By William Pearson
Although the unemployment rate has recently fallen to 4.1%, many people still have difficulty finding a job, especially one that requires minimal training. Fortunately, truck drivers are in high demand, and auto haulers, specifically, get paid well for their work.
The trucking industry is experiencing a severe shortage of drivers. The American Trucking Association projects the shortage to reach 50,000 drivers by the end of 2017, and if current trends continue, the shortage could need 174,000 drivers by the year 2026.
As an aging driver population leads many into retirement, more and more jobs are opening up for truck drivers. The driver shortage has lead Class A Drivers, a leading job board for truck drivers, to create a new “Become a Truck Driver“ section on their website. With step-by-step guides, the new section hopes to connect aspiring drivers with companies to solve this industry problem.
The auto hauling industry, a special niche in the transport industry, has many lucrative and interesting opportunities for candidates looking to expand their skills.
Becoming an auto hauler can be a lucrative career choice, and it’s one in serious demand. Because truck drivers are often paid by different methods, exact truck driver salary information can be hard to find.
The Auto Haulers Association of America’s Bill Schroeder says, “A driver with good experience and skills who has a contract to haul new cars for a car maker likely will earn between $75K and $110K a year.”
The Auto Hauling Training Institute located in Orange Park, Florida, estimates that starting salaries for entry-level car haulers is anywhere from $57K to $87K a year. Owner-operators that have their own trucks can earn up to $185,000 a year!
Job opportunities for owner-operators can pay well over $200K gross per year for transporting high-value cars like the Rolls Royce, or Koenigsegg CCXR, valued at $4.8 million, or the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster, valued at $4.5 million. Private owners also pay well for safe transport of their vehicles.
However, truck drivers don’t usually start out hauling expensive freight like cars. Once a driver has gained experience and the trust of the carrier, they greatly increase their earning potential.
According to Class A Drivers, entry-level auto haulers are usually required to have one or two years long-haul/OTR driving before they are trusted with hauling high-value cars.
With its valuable cargo, auto hauling is in a class by itself in the transport industry. A driving position can be OTR (over-the-road), regional, or local. Over-the-road drivers travel long distances and do not return home for a week or more while on the road. Truck driving requires a specific personality type that enjoys travel, independence, and the freedom of the road.
The carrier or trucking company may transport anything from used to new vehicles, cars, trucks, motorcycles, or ATV’s. The driver must then deliver the automobiles to homes, warehouses, auto dealers, auto shows, museums, conventions, or festivals.
Drivers need to be familiar with the route, type of terrain, weather, roads, bridge clearances, and potential hazards. Because the freight is so valuable, drivers must take extra care to keep the vehicles safe. Carriers often use open-air trailers, requiring the driver to pay attention to any minor detail that could scratch or damage the vehicles.
Auto hauling is more than just driving, the job also requires that each vehicle be inspected for damages. The vehicles’ VIN numbers must be checked to match the pickup log, and each vehicle’s dimensions need to be determined for safety regulations.
The first step to becoming an auto hauler is to get a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). To drive the larger trucks that can haul other automobiles, a Class A license is needed. Getting a license only takes 3-6 weeks of training.
Trucking schools generally cost $3,000-7000, but many trucking companies offer to pay for a driver’s complete training in exchange for a contract to work and pay back the fee. This is called “company-sponsored training,” and it’s a common method to get trained.
After school, a company usually requires a driver to do additional on-the-job training for a few weeks, and then that driver is off on their own. After a year or two, the truck driver can move to hauling vehicles and earning the additional pay that comes along with it.
Finding the best auto transport companies might seem like a daunting task, especially if this is the first time you’ve needed to move a car to another state. But with the proper preparation, this process can be easy and stress-free. Here are some tips for finding the best auto transport companies and also asking the right questions once you have narrowed the possible candidates.
You might be tempted to ask, “how much does it cost to ship my car?” but you don’t want to start with price. Many companies might seem enticing with lower shipping quotes, but start by doing some research. The best suggestion is to start online with websites such as Angie’s List and Better Business Bureau. You’ll be able to see ratings and reviews from their customers. Make sure to read the reviews, especially the bad ones. See if their reasoning for a bad review is legitimate – some people just can’t be pleased. Also pay attention to the resources you use – some sites allow companies to pay to remove the bad ratings and secure top spots.
