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.
Central Dispatch: “Search Vehicles”
From 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.
Ideally, 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.
Following Through Is Key
Once 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