Dependable Auto Shippers Dinner Invitation


Dependable auto shippers invite broker to share a meal

We received an invitation to dinner yesterday afternoon. One of our dependable auto shippers was coming through the area. The relationships we have built over the years have resulted in some close knit friendships. After a long day in the office it is always a welcome treat to meet up with our friends. A hot meal and some fun association is a great way to end the day.

As we were driving south on the interstate we saw many other dependable auto shippers with full loads. Each truck and trailer set up is unique. I check out each unit for the chance to learn by seeing it first hand. I don't know about you, but I am a visual person. You can tell me all day long specific dimensions and configurations and I still won't get it. But, show me the real deal, walk with me around the trailer and explain as we go…and the aha moment arrives quickly.

As we pulled into the truck stop I happened to notice the signage on all four corners. There are four different companies with restaurants, gift shops and fuel stations all located within yards of each other competing for the trucks business. Each brand advertised a different price, all within pennies of each other. Have you ever wondered how they set themselves apart from the competition?

Service with a smile sets them apart

My husband and I have shared many a meal with several of our dependable auto shippers. Each driver has his favorite place to fuel up, dine at and take advantage of the amenities. We've never had the occasion to shower or fuel up at a truck stop so we can only make a choice based on our dining experiences.

The friend we met last night, Eric invited us to the Petro Service Plaza to eat at the Iron Skillet. Before this location became a truck stop the restaurant was a local favorite known for it's home cooked meals.

The service is warm and inviting and the food is good and hot. The waitresses are very attentive and keep your drink refills coming. There is no shortage on food choices either. You can order off the menu or choose the buffet special. My choice is always the soup and salad bar, delicious.

Relaxing dinnertime conversation

It is so funny because each time we meet for a meal we always agree – NO shop talk. My husband hears about it all day long and the drivers live it all day long. The problem is, have you ever tried to dine with someone you work closely with and NOT talk shop? It really seems impossible sometimes.

Last night's meal was special. We met another one of our dependable auto shippers, he is from New Zealand. We had talked with Mickey over the phone several times, but had never had the pleasure to meet face to face. I just love meeting new people, especially when I already feel like I've known them for a long time.

Our conversation was a mixture of their experiences picking up and delivering cars, highway patrol stories and of course, New Zealand and the recent earthquake.

Both Eric and Mickey had lived in Christchurch years back and were saddened by the recent event. Eric has a picture of himself standing in front of the cathedral that is now a pile of rubble. They both told stories of many an adventure in the town and country as a whole.

Hugs goodbye and a safe journey

Sitting in the booth after we finished our meal the stories flowed like a river.  Then it was my turn to get a few words in by asking a few questions of my own.

I asked why both of them became owners of their own business. The answers were similar to my own. Both of them wanted the freedom to be their own boss. They wanted the opportunity to earn unlimited income on their own terms. One point both guys made was kind of comical, but oh so true. They love the view from their office window!

I got to share my vision for the growth of my company with them, too. They are both excited to watch as our auto transport broker coaching program rolls out in a few weeks.

They are hopeful that our actions to educate brokers will help their business. By having supportive business partners who have each others back, we all can build profitable nationwide auto transport businesses.

With full bellies and exhaustion setting in we decided to call it a night. After thanking our waitresses and paying the bill, we hugged, shook hands and parted ways. Turning back before hitting the door, I shouted "drive safe, we want to have dinner next trip". 

Here to Serve,

Carla J Gardiner
Carla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
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  • When work is play and play is work, it seems natural to talk “shop” at a meal, even fun! It sounds like you’ve made a lot of friends in your business, Carla… it makes life so much more meaningful… great story!

    • You are right, Susan. Every time we have a meal, whether lunch or dinner with Eric, we have a good time. We commiserate with one another and support each other at the same time. Eric is a great resource and wealth of knowledge he gives us the edge over our competition in auto transport.

  • Anonymous

    Carla, I really enjoyed this article! Relating to people, whether they are customers or co-workers is what brings the joy to what we do! Great Job!

    • Thanks, Denny. Nothing brings people together like food! Isn’t that funny? But, for some auto transport brokers it not only gets them out of the office, it gets them down the road a piece to enjoy the scenery and enjoy the company of good friends. We even ran into a couple I went to high school with!

  • Anonymous

    Nothing solidifies a relationship more than sharing a meal. Now whenever any of you thinks of another in the line of your work, there will always be more room for flexibility and understanding … and that’s a good thing!

    • So true, Sharon. Eric even shares his personal life and adventures with us. Not only is he a dependable auto shipper, but he is retired military and shares his travels with us. He and his wife just got a new pet, a floppy ear bunny. To see this big, tall man talk about this cuddly little bunny just cracks me up. Even truck drivers have a tender side. And yes, when I think of that meal, I envision Eric on the floor playing with the bunny and cats!

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like most excellent relationship building to me! Isn’t it wonderful when you can truly relax and enjoy a colleague’s company?

    • Thanks, Lilly. The part I love about the auto transport business is the relationship side. Besides, a girl can never have too many friends, right?

  • Carol Giambri

    Carla, Great reminder that business does not have to built only on business, but relationships count. What a great “gift” for them to be excited for your next business journey — the coaching program. Yeah. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hey Carol,

      Yes, we have many brokers, dependable auto shippers and clients that are excited for our coaching program. Our main goal is to increase everyone’s knowledge which in turn will increase everyone’s revenue, too.

  • Carla, you are a unique auto transport broker. One that take time and build relationship with colleagues. Truly building personal and business relationship.

    • Claudia,

      I do take the time to build those key relationships. I had a tough time at first, some people in business want just that…cut and dry. But, I learned by applying what Dani Johnson taught me…use the form method and the relationship part will take care of itself. Besides, I love people…it’s hard to argue with that!

  • Carla – you cover some vital points that everyone should be aware of. Thank you!

    • Thanks, Annemarie. Auto transport is no different than any other business. The same basic principles apply. Use them and skilled technique to mastery and business will flourish naturally, too.

  • Your story shows how critical relationship building is for all of us – and it can be so much more fun than just ‘business’. Thanks!

    • Thank you Victoria. Anyone who knows me leaves knowing that I truly care about them. Auto transport is not a mere job or business to me, it truly is about the person receiving the service I provide. More business owners should get back to basics, their business bottom line would reflect the attention to detail.

  • Angelambrooks

    Building relationships builds the pay check -!

    • Yes, Ma’am, Ms. Angela. Actually it builds exponentially. One business such as auto transport can support and lay the foundation for say, vitamins, essential oils, etc. I couldn’t do what I do on a daily basis in our auto transport office without my high powered Nutrapack and Balsam Fir essential oils for my allergies! This is the way business should work!

  • Rachelle

    Plus visiting over dinner is fun! Thanks, Carla for the peak onto your life.

    • Hi Rachelle,

      You are welcome. Come back and visit anytime. The adventures are just beginning in auto transport as I share what I learn, experience and share daily. It’s fun, frustrating, exciting, maddening, silly and sad at times. But then again, isn’t that what life is all about…the experience?

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