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BacklotCars reaches faster car transport times enabled by our Shipper API

Like Super Dispatch, BacklotCars set out to disrupt a long-standing part of the automotive industry. With Super Dispatch focused on modernizing automotive logistics, BacklotCars is focused on modernizing automotive wholesale.

Four years ago, founders Justin Davis and Josh Parsons were working at Manheim Auctions. They saw a broken system – limited access to inventory, capital and inefficient transport.

Justin and Josh created BacklotCars, as an alternative to brick and mortar auctions. BacklotCars is connecting dealers across the United States and quickly becoming the easiest way for stores to both source, sell, transport and finance wholesale inventory. Both Super Dispatch and BacklotCars continue to disrupt long-standing industries.

Justin and Josh created BacklotCars, as an alternative to brick and mortar auctions.

How BacklotCars is different

“Originally, most dealers would go to local auctions to buy and sell cars. What we did was turn it into an online marketplace, without the physical location,” Sean, the Director of Transportation said to Super Dispatch. “This allows them to purchase inventory outside of their particular region. So for example, if I’m in Kansas City, I’m not limited to the local auction. I can purchase cars across the country.”

As BacklotCars opens up new trade opportunities for dealers, transportation becomes important. That’s where Super Dispatch comes in.

BacklotCars runs auto transport different than traditional load boards and auctions because of the technology it utilizes. Now auto dealers across the country can transact without stepping foot on an auction floor, or worrying about transporting their purchases.

As BacklotCars opens up new trade opportunities for dealers, transportation becomes important. That’s where Super Dispatch comes in.

Changing the game of auto transport

Before Super Dispatch, employees at BacklotCars would have to manually enter everything into spreadsheets. Sean had to type VIN numbers, condition reports, instructions, delivery and pick up information into their backend system and then post vehicles as loads on the Central Dispatch load board. A single morning’s worth of car sales could take a business day to type and post online for car transportation companies to find.

Before Super Dispatch, employees at BacklotCars would have to manually enter everything into spreadsheets.

“If we sold 50 cars a day, we would manually enter them on the load board or send them over to our partners using spreadsheets,” Sean said. “Which as you can imagine, is very time consuming. So sometimes the car that sold at 8 am wouldn’t get posted and shipped out maybe for a day.”

How BacklotCars ships cars in wholesale

Before Super Dispatch helped BacklotCars post loads and match carriers, auto transportation could take 10-14 days. With Super Dispatch, 80% of loads dispatched through Backlot are delivered in less than seven days, and 65% are delivered in less than five.

The BacklotCars sales team has successfully leveraged the reduced transport time to appeal to a wider range of customers.

“In sales when they’re promoting, they say ‘Hey, we can get your cars to you in 3-4 days.’ That’s a big promotion for people that are in our buy space,” Sean said.

That’s because Super Dispatch cuts their manual work in half by integrating with BacklotCars backend marketplace technology. Now, they only need to enter information for a car once – in their own system. Once that car is sold, its information is sent to Super Dispatch through the seamless API integration.

Super Dispatch cuts their manual work in half by integrating with BacklotCars backend marketplace technology.

From there, the BacklotCars team organizes the individual vehicles and send load offers to preferred carriers within their network.

“It just auto-posts everything the minute [a car] sells, because it’s already out there…we shoot it straight over to Super Dispatch.”

The connection to the API means that BacklotCars can offer loads to trusted carriers without ever calling them – instead, the carrier gets a text and email with the load information, which they can choose to accept.

If a load can’t be taken by their preferred carrier, they can still avoid the cumbersome load-posting process on Central Dispatch.Super Dispatch API makes it easy to post to Central Dispatch when you need.

The connection to the API means that BacklotCars can offer loads to trusted carriers without ever calling them.

Also, the logistics team can easily determine if a car was damaged in transport by reviewing the electronic Bill of Lading and inspection photos. Plus they can give ETAs to customers when loads are automatically marked as picked up or delivered.

“First thing I do every morning is I track vehicles that are assigned to specific carriers. Let’s say they were supposed to be picked up over the weekend, let’s say there was an issue and it didn’t get picked up, I see that,” Sean says of the Super Dispatch dispatching tool. “So we can communicate that quickly with our customers.”

