Category Archive: auto transport tips

What Are Seasonal Fluctuations In Auto Transport?

Just exactly what is meant by the phrase “seasonal fluctuations in auto transport”? Everybody talks about it but hardly anybody explains it. The auto shipping business just assumes that the phrase is self explanatory, and to a degree it is. Obviously, as the seasons change there are ebbs and flows in the car transport industry that change with it. But what does that really mean for the customer? How does that play out in real life? And why should a customer give it any concern? Here on this page we will attempt to answer those questions.

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Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, otherwise known in the auto transport industry as FMCSA, has strict guidelines to the number of hours a truck driver may operate on the road. For their protection and the public, they are not free to do whatever they want. The FMCSA put it very succinctly and nicely:

“As the driver of a large, heavy truck, you have a lot of responsibility as you
drive down the road. The biggest concern is safety. That brings us to the
main reason for the hours-of-service regulations — to keep fatigued drivers
off the public roadways. These regulations put limits in place for when and
how long you may drive, with the idea that these limits will help make sure
that you stay awake and alert while driving” (1).

Auto Transport Trucks That Are Susceptible To FMCSA Rules

Basically if a truck is over 10,000 pounds and hauling commercial loads interstate, it is subject to the Unites States Department of Transportation rules and regulations. If a truck only operates within one state, it is considered intrastate and does not need to comply with federal government regulations. However, most car shipments do cross state lines and therefore the truck driver is subject to interstate rules.

What Are The Basic Hours of Service Guideline Limits?

There are three main rules that make sense to everyone. And then come the lawyers to parse it this way and that, exceptions for this rule and that, and parsing of the parsing of exceptions to exceptions. Yeah, in the end you need a scorecard because nobody reads Shakespeare anymore (look up his advice regarding lawyers) and there’s enough wiggle room to get out of almost every situation. Be that as it may, here are the three main rules that the FMCSA spelled out clearly as quoted from the FMCSA Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service:

FMCSA_RulesRule #1 – The 14 Hour Duty Limit

“This limit is usually thought of as a “daily” limit even though it is not based on a 24-hour period. You are allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours of duty time after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. The 14-consecutive-hour duty period begins when you start any kind of work. Once you have reached the end of this 14-consecutive-hour period, you cannot drive again until you have been off duty for another 10 consecutive hours.

Your driving is limited to the 14-consecutive-hour duty period even if you take some off-duty time, such as a lunch break or a nap, during those 14 hours.

Example: You have had 10 continuous hours off and you come to work at 6:00 a.m. in the morn­ing. You must not drive your truck after 8:00 p.m. that evening. You may do other work after 8:00 p.m., but you cannot do any more driving until you have taken another 10 consecutive hours off.”

This regulation is found in Section 395.3(a)(2).

Rule #2 – The 11 Hour Driving Limit

“During the 14-consecutive-hour duty period explained above, you are only allowed to drive your truck for up to 11 total hours. There is no limit on how many of those hours you are allowed to drive at one time — you may drive for as little as a few minutes or as much as 11 hours in a row. Once you have driven a total of 11 hours, you have reached the driving limit and must be off duty for another 10 consec­utive hours before driving your truck again.

Example: You have had 10 consecutive hours off. You come to work at 6:00 a.m. in the morning and drive from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., you must not drive again until you have at least 10 consecutive hours off. You may do other work after 6:00 p.m., but you cannot do any more driving of a commercial motor vehicle.”

This regulation is found in Section 395.3(a)(1).

Rule #3 – The 60/70 Hour Duty Limit

“In addition to the first two limits, which are explained above, is the 60/70-hour limit. This limit is based on a 7-day or 8-day period, starting at the time specified by your motor carrier for the start of a 24-hour period. This limit is sometimes thought of as a “weekly” limit.

However, this limit is not based on a “set” week, such as Sunday through Saturday. The limit is based on a “rolling” or “floating” 7-day or 8-day period. The oldest day’s hours drop off at the end of each day when you calculate the total on-duty time for the past 7 or 8 days. For example, if you operate on a 70-hour/8-day schedule, the current day would be the newest day of your 8-day period and the hours you worked nine days ago would drop out of the calculation.

