Chances are, if you’re an auto hauler, have a trailer and are ready to pick up cars, you’ve heard of Manheim. Though they don’t have their own load board, Manheim cars make up a huge portion of what is posted on the industry’s leading load boards. With over 80 locations in almost every state, Manheim (owned by Cox Automotive) is one of the largest auto auctions in the country.
For auto haulers to find a load, get to Manheim, find the vehicle in the lot and load it onto the trailer can be tedious, so we made a handy guide for your first time at Manheim.
With a Manheim Auto Auction here in Kansas City, Super Dispatch interviewed carriers, brokers, and a Manheim lot manager for the scoop on how to survive your first car pickup.
We spoke with Sue, a long-time Dispatcher and part time broker of Murphy Auto Transport; Charles, the Owner and Dispatcher at Alpha Elite Transport; and Kansas City Manheim Lot Manager Sam to give you the best starter tips.
First we are going to show you the Reader’s Digest of the entire process.
Then give you tips ( ) wherever we have found them:
STEP 2: DISCUSSING SPECIFICS
“Always verify if the car is inoperable or not,” says Sue of Murphy Auto Transport. “A car can’t be moved to a trailer by one person if it’s inoperable and it will cost you more more money and time to get a wench. If you don’t verify this at first, you won’t know what invisible costs you are eating.” A dispatcher or Owner Operator might be able to do this by directly asking the Broker if a car is operable or not, or by asking what lot the car will be in. If a car is in a TRA lot, that means it is an inoperable car.
P.S. The auto auction parks inoperable cars in the TRA (Total Resource Auction) lot, but Drivers will often move vehicles and leave them wherever is the most convenient. Always make sure a car is operable even if it’s not in the TRA lot.
STEP 3: GATE PASS VERIFICATION
“Gate passes, gate passes, gate passes,” says Super Dispatch customer Charles of Alpha Elite Transport. “Always check the gate passes.”
What Charles means is, make sure that the Gate Passes for the cars you are hauling are actually available. A Driver proves that he is allowed to pick up a car using the ID numbers on the Gate Passes. Charles has had experiences where Brokers haven’t secured the Gate Passes for the cars they posted on a load board – which means that Charles can’t send a driver pick them up. If a Dispatcher or Owner Operator doesn’t get the Gate Passes in an email from a Broker, a Driver will have to wait until his Dispatcher gets them.
Sam of Manheim told Super Dispatch that Manheim legally can’t give out information on cars parked in their lots to just anyone. A Dispatcher or Owner / Operator will always have to call the Broker for that information. Though it’s not common, a Dispatcher can ask a Broker if he or she will put the name of the Dispatcher or his company on the Gate Pass. That way, the Dispatcher will be able to contact Manheim directly to ask about the cars, instead of playing phone tag with a Broker
STEP 4: MANHEIM HOURS VERIFICATION
“You think that the Manheim in St. Louis is 24 hours like the one in Detroit, but you’d be wrong,” Charles said to Super Dispatch. “We learned that one the hard way.”
STEP 6: GUARD SHACK CHECK IN
Guard Shacks are the gatekeepers to the car lots at Manheim and an employee is always there during business hours. Make sure your drivers know that – time permitting – employees at the Guard Shack can:
– drive your driver to his or her load pick up spots
– jumpstart cars with dead batteries
– provide gas to empty cars
These services won’t always be available to Drivers, so there are ways to save time (and money.)
STEP 7: FINDING THE CARS
Even if a Guard Shack worker can drive your driver to his or her car pick up location, they won’t know if the car has been moved by another driver. A Driver can spend hours looking for each car at Manheim if he or she is inexperienced, which costs tons in ELD hours, money and time. Sue suggests something else.
“Car pullers are people that will charge you a fee for pulling cars [out of the lot] but they will make all the damages and do everything my driver is supposed to do.” said Sue. “Then all my driver has to do is drive in there, load [the car] up and go.”
Car pullers will charge anywhere from 5 or 10 dollars per vehicle.
“It’s well worth what you save, especially with the new ELD law…” she said. “I’ve had guys sit there for 6 hours looking for cars.”
Sue suggests looking on Facebook pages like Auto Transport Everything to find car pullers in each city before your driver arrives. A Dispatcher can give this person the ID number for the Gate Pass and the Car Puller can have the entire car ready before the Driver ever arrives.
If you use a Car Puller, make sure they take photos of their Gate Passes for your own records.
STEP 8: MARKING DAMAGES
In fact, Drivers should always take photos of their Gate Passes before handing them off to the Guard Shack. Unlike using Super Dispatch, once you fill out a Gate Pass damage report and hand it to the Guard Shack, it’s out of your hands forever.
“I always tell my drivers to take a photo of the gate passes after you have marked damages and before you hand them to the Guard Shack, because once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Sue said.
Do you have other tips for surviving at pick up at Manheim? Let us know in the comments!