Category Archive: auto transport tips

Car Transport Tips For January 2015

Car Transport – What To Expect In January 2015

Car Transport in JanuaryThe Snowbirds Are Coming! The Snowbirds Are Coming!

Allow us to play the part of Paul Revere and announce to the auto shipping nation that in January 2015 … the snowbirds are coming! Pretty safe prediction because it happens every year. For those of you possibly unaware, “snowbirds” are people from the northern states who migrate south in the winter to the warmer states. Most snowbirds are retirees or senior citizens, but not all. Some people simply have the luxury of continuing to work from a warmer location. They come from New England (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island) and the eastern seaboard (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, D.C., Virginia). The Midwest too (Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri). Some are from the Plain States and Pacific Northwest. Those are the cold weather regions where the winters can be long and harsh. The snowbirds say, “deal me out”.

What States Do Auto Shipping Snowbirds Flock?Car Shipping To Florida

Where do snowbirds go? Any place warm, preferably with a beach! Florida, California, Texas and Arizona are the top snowbird destinations. However, there are plenty of vehicle shipping snowbirds flocking to Nevada (Las Vegas), New Mexico, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast of Alabama and Mississippi too. Florida is undoubtedly number one as it has become synonymous with the word “snowbird”. According to a study conducted by the University of Florida, nearly a million “snowbirds” migrate to Florida for the winter. The numbers increase significantly every year. Some of those folks keep a vehicle in Florida year round just for the winter months that they are there, some don’t need a car very often and forego it altogether, but hundreds of thousands of snowbirds choose to ship a car south for the winter. The same holds true for California, Texas, Arizona and elsewhere. Our innovative and first of its kind auto transport quote calculator provides the most accurate rates in the industry.

What Happens Every January In Car Shipping?

Car Shipping in January is the best of times … and the worst of times. What happens every year is that people start booking their vehicle shipments right around the holidays, Christmas thru New Year’s. The drivers have families too and value their time home just like everybody else. There is a distinct drop in the number of vehicles dispatched and on the road the last ten days of December. But the orders from customers begin to mount, and most prefer the first date available to ship their cars, SUV’s, mini-vans, pickup trucks and more to be just after January 1st.. If they hadn’t already done so, customers call or go online to book their vehicle shipment the first week of January. It becomes an EXPLOSION of vehicles on the central board. Let’s break down January week by week.

Highway Snow Auto ShippersFirst week of January: The number of vehicles waiting to ship nearly doubles! That means orders are 200% of normal capacity. Far more vehicles are waiting to ship than carrier space available. Most are heading to the warmer states. So can you guess the vehicles shipping first and which ones sit and wait? The higher priced vehicles, called “loads” in the auto transport industry, generally will ship first. Money talks. We know that and therefore price our customer vehicles toward the top. Even being in the middle of the pack is a prescription for frustration. Customers of course gravitate to lower prices, but those auto transport brokers have extraordinarily high cancellation rates of upwards 70%, and eventually end up at our website or calling us to get a proper quote. Unfortunately those folks waste time and endure stress not getting it done right the first time, but how could they know? We don’t mess around and our customers get shipped among the first. Our customer reviews speak to that.

The customers who are trying to do an otherwise normal shipment, say from Boston to St. Louis, can find their shipment delayed. Why? The carriers can fill up easily heading to Florida instead, and will hustle back to do it again. So the mad snowbird post holiday rush to Florida and elsewhere warm has a ripple effect across the entire auto shipping industry.

Second week of January: The number of vehicles waiting to ship is at 170% of normal capacity. That means there is still upward pressure on pricing. People cancel their orders with the low-ball brokers and find the reputable auto transport brokers (read Direct Express) to price their vehicle proper for timely shipping. The system still has not flushed out the excess inventory of vehicles, as carriers are racing up and down the I-95 corridor and I-75 to fill up and do it again. And again. And so it goes.

Third week of January: The number of vehicles waiting to ship is at 130% of normal capacity. That means the system is beginning to achieve some semblance of balance. The higher priced vehicles of course move faster, but the middle of the pack average priced cars are now starting to get picked up. The cheaper priced vehicles continue to sit, but by now those brokers have had nervous breakdowns. Maybe their customers too. If you think about it, a snowbird is likely to spend four months in Florida or elsewhere. Going without their vehicle while there the first 3 or 4 weeks is a huge imposition. It’s not the carrier’s fault, they are working harder than anybody and often in harsh conditions. Blame the desperate auto shipping broker who should know better.

Fourth week of January: The number of vehicles waiting to ship is at 100% of normal capacity. That means the auto shipping industry has reached parity or equilibrium. Everything returns to normal. Most reasonably priced vehicles that have well populated originations and destinations will ship in a timely manner. Higher priced vehicles first, but the mid-range vehicles as well a few days later. The really cheap stuff is still likely to wait awhile, the very last to move.

