Have you ever wondered what an auto transport broker does for the customer? If you have, you are not alone. Many people do not know exactly what to expect when they make that first phone call. When I first learned of the auto transport broker business, I did not know the exact and complete role of the broker either.
There are many small details just like any other job. However, today I want to address one BIG part of the job. That is how the transport broker must balance serving their customer with serving their drivers.
Brokering may seem simple…
The reality is there are many details that make up the job. Some may seem minor, but could take a twist and turn for the worse making a mountain out of a molehill.
One such detail is the carrier’s insurance. Department of Transportation requires each truck and driver on the road to carry a minimum amount of insurance. Truckers are no different from you and me. We are fined when we do not have insurance on our cars, the same goes for them.
One major difference is in the insurance limits and terms of coverage. Verifying the insurance is in effect and will not expire during the transport is part of the job. Then there is the matter of what is covered. It only makes sense that liability and equipment is covered. However, what about the customer’s car; is it covered?
Trucker’s insurance has a special coverage called “cargo”. Each company’s limits will vary according to their equipment, how many cars they can carry and of course, the premium they are willing to pay. Therefore, as a transport broker we must make sure our customers precious cargo is covered at least for the minimum allowed by law.
Another aspect of brokering is in verifying the reputation of the carrier and company. Each brokerage has points of contact to do this part of his/her job. There are government websites available and reference checks from business contacts to aid checking a carrier’s reputation. In any case, you always want to know whom you are dealing with on behalf of your customer.
What will happen if a problem comes up?
Just like any other job, problems can arise no matter how well you have done your job. With government cutbacks, paperwork and websites are not always up to date. Insurance lapses and the updating of each file can fall between the cracks. A quick call to each company’s insurance agent can solve that piece of the puzzle very quickly.
Can you really count on references to give an honest one? One source you can trust is your fellow auto transport broker! We have found over the years that a huge key to our success is building a solid relationship with our fellow brokers. By advising each other of negative experiences, we have developed a “black list”. This list contains names and locations of carriers who have performed below the standards we choose for our customers.
One of these problems arose just the other day in our office. We received a phone call from one of the office managers at the trucking company. The issue revolved around the delivery of a customer’s car. After carefully listening, pulling the file and contacting the customer for their side of the story, we were able to call the carrier back with a solution.
As a business owner, you must be able to referee each part of the transport in a fair and equitable fashion. There is Department of Transportation laws that govern what we as brokers may and may not do, period. Keeping this in mind, we must serve our client who has paid us. Then, we must also take care of our truckers who provide the service to our customers and us.
So, what are we to do? Listen to all of the facts, from both the customer and the driver. Looking at our file and notes, we must then make a determination of “the reality”. We must keep in mind that each driver and customer is going to be looking at it from his or her own perspective. Each will want the situation to end the way they want it to. We help each party calm down, take a step back and come to a solution, peacefully.
We must make each one happy. We want a happy, satisfied customer with their vehicle safely in their possession. However, we also want a satisfied trucker who will want to work with our company again.
As the transport broker and business owner, all we can do is follow the law. Guide our customer through the process and help the driver and customer complete the transaction in a fair and equitable manner.
This is auto transport brokering. It can be a fun, challenging and rewarding profession. An auto transport broker solves two situations. If you want to ship your car, a broker can help you. If it is a new career you are looking for, an auto transport broker is a possibility, too.