Once you’ve gotten a short list of companies, reach out and ask questions. Here’s a few suggestions:
a. Do you offer any guarantees? For instance, Executive Auto Shippers offers a One Price Guarantee and Car Rental Guarantee.
b. Do you assist when issues arise and, if so, how? EAS is with you through the whole auto transport process, start to finish. If issues arise, we stay involved until it’s been resolved.
c. What’s your availability for questions and concerns? Our representatives are available by both phone or email to answer questions and calm concerns. If you happen to need something after business hours, we have a 24/7 Emergency Line with a live representative.
Finally, you’ll want to ask for a quote. Make sure to find out what all is included in the price they provide. Some companies don’t include cost of insurance or can add unexpected fees for various reasons. This is why their quote may seem lower than others. As mentioned above, EAS has a One Price Guarantee, which includes all taxes and insurance. We also don’t charge anything, including the non-refundable deposit (subtracted from the total amount quoted), until your car has been successfully picked up.
Just like planning for any other part of a move or extended trip, don’t let shipping your vehicle fall through the cracks. Auto transport doesn’t have to be complicated, and, with the right company, could be the easiest part. Make sure to get all the facts and know what’s expected of you. To learn about different ways to ship your vehicle, check out our other blog “Open or Enclosed: What’s Best for Your Car.”
To learn more about Executive Auto Shippers, visit our About Us page.
In this digital age, it might seem strange to pay with cash. In the auto transport business, though, cash is still very relevant. We’ve had a lot of customers who ask about this, so we decided to get a few of those questions answered in one place.
Although we don’t disagree, one thing many people don’t realize is that there are extra charges when you use a Square. Right on the homepage it states “Pay 2.75% per swipe…” (see more here [https://squareup.com/reader]). It may not seem like a lot, but it adds up. Using this technology also means the driver has to keep more accounting records, especially if he owns his own trucking business (aka owner operator). We appreciate the work our drivers do, but we know they are much better at driving and hauling than they are at accounting.
Again, very true but have you ever overdrafted? It’s very easy to swipe a card, but it’s just as easy to spend more than what’s in your account. Our drivers, especially owner operators, depend on these payments not just for profit sake, but fuel, food, and to pay the bills. If you’re card is declined or delays payment, the driver could be left stranded. That could lead into a whole other situation of getting the payment. Now the driver not only has no payment, but loss of time and, if it were to get that far, cost of an attorney.
Actually, there are a few great benefits to drivers with cash. First, many truck stops will actually give a discount for paying cash at the pump. Next time you pass a Love’s or Pilot, notice how the price changes for gas. Many truck stops also have reward programs, including free showers, for paying cash and making other purchases at their locations.
One of the biggest reasons truckers won’t take checks is because it’s hard for them to find a bank to cash it. They depend on that cash to fuel up and eat along the route. Even if they were able to find a bank or a branch in the location they’re at, banks aren’t exactly truck-friendly. They’d not only have to find a place to park, but if it’s a large metro area, most likely they’ll have to park far enough away that they’ll have to take a cab or other transportation to get to the bank.
There are some industries that cash is still king – car transporting is definitely one of them. In short, trying to deal with credit cards, or even checks, is just inconvenient for car hauler drivers. Cash never fails, never bounces, or is denied. Help make your auto transporting experience easier by planning for a quick trip to the bank or ATM before the driver arrives. Thanks for your help!
And to learn more about how to ship a car, check out our FAQ page.
Shipping your vehicle holds many benefits such as reducing wear and tear on your car and freeing you up to get to your new location faster than your car can take you. Prior to shipping your vehicle, there are some choices you have to make (enclosed or open transfers), clean out your vehicle, conduct an inspection of your car and make notes. This is all to ensure that your vehicle remains the best condition during its journey.
Inspecting your vehicle before and after your auto transfer will guarantee that you are aware of the condition of your car prior and post shipping. Here is how to go about it.
Now that you have done a detailed inspection, now comes time to prepare your vehicle for be moved.
There are special vehicle requirements that need to be adhered to, such as the tank of gas being no more than a quarter full. The car must not have a cracked windshield, and the emergency brakes must be operational. When going through customs, the registration for the vehicle will be needed.
While you take care of the easy part, the professional shippers we have at Executive Auto Shippers, will take care of the hard part. We ship with great care and efficiency to ensure that your vehicle not only gets to its destination on-time but without damage. For additional information about our services, contact us at (847)557-0200.