Bulk coal delivery protocol?

Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: stockingfull On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:18 pm

I've just finished my second season, and I've now been baffled twice by the way I've been charged for my two bulk deliveries.

My supplier has a jack-up dump truck with a telescopic chute. I order my quantity (6 or 7 tons) of rice and the truck appears in my driveway and unloads wet coal through my garage door into my bin. I then am given what looks like a weight ticket, but it's not mechanically-generated and has the exact weight I ordered on it (i.e., 12,000 lbs), which obviously cannot be the exact amount I've received.

I understand that wetting reduces dust but am I supposed to pay for the water? And how do I know how much I've really received in the absence of a weight ticket? (I know my supplier has scales; if I showed up with my truck, I'd have to weigh before and after loading, just as one might expect.)

So I'm left wondering: what's the custom in the industry (if there is one) for accurately loading, weighing, delivering and charging for bulk coal? (I would think it should be weigh, load, weigh, wet, deliver, in that order. And there should be a mechanically-generated weight ticket as evidence of the weight before the water is added.)
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:09 pm

stockingfull wrote: but it's not mechanically-generated and has the exact weight I ordered on it (i.e., 12,000 lbs), which obviously cannot be the exact amount I've received.


There's no law that says it has to be mechanically generated and it really doesn't matter. Bottom line is if you have a honest coalman you're going to get what you're paying for give or take few hundred pounds. Is that 12,000 pounds the net? Does the weightslip include the tare and gross? I don't know what the laws are in New York regarding weightslips or if they different from those in Pennsylvania but I wouldn't be surprised if they were quite similar.

In Pennsylvania you can only sell it by weight from a certified scale which is checked by the state about once every 6 months. The person doing the weighing needs to be a certified Weightmaster, this is not a big deal to get this certification. The Weightmaster issues you a numbered weightslip that has to contain the following information:

  • Address of the scale
  • Date
  • Time
  • License number on the truck/trailer
  • Size of coal
  • Dealers name and address
  • Name and address of the customer
  • Weigtmasters signature and lic. number
  • Tare
  • Net
  • Gross

There's four copies, a yellow one for the office, a pink copy that has to be kept at the scale for what I think is 3 years, the dealer gets a blue copy and the customer gets the original white copy either printed or written in ink. The only thing the weighmaster would fudge for me that they allowed and they fought the state to allow was the full name and address of the customer that was getting the coal, instead it was just last name and town. A lot of brekers might have their own customers and giving the address away to them would be like giving the farm away.

Those scales although quite large are suprisingly very accurate, I used to be weighmaster myself and you could easily get within 100 pounds with mechanical one. Most of the scales now are a digital readout. Any coalman that has been doing this for any amount of time is going to be able to fill his truck within 100 pounds over 6 or 7 ton load. Generally you most likely are getting more than what you are paying for, that was the case with me. I usually went out of there over a hundred pounds or better. They round it down for easy bookkeeping, this is after all the same industry that invented the "short ton". ;)

Here's copy of one of my old weightslips, names have been changed to protect the innocent. :lol:

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I understand that wetting reduces dust but am I supposed to pay for the water?


Yes you are. :lol: I'm not sure exactly what the law is but when you're buying any product like this (dirt,snad,gravel) there is an allowance for water. Having said that its not much, probably about 200Lb.s or a little more over 7 tons for nut coal. That will be more with the smaller sizes like rice. There is really no other way to do it, you couldn't accurately determine what the moisture content is, even if they had a way the price would just go up to compensate.

You can ask your dealer about getting dry coal, they may have access to it if their supplier has stock piles but even that will most likely have some moisture in it especially the rice or buck coal. Usually takes a week or two for the nut to dry out . Should be noted anyone I have ever delivered unwashed dry coal too has only requested it once. :P

And how do I know how much I've really received in the absence of a weight ticket?


You can take a measurement to get a gauge, should be around 40 cubic feet per ton but that will change depending on the source and more importantly the size. I usually use this picture to illustrate it, this is buck coal on here. If it was nut you'd barely be able to see it, if it was stove you wouldn't see it at all.

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(I would think it should be weigh, load, weigh, wet, deliver, in that order.


