“That price is too high!”
I get this line a lot from potential clients, and it’s troubling for a few reasons. The worst part of this statement for me is that it makes what I do feel immediately cheap and insignificant to the shipper. Most people simply Google “how to ship my car from A to B” or “transport my car when I move” or some variation on that train of thought, and are whisked away to the first page of millions of results strewn across the web offering lower and lower prices. The sad fact is however that each of these results are at least two degrees of separation from their vehicle and the trucker who will physically move it for them.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) licenses quite a few entities, but for our purposes as well as any of the 20 million or so domestic shippers each year, the only two of any importance are the Freight Broker and the Common or Contract Carrier. Most of the Google results will land the shipper on a page that requires certain info about themselves as well as the vehicle and route they’re planning to ship. This information is then sold to an average of 10 brokers for anywhere from $1 – $2.50 each, and these brokers all compete initially on price alone. The funny thing is, however, that every one of these brokers works in the same network of carriers, so the actual cost to the shipper for the trucks that are available is pretty universal.
After a shipper receives their competitive “quotes”, they will usually also receive a few dozen eager sales calls mostly following a boiler room type pitch expressing urgency and intent on closing the deal right then and there… many agents don’t even allow time to ask questions. It’s all about assurance and confidence regardless of the details. In fact, the most important thing a shipper can do is weed out the hustlers and only give time to the brokers that make sure to answer all questions and even go as far as to ask if there are any questions. This is where the shipper can find out whether or not this potential partner has ethical practices.
Once a broker has been selected and a contract signed, the shipper will then wait while their representative agent gets to work locating a driver. Most brokers simply post the shipper’s vehicle on a load board and wait for their phone to ring, and if it doesn’t ring, they’ll incrementally raise the price until one day it does ring. These average methods often lead to vehicles shipping for far more than what was initially “quoted” by the broker, and shippers getting horrible service from their agent as well as an upset driver demanding more money than expected on delivery.
You see, not all brokers are created equal. Most are selfish simply looking to close a percentage of their leads and never remember or care to know one shipper to the next. Plymouth offers extensive coverage and protection to every one of our shippers each and every time they ship, because the truth is that your vehicle is one of your most valuable possessions. This is your primary method of transportation, your prized collection, your daughter’s first car, your gift to your spouse, or the project you wanted to work on in retirement, and you shouldn’t just allow anyone with the fewest zeroes on their “quote” manage the shipment. So, how can shippers save money and still work with quality service providers that are dedicated to transparent and reliable vehicle transport?
Plymouth Auto Transport has recently added a “Name Your Own Price” feature that hopes to provide shippers an opportunity to save as much money as possible. We provide our estimate for total shipping costs with many of our value added services included, however we allow shippers to reply with their requested rate if they’re on a budget. Once they have signed our service agreement, we will list their vehicle in the network for a nominal fee (equal to 80% of our normal rate), and see if any carriers would be interested in meeting the shipper’s preferred rate. This is essentially the same level of service the majority of all other brokers provide, but Plymouth will communicate any potential risks as well as an honest assessment of the route rather than underhanded and misleading sales pitches.
Name Your Own Price… if you think our’s is too high.