Manheim Mondays – Tim at JT Enterprises

Tim and his truck, owner operator of JT Enterprises at Kansas City Manheim on Monday Jan 14. Super Dispatch

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?

The snow!

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?

But then it seems like there would be no way for a load board to start then? Because everything is already on Central.

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.


How to pick up a car at an Auto Auction: Manheim

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:


Manheim, Super Dispatch, auto auction, helpful, tips, car hauler


“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.


“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


“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.”


Super Dispatch, ManheimSTEP 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.)

Super Dispatch, ManheimSTEP 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.

Super Dispatch, ManheimSTEP 8: MARKING DAMAGES

In fact, Drivers should always take photos of their Gate Passes before handing them off to the auto hauler elog and BOL app for car haulersGuard 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!