DAY HOURS
1. Sunday 0
2. Monday 10
3. Tuesday 8.5
4. Wednesday 12.5
5. Thursday 9
6. Friday 10
7. Saturday 12
8. Sunday 5
TOTAL 67 hours

You are required to follow one of these two “weekly” limits:

• If your company does not operate vehicles every day of the week, you are not allowed to drive after you’ve been on duty 60 hours during any 7 consecutive days. Once you reach the 60-hour limit, you will not be able to drive again until you have dropped below 60 hours for a 7-consecutive-day period. You may do other work, but you cannot do any more driving until you are off duty enough days to get below the limit. Any other hours you work, whether they are for a motor carrier or someone else, must be added to the total.

• If your company does operate vehicles every day of the week, your employer may assign you to the 70-hour/8-day schedule. This means that you are not allowed to drive after you’ve been on duty 70 hours in any 8 consecutive days. Once you reach the 70-hour limit, you will not be able to drive again until you have dropped below 70 hours for an 8­consecutive day period. You may do other work, but you cannot do any more driving until you get below the limit. Any other hours you work, whether they are for a motor carrier or someone else, must be added to the total.

34-Hour Restart
The regulations allow you to “restart” your 60 or 70-hour clock calculations after having at least 34 consecutive hours off duty. In other words, after you have taken at least 34 hours off duty in a row, you have the full 60 or 70 hours available again. You would then begin counting hours on the day of the restart and not go back the full 7 or 8 days.

Example: If you follow the 70-hour/8-day limit and work 14 hours for 5 days in a row, you will have been on duty for 70 hours. You would not be able drive again until you drop below 70 hours worked in an 8-day period. However, if your company allows you to use the 34-hour restart provision, you would have driving time available immediately after 34 consecutive hours off duty. You would then begin a new period of 8 consecutive days and have 70 hours available.”

This regulation is found in Section 395.3(b) and (c).

Direct Express Auto Transport’s 4 Suggestions

The FMCSA has tried with their 3 basic rules to protect truck drivers from themselves. Time is money and auto transport truck drivers are by nature hard working people who will push themselves to make a buck to feed their families. It is extremely grueling and hard work that they are doing. Don’t think so? Try driving your cushy sedan 500 miles in a day and you will be stiff when done, your back sore and your brain weary. Sleep it off and get up and do it again. And again. Don’t stop there, gotta get to Baltimore, so do it yet again. Brothers and sisters it’s hard. So the FMCSA set rules that protects auto transport truck drivers from themselves and maybe the bosses who otherwise might push them too far.

The FMCSA rules obviously protect the general public as well. Here are Direct Express Auto Transport’s 4 tips on how to treat a car transport truck driver upon delivering your vehicle:

1. Be punctual even if the driver is not. He has several customers to meet and any one of them may throw his schedule off by showing up late or unprepared, i.e. failing to have cash or money order to pay the balance. The driver will really appreciate your understanding of the pressures on his time. And he does feel bad if you are inconvenienced.

 

2. Smile and be kind please. That auto transport driver just performed a service for you and chances are he or she just had a rougher day than you. Honey works better than vinegar. A smile goes a long way.

 

3. Of course he or she is being paid for a service, but would it kill you to say thank you. There is dignity in work and when somebody does a job, it’s not all about the money. It is also respect for a job well done. Saying thank you is really appreciated.

 

4. You know, a waiter or waitress gets tipped for hustling tables and providing good service, and they deserve it. Don’t you think that a auto transport driver who just took good care of your car for several hundred miles, maybe thousands, deserves a little extra too? You don’t have to do that, but c’mon buddy, be cool about it and show a little extra green. It’s good Kharma and what goes around, comes around.

Great Advice On Multiple Car Shipping Quote Web Sites

How Do Auto Transport Lead Providers Work?