So January starts out crazy and takes all month to right itself. Throw in a winter blizzard or two and things really get wild.

Best Car Transport tip for January … pay more not less. You will be glad you did.

Direct Express Auto Transport originated the instant online car shipping quote calculator. We have the lowest cancellation rate in the industry because our system for pricing vehicles is better than any other cheap knockoff out there. You cannot go wrong choosing Direct Express!

TrustPilot Lower Conversion Rate Test

TrustPilot Lower Conversion Rate – Test Result 18% Decline

Direct Express Auto Transport implemented for five days TrustPilot’s widget TrustBox Carousel to display on the quote page of our web site. The idea was that at the moment of decision TrustPilot would lend still more assurance to the consumer and increase our conversion rate in the manner of some of their case studies that reported as much as 20% higher. That is a very impressive figure and even if we were able to realize a fraction of that, it would pay for the hefty account membership fee. However, we did not have the same positive experience, instead realizing a nearly 18% decline in conversion rate, and offer an opinion here as to possibly why.Auto Transport Reviews TrustPilot

  • The TrustBox Carousel shows your company’s star rating, number of reviews and TrustScore, including a carousel showing your latest 4 and 5 star reviews.

Our five day test compared online car shipping quotes with TrustPilot’s Carousel implemented on the quote page from August 14th to 18th 2014, in comparison to August 7th to 11th when the site did not display TrustPilot’s widget Carousel. There was nothing else changed or different on the car transport quote page during those two five day periods. We chose the August 7th to 11th comparison dates because they lined up exactly with the same days of the week, Thursday thru Monday, as the TrustPilot August 14th to 18th dates. Each five day period had over 1,000 auto shipping quotes or visits to that page, what we consider to be a high enough statistical pool. Conversions declined nearly 18% during those five days.

TrustScore Based On The Bayesian Principle

Our “Average Rating” during the five days was 4.7 and 4.8, which rounded up should equal 5, or so one would think. However, TrustPilot displayed only 4 Stars, as apparently they convert their controversial TrustScore of 8.7 to a star score that equates closer to 4 than 5. The TrustScore is not the same as the Average Rating, which is what most other review sites use, and they apparently ignore it. Car Shipping Reviews BayesThe TrustScore algorithm is based on the Bayesian Principle, which was “named for Thomas Bayes, an English clergyman and mathematician. Bayesian logic is a branch of logic applied to decision making and inferential statistics that deals with probability inference: using the knowledge of prior events to predict future events. Bayes first proposed his theorem in his 1763 work … . Bayes’ theorem provided, for the first time, a mathematical method that could be used to calculate, given occurrences in prior trials, the likelihood of a target occurrence in future trials. According to Bayesian logic, the only way to quantify a situation with an uncertain outcome is through determining its probability.”

In essence, TrustPilot’s so called TrustScore is not a reflection of the reviewers Average Rating as it is a prediction of the future. It applies greater weight to the most recent or freshest reviews, which in our opinion is a double edged sword. On the one hand, negative reviews in the distant past are mathematically diminished as the fresher more positive reviews are given more weight, which could result in a higher TrustScore than the Average Rating. But on the other hand the reverse is true, a recent negative review will be afforded more mathematical weight, giving the complainer still more pop, and possibly reducing the TrustScore to less than the Average Rating. And it might take considerable time for the effect to taper off. A major assumption is employed with Bayesian logic that is not necessarily true. To wit, that recent events are a better barometer than older events to predict the future. Some might argue the exact opposite, that to be fair the longer history of any company puts into relative perspective any fresh event.

Auto Shipping Reviews Double Edge Sword

We believe the so called TrustScore of 8.7 that we were assigned, the 4 stars consequently displayed, and choosing not to show our actual TrustPilot Average Rating of 4.8 played a factor in lowering our conversion rate nearly 18% online for those five days. Seems to us folly to advertise anything less than 5 Stars or a 9.0 TrustScore. We submit here that TrustPilot’s use of Bayesian logic superimposes itself on the consumer. Instead of the potential customer viewing the average ratings of a company and basing their own predictions of the future upon what they see and read, TrustPilot’s Bayesian logic attempts to do that thinking for them. We are not at all convinced that 250 years ago Thomas Bayes figured out an accurate mathematical formula for scoring online reviews.

Other Mitigating Factors Possible

Other factors could have played a part, which we readily acknowledge. Perhaps market auto transport pricing changed and we were momentarily not as competitive. We doubt it, but possible. Perhaps it was a statistical anomaly and had we tested for a longer period that the car shipping orders conversion rates might have improved. Indeed, Google Adwords suggests nearly double the period of time for their own customers. However, when you feel in your gut you are losing car transport business for a particular reason, it sure is hard to keep going. Perhaps we chose the wrong display widget or placed it improperly. Could be a design thing, so to speak. But all agreed that the TrustBox Carousel looked handsome on our auto shipping site, so we doubt that too.