When you first go into the breaker you have to weigh in so they know your light weight, you fill up and then you weigh again to get the net. The reason the coal is not washed afterwards is because the water is used to clean it one last time prior to going in the truck, while on the topic this last cleaning probably removes more debris, dirt and dust than anything the water is going to add up to. It's usually going into the truck as hfast as any chute so it gives the guy loading the truck a chance to pick out any large objects that shouldn't be there, wood, plataic etc. Unused blasting caps.. lol found one of those once.

A mechanically written slip is not going to insure you are getting an honest deal. The guy delivering the coal knows almost exactly what is on there regardless of what the scale says. To get a bad slip from the breaker both the weightmaster and the guy with the truck would need to be in on it. In that case the mechanical slip becomes irrelevant because they could simply pull on the scale, get the weight then drop some off on the way out...

If anything I 'd be concerned about what happens to a honest load that left the breaker before it gets to your house. Just like when you buy any other product in bulk whether it's oil, gas or whatever you have to depend on the honesty of the person selling it to you. It doesn't matter how many safeguards or whatever they put in place, if someone wants to rip you off they are going to do it, at least until they caught.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:19 pm

Also, the last time I checked most of the water runs through the coal and out around the tailgate of the truck, trailer, etc.
Superior is good because you drive down an incline to the loading area and then back up an incline to ground level. On the exit incline you can stop a moment to let gravity do it's job getting the water out before you drive onto the scale.

I'd rather have washed coal any day even if I do pay for a little water.
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert


Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: Scottscoaled On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:34 pm

I'm sure that your coal delivery man has your best interest in mind. Getting a bad rap far ripping off the customer is a sure path to a "going out of business sale". As for you it might be easier to imagine your coalguy has more integrity than most instead of agonizing that he's a thief. You know the exact size of your bin so you should have a pretty good idea how much he dropped off. Why don't you pay for the load when they weigh it and follow them home :) Scott
Last edited by Scottscoaled on Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Scottscoaled
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520x4, 350, 700. Van Wert 400 x 2, 800, 1200.
Coal Size/Type: Lots of buck

Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: stockingfull On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:40 pm

Thanks, guys. The perspective helps.

Richard, my guy is 3 hrs from his breakers (and a little secretive about which he uses), so he's bringing big bulk in from PA and then loading from his own yard stock and using his own scales when he comes to me.
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: Yanche On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:43 pm

Why not just write a specification for the coal you want to buy and put it out for bid? Attached is the PA coal specification used by PA state government to buy coal. Penn Coal Sales was a recent winning bidder on this RFQ (Request for Quotation). Just adapt the document for what you want.
Attachments
PA_Coal_Purchase_Specs.pdf
PA Coal Purchase Specification
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Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:45 pm

Wood'nCoal wrote:Also, the last time I checked most of the water runs through the coal and out around the tailgate of the truck, trailer, etc..


You have to drain it out if you're getting it washed, Except for the gate in the back my trucks were water tight, the insides are lined with stainelss steel all the way around. If you didn't you'd easily have 500 pounds of water in it and if the cop sees you going down the road with massive amounts of water running out you'll get a ticket.

Typically I'd lift it and drain it a few mimnutes, the water at that point has mostly gravited to the bottom of the box, just open the gate a little bit and it all comes out when you lift it.

stokerscot wrote:I'm sure that your coal delivery man has your best interest in mind. Getting a bad rap far ripping off the customer is a sure path to a "going out of business sale". Scott


Actually you would be surprised. I've delivered more than my share of loads where I have left and the people would be pissed and it wasn't me they be pissed at. I couldn't tell you how many time I've hear the words "Now I know why you are so much more expensive" :lol: I've seen people getting ripped off by what estimate to be over 1/3 of a ton. In some cases they might not even be making anymore than the honest guy but they are getting the business because they are quoting a lower price. If my information is right the one guy got caught numerous times and hes still doing it. It's very hard to prove if you get ripped off, once its off the truck, who's to say what happened to it after that.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: stockingfull On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:47 pm

stokerscot wrote:I'm sure that your coal delivery man has your best interest in mind. Getting a bad rap far ripping off the customer is a sure path to a "going out of business sale". As for you it might be easier to imagine your coalguy has more integrity than most instead of agonizing that he's a thief. You know the exact size of your bin so you should have a pretty good idea how much he dropped off. :) Scott


What worries me is the inverse: I'm not in coal country so my coal guy is the only one for quite a distance. And he sometimes acts like it. ;)

What I do is weigh every bucket going into my hopper. Dry, of course. Last year, I was about 1000# light on a 6 ton nominal delivery. This year, I have some left over after loading 11,925# on a nominal 7 ton load. I've got a long bin, so I'll weigh the balance when I move it to the other end; then I'll have my data point.

