Car transporters come in all shapes and sizes. From big auto haulers carrying six 4x4s to individuals with trailers carefully shipping a vintage Jag, the role includes a spectrum of skills and specialties. Some car transporters work within a single state, others will take a car from New York to Chicago twice a week. Nothing about the business is one-size-fits-all, which is good news for new drivers looking to break in. Whatever your skills, your experience, your equipment or your location, there’ll always be someone who needs your services.
Huge transport management companies like Montway offer end-to-end deliveries with as much care as you’d expect. Smaller operations serve customers whose cars need extra care, or whose routes are harder to drive, or who value the hands-on expertise of an individual, not a corporation. Prices vary, according to the job. It’s a car transporters job to:
- Find customers who need their service
- Provide a fair quote for the work involved
Without achieving these two things, a car transporter will be left in the dust.
The choice becomes: Do you advertise your services on Facebook or in the local news and pray that someone chooses you over a major transporter, or do you pay for the lengthy screening and vetting process to join a high-profile brand who’ll take a cut on any work you do?
But there’s an increasingly popular a third option.
Joining an online marketplace
The first thing savvy car transporters do, if limited reach or budget are obstacles, is join a booming online marketplace that puts customers in touch with drivers.
CitizenShipper is one example. A driver registers, gives proof of their license and any experience they have, undergoes a brief screening and then builds a profile for customers to find. Customers, meanwhile, post details of the car they need transporting, where from and where to, and any quirks or extra information that the driver might need to know. When a requested shipment matches a driver’s skills, schedule and location, the driver gets alerted. He or she is then able to bid for the work they want, provide the quote they want to give, and speak to the customer directly without going through an intermediary. Fast, efficient and loved by old hands and newcomers alike.
Your quote should depend on a few factors:
- Destination (and distance)
- Departure date
- Type of vehicle transported
If it’s a job you’re really keen on, you may wish to outbid your competition to attract the customer. This is an especially good tactic for new car transporter with little experience who want a few jobs and testimonials under their belt.
The process from quote to delivery
Say a customer’s posting catches your eye. It’s suitable for your schedule, you have the equipment to do it and you send the customer a quote. The customer accepts, and you negotiate a date and time to meet and to pick up the car, and a date to deliver it by. What next?
Between now and that date, make sure your equipment is in perfect condition. If you have a trailer, is the tire pressure good enough? Are the wiring connectors, safety wires and lights fully functioning? Are the straps (or chains) in good nick before they are used to secure a customer’s car? Is your vehicle battery charged and the tank full? If so, you’re ready to pick up your customer’s car.
Responsibility for the condition of the customer’s car lies with the customer, but it’s worthwhile making sure they’ve followed best practice before hitching it to your vehicle. No matter how short and safe the route, it’s still sensible to make sure the car has, if possible, very little gas in the tank in order to reduce weight and centripetal momentum
It can also be wise to ask the customer to switch off the alarm before handing the car over. Locked cars with no engine running, sensing they are being moved, can sometimes react as if they are being broken into. It won’t affect the safety of a transported car to switch the alarm off, but it might benefit your eardrums!
Last stage before you set off: Plan your route. Go online to check there are no planned road closures, or adverse weather that may delay you.
Now that’s out of the way, the rest is easy! Load the car onto your vehicle and set out on the open road, fully confident that there’s a happy customer in your future, and a healthy payment too.
Customers concerned about the safety of their car in transit may wish to take a glance at this guide.
For information on transporting vehicles other than cars, read here for boats and here for motorcycles.
With a DOT license, a responsible attitude and an interest in the open road, you’re ready to start making money as a car transporter. Register today – it’s free!
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