All the tips that Super Dispatch and its sources have picked up in the Car Hauling Industry

Trucks and Trailers: financing as an Owner Operator

Financing your Car Hauler Dreams

If you just decided to make the jump into your own operating authority, you know money is a primary hurdle. Specifically, finding out where to get it.

You might’ve scrounged up the money for a CDL, training and testing. Now you can take the extra thousands you have laying around to buy yourself a shiny new truck to start hauling with, right?

Of course not! Here in America straight cash will get you anywhere you want – but 20 or 30,000 is a lot to cough up all at once. That’s why we have financing options. So how does a car hauler get the best deal possible, without being swindled?

What you need to finance a truck and trailer

 “You will need to have a minimum 2 years of experience driving.”

Ziggy, a sales rep at Arrow Truck Sales with 20 years of experience in the trucking industry, says that financing a truck and trailer is not for the faint of heart.

“You will need to have a minimum 2 years of experience driving,” says Ziggy. “That means they will pull your CDL and check your haul references to verify that experience.”

In addition to having a long driving record, you will need to put down at least 20% upfront and maintain a good credit score.

“I can get deals done with credit below 600,” Ziggy says about credit. “But you will end up paying thousands more and have to move through a secondary market.”

While credit score is the primary factor in financing your truck, companies like Arrow do watch out for other signs of bad credit.

“We work hard to work with all states and types of credit history,” Ziggy says of Arrow Truck Sales. “But If you have 2 bankruptcies, 3 repossessions and can only put 5% down…you’re not going to get financed here.”

Some factors – such as repossession – weigh heavier against your chances of getting a loan than a lower down payment.

How do I know if it’s a good deal?

“There is no such thing as a bumper to bumper warranty in commercial trucking.”

Unlike Consumer equipment, there are few financial protections in place for Commercial equipment once a contract has been signed. But there are signs Commercial Operators can be aware of before committing.finance truck trailer car hauler

“There is no such thing as a bumper to bumper warranty in commercial trucking,” Ziggy quips.

Former truck salesmen at Super Dispatch expressed the exact same sentiment.

“Just read your contract,” Ziggy stresses. “Because the contract is going to specify exactly what is covered and what is not…., people will compare it to a new car. And the only conversation that is said about the warranty is when the customer asks ‘hey, doesn’t this have a warranty?’ and the salesperson says ‘yes, a brand new warranty.’ And because of the ads on the radio, they think it means bumper to bumper coverage. They didn’t say that. There is no such thing as bumper to bumper coverage in semi truck land.”

A Consumer Protection lawyer in Kansas City, Bryce Bell, has a few suggestions on auto loans that are applicable to commercial financing.

“Bait and switch financing agreements are a big one,” Bryce says. Bait and switch is a tactic where a salesperson “pre-approves” the percent of a lease agreement (say, 10%) on the spot, pending some official approval from the bank. This makes the consumer feel like they already have a great deal on a new car. Then a week later, the sales team calls back saying the bank didn’t approve it at 10%, but the dealership found another place that could approve it on the spot for 20%. Now the customer is more likely to accept this bad offer, because for a week they were sure it was as good as bought.

Beware of red flags before you sign the contract.

“Be sure to read the fine print of everything 5 times before you sign anything,” Ziggy says. “Any contract comes down to – if you signed it, you own it. If you were foolish enough to sign something that you didn’t understand – especially a 14 page document – then shame on you.”

How to keep a truck and trailer

Finally, once you have the truck, how do you make sure you keep up on those payments? Trucks aren’t going to run themselves (yet.)

Ziggy (as well as many Super Dispatch customers) says the most common problem a trucker faces is unexpected maintenance costs.

“The new trucks due to the government regulations, they have really screwed trucking up in the last 20 years. All the new pollution control stuff just wreaks havoc. Your truck can be running fine, your truck will be going down the road and all of a sudden there’s a little light on your dashboard that says check engine, check engine. Back in the old days, the only thing you had to know was, do I have oil, air, temperature? If the answer was ‘yes,’ you kept on trucking. Nowadays, that little yellow light… says ‘no, you’re going to the shoulder of the road, right now.’ And that’s going to cost you $4,500.”

If you’re an Owner Operator, try saving 5% of every load or a portion of your monthly income for future maintenance costs.

How have you financed your truck? What was your experience? Let us know below!

 

Do Car Haulers Need a CDL?

Do I need a CDL with just a truck and flatbed trailer?

What are the CDL weight requirements for a car hauler?

Do I have to have CDL to haul 3 cars?

What is the maximum weight I can haul with a topkick and 40ft trailer?

I’m new to car hauling where do I start?

Hi, I’m new to car hauling-I’m looking to get a 1 or 2 car hauler to start, any suggestions?

These are some common questions that we get in the support window here at Super Dispatch. Because we have some former car haulers in our team, we decided to do a little overview of CDL steps and requirements.

A Commercial Driver’s License is a similar process to getting your regular driver’s license. You have to register within a certain state (where you reside,) you must prove your knowledge on a written permit test, hold a Commercial Driver Learner Permit for a period of time, and then perform a physical driving test.

Can I start hauling cars in ____ trailer without a CDL?

Depending on what kind of car hauling you do, you do not need a CDL to haul cars. Commercial Driver’s Licenses are designed to train commercial employees to drive heavy, oblong vehicles. Yes, there are trailers – like 2 and 3 car wedges – that are below the CDL weight requirement rules.

Rarely can we answer a weight requirement related question for someone – all vehicles and trailers have different GVWR and GCWR. No one but your truck and trailer will have these answers.

I often think that what people are really asking is “Should I start hauling cars without a CDL?”

This of course, we can’t answer either.

Do I need a Class A CDL to haul ____ truck and trailer?

While CDLs come in many classifications, Car Haulers need not worry about any classes or endorsements outside of a Class A CDL. Class A is the heaviest class of CDL, and thus the best fit for car haulers:

Class A CDL: Any combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.

With a Class A certification, you can haul cars in a 50ft wedge all the way up to a 7 or 9 car trailer. If you aren’t sure what kind of trailer you will drive, or you aim to eventually be an O_O, this class is a must.