What’s next for BacklotCars?

Because Sean and Julie no longer spend their entire day posting loads to load boards, they can focus on other things; expanding their transport region, optimizing trade routes and creating carrier contacts.

“On the accounting side we went from about 9 hours of paperwork to about 15 minutes,” Sean said. “As far as the load posting, if we had 50 cars to post, I would post from when I got to work to when I left.”

“I did other things in between, but most of that time I spent posting. Now I don’t post anything. It’s out there already. I’m able to look at new routes, create partnerships with new carriers. Things like that.”

In the next year, Backlot hopes to reduce 80% of their loads to a 5 day turnover time.

Super Dispatch is planning big things for 2019 as well.

Eventually, Super Dispatch will be an end-to-end unified vehicle shipping platform for car haulers, shippers and brokers, which will enable better communication throughout the entire industry.

In the near future, Super Dispatch will become the largest vehicle shipping platform – for brokers, carriers and shippers alike. The largest network of car haulers, shippers brokers will be available in Super Dispatch’s Broker and Carrier TMS. Through tools like our Smart LoadBoard and Carrier Vetting, our platform will automate, digitize and provide visibility into the entire vehicle shipping process, all within one system.

Eventually, Super Dispatch will be an end-to-end unified vehicle shipping platform for car haulers, shippers and brokers, which will enable better communication throughout the entire industry.

 

Super Dispatch listens to feedback at AHAA

The bi-annual Auto Haulers Association of America Conference was in Fernandino Beach, FL. this fall, and Super Dispatch was happy to be in attendance for the second time ever.

Earlier this spring, we made a blog post about the ultimate takeaways our company had from the AHAA conference. The key difference between the fall and the spring was the amount of in-depth feedback we were able to get from all of the carriers at the conference. In the spring, we walked away from AHAA with a lasting impression about how time consuming it is for carriers to run a car hauling enterprise. This fall, our biggest takeaway was the extensive feedback we got on how carriers business needs change as they scale up. We were happy to hear that carriers really appreciate how focused Super Dispatch is on implementing their feedback, and we were surprised that it was not more common place.

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!

 

What kind of trailer should a beginning car hauler get?

Deciding your truck and trailer combination can be tough for beginning car haulers. Should you choose a tractor and double decker trailer? Do you get a Ford F450 and a wedge? These questions require a lot of thought. For a first time hauler, it is hard to make a decision. At Super Dispatch, we think the most important consideration for a beginning car hauler is trailer capacity.

How to decide what trailer size to buy

We created a flowchart to help you choose the best size trailer.

“Do you have a CDL?” is the most important question to start with:

Super Dispatch trailer CDL new to car hauling

 

Clearly, most of this decision will rest on the type of cargo you decide to haul. In this industry, certain cargo goes best with only certain kinds of trailers.

Best trailers for different kinds of car hauling

  • New cars are a high volume market and require larger trailers manned by experienced haulers.
  • The exotic car hauling market prefers enclosed trailers for extra protection.
  • Personal Vehicles shipping requires residential delivery so smaller trailers (attached to trucks instead of tractors) are more commonly used.
  • Tractors have fifth wheel steering and air brakes and thus can only be driven by CDL licensed commercial drivers.
  • Airport vehicle moves are some of the highest volume section of the industry, which requires large trailers (7-11 car haulers.)
  • Inoperable cars usually require forklifts to be moved, and can not be easily put on large double decker trailers.

The best all- around car hauling trailer

If you still aren’t sure what kind of hauling you will do, there are versatile trailers. Joey Slaughter, owner of Blue Ridge Transport LLC and author of The Beginner’s Guide To Auto Transport, suggests that new drivers buy trucks with 3 car wedge trailers.Super Dispatch BOL eBOL buying a trailer car hauler

“If you’re just beginning and have no equipment, I suggest starting with a three-car wedge trailer,” he writes. “It’s a reasonably inexpensive way to get into the auto transport business. I bought a new, three car trailer for approximately $7,000 and a used Dodge 3500 dually for $18,000 when I started. It’s easy to keep a three car trailer full, plus it’s a lot easier to maneuver in residential areas where a lot of deliveries are made.”

