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Alpha Elite grows with Super Dispatch in car hauling

Charles Jones has lived all over the United States – from Atlanta to Los Angeles – and has started five businesses in the course of his life. Creating jobs for great workers is a part of his life philosophy.

“I believe in creating a system for more people to thrive and succeed in…if I can’t figure out how to instill success in other people, then I’m looking for another opportunity to do something.”

Right now, he has found satisfaction in instilling success in the truck drivers of his new car hauling transport company, Alpha Elite Transport.

Charles Jones runs his three-person car hauling company out of a small office park 20 minutes south of Kansas City, Mo. He works with his brother and business partner Alfonso Gill. Jones also runs one of his other businesses, a credit repair company, out of the same building.

Getting into trucking

Though he has had family in trucking for years, Jones only just started dispatching a year ago. He was tipped off on the idea from his accountant who suggested he get into brokering as secondary source of income.

“She was telling me what the breakdown [of the money] was. And I’m like, okay the only way this is going to work, is if there’s a problem. And if there is a problem, and we can provide a solution, then I’m with it,” he recounted telling her. “But if it’s just for the sake of making money…I can make money doing anything.”

“If there is a problem, and we can provide a solution, then I’m with it….But if it’s just for the sake of making money…I can make money doing anything.”

Jones’ accountant told him that most truckers don’t trust brokers, because it’s common for brokers to scrape large fees off of a load price, which leaves truckers with very little income. His accountant informed him that certain brokers would even hide the original price of the load from haulers in addition to taking the large percentage off the top. After thinking about her idea for a few days, Jones agreed that he should get into brokering. But he proposed to take a smaller fee off a load and show them the original load offer, instead of skimming more off of the top.

Alpha Elite Transport, Super Dispatch, successful Car Hauler

Jones dispatches at his computer in his small office in Grandview, Mo. on March 28, 2018. Jones works with a dispatching partner at Alpha Elite and runs a credit repair business through this office.

He began building relationships to become a broker, but in 2016 a doctor diagnosed Jones’ wife with COPD and and gave her only a month to continue her job as a hairstylist in Lee’s Summit. Jones had to rush to find another source of money to cover the loss of income. But he was confident the trucking industry could provide a stability for his household.

“I told her, ‘Give me a month, I’ll figure something out,’” he said.

Starting out as a dispatcher

With only a month to start, Jones instead fell into the dispatching side of the industry through the encouragement of Alfonso. After purchasing a truck outright, he joined Alfonso dispatching drivers to haul cars from Adesa and Manheim auto auctions across the United States. Though he had background knowledge of the industry and an experienced partner, Jones’ first year in the trucking industry wasn’t an easy road. 2017 was full of drivers leaving abruptly, trucks breaking down, mechanics overcharging and brokers filing false damage claims.dispatch BOL Super Dispatch car hauler

Jones was able to circumvent a lot of these setbacks due to his proactive business nature. Jones attributes a lot of the success he has had in the past year to his business background. He thinks he works smarter, not harder. For instance, within a few months of dispatching with paper to keep track of loads, payments and taxes, Jones turned to technology to simplify his business.

Using the right tools

Through googling “dispatching software,” Jones found Super Dispatch to manage every aspect of his business. After nearly a year using the service, Jones doesn’t use anything but Super Dispatch to dispatch orders, create BOLs, send invoices and calculate his driver’s paychecks.

“I don’t have to use anything else [to manage my business,]” he said. “Just Super Dispatch, my bank account and my accountant for taxes at the end of the year.”

Super Dispatch isn’t the only thing that he uses to efficiently run his car hauling business. He has created a business rhythm. In the last year, he found committed drivers, predicted maintenance costs and created lasting relationships with brokerages. He sat down in an interview to talk a bit about how Super Dispatch and his business background has allowed him to run his business more efficiently:

After this first year, Jones is already interviewing for his fourth driver position, and is only looking to grow Alpha Elite more. In even better news, his wife’s first COPD diagnosis was a false positive.

How did you get into trucking? Share your story in the comments!

 

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CarMax, United Road: Car Haulers Are Talking (And It’s Not Good)

CarMax: Nationwide Retailer Meets Largest Broker/Carrier

According to their Facebook page, CarMax is “the nation’s largest retailer of used cars” and their app lets you search “a nationwide inventory of over 35,000 used cars.” United Road maintains on their website that they are “leading the auto transport industry…with over three million deliveries each year.” If you multiply CarMax supply and growing customer demand, divided by United Road’s ability to offer lowest volume delivery pricing, that should equal a perfect match made in auto transport heaven, right? Plus, if you implement a centralized order management system that works better, faster and saves the end consumer money without compromising delivery time, then this thing’s a no-brainer, right?