When a customer searches on the Internet for an auto transport company, it is sometimes hard to tell which sites are in that business from the pretenders who are merely lead generation sites. The multiple auto shipping quotes web sites disguise themselves as real companies, capturing personal information and the particulars of an auto transport shipment, and then turn around and sell that information to nearly 10 brokers. What happens next is often chaos and confusion for the customer.

Multiple QuotesThere are probably about ten former auto transport brokers who for whatever reason decided to give up shipping vehicles and now dominate the multiple quote lead business. The broker business is hyper competitive and takes a toll on most owners, so off they go. The lead providers usually own several sites that they optimize for certain major keywords. Many lead generation sites employ people whose only job is to find ways to push their auto transport web sites higher on Google, Bing and Yahoo. The customer has a hard time discerning the real from the sudo-real companies, and may unwittingly submit his or her personal information that is within seconds sold for $1.00 to $2.00 per lead to several actual brokers. The average total value of a typical multiple quote lead is therefore roughly $10 to the web site owner.

If the auto shipping lead generation site has natural or organic web position, then the $10 collected per lead is pure profit. However, if the site used advertising companies such as Google Adwords to generate the multiple quote lead, then usually that advertising service will get the lion’s share of the $10. Ouch. So most lead providers use a mixture of both methods. It’s all numbers, and some lead providers are simply sharper than some of their lead providing competitors.

Who Buys The Multiple Quote Car Shipping Leads?

Usually, but not always, very aggressive auto transport brokers buy the leads. They have to be aggressive or somebody else will eat their lunch. Think about it. That broker knows that the lead they just received was also sent to as many as 9 other companies at precisely the same time. On average it cost each broker $1.00 to get that lead. Let’s say he buys 100 leads every day, so that’s $100 regardless of whether he books an order. The auto transport broker sends an email to the prospective customer just as soon as he can figure out the quote. But by the time he does that, the customer may have already received 9 other emailed quotes. If that broker’s quote is too high, he is likely to be eliminated from consideration, even though he knows that the order is unlikely to ship anytime soon for less than his quote. For our part, we are oblivious to competitor quotes. We know what it will take to actually ship an order within one week and will not deviate our approach. For that reason, we only occasionally participate in the lead buying business.

What About The Phone Calls?

It gets worse. The lead buying broker will also call the customer right away because his 9 competitors will surely do that. If he is not one of the very first to call, he may encounter a highly agitated and annoyed customer whose cell phone is lighting up from obnoxious sales people who won’t take no for an answer. The customer may find himself regretting having filled out a multiple quote form, and most certainly providing his phone number.

But wait there’s more … many auto transport brokers trash talk one-another and make all sorts of confusing statements about the process. What to do and what not to do? Why the other fella is so bad and so on. Who does the customer believe? And even if a broker books the order, he must contend with 9 other brokers who have his customer’s information and continue to call. For our part, we respect the privacy of our potential customers and do not call their cell number. Nor do we pepper the customer with incessant emails. One emailed quote is enough, don’t you think?

What Usually Happens?

As noted earlier, there is tremendous downward pressure on lead buying brokers to lower their price. If it’s priced too cheap, the carriers drive right by that load and pick up a vehicle elsewhere that pays better. There is something in every industry called market pricing or rates, and that is also true in the auto shipping business. There are no official statistics, but many brokers know that nearly 50% of the multiple quote lead orders end in cancellation because of cheap pricing.

Our Original Car Shipping Quote Calculator

Direct Express Auto Transport was the very first company to offer free online quotes, and to this day nobody does it better.

We don’t ask for any personal information until a customer is ready to order. Give us a try by using our original and innovative auto transport rates calculator. You will find that we are still very competitive but appropriately priced. We know what we are doing, which is the reason that we have only about a 10% cancellation rate. We offer a fair deal for both the customer and the carrier, which is why both love us! Please give us a try today online or call 800-600-3750. Learn more about the auto shipping business by going here.