Super Dispatch’s product manager Vin agrees with Joey. He started hauling on a three car wedge in 2012, because of the easy profit margin.“If you can start with a three car, the first two cars will cover the cost of operation, and the third car is complete profit,” Vin says. Generally, only experienced car haulers can drive large capacity trailers. But do well hauling 3 and 4 cars at a time, and you will level up to hauling 7 or 11 cars quickly.

Stay tuned next week for our second piece about buying trailers! We will cover financing options, red flags to look out for and best buying practices.

A Guide to Shipping a Vehicle: a shipper’s perspective.

Not so long ago, I was reading car hauling-related blogs on Medium, and came across “A Guide to Shipping a Vehicle” by Brenden Mulligan.

He described his first experience ever shipping a vehicle across the country. And it was not great. He starts:

“I recently shipped a car across the country for the first time. My car ended up showing up filthy in darkness with $2,500 in damage which I didn’t see until the next day.

It was a confusing thing to set up. I imagine many people shipping cars have never done it and probably won’t need to do it again. So basically, the industry can take advantage of first timers.

Here are some things I wish I’d done differently.

  1. Don’t use Montway. I don’t have any other company recommendations for you, but I used Montway and they were awful to deal with.

  2. Decide if you want open or closed transport. Open means the car will get very dirty, but it’s a lot less expensive and generally more available. Closed means the car is inside a container. I wish I would have done closed only so when the car arrived, it was clean.

  3. Have the person on the pickup side take a zillion photos, send you a list of any and all damage that the vehicle had at pickup, and a photo of the pickup Bill of Lading, which is the document that is used to state the condition of the car. Know this inside and out so when it arrives, you know what damage is new.”photo inspection ship a vehicle BOL eBOL Super Dispatch car haulers

With just one experience in this industry, an individual vehicle shipper is advocating exactly a technology like what Super Dispatch offers.

Though his experience is from a completely different perspective than what we normally hear at Super Dispatch, he came to the same conclusion we have. Mulligan not only advises direct contact with the Carrier, but also photo inspections, and checking in on the location of your shipment. Our focus was on fixing the communication problems and headaches for the Carrier. But in doing so, we have begun to fix the problems on the shipper’s side as well.

Continue reading the rest of the article over at Medium….

 

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!

So Many Broker Apps, So Little Time [To Comply]

 

Charles Jones of Alpha Elite Transportation LLC talks about using Broker Apps.

Charles Jones is not wrong: it seems many large Brokers are contributing their own eBOL app to the ever-expanding pool of “Broker Apps.”

What are Broker Apps?

These electronic Bills of Lading apps perform the traditional electronic Proof of Delivery (with inspection photos and customer signatures.) While it is beneficial for a Broker to have it’s own eBOL app, the reality is that Carriers become burdened with using four or five faulty, inadequate load-processing apps in order to stay compliant.

Plus, carriers don’t own this information system. Brokers ultimately keep the inspection photos, the BOLs and the invoices. This results in Carrier load information being scattered across businesses, rather than with the Carrier himself.

We believe Carriers deserve to own their own business data.

Is Super Dispatch worried about Broker Apps?

We at Super Dispatch see this Broker App issue as a continuation of the same problem that has plagued the industry for years: fragmentation, which has lead to lack of trust and communication.

Lack of trust between brokers and carriers, between dispatchers and drivers, between shippers and brokers.

When every major broker creates their own redundant eBOL app, they perpetuate the status quo we have had for years in car hauling.

Super Dispatch does not see the rise of Broker Apps as competition in our market. Other than the fact that we provide far more than load processing for our car haulers, we are also unaffiliated with any one broker. We plan to stay that way.

When we created Super Dispatch to process electronic Bills of Lading in 2013, we dispatch BOL Super Dispatch car hauler Broker Appswere aiming to make Carriers lives easier, not harder. Now we have expanded into becoming the most popular Transportation Management System for the car hauling industry. And our mission is still to make the lives of Carriers easier.

