to carry.
“We chose a spec that beefed the truck up,” he says. “We doubled the frame, took the front end to a 20,000 lb. suspension instead of 12,500 lbs. The rear end we took from 26,000 lbs. to 46,000 lbs. Now it’s got the same suspension as a bigger Class 8, but the truck is three tons lighter.”
Spec’ing for payload and comfort
Equipped with a quint-axle configuration, Proulx says they can deliver 25 tons of payload. Their quad axles can carry 22 tons.
“The average for a quad is 18-20 tons,” he reports. “We carry 22.”
Proulx has been experimenting with front tire dimensions to deliver the best ride possible and improve turning radius. The trucks are powered by the PACCAR PX-9 — the largest engine that will fit in a Model 348 — and are equipped with Allison automatic transmissions.
“The PX-9 saves us a lot of weight,” Proulx says. “It’s got 375 hp and the truck runs 72 mph — We don’t need it to go faster than that. Fuel does matter to us, and we are getting a little better than the standard, by about 0.4 or 0.5 mpg. With a 100-gallon tank, it does add up.
“Plus our repair costs are down. We don’t have to replace clutches anymore. And because they’re all built the same, we don’t have to stock three or four different types of parts. So our inventory cost is down.
“And our drivers love the trucks. At first some were concerned about the automatic transmission because they were so used to shifting, but they all like them now.”
Others in the business have noticed the G&D Peterbilts and are looking to acquire similar trucks, according to Proulx. Business continues to boom, in large part to the dependable performance of the G&D Peterbilts. And even the Proulxs, who never had any major aspirations to grow their business significantly, are looking to add to a few more moneymakers to their fleet.
“Every time we buy more trucks we say, ‘This is it — we’re not gonna buy another truck,’” says Gina.
“But now we’ve got a dozen,” says Don. “Fifteen sounds like it would be a nice round number, too.”