Recipe For Happy Clients In Auto Transport: Quality Customer Service And Professionalism

Have you ever found yourself caught in the middle of a big mess?

When answering the phone you never know what challenge will be on the other end. Will it be a logistics problem or someone with a time issue? Will it be on your shoulders to fix the problem or another party’s responsibility?

Our company has two divisions at this time. One is a full service dispatch center for auto transport carriers. The second one is the brokerage for coordinating client auto transports.

Today’s challenge was a phone call from a dispatcher for an auto transport carrier who had not done her job correctly. We were not the broker nor the dispatch center involved. What was her problem and how could we help?

She had accepted a load (a vehicle) to transport to a small northern California town. Her contract noted the exact pick up and delivery addresses as well as the vehicle description and rate for the load. What she did not do was verify the delivery location, big costly mistake.

Long after the driver had picked up the vehicle, we are talking days and hundreds of miles; she discovered that her driver could not get to the customers delivery address. In fact, he could not get within 200 miles of the customers location. Department of Transportation sets laws for highway safety. In this case, the length of the truck and trailer were too long and could not travel this route.

As a courtesy, we provided several options to help her solve the problem. However, she had accepted a rate that would not cover the cost to deliver to the customer. This left her scrambling to find an acceptable solution so she could keep her driver rolling.

Many auto transport brokers and dispatchers would have blown off her request for help. They would have told her that her problem was not their problem. They would be right.

However, there have been times in the past that carriers have helped me out with information. After all business in the auto transport industry is a true learning experience every day. So today was my turn to reciprocate, to help a fellow carrier in need.

Do not let what happened to Mr. Auto Transport Client happen to you. Let us address several issues regarding what happened to this customer and the less than professional service he received. We will look at how a broker should serve their client for quality and professional customer service.

The auto transport broker’s job is customer service.

The primary job of an auto transport broker is to coordinate the transport of the customer’s car. It may sound simple enough, but there are steps one must follow to do the job right.

The first rule is to never, ever assume anything. Remember what the word assume stands for – makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”. Questions are the broker’s best friend.

The customer cares primarily about the price, timing and care of their car transport. The broker needs to keep all customers needs in mind when competing for the job. Price is certainly a factor, but they also need to keep in mind contracting with a quality carrier. This will ensure the kind of service their customer demands and deserves.

Properly quoted transports can be tricky.

There are different factors the broker must look at to quote a transport. To provide the customer with a quote that gets the job done it must be fair and honest.

Vehicle information is one of those key factors. Manufacturers change many details of cars each year like weight, length and sometimes height. All of these points can make a difference to the car carrier when putting together a full load.

Another key piece of information is the location of pick up and delivery. Remember, auto transport carriers do not drive “as the crow flies”.

Therefore, when mapping the route the broker needs to be sure where the car is located and where it needs to deliver to, exactly. When contacting the carrier it is to everyone’s advantage to be upfront with ALL of the details. This may sound funny, but it can create a big mess like the one we encountered today.

Auto transport carrier has responsibility, too.

Another layer of responsibility lies with the carriers themselves. To cover all of the bases it is the dispatcher’s job to check each location, pick up and delivery. They may not know all of the DOT regulations, but their driver will or should.

The driver and dispatcher must work together, as a team. The dispatcher should know the working space of the driver’s trailer. Knowing the varying makes and models of the cars will help him/her be able to load the truck for maximum business profits.

Once a broker dispatches a vehicle to the carrier’s company, they have a signed, legal contract for services. The unit, locations and the price is agreed upon in the contract. All research needs completing prior to accepting the load.

When each party completes their piece of the job properly it works like a well-planned recipe. When you do not leave any ingredients out of the mix, it makes for the perfect creation. On the other hand, just like leaving out eggs in a soufflĂ©…it will end in disaster every time.

This is what happened to Mr. Client today. The broker did not map out the delivery location making sure they contracted with a carrier capable of finishing the job. The dispatcher did not verify the delivery location to make sure her driver could get there either. The driver did not know the DOT regulations for this highway route.

Not only were the eggs left out, there was no flour, oil nor sugar! Mr. Client paid for “door to door” service and instead got no service.