We took the TrustPilot Carousel down as we are unconvinced that it helps, and may even hurt sales. When in doubt – punt.

Making Sense Of Thomas Bayes and TrustScore

We are amateurs when it comes to statistics. So take this with a grain of salt. No … a shaker. We don’t see where the recency of positive reviews pushes the TrustScore higher. We only see the mere existence of one negative review pushing it down.

In our opinion, time is not a major factor. In the report of our company reviews below, the oldest review is 36 days old and the newest 1 day old. We say that 36 days makes them all fresh, and that as of today, August 21, 2014, our 4.83 Average Rating should be rounded to a 5 Star Rating. But as of today we have a TrustPilot TrustScore of 8.8, which is barely changed as five fresher reviews of 5 stars have been entered. The fresh 5 star reviews apparently don’t have the same weight or effect on scoring as negative reviews. So is the 4 stars emanating from a TrustScore of 8.8 a reliable indicator of reality, much less probability? We don’t think so.

Let’s break this down by recency since TrustPilot purports to weigh greater the freshest. Remember that at present TrustPilot is reporting our overall  TrustScore as 8.8 (equals 4.4) and awards only 4 Stars:

Group 1: Most recent six auto transport reviews (about 20% of total) equaling an Average Rating of 4.83
Five @ 5 Stars
One @ 4 Stars

Group 2: Second most recent six car shipping reviews (about 20% of total) equaling an Average Rating of 4.33
Four @ 5 Stars
One @ 4 Stars
One @ 2 Stars

Group 3: Third most recent six car transport reviews (about 20% of total) equaling an Average Rating of 4.83
Five @ 5 Stars
One @ 4 Stars

Group 4: Fourth most recent six auto shipping reviews (about 20% of total) equaling an Average Rating of 4.50
Four @ 5 Stars
One @ 4 Stars
One @ 3 Stars

Group 5: Fifth most recent six vehicle transport reviews (about 20% of total) equaling an Average Rating of 5.00
Six @ 5 Stars

Group 6: The oldest automobile shipping review, only 36 days old (about 3% of total) equaling an Average Rating of 5.00
One @ 5 Stars

As you can plainly see, of our 31 vehicle shipping reviews: 25 @ 5 Stars, 4 @ 4 Stars, 1 @ 3 Stars, and 1 @ 2 Stars, the overall average rating is 4.83. Currently as of this writing, TrustPilot reports on their website our average rating is 4.9. Yet our TrustScore today is 8.8, equating to 4.4. They show us publicly as a 4 Star company. What gives? Obviously the lone review of 2 stars and the other of 3 stars does not just weigh heavier in the Bayes inspired TrustScore, we say it is somehow exponential and drags the overwhelming majority of positive 5 Star reviews down. We paid thousands of dollars in account membership fees for the pleasure.

Therefore as an automobile transport business owner sensing that the negative review is likely exponential, it is a risk to rely upon the TrustScore system to attract customers.

We like the TrustPilot company organization and their website interface. We think they could be a very good service. However, they need to retire Thomas Bayes and his probability statistical formula in favor of just reporting the facts. As you can hopefully tell, there is nothing malicious in this review of TrustPilot. It is meant to be constructive criticism. We think the TrustPilot sales (Lucia) and customer service (Rachel) staff are top notch, highly professional people. They are talented and hard working. Can’t say enough good things about them. If you are considering TrustPilot for your web site, we hope you find our experience informative as we saw nothing else quite like it upon doing our due diligence.

Update On Conversion Rate Six Months Later

After a few frustrating months of stellar 5 Star reviews and a tortoise like climb to a TrustScore of over 9.0, we gave it another go in January 2015 because TrustPilot began accurately reporting Direct Express Auto Transport as a 5 Star company. They were very late to the party, especially for a paying customer, but they did show up. So we displayed the TrustPilot 5 Star rating on our site and conversions went up nearly 18%. That number 18 keeps popping up. Finally TrustPilot was worth it!

The Lesson Learned

Display on your site a TrustScore of less than 9.0 resulting in 4 Stars or less and watch conversions go down. However, display a TrustScore of over 9.0 resulting in a rounded 5 Stars and watch conversions go up. So for TrustPilot and probably all other review boards … it’s 5 Stars or bust.

Car Shipping Advice For College Students

Every August we see a spike in college student car shipping. We offer here some good advice on how best to go about it. A big reason that make college student car shipping orders so very different from nearly every other type has to do with … emotions … and parents. In the car shipping business there are few guarantees or certainties. It’s not like shipping a package folks. You can’t overnight it. Car shipping is much more involved with plenty of variables. 