“United Roads and RPM have started posting the Carmax orders…FOR FREAKING LESS THAN HALF WHAT autotransport.com posted before.” – ‘clara’

Car Hauler BOL App

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CarMax and United Road: What Is The Contract?

United Road TransportersFor whatever reason, I couldn’t find any press release online confirming or detailing this new relationship, whereas usually big companies love to share this level of public information because it raises company value and customer confidence. Furthermore, a majority of car hauler businesses already know that these two industry giants are working together because they hear about it through the grapevine, they see the loads being posted online, and some owner-operators continue receiving emails for hard-to-move units. While the dates of when the contract between CarMax and United Road began are unclear, it was sometime in late 2015 or early 2016 when several carriers that once had a direct relationship with CarMax through their load website were suddenly canceled – including Autotransport.com. And curiously, RPM Freight Systems continues to be one of the few brokers still posting CarMax loads. Why (and how) is that the case? Car haulers want to know, “What is going on?”

Car Haulers Reject The Big Drop In CarMax Load Rates

Rates Going DownBut the biggest shock for independent car haulers across the nation is not the “why” but the “what?” – when they began seeing a nearly overnight drop in the United Road load rates for hauling CarMax cars posted to popular car hauler load boards. Until recently, transporters knew the average going rate to haul a single CarMax unit was at 50 cents per mile (although in large volume averaging 40+ cents per mile.) But now, most single CarMax units are being listed around 40 cents per mile (so you can imagine the dip in the volume rate.) Is this true, and how do we know? Yes, and we do know – because that’s what a lot of car hauler businesses are angry about and posting in an online forum at TruckersReport.com

“Anyone who thinks this is a positive change for our industry obviously hasn’t seen the rates. Nobody, no where at no time should be hauling cars for .35 a mile per car.” – ‘joeyg999’

What Car Haulers Are Saying About CarMax/United Road Deal

TruckersReport.com describes itself as an “active and growing community of truckers” and “the largest trucking forum” where hundreds (if not thousands) of truckers regularly voice their frustrations about the trucking industry. In June 2016, user ‘clara’ posted, “So last week we got emails from RPM and United Road that Carmax had contracted them for their moves. Autotransport.com is out…not sure why Carmax did that but doesn’t matter. United Roads and RPM have started posting the Carmax orders…FOR FREAKING LESS THAN HALF WHAT autotransport.com posted before. There’s no way in hell we’re ever booking something like that. It’s a shame, Carmax moves were always so easy.” ‘clara’ is not alone. ‘joeyg999’ wrote, “Anyone who thinks this is a positive change for our industry obviously hasn’t seen the rates. Nobody, no where at no time should be hauling cars for .35 a mile per car.” ‘BigGP’ says, “As far as United Road goes, the rates they are posting are cheap. But then again, CarMax was shopping for lower transport rates. If the cars do not move & Carmax realizes they are losing sales because cars are not available to a customer, the rates will have to go back up.”

Industry Rate Standoff: You’ve Gotta Know When To Hold ‘Em

Auto Transport Broker Carrier StandoffThe United States is a free market; CarMax and United Road aren’t breaking any laws. The problem is that in the auto transport industry, car hauler load board posted rates to haul cars are already low, and they just seem to keep getting lower. ‘Terry270’ illustrates a very common theme among transporters, “The thing is, if I knew that 45 cents was the lowest it would go I would consider it. But we all know if you say yes to 45 cents then next month they would be asking for 40 cents. I think I saw new Subaru’s on CD for 38cents!! So that’s where I have drawn my line and refuse to budge.” If you take the time to ask them, you’ll find out just how bad it really is. ‘Colorato’ posts, “I been home almost two weeks because I don’t see any loads worth the time. Can’t pay the bills like this.”

“If the cars do not move & Carmax realizes they are losing sales because cars are not available to a customer, the rates will have to go back up.” – ‘BigGP’

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Car Hauler Feedback: Don’t Kill The Messenger

CarMax Car Hauler FeedbackSpeaking for many truckers, ‘Kansas Transit’ sums it up: “We stopped hauling Carmax loads, cheap rates, ridiculous rules, and an app. that doesn’t seem to be compatible with our electronic devices, basically, they want you to jump through hoops for nothing, or in some cases, LESS than what you were making. Keep something in mind, EVERYONE is winning in this deal EXCEPT the transporter/driver, UR is going to save large amounts of green on cutting down or eliminating office workers hours, because of that app, the DRIVER is now their office worker, FOR FREE!!! Carmax wins because not only have they gotten cheaper rates, because of UR’s app they have better tracking ability of where their inventory is and real time notification of p/u and del. AGAIN, it is because of all of the extra work is done by the driver, so Carmax can probably cut the hours of their inventory location staff, money saved. But the driver, unless paid by the hour loses miles and time over the deal, the transport company loses miles and time over the deal, not sure about any one else, but in my world TIME is still MONEY!!!! I can see the reason in this business for real time info on vehicle location/moves, I have NO issues with the concept, but if the driver/company is now also the shippers secretary, then rates need to go UP, not DOWN!!! Sorry for the rant, but somebody had to say it.”

