Tag Archive for vehicle transportation

Why Most Entrepreneurs Fail, Why We Will Not

 

Why Most Entrepreneurs Fail, Why We Will not

False thinking raises its ugly head

Have you ever thought there would come a day when life stopped dishing out lessons for us to learn? Well, if you are like me we can always hope so. What I found last week instead was false thinking on my part.

You see, I thought when I left the job at the bank and started building my own auto transport business security was a done deal, locked in. I knew that jobs in corporate America were no longer secure in the new economy. By reading the headlines in the morning paper or watching the evening news I see evidence of the insecurity in working for someone else.

My husband and I lived through the very insecure timber industry here in northern California when he lost his job not once, but three times to it. Learning to live on twenty-five percent of a mill workers income when the bills did not decrease accordingly stunk! This was one more reason we wanted to be independent, work for ourselves, control our own destiny.

Auto transport market changes in business 

Part of the lessons I learned early on in our broker business was we must be aware and have our finger on the pulse of the industry. Keeping our head buried in the sand like an ostrich is not how a business owner builds a successful business. In fact, if you do not watch what is going on in the rest of the country you could easily go broke.

Just like when Hurricane Katrina hit and we almost lost the business. If it were not for our owner-operators, who love and cared for us giving us advice we would have closed our doors. It certainly was a tough lesson and one we will not soon forget.

During the darkest of times back then is when we decided we had better look at alternate ways to make money if I wanted to keep the business going and stay home to work. If you recall we were building a part time vitamin business at the same time. It was at a networking breakfast meeting that one of our members questioned me about what an auto transport broker did. When I answered the question, they asked for a business card and said their uncle was looking for my type of service.

The following week we received a call from the uncle of the member of the networking group. It did not take long to figure out that they had misunderstood my explanation of what I do. This man was looking for a dispatcher.

However, I agreed to meet him and his wife for coffee to discuss what services I could offer them. The rest is history, thus was born “The Dispatch Center”, a division of Carla’s Transport Services.

Do not put all your eggs in one basket

The next phase of the business grew right along. Soon after accepting one owner-operator job, others followed. Even though the customer side of auto transport had slowed down, the dispatching of auto carriers kept me hopping.

I found I loved working with the variety of clients, from car owners, other brokers to the drivers themselves. Relationships grew, as did my circle of professional business partners. Soon I found myself inside their lives helping them with their health, too. How could that be you might wonder?

One of the drivers I had dispatched a car to for one of my auto transport customers transports went missing in action. Panic began to set in when his company called me looking for any updated information. His wife called me asking when the last communication we had was, what time of day and the like.

All I can say is thank goodness for relationships, companies who care for their employees and the GPS systems some trucking firms use on their trucks. After a whole day of investigating, he was finally located at a truck stop, in the back, face down having suffered a stroke. He is all right today, thanks to everyone’s effort and relentless phone calls.

As the seasons change so does the volume of business, both on the brokering and dispatching side of the business. It made perfect sense to diversify and build our vitamin business due to the difficulties of the market.

However, I neglected one detail. I settled into the false thinking of security. The mindset of if brokering slows, I have the dispatching to fall back on. Doesn’t it seem logical and safe? Wrong.

Depending on someone elses business for security

In this current economy, government agencies are looking for ways to boost our economy. Now, I am not saying anything is wrong with that it does need help. However, let me share with you what happened to one of the trucks I dispatch. Please, share your thoughts and help me understand the logic of this situation.

This truck has been running the same route for over six years. What this means is he hauls a load of cars from California to Texas and back again using the same interstates. For our safety there are inspection stations manned by Highway Patrol officers trained in semi-tractor safety and highway law. Stay with me here as I take you through my thinking.

On the last load-in the inspector tells the driver that his equipment is one foot too long. Now, after six years his truck is illegal to run the state of California, he is done. What does this mean to his business and mine? One of two things can happen. He can purchase new equipment that is the right length for the state requirements at a great cost or he is out of business.

What did this teach me? The light bulb went off in my head and it exploded. I had allowed my thinking to slip back into a comfort zone that had gotten others and me into trouble before. I thought I was secure in my auto transport broker and dispatch center. I thought even if one side generated less revenue it would be okay because I had the other side.

What I had not counted on were the regulations changing. We try not to think about trucks breaking down, trailers being too long. This all caused an immediate loss of work, revenue and comfort.

We were comforted knowing that while we were building our business we did not put all of our eggs in one basket. We had begun building another business part time, our anti-aging vitamin company.

 
Have you ever thought about how secure your job or business really is? It was a real wake up call for me. Now I know for sure, the only security in business is to have a back up plan.
 
Start today working on your plan. You do not want to be caught off guard by rules, regulations and laws that are not within your control. Like my family, yours will be thankful that you thought ahead.
 
We need your help! We can't do what we do without you. Leave your comment below and join in the discussion. We'd love to hear your thoughts about being prepared for imminent change.
 
