Auto Transport and The Snowbird Rates

 
Auto transport and the snowbird rates.
 
Do you plan for this season for your business?
 
The day started like any other day of the year in our auto transport office. As the computer was booting up I opened the blinds in the office. What a gorgeous day! It was clear outside. Finally, the fog had cleared from the valley, yeah!

Looking out across the lawn, I could see the doe with her twin fawns frolicking in the tree-studded meadow. The gray squirrels were busy scampering up the oak trees mouths full of acorn nuts. The mountain quail were so cute. The hen gathered her chicks while the cocks were strutting like proud peacocks.  What a way to start the day.

Then it all changed. Out of nowhere, the wind picked up. The day was about to change. What looked like a nice day in the making quickly turned into a blustery chilly day. Change it did, just like the seasons of the year and the snowbird rates.
 
 

What are snowbirds and snowbird rates?

Before I started learning about auto transport and the small yet intricate details of the business, I didn't know the answer to that question either.
 
A snowbird is not an actual bird. No, in the auto transport business a snowbird is someone who moves south in the winter season. They are much like the bird species in that they are migratory.
 
These clients are sometimes retirees who just do not care for the cold winter months. Those families with children in school usually do not fit this group of our clientele.
 
Snowbird rates are different for each individual route and area of the nation. Some preferred auto transport carriers after working with you for a while, will give you a special break on the price.
 
As with any business, "supply and demand" dictates the rates. The rates will be higher when there are plenty of cars. The rates will be much lower when there are few cars on the reverse route.
 
Why do the snowbird rates differ so much when the same truck travels the same miles on the same route? It is due to the truckers not having a back-haul. Back-haul is a term used by truckers who haul freight. This happens when the freight for the return trip isn't enough to fill the available space on the truck. The rates must be higher going to allow for the empty space coming back.
 
Remember this when planning your annual budget.
 
When we first opened our doors for business back in 2005 no one warned us about the different seasons in the industry. We hit the road running the end of January and never looked back or up.

Never having put together a business plan we did not think to put a budget into place either. Each month we paid the bills as they came in the mail. We did keep our expenses as low as we could but they were still substantial.

It is normal to have expenses when you start and run a business. Looking back in hindsight I sure wish someone would have taught or shown me how to put one together.
 
With that plan, I could have included a budget. There was plenty of income to cover the expenses and provide personal income. However, we could have done better with a written budget and plan.

We learned along the way and wanted to share with you this lesson. There are definite seasons in the auto transport business. A smart business person will learn from a mentor who has gone before them. Take the advice you are given, it is for good reason.
 
To run a successful business, plan your budget to allow for the season of snowbird rates in auto transport. You will set your business apart from the masses who may not survive the season of few.
 
Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
 
P.S. sharing is caring, leave your comments below…
 
P.S.S. is there something about auto transport brokering you would like to know more about? Send us your questions, we would love to consider them for a future article.

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  • Anonymous

    I live in South Florida where lots of snow birds come “to winter” from Canada and northern U.S. I’ve heard how much the rates can vary for transporting their cars. Guess you really need to know your business!

    • That is true Sharon. The key is finding the right balance in serving our customers with fair prices and not cutting our carriers throats. If we allow our customers to dictate the prices without educating them to the reality of current expenses to keep the trucks operating at a profit, there won’t be any trucks left to transport the snow birds vehicles.

      That is my passion, to educate not only the customers, but to raise up a new breed of professional brokers. Brokers who know how to run a solid business and preserve it long term so everyone benefits.. .

  • Hey Carla,

    I learned something new!! I had no clue what a “snow bird” was before this. And great tips about budgeting. Sometimes I get my head in so many places, I have to remind myself to get back to basics. After all, I can’t expect God to bless me with more if I don’t properly manage what is already in my hand.

    GREAT ARTICLE 🙂

  • Hey Carla, here in Florida who are very familiar with snowbirds. I like the way you use the term for the auto transport world. Great tips.

  • Anonymous

    I remember being a “snowbird” before we finally made the move and became permanent residents here in Florida! Sure wish I had all of your wisdom and expertise back then! Great article!

  • Great reminder, Carla…. almost everyone in business can benefit from anticipating seasons of change and budgeting… you’re a true pioneer and it’s a blessing for those just getting started to benefit from your experience! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • :O)

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  • I know absolutely nothing about transporting vehicles, so I’m learning a lot reading your articles. If I ever need to move a car from the US, I know who to call!!

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