5 Great Tips For Car Shipping Snowbirds Migrating To Florida

Direct Express Auto Transport Florida Snowbird

Every December retirees from the New England and Midwestern states begin their annual winter trip to Florida, where they will stay until the spring. Florida auto transporters call them “snowbirds”, people who are escaping the colder states for the more hospitable, tropical breeze blowing in from the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

The snowbirds want their own car in Florida for the 3 to 6 months they typically stay. Some people drive their car to Florida, but many prefer to hire an auto transport company to arrange shipping their car. Is it cheaper to ship a car or drive it? The answer is that it usually is less expensive to drive it … unless one thing goes wrong. That could be a blown tire, transmission, fuel pump or so many other things. Even if nothing goes wrong, the extra miles on the car is a consideration. A round trip from Chicago to Miami is nearly 3,000 miles. There is also wear and tear on the driver and passenger, and that takes a different toll on every person. For tens of thousands of people, the decision to ship a car to Florida rather than drive it is the best option.

So how do Snowbirds go about shipping their vehicle in the smartest way? Here are 5 great tips that will make the process less stressful:

1. When Should A Snowbird Make The Car Available To Ship?

Answer:  Let’s say you personally arrive in Florida on the 10th of the month, and a car shipper can deliver your vehicle (once picked up) in three days. Let us also suppose that there is nobody else in Florida who can receive your vehicle and pay the driver. Therefore, you should not make your vehicle available before the 7th of the month, because you do not want your car to beat you there.

2. When Should A Snowbird Actually Book Their Auto Transport?

Answer: Do not book your vehicle shipment until about a few days before your vehicle is available to ship. Three days ahead is about right. Please know that it does not matter to the carriers when you book your shipment. There are no space reservations, so booking early does nothing for you and might actually hurt your chances of a timely shipment. You are competing with thousands of other snowbirds for limited space, so you want the most current car shipping rates and not something old and stale. The auto shipping rates typically creep up through December and reach their zenith the first week of January. The highest priced loads (cars) typically move first. For the most current auto shipping rates, please use our first of a kind car shipping quote calculator located on this page.

3. What If The Snowbird Leaves Home Before The Car? What Then?

Answer: It is almost impossible to not be inconvenienced at either end of a vehicle shipment when somebody is shipping a car to himself. Usually at the origination, there are family, friends and neighbors who would be kind enough to spend 30 minutes to meet a driver for you. No money changes hands at that meeting, just vehicle inspection, signing the Bill of Lading authorizing the shipment, and handing over a set of keys. That secondary contact of yours relieves so much stress on both you and the auto shipper.

4. How Does A Snowbird Know What Auto Transport Rate To Pay?

Answer: Depending on how much of a hurry the snowbird is in determines the auto shipping cost he should pay. There are many car transport companies who will low ball the auto shipping rate, knowing full well that all the higher priced loads will move first. If you don’t mind waiting weeks or maybe even a month to receive your car in Florida, then okay, book a cheap vehicle shipping rate, but know that you are probably in the back of the line.

Most people want their vehicle in Florida as quick as possible. After all, if the snowbird is only in Florida for 3 months, does he want to waste a month without his car? The more responsible auto transport companies will adhere to the true market rate for shipping a vehicle inside of 7 days from availability. The customer may see a huge disparity in car shipping estimates from numerous brokers. Choose one of the higher rates when shipping to Florida in the winter. It doesn’t have to be the highest, but most certainly don’t bite on the low-ball rates that some are hustling.

Direct Express Auto Transport could book a lot more orders with low-ball rates to Florida, but we prefer to have happy customers whose vehicles ship first and in a timely fashion. Please use our auto transport quotes calculator on this page to see our rates.

5. Should A Snowbird Use The Multiple Quote Forms Found Online?

Answer: It is never a bad idea performing due diligence. However, usually the weaker car shipping companies participate in the multiple quote leads programs. They know they are competing with 9 other brokers, so there is downward pressure on their car shipping rates that is actually a disservice to the customer. They book orders that they know cannot ship in a timely fashion. It’s called bait and switch and they are notorious for it. If you do fill out one of those forms, do not provide your telephone number, as those brokers will call you incessantly. It’s one thing to have your email inbox fill up (move to spam when tired of it) and quite another to have your cell phone bombarded.

