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Hiring a Tarp Specialist

A truck that’s off the road due to a malfunctioning tarping system is both costly and aggravating. Every day, companies make the risky decision to install a tarping system on their own trucks, which quite often results in a less than ideal outcome. However, an increasing number of companies are choosing to work with professional tarping experts, or tarpologists, to handle their tarping selection and installation needs. Companies who work with tarpologists report that they save fleet downtime, eliminate worker safety risks, and cut costs.

WHAT IS A TARPOLOGIST?
A tarpologist is an expert tarping specialist that is trained to match a truck’s equipment with the best tarp system for its application with the convenience of on-the-road or in the field installation. A tarpologist’s primary job is to keep fleets on the road. With this goal in mind, they travel to where the work needs to be performed, fully equipped with every needed part. By eliminating the end user from doing the installation, a tarpologist minimizes the risk with a convenient, safe, and reliable solution.

TARPOLOGISTS CAN HELP
Jamie Veach, sales representative for Ohio-based Glockner Truck and Trailer Sales, shares how he made the decision of using a tarpologist and how it now provides his company with a competitive advantage.

“Before we started using a tarpologist, it was a fiasco because our guys in the shop didn’t know how the tarp worked and what was going on with the system. We learned that if you aren’t careful, you can hurt yourself. If you take the tarp apart at the wrong point, the arm will come back and strike you. We actually had that happen when our workers were moving the tarping system and it trapped his finger between the side of the trailer and the tarp, and it almost cut his finger off. It was pretty dangerous. We ended up having to call a tarpologist to straighten it out and get it going. It was a lot more economical to get a tarpologist to do it instead of my shop guy because they knew what they were doing and got it right the first time.”

Shayne McCallie, the president of Atomic Transport based in Alabama, discusses how tarpologists help save his company time and money while satisfying customers on a daily basis.

“We know that the tarpologists will provide support and make sure we meet the timelines required by our customers to have our equipment in service. In areas where we have limited resources, we prefer to have a tarpologist come to us. When you consider how costly it would be for us to pay for fuel and associated costs to transport ourselves to another location and to wait on new equipment that wasn’t ready to go to work on time, having a tarpologist to bring the tarps to the location and do the installation onsite is definitely the most cost-effective option.”

RISKS OF SELF-INSTALLATION
Tarp installations and repairs can be complex and complicated. Without a tarpologist, drivers can be found onsite trying to read instructions, sometimes sliding off the truck and hurting themselves—and, nearly always, wasting lots of time. Tarpologists take the risk out of the equation and come directly to the location of the truck.

McCallie, Veach, and other companies offer the following reasons why selecting a tarpologist for field and on-the-road installations and repair is better for business and the bottom line:

Liability, injuries, and OSHA requirements: Often, those who may be asked to repair or replace a tarp do not have the proper training to complete the task. In certain states, OSHA requires appropriate fall-protection system, equipment, and training to complete these tasks, and non-compliance can create huge areas of potential liability for the company and lead to hefty fines. Most importantly, untrained workers are more apt to injure themselves.Further, having employees install or repair tarps can open additional areas of liability, including neck and back injuries resulting from lifting heavy material or slip and fall injuries resulting from sliding off a truck or ladder or stumbling in gaps in the load. These scenarios can also cost companies thousands of dollars in liability and workers’ compensation costs.
Access to specialized equipment: General workers typically don’t have access to the specialized equipment needed to safely and easily repair or replace a tarp. Proper welding equipment and protection is essential. While workers typically use safety glasses and look away, tarpologists wear welding protective helmets with a square piece that shields the flash to eliminate the risk of eye damage.Ladders are also needed for tarp self-service. With a standard ladder, workers have to move multiple times to adjust the ladder and to get back up and down numerous times to install the tarp. However, tarpologists use special scissor lifts with controls to move the lift automatically without having to get back up or down.
Increases Uptime: Tarps take a lot of abuse in all sorts of extreme environments, and timely installations reduce downtime and boost productivity. When a driver is on the road and doesn’t have time to stop at a repair shop for their tarping system, a tarpologist can save them time by coming right to their location, replacing it instantly while reducing fuel costs associated.
Adjusting, removing, or applying a tarp can be a daunting and time consuming task for an inexperienced worker. If a user’s truck isn’t tarp compliant, it could result in loss of business if other trucks are ready to hit the road. A tarpologist can immediately and reliably accomplish the job, getting trucks back on the road much more quickly.

BETTER USE OF RESOURCES
Fleet company mechanics/technicians are often stretched thin. Using a tarpologist allows them to focus on more mission-critical repairs, positively impacting uptime for the entire fleet rather than one truck.

When it is time for a tarp repair or installation, the decision to install it yourself or use a tarpologist’s services should be simple. Those who choose to install or repair tarps themselves face health and safety issues, possible fines and liability, potential damage to the equipment due to improper installation, and significantly greater downtime due to inefficiency, lack of specialized equipment, and unavailability of needed parts. Most companies find it is better to work with an expert. By troubleshooting issues, providing quotes in minutes, bringing parts and service directly to the user, and sending trucks back on the road in no time, tarpologists provide a convenient and reliable experience that saves time and money for fleet companies across the nation.

GET STARTED
To incorporate a tarpologist’s offerings, it is best to contact the local manufacturer’s regional sales manager for pricing and options for on-the-road and in the field installation and repairs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chris Nicolazzo is the general manager for Wastequip brands Mountain Tarp/Pioneer. With more than 12 years of experience in the waste industry, Nicolazzo specializes in connecting customers with tarping systems to meet their safety needs. Contact Chris at cnicolazzo@wastequip.com.