In Missouri (where Super Dispatch is based) obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License of any class at the DMV costs around $100 once it’s all said and done. Of course, actually paying for the license is the cheapest part of this process.

Can you get your cdl without going to truck driving school?

By this point in the CDL process, you might have noticed something: truck driving school is expensive. Whether it’s a single class, a semester or a community college – it can cost around $3,000.

This CDL thing is a huge barrier to entry!

The short answer is yes, in most states you can take both the CDL permit test and the physical driving test without paying for a trucking school. Most states will not require you to prove any sort of formal education.

Consider though, that going into any test completely blind is a bad idea.

There are some low cost options for the written and physical tests. Tom Stec, Super Dispatch customer and owner of Fury Transport LLC. in New Jersey studied for the written CDL permit test for free. To prepare for the written test, he simply read the New Jersey CDL Manual “cover to cover.”

“I prefer to read but others have watched YouTube videos and that worked better for them. There are even Apps for your phone that are in quiz format. Some people praise those because they don’t like reading,” he said.

Stec got lucky, because he was able to practice the physical driving test with his truck-driver father with his large trailer.

There are also companies and schools where you can schedule “practice tests” using your own equipment (or theirs) for a few hundred dollars. This allows you to get into a testing situation without paying thousands for multiple classes.

Most experienced car haulers scoff at the idea of classes; you can’t learn in a class, only in the field.

Do you need to test in the same vehicle that you will drive in?

Different people will say different things. The Missouri Highway Patrol (the department that runs Missouri CDL tests) says that you only need to prove your knowledge in a truck of the right classification. This means you could plan to car haul, but take a class or pass the test using a dry van. Remember though, a Ford F450 with the right trailer might be a Class A, but it won’t have air brakes, 5th wheel or a manual transmission. So you might walk out with a Class A CDL with air brake, 5th wheel and manual restrictions.

According to some of our customers, there is not much of a difference between car hauling trailers and traditional dry van.

“There’s no difference,” Tom Stec said. “We need a Class A (truck and trailer with air brake) You need additional endorsements for Tanker(hazmat),Passenger(bus), and doubles/triple trailers. We don’t need any of these additional endorsements but it looks good on your resume when applying for driving jobs!”

Prior to CDL Permit Test, you should:

  1. Obtain a valid federal MER MCSA-5875 form and Medical Examiner’s Certificate Form, (MEC) MCSA- 5876.
  2. Fill out a CDL application form specific to your state
  3. Study your state’s CDL Manual
  4. Take the CDL written permit test at a DMV

After acquiring your permit:

  1. Determine what kind of tractor / trailer combo you plan to pull
  2. Find a CDL trainer or a car hauling mentor
  3. Practice during the required time period in between your Permit and CDL test
  4. Learn every function and button about your truck / tractor / trailer

To prepare for your CDL:

  1. Get a mentor or trainer, or go to a CDL school to practice physical driving
  2. Practice:
    • Pre-trip inspection
    • Basic vehicle control
    • Road driving

CDL Super Dispatch mobile Any tips for passing driving test?

“When doing the road test, before you start driving you have to do a walk around inspection. You have to explain every single thing in detail and you can’t assume the instructor knows what you’re talking about. Picture instructor as a person who is new to trucking and you are explaining everything to them for the first time,” Stec said. “My road test instructor said that I did a better job at explaining everything than the instructors do at the CDL schools.”

Understanding the car hauling industry

So you want to be a car hauler.

You have looked at different parts of the trucking industry, you might even have your CDL. But you have settled on hauling cars: maybe because it’s profitable or because car hauling has the least red tape. It is a hard niche to get established in. But it is worth it, if you can hack it.

Industry overview:

Physically hauling cars is not the only job option in this industry. There are a variety of occupations in car hauling. Super Dispatch’s customers cover the entire industry, which is broken into three categories: shipper, broker, and carrier.

The supply of cars that need moving comes from “Shippers” and the car-movers are “Carriers.” Between these two are “Brokers.”

The Shipper:

A shipper’s primary job involves cars, but not the transport aspect. OEMs like Jeep, Mercedes, Audi are considered shippers, but dealerships and auto auctions like Manheim and Adesa are as well. While car dealerships and OEMs are huge shipping customers, “shipper” also applies to individuals shipping personal vehicles (like military families or college students.)

The Broker:

Brokers are the middle-men between shippers and carriers. Because shippers are not in auto-hauling, finding carriers is a challenge for them. Often this means shippers hand over load offers to brokers instead, who then find carriers for a “finder’s fee.” This is usually a percentage of the load price. These fees are why carriers hate brokers; they see brokerages as a necessary and expensive evil to find loads. “Brokers make car haulers broke” is one of the least colorful phrases a new car hauler will find in this industry.

There are absolutely dishonest brokerages that prey on unsuspecting carriers. But brokers need relationships just like carriers do; if a broker messes up a good relationship, his entire business is in the toilet.

Regardless, it’s common for OO’s to start out by booking any load for themselves on load boards until they find three or four trusted brokers.

Even with good brokers in the game, the goal for many carriers is to avoid them entirely. This requires a lot of planning and work, but it can be done.

Big car hauling brokers: A1 Auto Transport, Metrogistics, United Road, Montway.

The Carrier

If you’re here, you know who a carrier is and what he does. But you might not know that not all car-carrying is created equal! There are about three job options for drivers:

Company drivers –

Company drivers are employees, usually of larger companies with anywhere from 10 – 500 trucks. You may have heard of big companies like Swift. Companies like Swift employ a majority of drivers in the industry. This form of employment is ideal for new drivers; the pay and benefits are okay but the work is consistent and drivers are not liable for damages. Sometimes, these companies will pay for CDL schooling and driving practice in exchange for work contracts or payment programs.

Fleets: Jack Cooper, United Road

Sub-ContractorsSuper Dispatch Car Hauler Transportation Management System Business

Contract work is a step above fleet driving in terms of freedom, but it is not necessarily the same thing as owning your own trucking company.

