After a few years of using uShip, I’ve come to a conclusion that it is not the best source of auto loads for direct car transporters.  Uship.com is an online transport marketplace.  The idea is similar to that of Ebay, where consumers post their shipments for service providers to bid on.  The idea seems great, yet for a direct auto carrier it does not work.  And here is what I mean:  The consumers who are requesting the bids do not understand that carriers have a schedule to follow.  Transporters can’t sit around for days while the consumer is making up their mind or waiting for more bids (this happens a lot).  In other words, the loads are simply unreliable.  Yes, from time to time you might win a bid or two, but rarely will you sit down, place bids and book a truck load.  I have never seen that happened.

Secondly, the uShip marketplace is dominated by large auto transport brokers.  Here’s an example of bids on a vehicle going from Portland, OR to Carson, CA.

Let’s go through the list:

  • Affordable Auto Transportation – Broker.
  • Allied Auto Transportation – Broker / Carrier (with only one truck)
  • Montway – Broker / Carrier (most of their bids are brokered out)
  • Initial Logistics – Broker
  • So on…

What does that mean for a direct carrier? Practically impossible to book a load in a TIMELY fashion. These brokers do not have time deadlines.  What usually happens after they win a bid is they turn around and post it on a load board, usually Central Dispatch.  If the customer is not ready one day, the brokers simply change the advertised date and look for another driver.  In fact, this morning my driver delivered a brokered uShip order in Augusta, GA.

Thirdly, the competition on the marketplace if fierce.  Too many unrated companies will post low-ball bids well below what others are offering and essentially taking the price so low that the order becomes not worth pursuing.

Fourthly, uShip charges  huge broker fees.  I have estimated it to be about 16%.  Don’t forget to factor that into your bid!  Your bid of $500 becomes $420 (what you actually get paid).  If you actually want to get paid $500, then your bid needs to be $580.

I’ve been on uShip since 2010 and have learned that to make the best of the marketplace, you need to buy software that will post automatic bids to hundreds of shipments and hopefully you’ll land a few orders.  Doing it manually will only eat up your precious time with little to no results.

Well, there you have it, a few of my thought on uShip.  If you have anything to add, feel free to comment or email me.

Trucking these days is not what it used to be a decade ago or more.  The industry has changed in many ways, and staying on-top of regulations is a full-time job, and that’s only to keep your business legal and compliant.  Now the actual trucking part is something too.  Most wner-operators use “registration” service providers to take care of their permits, fuel taxes, plates, registrations, etc however many drivers don’t realize that staying compliant in not exactly making money and as result many struggle with finding the right loads, negotiating good rates, getting setup with companies, and lastly and most importantly getting paid for their work.  We have seen this to be a big burden on many small carriers and especially one-man operations.  Reliable Auto Dispatch has been focusing on the car hauling sector of trucking for over five years.  The dispatch work of a car hauler is a handful.  To locate, negotiate and book great paying cars to haul is very time consuming and is not something drivers can do while driving.  Needless to say how reckless it is to be on a computer or a smartphone while operating an 80,000 truck.  Yet time and time again we find drivers trying to do this job from behind a steering wheel.

Reliable Auto Dispatch saw how time-consuming dispatching is for car haulers and auto carriers and saw a business opportunity for auto dispatching.  Our experience in this industry will greatly benefit carriers wanting to work with us.  We take away all the stress and hassle of self-dispatching by allowing driver focus on the road and taking care of pickups and deliveries and leaving the rest to us.

If you’re an auto carrier and need assistance with dispatching, then please don’t hesitate to talk to us.

3/4 Car Hauler Business

These past few months I had a lot of new and established companies asking to work with us.  The common trend that I noticed was that most of them are running 3/4 car trailers.  In the past I would take them on board, no questions asked.  Yet more and more I come to realize that many of them just don’t make it in the business.  There are some obvious reasons and some not so much.  Too much folks think they can simply attach a trailer to their pickup and start making money without doing the MATH first.  And this leads me to my biggest point: KNOW YOUR NUMBERS.

What I mean by that is owner-operators need to know how much it costs them to run in terms of $/mile; Fuel (MPG), insurance, equipment payments, emergency fund, etc.  It’s very important to know the breaking even point and when you actually become profitable.  Without getting this down first is like shooting darts blind-folded and hoping you hit the target.  The chances of that happening are the same of your success.  Once you have the numbers right, you can proceed to build a business that has a lot of opportunities for growth.

3/4 Car Wedge Trailers

My recommendation when buying these 3/4 car wedge trailers is to make sure the trailer is a TRUE 4-car trailer.  Many manufacturers sell these wedge trailer as 4-car trailer, yet in reality either the Gross Weight won’t allow for an AVERAGE 4-car load or the length of the trailer.  This is way too common.  What usually happens is drivers look for something like 4 Mini Coopers or have to go with 3 cars only.  Losing one car on a 4-car trailer is losing a 1/4 of your revenue.  That’s huge.