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Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
 
Head shot 3scarf cropped 150x150 Weekend Trip Ends At Beach AccessCarla 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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Do You Want To Understand Auto Transport Lingo

 

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Auto transport lingo got you baffled…

Have you ever been confused when trying to make sense of everything involved in auto transport? You are not alone.

A friend and I were talking the other day about the auto transport industry as a whole. She was not aware there were so many different titles for the same job or person doing the job. Another unclear matter was what each person's responsibilities were. We decided it was time to explain what the lingo means so you have a better understanding of each job.

There are multiple positions within the auto transport industry. Each position fills a very specific niche within the scope of transporting a car. Below you will see the four major players involved when a car is transported.

Auto Transport Lingo Umbrella

Broker

Dependable Auto Shippers

Dispatcher

Customers

By explaining each in detail, we hope it will tie the whole picture together. When we understand each person's part, it may make reading our stories a little easier too.

 
 
The purpose and passion of the auto transport broker is to serve their customer. Each transport broker may do the business slightly different, but the result is the same. The person wanting to ship a car contacts them for a free quote. It is the broker’s responsibility to gather all information related to that shipment. The origination and destination of the car, who the point of contact is at both ends and all information related to the car itself.

Next they will search for and contract with a qualified owner-operator's dispatcher. Each driver will need a background check for safety reasons. Contracts will be signed between the broker and dispatcher. Finally, they notify the client with details of the transport.
 
An exceptional transport broker will follow the transport to completion and ask for a review of the car-hauler. This small detail shows concern for the customer and will gain their business in the future.
 
 

The dependable auto shipper may also known by other titles. You may be more familiar with car-hauler, truck driver or even owner-operator. All of these titles refer to one in the same, the man or woman who drives the truck.

The car-hauler is responsible for physically loading the car onto the trailer. Before loading takes place, the driver makes an inspection. Once the car is loaded, it must be strapped or chained down. This keeps the car from bouncing around or off the trailer while in motion. If you have ever watched this in action, it is quite a feat.

Once the truck arrives to its destination, the driver will unload the car, inspect it and collect the transport fee. This fee is a COD, or cash on deliver.

Auto Transport Dispatcher

An auto transport dispatcher works with the owner-operator to locate cars. Dispatchers can be employees or independent contractors of the trucking company.

Using available resources, they contact the auto transport broker to accept their load. Each client's car is a load. Each truck is set up a little bit differently and can carry a different number of cars.
 
The dispatcher is responsible for researching the car specifications. This enables him or her to load as many cars as possible onto the trailer. This will maximize the profit for each load and their paycheck.
 

 

A customer can be anyone wanting to move a car. Dealerships, buyers, sellers, parents, grandparents, students, military and corporations are customers to name a few. When shipping a car is high on their priority list, they look for someone to coordinate the transport for them.

You can ship your car yourself. It is a simple process if you know where to find a qualified car-hauler that runs the route you need to ship in. All you need to do is verify the insurance is in force; their authority to operate is active with Department of Transportation and their driving record free of points and down time. If you have unlimited time on your hands, doing all of the above will fill that time.

Otherwise, a customer will want to call an auto transport broker for a free quote to ship their car. The broker will then search for and contract with an owner-operator to transport their car. The dispatcher will contact the broker to complete the transaction and notify the car-hauler. Finally, the driver will pick up the customer's car and deliver it to them at their chosen destination.

This my friends should clear up any confusion in understanding the lingo of the auto transport industry.

 

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.
 
What did you think?
 
Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
 
Post your comments below.
 
remember, sharing is caring…

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How One Auto Transport Broker Avoided Credit Card Fraud

 
Auto transport broker avoids car ring…
 
Credit card fraud uses handicap relay.
 
It was a bright, sunshiny day as I started the coffee that morning. Splashing my face with warm water, running a brush through my hair I hurried to get into the office. The phones were already ringing off the hook and it was only 7 AM.
 
Slipping into my jeans I half jumped, half ran to grab the phone. It is so much easier to answer the call than to pull the messages later. It also is much better customer service to answer before the third ring. As I caught my breath and answered the call, the voice on the other end of the line caught me off guard.
 
Innocent operator assist in progress…
 
"This is the operator with XYZ Company. I have a relay assisted call for the owner of the company. Is he available"?
 
“Yes, I am the owner of Bullseye Auto Transport. How may I assist you today” was my reply. The operator apologetically began to relay questions to me on behalf of the transport customer.
 
I assumed he was either deaf or dumb because he could not speak to me personally. The process was tedious and time consuming. All the while, the phone continued to ring in my ear. Those customers left a message and I would call them back.
 
Excitement began to rise up within me. An order of this size would be very good for business. The operator read the typed message. The customer needed to move 24 cars, all mid-size sedans. He wanted them transported from point A to my terminal.
 
The customer wanted storage fees included in the auto transport quotes. Not being able to receive the shipment, he wanted to prepay using a credit card. I stopped the operator cold in her tracks.
 