A common situation today is a driver leases his truck from a huge company like A1 Auto Transport and Ready Logistics. That same company will employ him as a “contract” or “sub-contract” worker (1099 IRS form.) Technically, this driver should be able to refuse load offers without any troubles from his leasing company. He also should be able to run loads from any other company or load board (within reason.) This is another way car haulers lose money.

On paper, 1099 workers get paid a higher dollar per mile than W-2 employees, but they get none of the benefits awarded to company drivers. This means that after expenses (gas, maintenance, health insurance, liability insurance, trailer lease payment, self-employment tax) the pay-per-mile decreases significantly. In many cases, 1099 contract workers end up with significantly lower take home pay than an employee driver.

This is profitable for huge companies to make rental money off of their equipment (much like a landlord with a rental property) while also getting drivers to move freight without paying employment taxes, health insurance or liability insurance.

Much like other professions, contract truck driving rarely benefits new and inexperienced workers. This type of work is only meant for an expert driver who can effectively run a business.

Common contracting companies: Accelerated Services

Owner Operators

Having your own authority is the driving life to which many car haulers aspire. You act as a dispatcher and a driver, find your own loads and drive wherever you choose. You choose what rates to accept on whichever load boards you want and what freight to haul.

How is being an owner operator different from contract work? Mostly, there is no 1099 contract with a company. This is the ultimate goal for drivers because it requires you to be a 100% independent business. Many companies will call their contractors “owner operators.” Though it might be technically true, owner operators and contractors have small but important differences. In this industry, owning your truck outright or leasing it from a company that is different than your load contract is the primary difference between OO’s and Contractors.

Owner Operators: Alpha Elite Transport, EM Logistics / Exotic Cars Midwest, Dailey Transport  are just a few of the Owner Operators that use Super Dispatch’s car hauling dispatch software to run their small businesses

Anything we forgot? Let us know in the comments!

Tune in for our next “New To Car Hauling” articles:

  • Car Hauling Certifications and Driving School
  • Deciding on a trailer type
  • Trailer insurance quotes
  • Making a car hauling business plan
  • Getting your own authority
  • Deciding on an ELD
  • Maintenance considerations
  • How to find loads

 

Buying an ELD? Here are the Top 5 Questions You Should Ask

Suepr Dispatch ELD company questions

What questions do you need to ask to get the right ELD for your company? Super Dispatch has the answers!

We know electronic logging devices are complicated and with over 200 options on the market, deciding what to purchase can be daunting.

As part of our ELD deep-dive series, we’re covering the most important questions to ask before making your ELD purchase.

We also put together a handy guide of additional questions to consider before you buy, based on the FMCSA requirements checklist.

Get our ELD Question Guide

1.) Is this a standalone device or an app used with a smartphone?

This is arguably the most important question to ask  ELD providers. ELD’s are a system of three physical parts; a data collection box, diagnostic plug-in and a display

All ELDs have a data collection box and plug-in, but display types vary depending on the system.

Currently, an ELD system has either a standalone device to display your data, or you can use an application on your smartphone to manage and display your data.

When you decide to buy an ELD these are your only two options in terms of variety. Each option has positives and negatives. Using your own device  means the ELD might initially be cheaper to operate, but could be unreliable or require a phone with a newer operating system (think an iphone 8 instead of an iphone 5.)

A standalone display device could have fewer glitches than an app you use on your phone, but it will be more expensive and harder to update as Hours of Service rules change. Which brings us to…

2.) How does the provider stay up-to-date with new elog regulations?

Especially with this new ELD mandate, groups are petitioning for Hours of Service and ELD laws to be changed daily. Just recently there was a new petition to change the split-sleeper allowances.

If you’re using a standalone device, your provider may cover device upgrades or software updates. If you’re using your smartphone, providers will notify you with required software updates within the app.

With either option, make sure the provider you’re considering has a feasible plan to incorporate regulatory changes.

3.) What are my upfront costs and payment options?

Price is obviously one of the most important aspects of choosing  an ELD. But knowing “how much is this going to cost me?” is not enough. Some ELDs are a one-time-only payment, but as regulations change, companies that sold one-time-payment devices might not cover the cost of a newer regulatory-compliant device. Some ELD’s might sell you on a low monthly payment, but will require you to pay the first two years up front. This means when newer, better ELDs come on the market you will simply have to cut your losses.

Super Dispatch thinks monthly or quarterly payments are the most economical option for smaller companies.

4.) What data plan do you recommend to use your service adequately?

Yet another cost of ELDs are hotspot use. Yes, the ELD is wired to your truck, but all ELDs require some form of wireless internet access to operate. One provision of the ELD mandate is “data transfer” and whether your device performs a “bluetooth” or “web services” data transfer, you need internet access to log all of your RODS somewhere other than your local device. Find out about this hidden cost early.

Super Dispatch, Electronic Logging Device, car haulers, auto transporters5.) What kind of data transfer method does your device support?

As mentioned earlier, Bluetooth and Web services are the two supported transfer methods for Record of Duty Status (RODS) to a safety officer during inspections. The web services option is generally more reliable to connect with a larger range of devices, but Bluetooth will be cheaper overall and will be able to transfers files in areas without internet or data connection.

This question is in the Top 5 because it is the most important functionality in a roadside safety inspection. DoT officers are allowed to request the last seven days of RODS at roadside inspection, and if you fail to provide the required documentation, you will get seven violation points on your record.

Seven is the highest number of points a driver can accrue for a single ELD violation. This is the most serious ELD violation that exists – yes, even more points than not having an ELD at all.

 

We think these are the Top 5 things you should be asking your ELD salesperson when buying an ELD. But we have 15 more questions in a printable PDF  you can download now..

Get our ELD Question Guide

Have you been in the market for ELDs? What has been your experience buying ELDs? Let us know!

Do you have more questions? Let us know in the comments!

How to be successful in your first year as an Owner Operator

How to be a successful Owner Operator in your First Year

Know your numbers and treat your Broker like your best customer?