Fortunately if you are reading this blog, then you have already found your way to a reliable auto shipping company. So feel confident with Direct Express Auto Transport and use our car shipping rates calculator located on this page. You can even book it online or call us at 800-600-3750.

Auto Shipping to New Mexico

 
New-Mexico

New Mexico is known as the land of enchantment and considered one of the mountain states. It’s a beautiful   place to live or visit, to experience the spectacular scenery and the beautiful culture. When you’re planning on auto transport to or from New Mexico, there are a few things to consider. It is very beautiful but the weather can go from one extreme to the next at any given point throughout the year. Tornadoes, thunderstorms, humidity, and severe wind are a few examples. If you’re planning on auto transporting  in the winter months, you may need to prepare yourself for possible delays with plenty of rain, storms, and harsh weather conditions

Depending upon which beautiful city of New Mexico you’re planning on auto shipping to or from, it’s good to keep in mind that it may be necessary to be flexible with the pickup and/or delivery locations. Note that  it is more difficult to meet in a small rural area that doesn’t have very much trucking traffic. It’s not impossible, but good to remember that it may take a little longer than the average wait time for an auto transporter to amalgamate a load . So we highly recommend meeting in  Albuquerque to ensure your vehicle gets transported as swiftly as possible.

Tips for Winter Auto Shipping

Winter Auto ShippingThe winter season brings with it not just cold air and snow but a real slowdown in the auto transport industry. Winter is the time of the year where very few people are looking to actually ship cars, and it’s a make-or-break season for many upstart companies in the car transport industry today. This is in direct contrast with the summer shipping season, when everyone and their brother are relocating or just shipping a car because it’s summer – it’s nice out, people get excited about things. The reasons behind it are numerous, to say the least.

However, when it comes to winter auto shipping you want to be prepared for higher prices and wait times for pickup, especially when shipping to or from the northern states in the U.S. This is when the snow sets in in areas like the Great Lakes and New England, which means carriers are going to have a much harder time shipping vehicles to or from those areas because they don’t like the snow and it doesn’t agree with their trucks. Keep this in mind when determining whether or not you want to ship your car in the winter months – you can probably save money either by shipping during the fall or the spring, if you have time. Some areas of the country may be impossible for carriers to get to as well, so keep that in mind.

Auto Transport Carriers Do Not Advertise

Carrier 1Let’s say you are planning to relocate and need to find a reliable company specializing in vehicle shipping. You may think that searching the web for different auto transport carriers would be the best place to start. However, you will soon discover that you cannot find what you are looking for and may even get the impression that auto transport companies are just too hard to come by.

While it is true that you won’t come across many auto transport carriers online, the vehicle shipping establishments are never the less out there. The reason you won’t find the actual car shipping carriers is because they typically do not advertise their business. “How can I locate a carrier for auto transport?” you may ask. Well, most carriers do not need to advertise. This is because they get most of their loads through the use of auto transport brokers. If you want to find a quality carrier, going through a broker is the way to go.

There are two main companies involved in the auto transport industry. You have the vehicle transport carriers, and then you have the car shipping brokers. Other people that play a significant role in auto transport are the quote providers. They are not directly involved in the process of vehicle shipping. However, you can expect them to use your basic information to get you connected with several brokers to further assist you with your vehicle shipping needs. The downside to the “lead providers” is that the customer might get pummeled with emails and calls, but we will leave that topic for another day.

Vehicle shipping carriers are the guys that load up the trucks and deliver the cars to customers. The vast majority of carriers use auto transport brokers to find their freight. Though carriers are the heart of the auto transport industry, they are too busy with vehicle shipping to spend hours constructing and updating a website or devote time to advertising. With all the time they spend driving to and fro, vehicle shippers rely heavily on brokers like Direct Express Auto Transport to bring in customers.