We are so thankful for the professional manner in which we learned to operate our business. Our customers may pay a little more, but they love the service they receive. They do not have to drive 200 miles to pick up their car.

Our passion is to train up a new breed of auto transport broker, true business owners who take pride in providing their customers with quality customer service. We are searching for entrepreneurs who want to be part of making a real change in the industry for a better tomorrow for all families, including theirs.

Top 10 Auto Transport Questions and Answers

Read the most asked questions from customers about transporting and moving their vehicles. We answer frequently asked questions by our customers regarding the auto transport process and how it works.

1. How long should an auto transport take?

Shipping time all depends on the road conditions, weather, traffic and the how fast or slow your driver is. Listed below are some very basic ideas to help you along the way. Make sure however you contact us for your actual scheduled times.

East Coast to West Coast – 5 to 14 days

Midwest to East Coast – 3 to 8 days

South to the North – 3 to 8 days

All shipping times are estimated.

2. Can I put personal items in the vehicle?

Auto transporters are not licensed to transport personal belongings, as they do not have a household goods transportation license issued by the Federal Government. In addition, if you were to place things in the vehicle during car shipment, they would not be covered by insurance, unless you have a floater on your own home insurance. Many auto transport drivers, will allow some small personal belongings placed in the trunk. Some drivers allow you to put 100lbs of things in the trunk.

3. How does auto transport process work?

Auto transport is a fairly simply process. Once you submit the required paperwork and your deposit is received, the transport of your vehicle will be scheduled according to the dates on your shipping order. You should receive a call from the carrier anywhere from 10 to 24 hours in advance of your pick up date. When the driver picks up your vehicle, he will do a detailed inspection of your automobile and will present you with a Bill of Lading document. The same Bill of Lading will be present on delivery so you can re-inspect the car. The reverse happens at the delivery point. The driver calls in advance and will walk around the vehicle to see if there is any damage and take delivery upon your approval.

4. What is a “Bill of Lading”?

A Bill of Lading is a legal document issued by the carrier, that confirms the receipt of a car for transport, and specifies the terms and conditions of delivery. The document will be used at the time of pick-up and must be signed by the client and the carrier. It is also will be signed when the car is delivered. Consider the Bill of Lading as a receipt, a contract and a document that ensures the security of your possession.

5. What kind of truck will my vehicle be shipped on?

In most cases, your vehicle(s) will be transported on an open 8 or 10 vehicle hauler, the same type of trucks used to deliver new vehicles from factories to your local dealerships. Enclosed carriers are also offered by carriers but are $400 extra. Most popular and standard way of moving your vehicle is usually by open trailers.

6. What type of paperwork do I need to ship my vehicle? (Insurance, title, registration, etc.)

Unless your vehicle is leaving the country all that is required for your shipment is a signature and walk around with the driver at pick up. This walk around will allow you and the driver to verify if any damage exists at pick up.

7. What should I do if my vehicle arrives with damage?

First thing you should do is make sure the driver understands that the damage is new and was not on the original bill of lading. The damage should clearly be marked and noted, then signed for by the driver. Upon completion of delivery, a call should be placed to driver’s insurance company or Ship Any Car to inform us of the damage. In most cases the car carrier will ask for an estimate and send you payment in a couple weeks. If the carrier is not responsive and unwilling to work with you to resolve the issue, make sure you contact their insurance company and make a claim. Be sure you have all the documentation to back up your claim.

8. Do auto transport companies include insurance in their estimates?

Most transporters include some insurance in their basic price but you should ask about how much it is and if they offer additional insurance at a higher price. You may be able to get insurance separately as well. Also call your car insurance company and see if they offer coverage or protection for transporting your vehicle.

9. What if I have a non-operational vehicles?

The vehicle can still be transported but in most cases additional fees will apply because of the extra carrier equipment and labor needed to transport it. Please note, if car is in rolling condition less fees will apply.

10. Will I be charged by size of my vehicle?

Yes, larger cars like trucks and SUV’s will cost more money than a standard size car since it will take more room and weighs more on a trailer.