5 Reasons to Invest in Moving Blankets

One of the most important tools of the trade for a flatbed truck driver is the flatbed tarp. In fact, most truck drivers have a collection of tarps used for different kinds of loads. If, on the other hand, you own a moving company or a local courier operation utilizing box trucks, you probably do not need tarps. You do however, need moving blankets.

The moving blanket is as important to your business as the tarp is to the flatbed hauler. Without a good collection of blanket and pads, you will not be able to provide the high quality service your clients are looking for. Here are five reasons to invest in high quality, long-lasting moving blankets such as those found on our site:

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1. Cargo Protection

Your number one priority as a mover or courier is to make sure your customer’s property makes it from one location to the next completely unscathed. New movers often fail to realize how easily things such as furniture and antiques can be damaged during the process. Moreover, that damage is not just confined to loading and unloading. Property can be damaged moving in and out of a building and in transit to the new destination. Moving blankets reduce the risk of damage.

2. Your Reputation

Equally important to the idea of cargo protection is the reputation of your company. Even if you were the most conscientious mover with a perfect track record of never damaging customer property, not using moving blankets gives customers the perception that you are not concerned about the value of their property. In the era of online reviews, the last thing you need is to develop a reputation as a careless courier or moving company.

3. Liability Concerns

Every moving company and courier in the U.S. is required to carry liability insurance. Your insurance company may refuse to satisfy certain claims if it can be demonstrated that you or your staff did not take the proper precautions to protect customer property by using moving blankets and pads. Do not take that risk. Moving blankets are a reasonable investment and part of doing business.

4. Load Security

Moving blankets provide an extra benefit when in transit by way of maintaining a more secure load. To understand this, just step back and think about how a moving truck is packed. There is no possible way to fill in all of the empty space, especially where furniture is concerned. Using moving blankets allows you to fill in some of that dead space so that cargo does not move as the vehicle travels down the road.

5. Road Vibration

Damage to customer property is not limited to hard knocks and drops. Road vibration is also a concern. The longer the trip between pickup and drop-off, the more potential damage can be done. Moving blankets act as shock absorbers to some degree, lessening the potential risk caused by road vibration. As an added benefit, these also cut down on the amount of noise caused by moving and shifting cargo. For smaller moving vans and trucks in which the cab is not separate from the cargo area, reducing noise can be a godsend.

We offer a number of different moving blanket options to fit your needs and budget. As always, we do not recommend going cheap only for the sake of saving money. Invest in moving blankets that meet your needs and that will last as long as possible. After all, this is an investment in your business. Spending the money now will pay off in the future.


Dump Truck Tarps a Good Idea Even When Not Required

Nothing is worse for a car driver then to be following behind a dump truck only to become a victim of a piece of gravel or stone flying off the top. Even such small projectiles can shatter windshields at high speeds. As a dump truck operator, the best way to prevent your load from damaging other vehicles is to cover it with a tarp.

Why would a driver not cover a dump truck load with a tarp? Some may choose not to tarp because they do not want to put the extra money into it. Others don’t want to take the time to secure the tarp before hitting the road. However, not tarping a dump truck load puts other drivers at risk. Moreover, in so doing, the driver is putting him or herself and/or their company at risk of liability. The risk is not worth taking. Dump truck tarps offer a lot of protection compared to the investment of money and time they require.

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Different State Laws

A big question with dump truck tarps relates to individual state laws. Some states require all dump truck loads to be tarped prior to transport. Others, such as Wisconsin for example, do not. Nevertheless, even states that don’t require tarping do require loads to be secure throughout transport. Wisconsin Statute 348.10 (2) specifically says:

“No person shall operate a vehicle on a highway unless such vehicle is so constructed and loaded as to prevent its contents from dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping therefrom.”

A Wisconsin law enforcement officer witnessing a violation can issue a ticket that could result in several hundred dollars in penalties. The vehicle could also be taken out of service until the load is properly secured. Even just one hour lost could mean a substantial financial loss in addition to any fines that have to be paid.

Liability Questions

The other obvious issue with dump trucks and tarps is one of liability. Although such accidents are rare, it is entirely possible for debris coming loose from a dump truck load to cause an accident resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. Does the trucking company really want to face the liability of such accidents in exchange for not spending a little bit of money on dump truck tarps? Probably not. Tarps and tarping systems are fairly inexpensive when compared to the types of damages normally awarded in liability cases.