That’s what Kevin Rutherford thinks. Rutherford is an Owner Operator Coach and a Sirius XM radio host of the program Lets Truck. Last month, he spoke at the Mid America Trucking Show and gave a seminar called “Don’t be a One and Done: Survive your first year trucking with authority by knowing your customer.”

Though Rutherford spoke to general freight truckers, Super Dispatch put together some of his best suggestions as they apply to car haulers. Take a look:

Super Dispatch's guide to be a successful Owner Operator. Quoting Kevin Rutherford from Mid America Trucking Show.

Kevin Rutherford had a lot of advice for first year Owner Operators at the Mid America Trucking Show 2018. Super Dispatch put that advice together with some tips for our first year car haulers.

Know your numbers: keep track of your finances.The TMS by Car Carriers, for Car Carriers

Obviously, Super Dispatch is biased – we absolutely agree that keeping track of your accounting is the most important part of car hauling. Our car haulers are incredibly successful because they use our reporting features, like Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and Company Revenue reports. Though we integrate seamlessly with Quickbooks Online and Desktop, some of our car haulers only use Super Dispatch to run their trucking business year-to- year.

Regardless of our biases, finances are the most important part of your trucking business, no matter how exhausting the day-to-day trucking is. Even if you don’t use Super Dispatch, Owner Operators should also find a trucking-specific accountant or financial advisor.

The Broker is the customer?

Not everyone agrees with Rutherford, especially about Brokering, and he knows that. Often, Owner Operators don’t trust Brokers and vice versa. Many haulers don’t view the Broker as a customer at all, but simply a necessary evil to their business.

What do you think? Do you use load boards and/or a variety of Brokers? Let us know in the comments if you agree or disagree with Rutherford.

 

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How to pick up a car at an Auto Auction: Manheim

Chances are, if you’re an auto hauler, have a trailer and are ready to pick up cars, you’ve heard of Manheim. Though they don’t have their own load board, Manheim cars make up a huge portion of what is posted on the industry’s leading load boards. With over 80 locations in almost every state, Manheim (owned by Cox Automotive) is one of the largest auto auctions in the country.

For auto haulers to find a load, get to Manheim, find the vehicle in the lot and load it onto the trailer can be tedious, so we made a handy guide for your first time at Manheim.

With a Manheim Auto Auction here in Kansas City, Super Dispatch interviewed carriers, brokers, and a Manheim lot manager for the scoop on how to survive your first car pickup.

We spoke with Sue, a long-time Dispatcher and part time broker of Murphy Auto Transport; Charles, the Owner and Dispatcher at Alpha Elite Transport; and Kansas City Manheim Lot Manager Sam to give you the best starter tips.

 

First we are going to show you the Reader’s Digest of the entire process.
Then give you tips
) wherever we have found them:

 

Manheim, Super Dispatch, auto auction, helpful, tips, car hauler

Super Dispatch, ManheimSTEP 2: DISCUSSING SPECIFICS

“Always verify if the car is inoperable or not,” says Sue of Murphy Auto Transport. “A car can’t be moved to a trailer by one person if it’s inoperable and it will cost you more more money and time to get a wench. If you don’t verify this at first, you won’t know what invisible costs you are eating.” A dispatcher or Owner Operator might be able to do this by directly asking the Broker if a car is operable or not, or by asking what lot the car will be in. If a car is in a TRA lot, that means it is an inoperable car.

P.S. The auto auction parks inoperable cars in the TRA (Total Resource Auction) lot, but Drivers will often move vehicles and leave them wherever is the most convenient. Always make sure a car is operable even if it’s not in the TRA lot.

Super Dispatch, ManheimSTEP 3: GATE PASS VERIFICATION

“Gate passes, gate passes, gate passes,” says Super Dispatch customer Charles of Alpha Elite Transport. “Always check the gate passes.”

What Charles means is, make sure that the Gate Passes for the cars you are hauling are actually available. A Driver proves that he is allowed to pick up a car using the ID numbers on the Gate Passes. Charles has had experiences where Brokers haven’t secured the Gate Passes for the cars they posted on a load board – which means that Charles can’t send a driver pick them up. If a Dispatcher or Owner Operator doesn’t get the Gate Passes in an email from a Broker, a Driver will have to wait until his Dispatcher gets them.

Sam of Manheim told Super Dispatch that Manheim legally can’t give out information on cars parked in their lots to just anyone. A Dispatcher or Owner / Operator will always have to call the Broker for that information. Though it’s not common, a Dispatcher can ask a Broker if he or she will put the name of the Dispatcher or his company on the Gate Pass. That way, the Dispatcher will be able to contact Manheim directly to ask about the cars, instead of playing phone tag with a Broker

Super Dispatch, ManheimSTEP 4: MANHEIM HOURS VERIFICATION

“You think that the Manheim in St. Louis is 24 hours like the one in Detroit, but you’d be wrong,” Charles said to Super Dispatch. “We learned that one the hard way.”

 

Super Dispatch, ManheimSTEP 6: GUARD SHACK CHECK IN

Guard Shacks are the gatekeepers to the car lots at Manheim and an employee is always there during business hours. Make sure your drivers know that – time permitting – employees at the Guard Shack can:

– drive your driver to his or her load pick up spots
– jumpstart cars with dead batteries
– provide gas to empty cars

These services won’t always be available to Drivers, so there are ways to save time (and money.)

Super Dispatch, ManheimSTEP 7: FINDING THE CARS

Even if a Guard Shack worker can drive your driver to his or her car pick up location, they won’t know if the car has been moved by another driver. A Driver can spend hours looking for each car at Manheim if he or she is inexperienced, which costs tons in ELD hours, money and time. Sue suggests something else.

“Car pullers are people that will charge you a fee for pulling cars [out of the lot] but they will make all the damages and do everything my driver is supposed to do.” said Sue. “Then all my driver has to do is drive in there, load [the car] up and go.” 

 Car pullers will charge anywhere from 5 or 10 dollars per vehicle.

“It’s well worth what you save, especially with the new ELD law…” she said. “I’ve had guys sit there for 6 hours looking for cars.”