Whether you are a fleet owner, dispatcher, owner operator or broker, what do you think about this recent deal? Does it affect your car hauler business? Does the United Road app make your job easier? Your voice matters and people are listening. What do you have to say?

— Super Jay

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

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5 Ways Car Haulers Lose Money Everyday

Do You Know The 5 Biggest Reasons Car Hauler Businesses Lose Money Down The Drain?

Every business owner struggles with sudden out-of-pocket expenses and most of us have heard someone say, “That’s the cost of doing business.” So it should be no surprise that car haulers lose money and feel the pain of being dinged by additional costs on a regular basis. Since this problem is universal, all company owners try to identify and account for a certain margin of probable loss of revenue. Seeking solutions to minimize that loss is part of being fiscally responsible. So let’s rank in order from largest to smallest, the 5 biggest reasons most car haulers lose money.

…when a $700 vehicle suddenly becomes a zero, that’s a huge problem for everyone.

1) Bad Loads

Cited as the number one biggest reason car haulers lose money, bad loads include surprise INOPs that cannot be loaded, cars that are not ready for pick up, loads that suddenly cancel, vehicles that will not fit on the trailer, and cars that were already transported a week ago! Whatever the reason, when a $700 vehicle suddenly becomes a zero, that’s a huge problem for everyone. When a car hauler load board spits out a giant lemon, it’s a major loss, it’s immediate, and it usually has a snowball effect. It creates incredible amounts of stress within the company and can further pollute a once profitable relationship from moving forward. It’s a major problem, and in many cases, the primary ingredient is most likely due to the second biggest problem.

Car Hauler BOL App

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2) Miscommunication

Between the customer, the pickup contact, the broker, the dispatcher, the driver and the owner, there are plenty of opportunities for somebody to drop the ball. Owners and drivers blame the brokers, brokers blame dispatchers, and dispatchers get completely frustrated because nobody answered the phone or took the time to call them back. Here’s the deal: when a driver is ready to pick up a car, that car needs to be there and ready for pick up, and the location needs to be expecting the driver. There are a hundred ways for this situation to go sideways and everyone plays a part in making it work out smoothly. The good news is – dispatch software can help! The scanner on a dispatch app does not record the wrong VIN and a GPS can help accurately ping a driver’s location. The internet can provide exact vehicle dimensions, the distance between cities, and quickly and efficiently import and move data. By implementing a transportation management system (TMS), miscommunications can be minimized thereby reducing the impact and frequency of an otherwise chronic problem.

Scratched Vehicle Damage

Owners and drivers blame the brokers, brokers blame dispatchers, and dispatchers get completely frustrated because nobody answered the phone or took the time to call them back.

3) Damage Claims

Unfortunately, it only takes one accidental scratch from a loose chain or a driver overlooking a dent during an inspection to cause the potential revenue of a load to be reduced to pennies on the dollar. Damage claims can be costly, time-consuming, and damage the reputation of your business. Creating the perfect BOL might sound unrealistic, but if you are experiencing regular damage claims, it’s time to do things differently. Life isn’t perfect, to err is human, but creating the perfect BOL is your best chance at reducing damage claims; and that’s a big reason why we’ve created the car shipping app that helps people just like you. (CLICK HERE to learn more)

4) Equipment Failure

Car Haulers Lose Money to Equipment FailureAll physical equipment suffers from decay, stress and strain; it’s part of life. Most owners and drivers know the limitations of their truck and trailer. When a sensor repeatedly malfunctions, ramps bend, engines use up fluids too quickly, or tires frequently blowout, that could be the symptom of an abnormal issue. Avoiding a bad load can help minimize excessive wear and tear, which includes reducing off-route mileage and driving in punishing terrain.

5) The DOT

Owners worry about excessive government regulations in any industry. But when a driver hits the scales or a DOT officer conducts their inspection, there’s always a good chance a violation will result in a fine. Although this additional expense ranked the lowest on the list, it is the carriers that work the hardest to follow all the rules and protocols that stay off the regulatory radar. Consulting with a knowledgable compliance advisor can also be an excellent investment.

That wraps up the 5 Ways Car Haulers Lose Money Down The Drain. But if you think I missed a big one, if I have them out of order, if you just want to comment, or you’ve got something to say about a car delivery app, I invite you to speak your mind. Thank you for your time, and keep on trucking.

— Super Jay

Click the photo to download

#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.