Easy to Use

From a driver’s perspective, there really is no viable reason not to use dump truck tarps. They are incredibly easy to apply as compared to their flatbed counterparts. The advantage here is that dump trucks are basically large containers on wheels used to carry loose materials. All that is needed is a single tarp to cover the top of the container.

To make tarping as easy as possible, the modern dump truck is fitted with a steel or aluminum frame and roll system that makes tarping almost completely effortless. Sometimes the system is operated manually, other times it can be connected to an electric motor. The driver simply moves the tarp frame back on its pivot point while the tarp unrolls automatically across the top of the load. Lock the frame in place and the job is done. Retracting the tarp is equally easy. Move the frame forward and tarp will roll up on its own.

If you operate a dump truck, remember that dump truck tarps are a good idea even if the law does not require them. Protect yourself and other drivers on the road by investing in a high-quality tarping system.


Investing in Smoke Tarps

Purchasing tarps can be a fairly substantial expense for the independent trucker. As with any other business owner, a responsible trucker wants to spend an appropriate amount on the tools of his or her trade without spending frivolously. In light of that, you might be wondering whether or not you should invest in smoke tarps. The answer to it depends on the types of loads you haul.

The typical smoke tarp is a smaller tarp measuring either 10′ x 12′ or 12′ x 12′. It generally is not intended to cover large loads entirely. So what’s the point in purchasing smoke tarps? A smoke tarp is specifically designed for the front and top of your load. It is put in place to protect your load from smoke, soot, and dirt. Right off the bat, it makes sense to consider smoke tarps if you haul loads that do not have to be covered fully yet might be sensitive to the smoke and soot coming off your exhaust stack. PVC pipe would be a good example.

A load of PVC is durable enough that it does not necessarily need to be covered entirely. However, your client does not want to have to clean soot from the product after you deliver the load. Attaching a smoke tarp at the top of the load will protect it during transportation.

Additional Uses of Smoke Tarp

The smaller size of the smoke tarp means it can be used for other purposes as well. The additional uses might make it worthwhile to invest in one or two, especially given that they are less expensive than larger tarps. These uses include:

  • Noise Reduction – Sometimes you haul loads that make unnecessary noise. For example, PVC and steel pipe can whistle in the wind. You can put an end to that whistling by securing a smoke tarp over the front of the load.
  • Flaps – Smoke tarps can be combined with larger tarps to act as flaps. For example, you may have a lumber tarp without enough drop to fully cover certain portions of the load. The smoke tarp becomes an easy to apply, ‘extra’ flap.
  • Small Loads – Every trucker knows that applying tarps is time-consuming and money-losing. So for small loads, it might be faster and more worth your while to use one or two smoke tarps rather than trying to grapple with a larger steel or lumber tarp. The faster you can get your load tarped, the more quickly you can get on the road.
  • Tarping Emergencies – Lastly, it is always good to have at least one smoke tarp on hand for emergencies. For example, you may have a steel tarp that develops a pretty significant hole or tear while in transit to your destination. Applying the smoke tarp allows you to complete your trip without having to stop and deal with tarp repair.

As always, do your homework before you invest in smoke tarps. There are some manufacturers whose products are not as good as others are. Also, keep in mind that spending the least amount of money possible is not always the wisest decision. You might be better is off spending a little extra up front for a tarp that will last longer and perform better.

At Mytee Products, we carry a 10′ x 12′ smoke tarp made of heavy-duty 18-ounce vinyl. The hems are double stitched and reinforced with webbing; brass grommets are installed every 24 inches along the perimeter and there is a row of D-rings, complete with protection flaps, positioned 2.5′ from the lower hem. This is an affordable smoke tarp that is also tough and durable.


Lengthen Tarp Life by Installing New Grommets

No one needs to tell you that truck tarps are an expensive part of doing business as an owner-operator. So the longer you can continue using the same tarps, the better it is for your budget. We suggest installing new grommets when the factory-installed grommets begin to fail. This will lengthen the life of your tarps considerably.

It is fairly easy to install new grommets. All you need is a grommet kit and a little patience. Where the patience is concerned, take the time to follow all of the instructions provided by the kit manufacturer. Failing to do so will likely result in new grommets that are not as durable as the ones installed by the factory.