We listen to our Carriers and implement their suggestions. We work with any broker that wants to work with us. And we aim to connect this fragmented market, not tear it apart. Some Brokers have embraced that, because when Carriers lives are easier, Brokers lives are easier.

What do our customers think about Broker Apps?

Some of our customers have had the biggest problem with apps like United Road. Through interviewing our most frustrated customers, we found that apps like VTas have buggy, unusable interfaces. Some of our customers have asked United Road to use third party apps like Super Dispatch, but to no avail.

“I’m just not working with these brokers anymore,” said Tom of Fury Transport, a 2-year-old Super Dispatch customer. “It’s just not worth it to use their app when it’s horrible. I voice my opinions to them all the time. But they just don’t care.”

This is the common thread among app complaints. Creators don’t care if their system is fault and they won’t pay Carriers who use their own systems.

“It’s just a shame that you have to use their app or they won’t pay you,” Tom said. “I guess it’s their rules, their business. But it just makes it really hard.”

Our customers have had mixed experiences with other apps, like CarsArrive.

“I think they copied your design after I told them how terrible their app was,” said Chris of Blue Moon Transportation, a customer of Super Dispatch for about a year. “Because about a year ago they totally changed their interface.”

“CarsArrive is okay,” Tom said. “They have gotten better, but I still prefer Super Dispatch.”

Some Brokers have embraced that, because when Carriers lives are easier, Brokers lives are easier.

While some Brokers are slowly improving their apps, we have also noticed some Brokers easing their restrictions on use.

Montway’s use of ship.cars has apparently loosened some of their restrictions. Earlier this year our customer Alpha Elite told us that Montway would only let him use ship.cars for their loads.

“But they would only let us pick up their loads [with their app,] so I was like no,” Charles of Alpha Elite said. “So I just don’t use Montway anymore.”

But more recently, another customer said ship.cars would allow companies to use Super Dispatch to process their loads, albeit temporarily.

“I spoke with the Manager [at Montway,] Mike,” Tom said. “He said ‘We are transitioning into electronic BOLs. We are aware of Super Dispatch, we like it, you can use it.’ But he said in the future they’re going to move over to strictly [ship.cars.]”

And a growing number of brokers are allowing our customers to continue using our app.

“I voiced my concerns to Ready Auto Transport with their 1Dispatch app,” Tom said. “I asked if I could use this awesome app, Super Dispatch. They got back to me and said ‘You know what, as long as it has our requirements, you can do that.’” Ready Auto spoke to us over the phone about their requirements. They said that as long as the transporter includes their required photos, they have no problem accepting Bills of Lading and invoices through Super Dispatch.

OUR CONCLUSION

We at Super Dispatch want to change the status quo. We think the system we have created has contributed to a balance of leverage in an historically unequal marketplace. And we think that the market can only benefit from more change.

We hope to keep changing the marketplace through building relationships across the car hauling industry and creating a better environment for all players.

One of the projects we have created to connect the marketplace is what we call a “Broker Portal.” We aim to provide the Brokers with the load visibility they want with this portal, without compromising the commitment we have made to our Carrier base.

We will continue to show our commitment how we always have; through the implementation of carrier feedback, collaboration with anyone willing to work with us and the continuation of our transparent and objective stance in the marketplace.

In the meantime, stay tuned for our ‘How to use Broker Apps More Efficiently” guide coming next week.

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What is your experience with Broker Apps? Do you have any helpful tips for our guide next week? Tell us in the comments!

Super Dispatch Profiles: EM Logistics and Exotic Car Hauling

EM Logistics has found the car hauling sweet spot in exotic car haulingauto hauler elog and BOL app for car haulers

It’s no accident that EM Logistics hauls almost exclusively exotic cars across the United States. This transport business was created to service the St. Louis-based company Exotic Motors Midwest. Using nothing but Featherlight trailers, Super Dispatch’s Transportation Management System and good old-fashioned customer service, EM Logistics has expanded to five trucks with five full time salary drivers. Check out how they have become so successful in under a year:

 

Do you have a niche market in car hauling (or trucking in general?) Let us know!



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