Sue suggests looking on Facebook pages like Auto Transport Everything to find car pullers in each city before your driver arrives. A Dispatcher can give this person the ID number for the Gate Pass and the Car Puller can have the entire car ready before the Driver ever arrives.

If you use a Car Puller, make sure they take photos of their Gate Passes for your own records.

Super Dispatch, ManheimSTEP 8: MARKING DAMAGES

In fact, Drivers should always take photos of their Gate Passes before handing them off to the auto hauler elog and BOL app for car haulersGuard Shack. Unlike using Super Dispatch, once you fill out a Gate Pass damage report and hand it to the Guard Shack, it’s out of your hands forever.

“I always tell my drivers to take a photo of the gate passes after you have marked damages and before you hand them to the Guard Shack, because once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Sue said.

 

Do you have other tips for surviving at pick up at Manheim? Let us know in the comments!

Auto Transport Load Board List for Car Haulers

Your Auto Transport Load Board Search Ends Here

Somewhere…each day, thousands of auto transport company owners, fleet managers, drivers, dispatchers (and sometimes family members) are searching the internet for new loads to book. Car hauling businesses feel the pain of having empty spaces on their trailers – because they cannot afford to haul cheap freight! With a long list of expenses swirling around in their minds as they drive, it’s the car haulers that end up losing sleep at the end of a very long work day – still searching for a better auto transport load board.

There is a balance. You can’t physically watch ten load boards at the same time.

Central Dispatch: Still The #1 Auto Transport Load Board

Central Dispatch Auto Transport Load BoardLike it or not, Central Dispatch is not only the most expensive auto transport load board, but it remains to be the biggest and most comprehensive load board for car haulers in the United States. There are trends in the industry, that hint this is slowly changing. I truly wish it wasn’t so expensive (plus I prefer the ‘Old Look’) but it’s clearly the largest auto transport marketplace to be found anywhere; and therefore, it’s the best place to meet all the other auto brokers and car carriers, to book new loads for transport, and to learn how to fine tune your search for better-paying loads in the future. [For tips and best practices (and car hauler feedback), please read my recent article: “How To Use Central Dispatch: Tips From A Load Sniper.”] Central Dispatch (centraldispatch.com) is much like an enormous convention center, containing everyone from mom-and-pop shops to nationwide trucking behemoths, allowing you to find hundreds of loads at any given time. Remember: this is where you can learn to navigate and negotiate and make mistakes without critically injuring your car hauling business. Since brokers and carriers on Central Dispatch come and go year after year, this is the auto transport load board where you can meet nearly every other car shipper and auto transport broker operating today. Once you have graduated from a steep learning curve, only then are you really ready for the next level of load board/broker-carrier relationship.

Car hauling businesses feel the pain of having empty spaces on their trailers – because they cannot afford to haul cheap freight!

Car Hauler BOL App

Click the photo to download.

Stop Missing Loads: Ready Auto Transport (RAT) and CarsArrive Network

Ready Auto Transport Load BoardReady Auto Transport (ratloads.com) and CarsArrive Network (carsarrive.com) are easily the second and third largest auto transport load boards in existence today. Their car shipping load boards not only allow car haulers to book cars online without ever having to make a phone call, but their loads are quite reliable when it comes to being ready, and usually, the carrier pay is at a reasonable market value. These two companies are also very respected within the industry and that’s why all carriers are required to complete a lengthy packet in order to qualify and meet their business requirements. Once approved, simply log in with your new username and password. Note: It is highly advised that a transporter checks these load boards frequently to avoid missing the best paying loads.

Find Loads At United Road: The Nation’s Largest Broker/Carrier

United Road (URautoloads.com) also posts many of its brokered loads online. Since they are a carrier and a broker, they have their own drivers on the road – who may or may not be in competition with your car hauling business. However, since they are the largest broker/carrier in the nation, you should become a member of theirs and consider them as an additional source to fill empty spots on your trailer. [Please read my recent post (and auto industry feedback): CarMax, United Road: Car Haulers Are Talking (And It’s Not Good)]

Always say, “Yes!” Even though you may get inundated with emails, there will be times you’ll be glad you did.

Auto Broker Load Boards You Should Know About

Reindeer Auto RelocationAfter the top three or four, there are unfortunately only about a handful of other load boards worth actually checking. This is because the volume of inventory of nearly everyone else is either too small to watch all day or the effort required to find an occasional good load is often greater than the reward of discovery (which is why nearly all brokers post on Central Dispatch – in addition to their own website). However, some of these specialize in regions and/or clients – while others specialize in a type of pickup location, such as rail head, port, and/or manufacturing plant. Overall, based on your carrier size and physical location, it may well be worth searching regularly if you have a specific route. Here is that list, along with a few takeaways:

MetroLoads.com – rail yards, ports, dealers, and more
Carrier.ReindeerAuto.com – corporate relocation at a premium
uShip.com – residential moves requiring weeks of planning ahead
AutoTransmart.com – includes JMN Logistics loads
FDSdispatch.com – smaller, but user-friendly

Note: It is highly advised that a transporter checks these load boards frequently to avoid missing the best paying loads.

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Car Shipping Email Lists Help Keep You Loaded

Relotrans Vehicle RelocationAs you develop personal relationships and network your business, you will meet various brokers and dealer contacts that offer to add you to their email distribution lists. Always say, “Yes!” Even though you may get inundated with their emails, there will be times you’ll be glad you did. Some of those companies include:

Montway.com – a large database of VIP and residential moves
RPMvehiclesystems.com – several reps nationwide with long lists ready to move
Relotrans.com – bid daily on premium corporate relocation moves
PoseyTrans.com – great paying loads that oftentimes require specific timing
PRAlogistics.com – nationwide broker with volume contracts
RiteWayAutoTransport.com – offering you loads on your route
LogisticDynamics.com – working hard to move cluster loads now

How Many Load Boards Is Too Many?

Even if you are a full-time dispatcher, you can only watch so many load boards at one time and still feel efficient without missing new loads. There is a balance. You can’t physically watch ten load boards at the same time. But to succeed, you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket, either. My ultimate advice is this: To grow your car hauling business into a long-term success, secure a regular customer as your base, and use load boards to fill in the rest of your empty spaces. And to do that, I have just told you about every Auto Transport Load Board I ever used when I used to dispatch. Good luck out there.