Actually the college kids are pretty chill about the car shipping process and seem understanding, but their parents are often less so. They love their children and don’t want them inconvenienced in the least. We get it. Fortunately, most universities require freshman to live in dorms on campus and forbid them from having vehicles. The separation anxiety for many parents that freshman year accompanied by also shipping a car to their kid might be toxic for auto shippers. It is only slightly less so for upperclassmen. Like sticking a square peg in a round hole, parents insist on precise performance, guaranties and much more in a car shipping business that is ill equipped to deliver that level of service for anyone. We all would if we could, but we cannot guarantee what we cannot control. Nobody can. We just try our best and hope for the best.

How Best To Schedule The College Student Car Shipment

1. Determine the date the student will arrive on campus and add a day for receiving your vehicle. Who wants to meet a car shipping driver the same day you move into your dorm? Nobody. Too much other stuff going on and why put stress on top of stress? Add a day. Of course, we are assuming that the college student does not want his or her vehicle to beat them to school, because there likely won’t be anybody to receive the car and pay the driver. So an example might look like this:college_student_car Shipper

August 22 – arrive on campus and move in
August 23 – first date available to receive vehicle at destination (because we add a day)

2. Determine the distance from point of origin, probably home, to the destination, the university. Let’s say it’s 2,300 miles. As it happens, car shipping drivers are not allowed to drive more than 500 miles in a day, according to DOT rules, which are strictly enforced for everyone’s safety. That means the driver will be at least five days on the road. Therefore, it would be unwise to make your college student’s vehicle available any sooner than five days before it could possibly be received. Therefore, knowing the student cannot receive the vehicle before August 23rd, please make it available on …

August 18 – First date available to ship college student car

3. Having selected August 18th as the first date available only makes good sense because it takes a minimum of five car shipping days transit time, and August 23rd is the earliest receiving date. However, that does not mean the car will ship on August 18th, and there begins the problem for college students and notably their parents. There has to be several other vehicles also shipping within close proximity of both the origin and destination. It does not happen every day. It usually does happen within one week if both the origination and destination are well populated areas. If either is in a remote spot, it can slow things down considerably as there is less truck traffic. Even in ideal circumstances, it means that most likely the college student will be without a vehicle for a few days and perhaps over a week. For a car shipping company, tell that to a parent … then duck for cover.Car Shipping College Students

Nobody can control the car shipping dates with any sort of precision. At the time the order is placed, it is unknown which carrier will be shipping your college student’s vehicle, or whether it will be assigned a driver on the first day available … or third day … or fifth day … and so on. All we know are the probabilities, and there’s no guaranties on probabilities. Well, alright, in Vegas they can guarantee that the house will win 90% of the time, but for the rest of us probabilities are not guarantees.

Can A College Student Increase The Probable Chances Of Car Shipping Success?

Yes they can. Direct Express Auto Transport offers three car shipping rate levels: Standard, Expedited and Rush. The first one, Standard Rate, is plenty fine for most people as their vehicles get assigned a carrier between 1 and 7 days of availability over 80% of the time. It offers the best deal on car shipping, especially for those on a budget, and most people are fine waiting a few extra days. A high percentage actually ship within a couple days and do so at that lower rate. But by selecting the Expedited Rate, which the car shipping quote calculator adds $75, the probability of success increases to 85% and the number of days reduced to 1 to 4. What that does is scoot your Expedited order in front of the other market rate vehicles, and maybe a driver chooses your vehicle over another. Or maybe he drives a little out of his way to fetch or deliver your college student’s car. That extra $75 is often well spent if a parent is stressing over car shipping. It’s like front cutting at the water cooler without the guilt. And then of course there are some people who just don’t want to mess around and go Full Monty, selecting the Rush Rate, which is $150 more than the Standard Rate. If there is a carrier anywhere in the vicinity of the origination and heading anywhere near the destination, that extra $150 is enough to … in the words of Van Halen … go ahead and JUMP! The odds of success increase to 90% and the days to assign a driver reduced to an astounding 1-2 days. None of it guaranteed, of course, but the probability is exceptionally high.

Final Words of Advice To Parents of Car Shipping College Students

Most university campuses have an efficient mass transit system and most college kids are fine with it. They often meet and make friends in the process. So until your college student’s vehicle arrives, hopefully he or she can make the best of it. College Campus BusSometimes life’s little inconveniences can be blessings in disguise. You know, Paul McCartney introduced John Lennon to George Harrison on a bus. That seemed to work out fine. The kids make do and learn to fend for themselves. You love your kid, we understand, but take a deep breath and know that it will all work out in the end. Want to see our Standard, Expedited and Rush rates? Please use our car shipping quote calculator on this page. You can also learn more about the car shipping industry by going here.

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.

Click here to read more »

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.

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 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.