My basic issue has been the difficulty understanding why, if he has scales, he wouldn't weigh it out every time.
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: Scottscoaled On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:52 pm

Boy it's gotta be tough in NY. The only certified scales users here are the transfer stations and the gravel pits. If the salvage yards can be biased then I'm sure the coalguy can too. Scott
Scottscoaled
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520x4, 350, 700. Van Wert 400 x 2, 800, 1200.
Coal Size/Type: Lots of buck

Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: gambler On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:52 pm

Why not weigh the coal as you use it ? Just to verify that your coal man is honest. If he is not you will then have some numbers to back up your claim.
gambler
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer

Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: gambler On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:54 pm

stockingfull wrote:
stokerscot wrote:I'm sure that your coal delivery man has your best interest in mind. Getting a bad rap far ripping off the customer is a sure path to a "going out of business sale". As for you it might be easier to imagine your coalguy has more integrity than most instead of agonizing that he's a thief. You know the exact size of your bin so you should have a pretty good idea how much he dropped off. :) Scott


What worries me is the inverse: I'm not in coal country so my coal guy is the only one for quite a distance. And he sometimes acts like it. ;)

What I do is weigh every bucket going into my hopper. Dry, of course. Last year, I was about 1000# light on a 6 ton nominal delivery. This year, I have some left over after loading 11,925# on a nominal 7 ton load. I've got a long bin, so I'll weigh the balance when I move it to the other end; then I'll have my data point.

My basic issue has been the difficulty understanding why, if he has scales, he wouldn't weigh it out every time.


Never mind! I should have read further.
gambler
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pioneer

Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:55 pm

Yanche wrote:Why not just write a specification for the coal you want to buy and put it out for bid?


It would have to be tested in a lab which any breaker is going to have onsite, at least all the ones I've been too. Hudson did it daily and they had a independent contractor come in and do it every other week or so. They scrape a small quantity of fresh coal off the sides of the pile next to the sizing house to test it. You can't do it for every load though and the water content is going to be wildcard for small deliveries.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: stockingfull On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:57 pm

gambler wrote:Why not weigh the coal as you use it ? Just to verify that your coal man is honest. If he is not you will then have some numbers to back up your claim.


That's what I've done, both years. And both years, I seem to be coming out on the short end. (See above.) :roll:

Problem is, my supplier is 4 mi away, so ticking him off may not be in my best long-term interest. ;)

I've thought that maybe I should ask to witness the loading and weighing this season...
stockingfull
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Yellow Flame
Stove/Furnace Model: W.A. 150 Stoker Furnace

Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:06 pm

stockingfull wrote:What I do is weigh every bucket going into my hopper. Dry, of course. Last year, I was about 1000# light on a 6 ton nominal delivery. This year, I have some left over after loading 11,925# on a nominal 7 ton load.


I'd be careful about doing that, a scale that is off by one or two pounds is going to add up to quite a lot over 14,000 pounds. If you're off by two pounds each time assuming 40 lbs in a bucket that's 700 pounds. If you're using a bathroom scale they aren't exactly known for there absolute accuracy. Did you test it to make sure using a similar sized weight around 40 pounds?
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Bulk coal delivery protocol?

PostBy: Scottscoaled On: Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:14 pm

It will get more competitive here. In the last two months there has been 2 new guys open within 15 miles of me. I'm sure it will happen by you also. All the dirt haulers figuring they can make more money hauling coal instead of dirt for $5 a yard(27 cu ft). Can't blame them. Here it has driven the price of coal down and the guy who does the most business is the honest farmer guy who weighs it in front of you and positively making sure you get your 2000 lbs right down to 1 pound. He's really proud to do that. It makes for a good relationship. :) Scott
Scottscoaled
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520x4, 350, 700. Van Wert 400 x 2, 800, 1200.
Coal Size/Type: Lots of buck