If you have a comment, or a suggestion, or maybe you just fell out of your chair laughing, please tell me. And if you have another load board, email list, or a great auto broker to share, the auto transport industry is dying to hear more about it. And please share this post with other car haulers. Thanks for your time, and keep on trucking.

— Super Jay

#1 Car Hauler BOL App – Import orders directly from Load Boards. Stop buying paper forms. Try It For Free. Download for Android HERE and for Apple HERE.

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How To Use Central Dispatch: Tips From A Load Sniper

Central Dispatch: Why Do Car Haulers Pay For It?

Over-the-road car haulers and independent owner-operators must turn a profit if they plan to keep on running. It is financially imperative to the transport company that dispatched loads fill every empty spot on the trailer during every leg of a trip. Load boards like Central Dispatch, Ready Auto Transport, and CarsArrive Network offer nationwide car carriers the best chance of achieving this objective of staying fully loaded. However, occasionally combing through long lists of loads is simply not enough to compete in such a highly competitive market as auto transport. With intense demand and limited supply, it is the hair-trigger tools of the experienced “load sniper” that provide a company with a fighting chance of staying in business. This is the advice of a long-time veteran auto transport dispatcher.

You must be patient, you should know what you’re looking for, and you need to be willing to wait all day long.

Central Dispatch (www.centraldispatch.com) is widely regarded as the most popular auto transport load board offering the highest volume of cars to choose from; and to many, Central Dispatch is much more than a car shipping load board. It is the single most important marketplace where brokers can connect with vehicle transporters, and therefore, it is on the verge of being a community. But given its enormous size with thousands of loads listed daily, the coveted need for time and experience of being able to sift through pages of cars is a treasured skill worth having in your toolbox. So, let’s begin by searching for vehicles.

Car Hauler BOL App

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Central Dispatch: “Search Vehicles”

Central Dispatch Search Vehicles menuFrom the “Home” screen, under “Find Shipments,” you must choose “Search Vehicles.” First, select “City Search” within 100 miles around your “Pickup” city; and then for “Delivery,” press the CTRL key and click with the mouse to select every state or region that you might consider delivering to (remember: there is a maximum limit of 15 at a time.) Keep in mind, for the most comprehensive search, select “Find all dispatches along my route.” Okay, that’s the easy part.

I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to be watching all the time.

The most important tip right off is that you must select “1 Hour or Newer” under “Highlight Listings,” with “Highlighted on Top” checked. In addition, enter “.4” into the “Min pay per vehicle/mi” field if you plan to make any money this week. And if you’ve been in business (and plan to keep it that way), you must accept “All” under “Payment Type” because there are not enough “COD” loads out there to keep everyone fully loaded at the same time. For most carriers, be sure to choose “Open” for “Trailer Type” because trying to book an “Enclosed” vehicle is not worth the frustration. “Non-Running” vehicles are an unfortunate fact of life so choose “All” under “Running?” and being open to “All Vehicle Types” is definitely worth its learning curve. And by the way, if your transport equipment is in good working condition, selecting “Ready to Ship Within 30 Days” can present you with lucrative future load options. There, you are now ready to hit the “Search Vehicles” button.

Central Dispatch Search ResultsIdeally, your search “Results” number somewhere between 100 and 200 (but not as high as 500 because that is too many). Furthermore, you can always hit the back arrow on the browser to change up the mix as needed. Most importantly, if you are searching during regular business hours, there should be several blue highlighted loads at the top of the list. Those are the fresh loads, and this is where you will usually find your anchor load. That’s the good stuff, and sometimes it’s literally gone in sixty seconds.

Finding Your Anchor Load

The best load you can hope for is a trailer full of small cars that run and drive, paying cash on delivery, and that need to be transported about 1000-2000 miles. But even if you can find just find one or two of those, you have found your anchor load. And usually, those kinds of cars pop up in blue and are only there for a mere few minutes. I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to be watching all the time. That’s why the #1 secret top ingredient to being a load sniper is the same as being an expert fisherman: You must be patient, you should know what you’re looking for, and you need to be willing to wait all day long. Sitting at a computer workstation with multiple monitors and a proven method of constantly refreshing the screen can be a full-time time job, and can also make the difference between $3,000 a week and $5,000 a week.

…occasionally combing through long lists of loads is simply not enough to compete in such a highly competitive market as auto transport.

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Following Through Is Key

Central DispatchOnce you have the broker on the phone and load could be yours, be swift about getting through the rest of the obstacle course. Have your insurance company ready to send certificates of insurance, keep your “My Ratings” at 100%, make sure that everyone is able to answer their phones, receive emails, sign, scan or print, and know the limitations of the trailer plus the status and relative location of your company’s equipment. Also, the person booking loads should not be nervous or easily rattled, because getting a big fish on the line requires experience to reel in. A great paying shipper knows the difference between a carrier that can finish the job and one that is not up to snuff. Make sure “My Documents” and “My Profile” are fully completed and professional, along with a good night’s sleep to put in a full day of dispatching phone calls. If you can manage to live up to these 900 words, you and your company stand a much better chance of being fully and profitably loaded for a better tomorrow.

Until recently, I had been dispatching for several owner operators and doing it for many years. It was an incredibly challenging chapter in my life, and the stories and experience I collected are probably enough for a movie. Please feel free to share your story and experience with Central Dispatch. Happy hunting out there, and keep on trucking.

— Super Jay

#1 Car Hauler BOL App – Try It For Free. Download for Android HERE and for Apple HERE.

Ready To Test Drive Super Dispatch For Your Company? Book A Demo HERE Or Sign Up HERE.