You want to use an auto transport broker to book your shipment. Unlike carriers, most brokers do have a web presence, and everything can be set up for you online. With the information you provide, your broker will handle all of the leg work and correspond with the carriers to ensure they have all the specifics for your auto transport shipment. Remember, the broker can get in contact with the carriers that you will not be able to find on your own. More than anything, that is the key point! It’s a big country. Wherever a carrier is this morning, he is 500 miles away this evening and you the customer won’t know in which direction? But the auto transport broker is so well connected that he can find the vehicle shipper going your way soon.

Using a broker may cost a little bit more than setting it up by yourself, but it is definitely worth the extra money. Let’s face it. The carriers are not so easy to find directly. Brokers are there to make things a little simpler for you. By using a broker, you also have a better chance of getting connected with a shipping company that offers top quality service.

What is a Snowbird?

Snowbird Auto TransportIn the auto transport industry there exists a specific type of customer that, while quite specific, is actually quite crucial to the success (or failure) of many auto transport company – and that specific customer is known as a snowbird. Simply put, a snowbird is a person who transports their vehicle from the northeast down to the Gulf Coast, primarily Florida. These customers routinely ship down during or just before onset of the fall months (though the season does go into early winter), and they will ship their vehicles back up usually about six months later, to escape the brutal Gulf Coast summers.

These customers are so crucial to the industry because they represent several different types of customers. For one, they are routine shippers, which brings repeat business into an industry where repeat business counts for just 5% of total sales for most companies. Not only that, but they’re reliable – there are always snowbirds, which in turn gives carriers a lot of options in terms of where they want to run their routes during the winter months. Many areas of the country become inaccessible to carriers for stretches at a time during the winter, particularly the northern states; by running snowbird routes in the winter months, carriers can ensure that they have a steady stream of customers and jobs lined up while still running plenty of routes and making plenty of money during the slower winter shipping season.

What to Know About Shipping an SUV

SSUV Transport Servicesport utility vehicles are great for a lot of different people. Some people need the extra cargo space that they offer, while others want the additional towing capabilities without going with a pickup truck. Still others use them to haul around a lot of passengers, and many SUV’s come with up to eight seats to maximize the number of people you can fit. But regardless of what you use it for, if you need to ship it you need to understand some things. For one, they’re more expensive than a standard car to ship – this is because they’re typically bigger, which means heavier, and they’re usually taller as well. Dimensions make a difference, but most important with an SUV is weight, and many SUV’s are much heavier than a small sedan.

The reason why weight is a factor is because the more weight is on the back of an auto transport truck, the worse their fuel economy is. As most of you know, fuel economy is important, especially when diesel prices are topping $4.00 per gallon in many parts of the U.S. Most SUV’s will only come with a small price increase over a regular car, though larger SUV’s like the Hummer H2 will go for a bit more than even a mid-size SUV. These price hikes come with the vehicle and are usually unavoidable, so make sure you plan your budget accordingly, and also make sure not to misrepresent your SUV and say it’s smaller than it is, as that can end up costing you a carrier if they don’t have the ability to ship something that large.

How Construction Equipment is Transported

Flatbed Auto TransportThere are lots of different things out there that aid in the construction of buildings and the like. Whether you’re looking to ship a smaller construction vehicle or something massive, you should be able to get quotes to transport it. However, because of the nature of construction equipment – they are naturally larger and heavier than even larger civilian vehicles – most every piece of construction equipment will need to be shipped via a flatbed auto transport truck. To be clear, we’re talking about construction equipment that has wheels and can be driven – bulldozers, bobcats, things of that nature. They will all need to be transported on a flatbed transport truck.

Flatbed transportation is more expensive than standard auto transport services because they are built to haul larger, heavier vehicles that standard shippers can’t. However, when it comes to construction equipment transport, there is not a lot of demand for it, and since flatbed carriers haul larger vehicles and there are not as many large vehicles out there they need to charge much more in order to break even and keep their business in business. Expect higher prices when transporting construction equipment, and you should also be prepared to wait a bit longer for pickup of your construction equipment. It takes a bit longer to find a flatbed carrier as there are fewer on the road than open or enclosed shippers; as such, they will take longer to find and may take a few more days to get to your vehicle.