I advised the customer that we do not store customer cars. We also do not accept credit cards to pay in full for a load of that size. Now I started to get a little suspicious.
 
It seemed that the customer was not reading the operator's text. He came back at me with yet more questions and requests. He totally took charge and was ignoring my reply. The next direction was to put an extra $1,500.00 on the credit card.
 
The relay continued. Please have the cashiers check mailed to them. Finally, they would send their company driver to my location to pick up the cars.
 
Yet again, I replied that we do not accept credit cards for a load of that size. We do not store customer’s cars at our terminal, nor do we put additional funds on a credit card. Still yet, we do not mail a check to the customer.
 
This cloak and dagger relay through the operator took place over sixty minutes. Finally I took control. When I advised the operator that it was evident the customer was not legitimate the line was disconnected. She advised me he had hung up and the call was finished.
 
Untrained auto transport broker learns hard way…
 
Let us go back to the beginning a moment. I want to share with you some of the warning signals I should have noticed but did not.
 
Regular customers who call for auto transport quotes are looking for information first. They normally have never shipped a car before. They do not know the terminology. Most car shippers do not know the steps involved in nationwide auto transport either. Therefore, a normal conversation will last anywhere from five to ten minutes max.
 
The majority of customers want to pay a deposit first. When delivering the car, the customer pays the balance to the driver. Cash on delivery is the preferred method of payment for nationwide auto transport.
 
In six years, we have only delivered to a storage terminal two times. Both were for legitimate customers who shipped a single car. Never would we ever charge more on a credit card than for services rendered. I can thank my banking background for that knowledge.
 
That was the first attempt to rip off an auto transport broker by the car ring. Thank goodness, I had learned the art of asking questions. By getting to the bottom of the real answers it saved our company money. It also saved a lot of heartache and our auto transport reputation.

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.
 
What did you think?
 
Let us know your thoughts on today's article.
Post your comments below.
 
remember, sharing is caring…

Are we connected on Twitter? | Come write on my FaceBook Page Wall.

Auto Transport – Is It For You?

Auto transport – is it for you?

As I debated about becoming an auto transport broker myself, I often wondered what type of person would be interested in auto transport. Only knowing one person involved in the business it was not an easy answer to find. However, within a few weeks my research found a variety of people who owned these types of businesses.

Part of my research involved making sure the business could be a profitable one. No one wants to sink money into something that will not produce a return. What I found is that regardless of the economy people will always continue to move. Children grow up. They go off to school, move across country, even get married and relocate. It only made sense that the market is one that will continue no matter what.

When putting all of the facts together, the auto transport business was a solid proposition. In the six years, since we opened our doors we have enjoyed all the rewards of working for ourselves. From freedom to travel to the limitless income potential, it was the right decision for us.

Have you been looking for a rewarding, challenging career change? Maybe starting an auto transport business is for you, too.

These brokers are just like you and me.

One particular woman is an ex-waitress. She desired to get off her feet and work from home. We have since become friends and she has been instrumental in my accumulation of a wealth of knowledge.

Businesspersons from diverse industries seemed to be attracted to auto transport as well. Some were self-employed while others were corporate employees looking for a way out.

There was yet another part of the work force that wanted to realize freedom too. A mom of three young children who was a full time student while working full time, too. She was looking for a way to work from home, be with her kids and be able to finish school without killing herself.

Another broker was a truck driver and his wife. They bought an existing brokerage for his wife to run while he was on the road. She was able to keep his truck loaded with cars. In addition, she scheduled her own clients with trucks who ran different routes than her husband.

Everyone had a few things in common. They were all willing to invest in their education and their future. They were willing to work hard and learn as they built their business. All of them had the desire to have the freedom to work when they wanted to. It was very important to them all to be able to work from anywhere. They could still serve their client whether it was in the office or on vacation. Last but certainly not least they all wanted "no ceiling" on the income they could earn.

Is it a money making proposition?

There are no guarantees when building a business. Being a business owner is nothing like being an employee. In order to make money in business we must show up and give it 110% every day, without exception. There will be difficulties, this is how we learn and grow.

What I have come to learn is that you take it as it comes. One month you may be busier than a bee. The next month you might be able to catch your breath and relax a bit. During this time, you will be able to catch up filing, send thank you cards and balance the books.

We had to adopt the attitude of take it while the getting is good and save for that rainy day. Some seasons of the year are flat out crazy busy. This usually occurs from about mid-February through August when the kids go back to school.

Other seasons are very slow. This time of year, we learned to relax, maybe take that long awaited vacation. It takes planning your finances though or you can spend every last dime. Then you could find yourself in a pickle come the "relaxing season".

One thing is for sure. Auto transport can be a money-making business. You can learn how to become an auto transport broker; and with the right attitude, coach and determination you can work from the comfort of your home office. You can succeed in building a profitable business in auto transport.

PS. we love hearing your thoughts, share your comments below…