Car transport made easy with X2 Transportation

 

owner operator car transportReg Bravo retired and then decided to start an auto transport company, because there is “only so much fishing a man can do.”

Before transporting cars, Reg was the CEO of knf Technologies. Prior to that, he worked in a variety of sales, business and management roles. And long before that, he was in the Marines. And now in “retirement,” he runs a car transportation company as a single owner operator.

Long story short, Bravo is a man who loves to work.

He is also a man who loves to work efficiently. He is a great person for young owner operators with car transportation companies to take a word of advice from.

Why Car Transport?

Bravo grew up on a working ranch and has been hauling equipment in trucks since he has had a driver’s license. After a long career in business and his subsequent retirement, he decided to start trucking again. So in 2017 he bought some equipment and got into car hauling around the Bay Area of California.

He has cultivated this route for a little over two years now. In the beginning, he worked with dispatchers and brokers to find loads for his trailer, but after a year he finally got “The Route” that so many owner-operators aspire to achieve. “The Route” being a set geographic area where an owner-operator has established himself as a credible car transporter, and has sufficient business to keep him loaded year-round.

His “Route” is mostly running cars from Northern California to Southern California two to three times a week. His customers know him and trust him, so Bravo runs what he wants, when he wants at the price he wants.

He attributes some of this success to his history in business. When he’s on the road, he sees the common business issues that plague many owner operators. His advice  to them is three fold: own as well as operate your company, be an honest hauler and handle your money correctly.

Owning and Operating a Car Transport Company

“Whenever someone buys a truck and is their own boss, people think that they can make their own hours,” Bravo says. “But that’s really just when the work begins.”

“If all you do is sell on price, you are a commodity. There is nothing different than you and the other guy. If you show you provide a value, if you provide a service, that is when you make money. Service trumps commodity every time.”

Bravo says not to expect to have an employee’s hours if you are an owner operator. Tom of Fury Transport, a Super Dispatch customer and guest blogger, has said similar things; an owner operator trades the comfort and security of short hours and benefits for the freedom of being your own boss.

“Whether you are training a dog or going fishing or running a business, you are never going to get out more than what you put in,” Bravo says.

“The thing is – as a long term business…this is not a job where you buy a truck and trailer and haul just enough cars to get food and pay rent. You have to make budgets,” Bravo says. “I see these guys, and they are running so thin, if something goes wrong, they are out of business. It’s because they let the brokers bully them…if all you do is sell on price, you are a commodity. There is nothing different than you and the other guy. If you show you provide a value, if you provide a service, that is when you make money. Service trumps commodity every time.”

“Why are they going to pay me $400 a car and him $200 a car?” He adds. “Because of the service. I use Super Dispatch, I send time stamps and photos. So I tell the Brokers that ‘Hey, in order to get this service, you need to pay this much.'”

Be an honest auto hauler

Being honest is a common recommendation from many Super Dispatch customers. Bravo is no different. He knows that mistakes are inevitable – inevitably you are going to damage a car or be late on a delivery. But outside of using Super Dispatch to document pickup times and damages to freight, Bravo believes that honesty will get you far.

“It just goes back to what I learned in the Marine Corps – same thing with my faith. Always be honest. Run a clean business,” he says. “That’s with life, not just business.”

“If I scratch a car, I’m going to tell you about it before you see it,” Bravo says. “That negates a lot of [problems] there. And it keeps people from being on the offensive.” He says that just by being upfront about his mistakes, more customers are willing to settle amicably.

More so than saving the reputation of his business or saving money, Bravo just believes in being an honest businessman.

“It just goes back to what I learned in the Marine Corps – same thing with my faith. Always be honest. Run a clean business,” he says. “That’s with life, not just business.”

Handle money well or hire someone to do it

Auto Transport or not, handling money is a challenge for most people. Bravo has experience with this – you don’t run sales teams and become CEO of a company without figuring out how to handle money well.

And it is not that he is necessarily better at handling money than others – he just knows his weaknesses and strengths.

“I am making money, bottom line. And I am making good money. That is because I, in my opinion, use these tools and I know where my strengths are,” Bravo says. “And it’s cheaper for me to have them do their work.”

SuperDispatch_CarTransport_What tools does he use for auto transport?

Bravo uses Super Dispatch, QuickBooks and tax/bookkeeping professionals to help him run his business. He also uses brokers like Judi at Easy Car Shipping who use Super Dispatch, because it saves him time, money and headaches.

Bravo fought using Super Dispatch for a while, but he was convinced through his relationship with Easy Car Shipping, a brokerage that uses Super Dispatch’s Broker TMS to dispatch to Owner Operators like Bravo.

“The peace of mind Super Dispatch gives, the ability to document everything in one place. The contact base you have. And then the fact that it integrates right into QuickBooks.”

“Judi over at Easy Car…she kept on me to get Super. And I fought it. I have a background in technology and I’m also a Marine, honorably discharged in Marine Corps…and anyone that knows that mentality, knows that we don’t like a lot of change,” Bravo laughs. “We like things our way. And so I liked that I did things on paper, but eventually I changed. And I love it, it’s the best thing I ever did.”

I asked why Bravo switched. He explained how he used QuickBooks to send invoices instead of Super Dispatch, and he used tax professionals and bookkeepers to keep track of money and expenses. I wondered what benefit it brought to him.

“It’s several things,” Bravo says. “The peace of mind Super Dispatch gives, the ability to document everything in one place. The contact base you have. And then the fact that it integrates right into QuickBooks.”

“A lot of these technologies, software applications [in auto transport], don’t talk to each other,” Bravo says about other technology in the auto transport space. “They don’t sync, and you lose data, and it’s a pain in the ass. So Super Dispatch said ‘We connect to QuickBooks’ and I was like great.”

Before Super Dispatch, Bravo took photos of cars on his phone, which saved to his phone storage instead of the cloud.

“When working with paper dispatch, I used to take pictures with my phone, I used to use my phone camera and storage,” he says. “But if I looked now, I wouldn’t be able to match the right car to the right load.” He likes that Super Dispatch keeps the photos, BOLs and invoices tied neatly together in the cloud, easily accessible to him whenever.

 

Overall, Bravo says that he recognizes when he should do something (like using himself as a dispatcher instead of hiring one) and recognizes when he should outsource something (like using Super Dispatch and QuickBooks to take care of his invoicing and expense management) and that this ultimately is a factor in his success.

 

How do you run your owner-operator business? Have you ever owned a business before, and how similar is it to owning a car transport business? Let us know in the comments.

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