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Don’t Book That Load! 7 Dispatch Red Flags

How To Look For The 7 Dispatch Red Flags Before You Book

Monday through Sunday, dispatchers and owners are hunting for loads that will turn out to be their next bar of gold. Ideally, the transporter can quickly be filled up with all small, pre-owned cars that are able to be picked up 24/7, all going to the same place, where they can easily be unloaded anytime, and full payment is a check already waiting at the delivery location. Then, as soon as the driver is empty, there’s another load of used cars paying great, going straight back home and ready to go. Wow, is this really how dispatching for auto transport works? Unless you are an established carrier with larger contracts, probably not. You’ll need to know How To Watch Out For Dispatch Red Flags.

If it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, in auto transport, it’s almost always a duck.

Dispatch Red FlagsMost likely, especially for newer carriers, every vehicle will be individually booked, each with a different broker (and each with their own list of requirements and expectations). Also, the pickup and delivery locations will be somewhat spread out and the payment method of each will vary. That’s why the dispatching process is time-consuming and requires experience to properly execute. For the veteran dispatcher, part of your primary value is knowing how to identify which loads you never want to book in the first place. While these “problem loads” may or may not be obvious, you need to know the warning signs. Here are your biggest dispatch red flags for loads you probably don’t want to book for your drivers.

1) Incomplete Information

After a load is booked and the broker sends over the dispatch, all of the information should be on that dispatch order. If you discover missing addresses, phone numbers, vehicle information and/or contact info, then you must take the time to call them back – and that’s your first red flag. What do you mean they don’t have all the information yet? How do they not have it? How do they not know which auction it is? Honestly, you already know something is wrong, you don’t know what it is, and you probably don’t want to find out the hard way. Plus, if the vehicle is not as described, or has a lift kit and over-sized tires that were never mentioned, drop it like it’s hot. A driver doesn’t have time to waste while you play detective.

Don’t make the mistake of booking them all and thinking you were the smartest dispatcher in the room. You weren’t.

Car Hauler BOL App

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2) Not Ready For Pickup

If it’s at Copart and it’s not paid for, don’t send the driver to the auction. If it’s at Manheim and it’s still in PSI (Post-Sale Inspection), your driver can lose a whole day waiting for it to become ready. If anyone ever says anything about the keys or the money still being in the mail, forget about it; your driver’s busy schedule does not allow for unknown hours (or days) of waiting. This is exactly why calling and verifying a vehicle right after booking it is so valuable. Either don’t book it at all, or call the broker and give it back, because this vehicle is not ready for pick up.

3) Inoperable Vehicles

Inoperable Vehicle Dispatch Red FlagsEven if the driver is able to winch the car onto the trailer, some vehicles are so badly damaged they will need to be “forked on” and “forked off.” Therefore, the question of whether the delivery location has a proper forklift for unloading ‘INOPs’ has to be addressed immediately. Even if they have the forklift, will the driver be able to figure out the jigsaw puzzle of where to load an INOP on the trailer without it interfering with the rest of the schedule? Is the unit so badly damaged that broken pieces could fly off and damage other vehicles? Think it through before you book it; inoperable vehicles can turn into a logistical nightmare.

A driver doesn’t have time to waste while you play detective.

4) Promises and Guarantees

Unfortunately, the auto transport work day contains too many unpredictable events for a car shipping company to fully guarantee an exact time for the driver to pick up and deliver; so when somebody explains to a dispatcher that the driver needs to be at a person’s door to fulfill a guaranteed two-hour pickup window, it’s probably not going to work out the way everyone had hoped. Small appointment windows are too specific and place too many constraints upon a driver that cannot predict the weather, construction delays, traffic jams, random truck issues and other unknown surprises. In auto transport, nothing is guaranteed.

5) New and Exotic Cars

Brand New And Exotic Luxury CarGround effects, spoilers, and low clearance can create enormous headaches for carriers by costing extra time and loading limitations on the trailer. That’s why some veteran drivers will simply refuse to pick up a brand new or luxury unit because they already know about the high potential of running into a giant, hidden pitfall. Especially for the open carrier, booking high-end vehicles should be kept to a minimum, because it only takes one scratch to remove the profitability of the entire leg of a trip. But if the money is right (and you want to go for it) be sure to complete a perfect inspection report (CLICK HERE for that checklist) and protect yourself against a major damage claim.

This is a complicated industry full of additional expenses and a wheel of fortune of spinning surprises.

6) Double Listed Loads

If it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, in auto transport, it’s almost always a duck. Get real! There are not two or three exact cars listed by two or three totally different companies picking up in the exact same city and delivering to the exact same zip code. This is not your lucky day because it’s all the same car! Don’t make the mistake of booking them all and thinking you were the smartest dispatcher in the room. You weren’t.

Click the photo to download

7) Doing Favors

If the dispatch of a vehicle is going well, and then you get asked if you can transport the car at a lower rate than was posted, “Just Say No.” This is a complicated industry full of additional expenses and a wheel of fortune of spinning surprises. The last thing you can afford is to give a discount on behalf of the owner. If it’s not profitable to haul it, then don’t book it. Most posted prices are the beginning of a negotiation – not the end. Say “NO” to cheap freight! After all, it’s not personal; this is a business.

Having dispatched for the auto transport industry for many years, I can tell you many horror stories relating to each of these 7 Dispatch Red Flags. And I would love hear your stories and comments; please share them below. Thanks for reading and keep on trucking.

— Super Jay

#1 Car Hauler BOL App – Try It For Free. Download for Android HERE and for Apple HERE.

Ready To Test Drive Super Dispatch For Your Company? Book A Demo HERE Or Sign Up HERE.

The Perfect Car Hauler Inspection Report Has 5 Key Ingredients

Watch the VIDEO of this post:

An Excellent Car Inspection Report Will Protect Your Business

No Inspection Report? Auto Transport Customer With Damage ClaimTo avoid damage claims, every car hauler should already know that before any vehicle is loaded for transport, it must be inspected for previous damage; and it is essential for all parties involved that the inspection report is prepared methodically and precise. The format of the recorded document is called the ‘condition report’ (also referred to as a ‘bill of lading’ or ‘BOL.’) Car shipping inspection report documentation historically has been paper-based, but with recent changes in digital technology, smartphones and handheld devices with touch screens are now being used to complete a digital car hauler BOL. (As you continue to read this, it is very important to keep in mind that in nearly every case where a truck driver arrives to load a car, the pickup contact at that location has never met that driver before, and therefore, that person has no way of knowing if he or she will do a quality job of protecting the vehicle from damage during transport. This is exactly why if anything is damaged between pick up and delivery, blaming the driver is nearly always the first reaction.)

