When Dennis and Selena first met in California they were both working as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).Working as a team, they learned they shared the same “American Dream”- to start and own their own owner operator car hauler business. At first, they considered driving a “big rig”, but with a need to stay local and close to family, they chose to get into auto transport instead.
Today, Dennis is the driver and handles field operations while Selena manages the billing and administrative side of the business (in addition to helping with loading and unloading). As a couple working together, they represent the classic American model of a single-truck owner operator car hauler business.
After only being in business for one year, co-owners Dennis and Selena having already made a strong foothold in their weekly Socal-Norcal route. They drive a lifted 2015 Ford F-250 Super Duty hauling a 2015 Texas Pride35′ flatbed gooseneck trailer with a dovetail. Even though they’re regularly hauling only two cars, they make up for it by offering off-road recovery service for hard to reach and inoperable vehicles – using a tow strap method in combination with the strength and power of their Ford truck. Once they are able to pull a vehicle to the back edge of the trailer, they use a trusty 10,000-pound winch that can do the work of eight men to finish the difficult job of loading.
Whether it’s brand new cars, dealer trades, auction to an auto body shop or residential deliveries – this owner operator car hauler team does it all. Selena believes the real secret of their success has been getting creative with alternative ways of finding loads and new clients. She found that creating a business profile on Yelp actually helped improve business! Plus, she makes herself available by text nearly twenty-four hours a day. Great customer service and never saying ‘no’ have been instrumental to their accelerated growth – because no one can predict which new random business contact might become the key to weeks of steady work in the future.
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Since completing their first year as an owner operator car hauler, Selena and Dennis are willing to share some solid advice and hard facts. First, Selena says, “finding a highly-rated insurance company willing to underwrite for a DOT number less than a year old is very challenging.” Then, finding and financing the right truck and trailer usually requires good credit and a significant deposit. Setting up a DBA, getting all the state and federal certifications and DMV licensing will require “great patience” and focused “due diligence”. And finally, growing the business and establishing a reputation requires a lot of energy and stamina to stay positive while watching every profit get reinvested back into the business.
Above all else, Selena recommends, “find a great mentor.” Talk to a transport veteran, fleet owner, broker, auction manager, insurance agent or compliance officer that can point you in the right direction before you have to find out you’re doing it all wrong – the hard way.
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Without blinking, Selena further recommends, “Don’t bother doing this job without using an online load board.” She also relies heavily on Google maps, using Adobe technologies to digitize their paperwork and managing all of their taxes with QuickBooks.
Their traveling office runs on unlimited internet for their tablet and cell phones and they have DIRECTV for entertainment while off-duty. In fact, Dennis is researching a backward facing webcam service for late night trailer surveillance.
To be sure, Selena tells me that the core center of their entire vehicle transport operation is Super Dispatch – giving them total management of all of their load information, bills of lading, inspections and invoices. Selena says “Super Dispatch allows the driver to take pictures, get signatures, access maps, all on the tablet” – and that let’s her “do everything else by email.”
Referring to the reporting function of the dispatch dashboard, she adds, “I had prepared myself mentally to do all of this work manually, but by using Super Dispatch, I’m able to get so much done so much faster than I ever would have dreamed!” She said (excitedly), “I absolutely love internal notes! When I talk to the broker after delivery, I have every word they said to me about when I can expect to get paid. It’s all right there in case I have to follow up later.” She adds, “to succeed in auto transport, you’ll need the best tools on the market – especially if you’re a new transportation business.”
“Everything we have and our work ethic comes from both of our fathers Dennis “bud” Dailey and Frank “Franco” Georgianna. Also Dennis’s uncle who recently passed, Felix “Phil” Boschetti, this company is dedicated in their honor, without these men we would be nothing.” – Selena Georgianna
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Published on September 26, 2017
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