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The Auto Shipping Price Trap

March 23, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 90

When the need for transporting your vehicle arises, you are likely in the midst of a significant investment of time and money. In some cases, people needing auto transport services have purchased a vehicle away from their home town. In other cases, people are relocating to another region of the country or beyond. With all the stress and spending involved and with the hundreds of websites offering to have multiple companies compete for your business, its easy to fall into the price trap.

Because of the significant investment in equipment required to be licensed as a transportation carrier (companies that are licensed to conduct the hauling of vehicles) an overwhelming number of freight in the transportation industry are transported by small fleets of just a few trucks or single truck independent operators. Many of the small businesses which operate carriers rely on brokers (companies licensed to only facilitate transport by subcontracting to carriers) for a large portion of their workload in lieu of hiring sales and marketing staff.

When you conduct what amounts to a bidding process for your transport needs, you go out into a market that is dominated by brokers. The vast majority of the companies you find by searching the internet are brokers. When you come upon one of the hundreds of sites that offer to have many competing bids for your business sent to you, your information is being sold to brokers. What ensues is an onslaught of calls and emails.

The offers you will receive will be a mixture of all kinds of quotes and sales approaches: very expensive with guarantees, very cheap quotes with a salesperson digging for a credit card number to "get the car on the board right away," and everything in between. Here are some examples:

The "Board" Guy: This broker tells you he'll get you taken care of right away he just needs some addresses to get your vehicle "on the board." This is a reference to internet resources that brokers can list your shipment on for carriers to review. Aren't you glad you put your shipment out to bid to brokers so they can put it out to bid?

The Credit Card Guy: This broker can move your car more cheaply than anyone else on Earth, you just need to give him a deposit via credit card right now and he'll get right to work on it. Fast forward a week or two and your vehicle still hasn't been picked up. Why? Because the quote he gave you was not enough to make the transport profitable for a carrier.

The Guarantee Guy: This is the guy you were just lucky enough to find. You just happened to fall into the perfect guy who knows that route and all the drivers along it. He guarantees you'll have your vehicle in just a few days, just as long as you pay a large deposit or full price right now.

So how do you select the right service for your needs and avoid the price trap?

You want a broker who knows the business and can explain to you how they select their approved carriers. If your broker can't talk about their internal vendor selection process, you can assume one doesn't exist. If they don't know how they select the carriers they will work with then how can they know if the carrier is reputable?

You want the broker who doesn't make guarantees. Brokers make their money nationwide. It's simply impossible to know off the top of their head when your car is arriving before it is scheduled to be picked up. Don't hire the guy who knows it all, hire the guy who tells you the truth and is capable enough to educate you on the process.

Most importantly, go into your selection process understanding that inter-state transportation is a federally regulated business and complications and nuance come with that. Find the person who can make sense of the confusion. Find a subject matter expert.

by Tom Marino

Tom Marino is president and Chief Executive Officer of Sharp Auto Transport, a domestic and international auto shipping service located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA. Mr. Marino has significant executive experience in a range of professional service industries, including the last decade providing automobile transportation services to auto dealers and buyers across the world. You can find Sharp Auto Transport at

Source: EzineArticles
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