To stay close to our customers and the car hauling industry in general, Super Dispatch regularly steps out of the office to ask people what they think: about our product, about the industry, or about anything that is topical for the people we create our product for. This week at Manheim Kansas City, we spoke with Tim, Owner Operator of JT Enterprises:
My name is Tim and my company is JT Enterprises. I’ve been hauling about 8 years.
What has been your biggest challenge today?
Do you come out to Kansas City often?
Yeah, sometimes. Last week I was here 4 times. This week once so far, but I go where it pays to go.
Where does it pay to go?
Sometimes Colorado. Sometimes Rapid City. Denver area, Colorado Springs…
How do you get these jobs?
I have my own dealers that will call me. Then I use Central Dispatch. Then there’s rental car companies that call you all the time because they know you can get the job done?
“Last Monday was the first time I started my truck since before Christmas. Because I took time off. I’m a single dad, I’ve got a kid in college. And I’d like to spend time with him, too you know?”
And has it always been that way? That you have been able to put it all together that way?
Oh yeah. Well, there are times that we struggled but you know, I would hate to start over now and try to get my foot in the door with some of these people…last week I pretty much hauled for the same person from Nebraska to here. Bringing cars down and back to Nebraska. All for the same dealer. You know, they paid good.
Is this a good season for you for right now for that?
Actually, last Monday was the first time I started my truck since before Christmas. Because I took time off.
Are you able to do that often?
Oh, yeah. If you make enough money…I’m a single dad, I’ve got a kid in college. And I’d like to spend time with him, too you know?
So when you were first starting out, were you able to take breaks like that?
Oh no. I had to go go go go. My equipment is paid for now, it makes a big difference.
How long did it take you to do that?
A couple years, two and a half years. And then I bought a new trailer, sold my old trailer. And then I had to use up two years to pay for this trailer.
So about 4 years total?
Yeah, but fuel goes up and down and tires get more expensive. Insurance is a big thing. Insurance just goes up up up. And then you got Central Dispatch that when I first started hauling cars, I want to say it’s 39 dollars a month. 39.99. You know? It’s up to like $129 a month now, in just a few years. And I don’t know what they’re up to, what is different. They aren’t helping me any by upping their rates.
Are you still going to keep your account though?
Oh yeah, you know. I wish there was another load board out there. I mean…there’s been other people that tried it. But you know…
Yeah, that’s what we hear too…I’ve been writing a story about it recently.
There was another load board that started up and I think it was free for the first 30 days. And so I got on there, and compared to Central…they had the exact same stuff that was on Central at the exact same rate. So it’s like, what do you do?
Well, from what I understand, it’s a pretty expensive process to get something like that going. And I know some of the big guys back east that have talked about starting their own load board. But, you know it’s a big expense. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I’ve tried to post some stuff on Central Dispatch before. My bank had some repo-ed cars that needed to go back to Chicago. I would only do it because the bank wanted me to do it, but I don’t go to Chicago. So, I’ll put it on Central, but heck I had to pay like a buck and a mile to get a car moved. It was amazing. Because if there’s anything on Central Dispatch from 12 cents a mile to sometimes you get like 90 cents a mile on certain items.
“I mean, I’m not going to get out of my truck for less than $100.”
Man that just seems so low – 12 cents a mile?
Oh no, it’s crazy low. It’s ridiculous. But someone will do it. There will be somebody that will do it.
Why do you think they’ll do that? It doesn’t make sense.
I think they think they can get by with it.
So they just never learned how to budget?
Oh yeah, I’ve got people that I’ve hauled for, coming back from Dallas to Nebraska with a couple Dually pickups and a ford pickup for $500 bucks a piece out of them. And then there’s a guy that’s a rebuilder, uses Copart and he just buys it and expects you to go get it for him. And it’s like, Gosh I need 5 or 600 bucks to go down there. You know, if I have something going down there. And he says “Well, gee I can get some of these other guys to haul it cheaper.” and I’m like “well, then go for it, dude.”
Well, so what would be your biggest advice to someone younger or just starting out? Or that takes loads that are too low?
Gosh. Probably find something else to do. No really, I’m serious. There’s so much competition in it right now, that it has been that way for 2-3 years now. The competition is terrible. And there is somebody else that will stop and get it for peanuts.
Why do you think all of a sudden there is all this competition?
Well, there was a time when everything was paying really good. And that’s when I got into it. And there were several other people who did too. But there is a lot of people that will haul for nothing. And then there’s me – I’m not gonna.
But why do you think all of a sudden those people are doing it for nothing? As opposed to before?
You know, I don’t know. That’s a thousand dollar question. I don’t really understand that. Cause if I’m not making money, I’m not doing it. I’m parking my stuff at home and finding something else to do. But there is a big question on the Auto Transport Everything Facebook group: “What’s the lowest you’ll go?” and I mean, I’m not going to get out of my truck for less than $100. Like Lincoln, Nebraska to Omaha, Nebraska. I’m not going to haul from Lincoln to Omaha for less than $100. It’s only 50 miles, but still you got the time fighting through traffic, getting out, unloading, you might have to unload something to load something else on, you might have to move stuff around. Spend time in the dealership, do your inspection on the vehicle, strap it down, it’s time. It’s all time.
And some people were saying lower than that?
Oh yeah. People saying “I’ll do it for $50.” I’m not going to do it for $50. I’m sorry. You know, a tow truck gets $100 just for towing a car across town.