Car dealerships very often face plenty of problems when they have to ship cars to customers living in different states or cities. There are many situations when certain models or specifications of cars are only available with you and you have to ship them to another dealer to make a sale.
How do you ensure that the logistics or auto transport company you choose is the best? Are there any precautions that you can take to ensure that the vehicles are shipped in the best manner possible, resulting in higher cost savings and better profitability?
One of the most important things you need to do is hire a reliable, efficient, and reputed company for the transport. And how exactly do you go about doing that?
1. Choose the Right Company
This is very important if you want the whole process to work out just fine. Reliable and reputed names in the business are your best bet because they have a reputation to protect and will not do anything that will tarnish their image.
There are two options for you. You can get directly in touch with auto transporters or carriers who are specialized in the field, or you can approach auto transport brokers.
Automotive carriers own fleet of trucks and trailers that transport vehicles to different parts of the country every day. You can inform them about your specific requirements and ask for a free quote.
A point to note is that it typically costs more per car if you are transporting fewer cars. The more cars to be shipped, the lower the cost per car tends to be. If it is a single car from a distant dealership or from the opposite end of the country, then your costs will work out to be much more.
Auto transport brokers will be dealing with several carriers as well as small-time movers. Brokers will be familiar with the carriers operating on different routes. They will be able to find out if there are trucks or trailers plying in your required route during any given period, particularly if it is a single unit you want to ship.
Brokers will be able to use their experience, knowledge, and contacts to negotiate with carriers and work out a favorable arrangement for you.
Whichever company you are planning to go with, ensure it is a trusted name and will be acting in your best interests.
2. What to Check for in Your Transporter
It is very important that the company or carrier that is responsible for shipping your car is licensed, bonded, and insured.
When you are dealing with commercial interstate carriers, there are some authorization and identification documents that you need to check.
- MC Number: Auto carriers and brokers who operate interstate need to attain an MC number (docket number) from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This number shows that they have operational authority.
- USDOT Number: U.S. Department of Transportation Number is required for every vehicle carrier involved in interstate commercial transportation. It ensures that the company complies with departmental safety guidelines, rules, and regulations. If you can obtain this number, you can check on the past record of the company on the FMCSA website. Note that since brokers do not own trucks for transport, they do not require this number.
While scrutinizing the insurance policy, remember to check on the carrier’s cargo insurance and valuation coverage.
3. Be Actively Involved
Car dealerships are busy and buzzing with activity for most of the day. But this should not be an excuse for not paying proper attention to your vehicle shipping procedures.
Ensure you have a contract with the carrier or the broker. Be clear and specific about the terms, and clear any doubts that you may have. Study the obligations and undertakings that the carrier or the broker makes. You need to make doubly sure that you do not end up bearing the cost of the shipper’s mistakes.
Take the names and numbers of personnel you can contact for information during transit. Ensure pictures are taken before the car is loaded into the transport vehicle and after it is unloaded. When the car is being picked up, the driver should accurately describe its condition in the Bill of Lading.
These details are important because they form the documented proof you have.
If it is a dealer-dealer transaction, ensure you get the other dealers’ signatures and approval on all relevant documents to avoid potential trouble later on.
4. What to Do on Delivery
The Bill of Lading is very important in dealer-to-dealer auto transport. It gives you an opportunity to double-check the details of the shipment, such as the pickup and drop addresses, contact information, condition of vehicles recorded at pickup/drop points, VIN numbers, etc. This ensures that no wrong inventory enters or leaves your dealership.
If you notice any problems with your vehicle, you will be able to get the carrier’s insurance company to compensate for the damage, provided you have the relevant documents. The Bill of Lading is very important in all insurance-related proceedings because the condition of the vehicle is recorded in it.
In most cases, the vehicle load in transport trucks are sold inventory. In other words, you are shipping cars sold to customers. You will have to answer queries and doubts of customers correctly regarding the arrival of their car and other information. A reputed auto logistics company will provide you real-time information on carrier assignment and timeline, for transport and inform you up0n arrival.
5. Good Automotive Logistics Provider Means Better Business
Good auto carriers will ensure that you do not suffer even if you are transporting a single unit. They will not wait until they have a full load before making the run for you. Reputed carriers recognize that their cargo is your inventory and you need it on time to ensure fresh supply.
Good auto transport will ensure happy and satisfied customers. If your customer’s must-have model is at another dealership, there is no need for you to send him or her away disappointed. An efficient auto carrier ultimately translates into good business for you.
Automotive logistics is an important function in the supply chain of car dealerships. When it comes to automotive transport, ensure you have the right names and companies onboard to ensure profitability and customer satisfaction.
Lori Wagoner is a content strategist for Schumacher Cargo Logistics, a prominent provider of warehousing, packing, crating, trucking, loading, and shipping services in the United States. You can catch her on Twitter @loridwagoner.0
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