…if anything is damaged between pick up and delivery, blaming the driver is nearly always the first reaction.

Regardless of the circumstance, if the owner of the company cannot prove the driver did not cause the damage, official incident reports will be generated and delivered to the owner and insurance company, who in turn will be legally required to pay for the vehicle to be repaired. Consequently, the transporter’s insurance premium will increase, and a growing history of causing vehicle damage during transport will have a severely negative impact on their ability to find business moving forward. This chain reaction is exactly why every transporter must do everything possible to avoid auto transport damage claims from the very beginning. Here are the five best ways to complete the perfect car hauler inspection report.

Car Hauler app digital signature

1) Get Signatures

Obtaining a signature from somebody (sometimes anybody!) at every pickup and delivery location that can compare the vehicle with the inspection report and verify the two identically match and will sign to that effect can make a world of difference. Ideally, the driver can also verify this person has the legal authority to enter into this part of the contract, and speak on behalf of the transport customer. Oftentimes, the driver cannot obtain any signature, such as at auctions, dealerships, terminals, or when it’s outside normal business hours. But the effort to attempt to get a signature as often as possible should always be present, especially with residential customers. No matter where you are, that signature is gold if anyone raises a question after the fact, so you must try, try, try to get a signature every time!

…but the driver knows if they have pictures of the damage before they ever touched the car, there is little other proof they will need…

2) Take Pictures

Everybody knows the saying: “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Taking photos takes extra time, but the driver knows if they have pictures of the damage before they ever touched the car, then there is little other proof they will need on their inspection report to argue they didn’t cause it in the first place. Getting clear photos of vehicles can be harder than it looks, because of a car’s naturally reflective surface, the brightness of the daytime sun, and shadows that can interfere with clarity. That’s why it’s best to take a lot of pictures, including close-ups, all sections, and panels, from top to bottom, and for parts with obvious damage, to take many different angles for complete coverage. If you have the photos, you have supporting evidence and total peace of mind. In addition, transport companies using special BOL apps using third-party time stamping and geo-tagged features will have that extra layer of protection that most insurance companies will request should a fierce dispute arise in the future.

“…our drivers always take inspection photos with ‘Superman,’ we sent him the pictures clearly showing that same dent was there before we ever picked it up. That claim immediately went away, and we never heard about it again!” – Miguel from 2740 Trucking

Timestamped BOL App

3) Mark All Damages

It’s very important for an insurance claims adjuster that all pre-existing damages are marked accurately. If it’s ‘dented,’ do not indicate ‘scratched.’ If it’s ‘cracked,’ then don’t put ‘chipped.’ To drivers, these may seem like semantics, but just because a damage spot has been identified doesn’t mean that’s enough to fight a claim. When a vehicle has been damaged, nobody wants to take the blame, and everyone is ready to point the finger at the trucker. New cars require an extra level of care because of their high value. If the driver is picking up at a rail yard and the broker has provided a list of Universal Damage Codes, the driver is expected to use them. Transporters must also follow any broker notes regarding notating damage if they expect to get paid in a timely fashion, so drivers really need to read the dispatch sheets so they know exactly what is expected. There are also times when the tow yard or terminal accidentally causes minor damage to the vehicle, and those employees might be hoping the driver doesn’t notice before loading. If the driver does load without taking proper steps, they deliver and the customer notices, that driver will take all of the blame and have to pay for repairs – and this scenario happens all the time! And that goes double for marking all damages on the gate pass! Here’s a good tip: many experienced drivers use the most comprehensive and thorough approach by also taking photos of additional documentation and attaching those files to the digital BOL app they are using.

Time Stamped Damages Marked On Gate Pass As Condition Report

Damages Marked On A Manheim Gate Pass And Retained At Security Gate

4) Complete Additionally Required Documents

Even if the transporter has just completed an excellent inspection report, they can also be required (based on the type of pickup location) to mark any and all damages on additional forms of documentation, such as auto auction gate passes and manufacturing plant gate copies. A digital BOL can be very helpful in this regard whether to print or email an exact duplicate copy to the security guard to include with the gate copy. Additionally, terminals and tow yards can have their own variations of this rule, and the brokers that use them frequently oftentimes have their own in-house BOL or condition report (with other additionally needed details) that they require be completed and signed for before a transport meets their own standards of completion. While it may be a real hassle for the driver to follow through with all of this documentation duplication, not doing so can create exponentially more problems and lost wages in the future.

Call the dispatcher, call the owner of the company, but be sure to call somebody!

Click the photo to download

5) Communication Is The Key

Finally, if a driver notices something that doesn’t seem quite right, identifying and communicating with the auto broker can stop a problem from snowballing. If a floor mat is obviously missing, if there’s a strange smell, if a fluid is leaking from underneath – anything out of the ordinary – the driver is responsible for letting somebody know right away. If it’s not on the dispatch sheet, there could be something wrong that nobody else even knows about. When a broker indicates on the dispatch sheet to call them 24/7 with any questions or concerns, heed their warning and call them. Call the dispatcher, call the owner of the company, but be sure to call somebody! Then take photos and email them, and do not load the car. Good communication prior to loading can be indispensable to avoiding a major damage claim in the future.

Having been an auto transport dispatcher for many years, I’ve seen every single one of these key elements for the perfect car hauler inspection report followed – and ignored. Having worked with dozens of drivers and hundreds of auto brokers, I think I know what it takes to avoid the filing of an insurance claim. Therefore, I hope my review and advice is helpful to you – as well as thorough, practical and realistic. And may you never have another unfounded damage claim for the rest of your travels. Please share your thoughts, comments and advice. Thanks, and keep on trucking.

– Super Jay

Try This BOL App For Free. Download the App for Android HERE and for Apple HERE.