Carrier, Industry

Don’t Book That Load! 7 Red Flags Car Haulers Should Avoid

by Jay W.

Monday through Sunday, dispatchers and owners alike hunt for loads in their area, vying for the best ones. Ideally, the transporter can quickly be filled up with all small, pre-owned cars that are able to be picked up 24/7, all going to the same place,  and full payment already waiting at the delivery location. Then, as soon as the driver is empty, there’s another load of used cars paying great, going straight back home and ready to go.

This of course is an ideal scenario, but not one that most beginning dispatchers experience. Unless you are an established carrier with larger contracts, you won’t experience this; however, you may often find load requests, but many are too good to be true, and often have red flags that you must look out for.

If it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, in auto transport, it’s almost always a duck.

For the veteran dispatcher, part of your primary value is knowing how to identify which loads you never want to book in the first place. While these “problem loads” may or may not be obvious, you need to know how to look for and identify the warning signs. Here are the biggest red flags for loads that car haulers should try to avoid.

Incomplete Information

After a load is booked and the broker sends over the dispatch, all of the information should be on that dispatch order. If you discover missing addresses, phone numbers, vehicle information or contact info, then you must take the time to call them back – and that’s your first red flag. What do you mean they don’t have all the information yet? How do they not have it? How do they not know which auction it is?

If key information like this is missing, then something is wrong. You don’t know what it is, but don’t want to find out the hard way. Plus, if the vehicle is not as described, or has a lift kit and over-sized tires that were never mentioned, then drop it like it’s hot. A driver doesn’t have time to waste while you play detective.

Don’t make the mistake of booking them all and thinking you were the smartest dispatcher in the room. You weren’t.

Not Ready For Pickup

If it’s at Copart and it’s not paid for, don’t send the driver to the auction. If it’s at Manheim and it’s still in PSI (Post-Sale Inspection), your driver can lose a whole day waiting for it to become ready. If anyone ever says anything about the keys or the money still being in the mail, forget about it; your driver’s busy schedule does not allow for unknown hours (or days) of waiting. This is exactly why calling and verifying a vehicle right after booking it is so valuable. Either don’t book it at all, or call the broker and give it back, because this vehicle is not ready for pick up.

Inoperable Vehicles

Even if the driver is able to winch the car onto the trailer, some vehicles are so badly damaged they will need to be “forked on” and “forked off.” Therefore, the question of whether the delivery location has a proper forklift for unloading inoperable vehicles has to be addressed immediately. Even if they have the forklift, will the driver be able to figure out the jigsaw puzzle of where to load an INOP on the trailer without it interfering with the rest of the schedule? Is the unit so badly damaged that broken pieces could fly off and damage other vehicles?

While there certainly are benefits to transporting inoperable vehicles, they can also be a major pain to deal with if you don’t deal with them regularly. Overall, think it through before you book it; inoperable vehicles can turn into a logistical nightmare.

A driver doesn’t have time to waste while you play detective.

Promises and Guarantees

Unfortunately, the auto transport work day contains too many unpredictable events for a car shipping company to fully guarantee an exact time for the driver to pick up and deliver. So when somebody explains to a dispatcher that the driver needs to be at a person’s door to fulfill a guaranteed two-hour pickup window, it’s probably not going to work out the way everyone had hoped. Small appointment windows are too specific and place too many constraints upon a driver that cannot predict the weather, construction delays, traffic jams, random truck issues and other unknown surprises. In auto transport, nothing is guaranteed.

New and Exotic Cars

Ground effects, spoilers, and low clearance can create enormous headaches for carriers by costing extra time and loading limitations on the trailer. That’s why some veteran drivers will simply refuse to pick up a brand new or luxury car because they already know about the high potential of running into a giant, hidden pitfall. Especially for the open carrier, booking high-end vehicles should be kept to a minimum, because it only takes one scratch to remove the profitability of the entire leg of a trip. But if the money is right (and you want to go for it) be sure to complete a perfect inspection report and protect yourself against a major damage claim.

This is a complicated industry full of additional expenses and a wheel of fortune of spinning surprises.

Double Listed Loads

If it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, in auto transport, it’s almost always a duck. There are not two or three exact cars listed by two or three totally different companies picking up in the exact same city and delivering to the exact same zip code. This is not your lucky day because it’s all the same car! Don’t make the mistake of booking them all and thinking you were the smartest dispatcher in the room. You weren’t.

To avoid this, we recommend using Super Loadboard, as it has better checks and balances in place to avoid issues like double listed loads, with a pre-vetting process that exists to help reduce the frequency of scams.

Doing Favors

If the dispatch of a vehicle is going well, and then you get asked if you can transport the car at a lower rate than was posted, just say no. This is a complicated industry full of additional expenses and a wheel of fortune of spinning surprises. The last thing you can afford is to give a discount on behalf of the owner. If it’s not profitable to haul it, then don’t book it. Most posted prices are the beginning of a negotiation – not the end. Say “NO” to cheap freight. After all, it’s not personal; this is a business.

Overall, these are the biggest red flags that dispatchers should look out for when booking loads. Arguably, one of the best ways to avoid these pitfalls is by using a modern load board.

As previously mentioned, Super Loadboard is an advanced load board that vets both Shippers and Carriers, and features a robust rating system that allows user to more easily see which Shippers are more trustworthy than others. This helps to create a better marketplace, with a greater abundance of loads that you can trust — if this sounds like something that your business could use, then consider trying Super Dispatch for free today!

Published on August 25, 2016

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