The owner of Car Shipping Carriers, Nicholas Dutko, feels that the car shipping industry should be more transparent. In this industry there is so much that is hiding away from the customers that is makes for a bad relationship between the brokers, companies, and customers. Let start with some information about the industry and then we can make suggestions about how to resolve the issues.
The car shipping industry is made up of three parties (sometimes four) which is the car shipping broker companies, the actual auto haulers that transport the vehicles and the customers. The potential fourth party would be uShip and we will discuss uShip later in this article. So a customer will search online on their favorite search engine, directory or social media to find someone who can transport their vehicle. In doing so these customers will find basically only broker companies. Some of you people will scratch their heads and say, “Why not just deal directly with the truckers?” and there is a good explanation as to why we need brokers. Brokers are able to gather customers looking to have a car shipped from one state to another and it doesn’t matter the locations. Then they are able to post these customers vehicle on national load boards and find the proper car hauler that does that particular route.
Majority of car hauling companies that exist are smaller companies and they only own like one or two trucks to transport cars. These small companies usually only travel a certain route back and forth each time so they really are not a nationwide company.
For example: Car Hauler A lives in Houston, Texas and he likes to travel from Houston, TX down to Miami and back to Houston, TX each week. This company isn’t nationwide and they would only have interest in cars traveling within this route.
By having brokers that can help customers on a national scale the customer is suppose to be a better overall experience instead of calling numerous companies and not finding a company that can transport their car.
The setup of this tree party system should work in perfect harmony, but in reality it does cause problems because of the lack of transparency. Nearly every website that a customer will find when searching for a company will not specify if they are a broker or the actual carrier. Customer do not know who they are really dealing with unless they did extensive research on the right sites to find out exactly who owns a specific website and what type of business they are. In the modern world we don’t have time for that. The need for transparency starts with these broker companies explaining to customers who they are and what they do on their website. Then once they do get to speak to the customer, whether it is over the phone or just by email, making sure the customer understands who they really are and what they do. By being upfront and honest with customers it will make for a better overall experience for the customer. The customer will understand that they cannot find the actual carriers and that dealing with a broker helps them save money and have a better overall experience.
The next objective of transparency that needs to occur comes from the actual truckers. If a trucker is providing a service to a customer they should be able to have communication with the customer. A customer who know what the company name is, what the truck drivers name is, have their phone number and if the trucker has a dispatcher whop that person is and that persons phone number. When a deal is made the carrier should immediately make contact with the customer, introduce themselves and give a good timeline so the customer can feel warm and fuzzy and be settled in with the game plan. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen with over 90% of customers. Customer are left in the dark which creates a bad experience for the customer. We all have to understand, this customer is about to give a complete stranger their car, they should feel at ease with who is performing this duty.
I mentioned above about uShip. The company uShip is a website where customers can post their vehicle and have other companies bid to get the job. Sounds like a great business plan, but they let brokers quote customers which defeats the purpose of uShip. Now when a customer books a deal they have to pay uShip, then pay the broker and then pay the carrier. Why couldn’t the customer just go directly to the brokers in the first place and cut out uShip. I am not a fan of uShip because I feel that what they do is illegal. In the United States it is illegal to have a job double brokered. This means that uShip is acting as a broker (because they make money off of the customer) and then they give it to a broker who will also make money off of the customer. This isn’t right and I have no idea how uShip is still in business. If I were a customer I would stay away fro uShip and save yourself some time and save yourself some money too.
What I think should happen to make the industry better
The first thing I would have done is make sure these brokers have some sort of obligation to be honest and upstanding businesses. In our industry the biggest load board is Central Dispatch. I feel that maybe Central Dispatch (or another company who could grow as large as Central Dispatch) should be able to have the authority to allow or not allow companies to use there site to post vehicles depending on how good of a company they are. Also let this site have the authority to require certain changes on a business’ website as well. The Better Business Bureau does it for a company to be accredited, why not have a company within our industry have the authority and responsibility to require ethical behavior within the industry.
Another things that I think should occur is having it mandatory to have GPS trackers in every auto hauler. There could be a universal system that allows a customer to log in and see where to carrier is at any time. This will help set a customer at ease and have updates (when they want) to know where their vehicle is.
The last thing that would be a cool idea is to create an Uber-like platform for the car shipping industry. Like Uber, a customer would log into a site to find a car shipping company that is able to pick up their vehicle within a certain window of time or ASAP. Uber would complete cut out the brokers and allow customers to communicate directly with carriers. Customers could look at who is able to transport their vehicle, sort through the company and pick the best one for their particular needs. Customers and carriers could rate each other after the experience and resolve issues within the system. If a vehicle is damaged a customer would already have the proper insurance and documents on hand right from the Uber-like website or app itself. This Uber-like website would make a small percentage of every transaction (say 5-10% or so).
Is anyone out there want to partner with Car Shipping Carriers to create this? Email me and let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s do this.car