How to Install New Grommets

The first rule of thumb is to never replace a grommet by putting a new one into an old hole. If a grommet is failing, you are better off installing a new grommet to take its place. Having said that, look for a kit that includes multiple sized grommets plus a hole cutter and anvil. You will also need a hammer, a block of wood, and a permanent marker.

Here are the steps for installing new grommets:

1.Mark New Locations – Determine where you want to locate your new grommets, marking those locations with a permanent marker. Always install a new grommet along an outer edge at a place the material has not been compromised. Where possible, install new grommets in hem areas with extra back stitching for strength.

2.Create the Hole – The next step is to place your block of wood underneath the tarp, below the center of where the new hole will be. Then place the beveled edge of the hole-cutting tool on the tarp, at the point where you want the center of the grommet. You “cut” the hole by striking the tool once with a hammer.

3.Insert the Grommet – Insert the tall portion of the new grommet by pushing it up through the underside of the hole. Next, place a washer and the second half of the grommet on the anvil as shown in the instructions that came with your kit. Some kits also include a grommet tube that keeps everything centered.

4.Attach the Pieces – With everything in place, gently place the anvil on top of the lower half of the grommet and gently strike it with a hammer until all the pieces are tightly fit together. If your kit came with a tube, you might want to rotate it a quarter turn before every strike. This ensures a uniform fit all the way around.

That’s all there is to it. With just the few minutes of your time, you could breathe new life into your old tarps. One word of caution though – make sure you fully inspect and test your new grommets prior to using the tarp to secure a load. If any of your new grommets are not fitted together properly, they could fail on the road. That is a liability we assume you are not interested in dealing with.


Rubber Tarp Straps: Natural Rubber or Synthetic?

Every truck driver knows that you need the right tools for the job. There are different tarps for different types of loads, and different methods of fastening a tarp to the trailer bed. One of the more convenient types of straps is the rubber strap with the S-hook in either end. These straps come in both natural and synthetic, ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubbers. The question is – is one better than the other?

Neither natural nor synthetic rubber is a better product overall. Both have their pros and cons depending on how they are used. It is best to have both kinds on hand if you are a driver that works in all regions of the country and during all seasons. Both work equally well with steel and lumber tarps of all sizes.

Natural Rubber Straps

Rubber tarp straps are incredibly convenient when all you are doing is securing the tarp itself. They go on in just seconds, and are durable enough to handle road speeds and the elements.

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When you choose natural rubber, you are choosing a material that works very well in most environments, with the exception of the blazing hot sun of the American South and Southwest. High temperatures cause natural rubber to lose its elasticity, while UV rays break down the material’s composition.

On the other hand, natural rubber is the material of choice for winter use. Unlike EPDM, natural rubber does not become brittle in subfreezing temperatures. It also tends not to crack or tear in cold weather.

EPDM Rubber Straps

EPDM is an M-class synthetic rubber with a high ethylene content of between 45% and 85%. The higher the ethylene content, the more polymers can be used in the rubber mixture without affecting extrusion. This allows for a higher polymer cross-link density for stronger material.

EPDM is the best choice for securing tarps in hot weather under the scorching sun. This synthetic product holds up very well under high temperatures without losing strength or elasticity. EPDM offers a second benefit for sunny environments: it is not prone to breaking down from exposure to UV rays. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about EPDM in cold weather environments. Cold weather tends to make EPDM brittle and prone to tearing.

Keep in mind that branding does matter when purchasing your truck tarps and straps. Where rubber straps are concerned, the fact that they all look pretty much the same can be deceiving. You are better off paying a little more for a branded product in order to get a better quality strap with a longer life and more durability.

Pairing With Rubber Ropes

You will find that it is difficult to purchase rubber straps greater than 41 inches in length. So what does the trucker do when he or she needs coverage across a much larger area? Hooking multiple tarp straps together is not necessarily a wise idea because doing so creates more opportunities for failure. Instead, pairing straps with rubber rope is the best idea.

Rubber rope can be cut to the desired length for continuous coverage across your entire load. Then insert S-hooks at either end to be attached to shorter straps where necessary. The combination of rubber rope and tarp straps provides a perfect solution for securing any load.

When buying tarp straps, it is important to have the right tool for the job. Consider weather conditions, cargo type, and any other factors necessary to choosing the right straps.