Saturday, December 18, 2010

Car carrier rolls on Route 54

Car carrier rolls on Route 54

I'm wondering how that Escalade was tied down.  I'm guessing straps, because the vehicle in the back was tied down with lasso straps.  Double ratchet system on that big SUV might have helped keep it on the trailer.  Still would have had damage, but might have avoided turning the Cadillac into a 5000 lb projectile. Not saying this guy had worn straps, but if your straps are frayed or nicked beyond 1/4 inch, toss them.  This sort of wheel strap costs 8-9 bucks. Buy your clothes from Wal-Mart if you need to save money, but don't run with worn out tie-downs.  Just saying.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Buy now or pay Uncle Sam later.

Just a friendly reminder: if your car hauling business runs on the regular calendar year, you've got less than two weeks to make any business purchases that you can use as deductible expenses on your 2010 taxes! So if there's any thing you might need, better buy it now, or give it to Uncle Sam to transfer to needy bankers.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Car Hauler Equipment Wanted

Perry Morgan is looking for a decent 5 pack daycab. If you've got something fairly decent, call (925) 455-6666. Note: this is a TRUCK. Please don't call and try to sell him your old wedge trailer.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Biggest single run car hauler ramp I've ever seen. Buy it now!

December  17th addendum
Gene from Pyramid left me a voice mail saying that he just received these ramps... thought they were so good-looking he wanted to hang them on the wall like a piece of art!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Accurate Auto Transport Bankruptcy News: Trucks for Sale Soon.

OK, so this isn't the newest news about the Accurate bankruptcy, since they went bankrupt last Tuesday at 2:45 PM. Spoke with Dan, the former director of maintenance, and he said they've got the trucks staged at Baggettown, PA; Peoria, IL; and Houston, TX. There is a pending Internet-only auction. Dan said there are a few '05 and '06 Petes that have been well-maintained, as well as some nice Freightliner daycabs. Most of the trucks are around 500,000 to 600,000 miles, so it's going to be tricky separating the wheat from the chaff in this remote-viewing auction. Dan says for a modest fee, he'll tell you which ones are goodies and which ones are dogs. His cell number is 567-220-0288.

According to Dan, there was a decent buy-out offer on the equipment from United Road Services, but Citizens Bank thought they could get more money at auction for the trucks. Guess we'll see about that.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Car hauling rates about to rise? (Part 2)

More evidence of rates "bouncing along the bottom" from a friend of mine hauling new Mercedes to Utah-- he actually gets more hauling junked cars OUT of Utah than he gets hauling new Mercedes IN to Utah. Don't know if this means rates are about to rise in this low demand lane, but hard to imagine they could go down any more than that.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rates about to rise?

Are we bumping along the bottom right now? Was talking to an equipment salesman who says he's hearing of an owner-operator shortage right now. My very next call was to an owner-operator who said he was getting out of car hauling because the rates were ridiculously low. Just a hunch, but I'm beginning to think the supply-demand curve may be starting to flip. Companies with new car contracts may go into next year's negotiations with a bit stronger hand.
10/26/10: Update
Just read this on Marketwatch:

Last month, Ford sold 160,873 vehicles, up from 109,939 a year earlier — marking the 23rd time in the past 24 months that the company has expanded its share of the retail market.

Ford is looking to maintain its momentum, even as rivals find their footing and become more competitive. In fact, the company announced Monday that it will invest an additional $850 million in Michigan between 2011 and 2013 as part of a plan to upgrade its facilities. Click here for rest of article.

Ford started their recovery plan about two years before the collapse-bailout of GM and Chrysler. If GM and Chrysler's restructuring approximate that of Ford, we should expect significant improvement over the next couple years as their changes have a chance to grow deeper roots and as the economy continues its slow slog out of the quagmire.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tip for car haulers

Got some great tips from Doug Winchester of Wholesale Motors. Next time you're trying to get cars to haul and some other trucking company has offered a ridiculous low-ball price, ask your customer if they got a copy of the other trucking company's insurance directly from the company providing that insurance. The way Doug explained it, some individuals will pay the deposit to get the certificate of insurance, and then stop making their payments. They run around with that worthless piece of paper for a whole year. By the time the customer finds out... it's too late.
  • Ask for the phone number of the insurance carrier so you can get a faxed copy of the current certificate. If the other company makes a bunch of excuses about getting this info to the customer, this is a big warning sign.

Other things to remind the customer:
  • Does the other company have references? If a guy has been in business for a number of years and has a lot of experience hauling cars, he ought to have at least a half dozen people you can call up who will give you a good report on him.
Doug says you really ought to know who is hauling your cars. He recounted a tale of damage caused by inexperienced haulers crossing the polarities jump-starting a Porsche. He told me another story of outright theft-- three Mercedes that disappeared... along with the "trucking company" that was supposed to transport them.
  • If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Just like Mom always said. Too often, people are attracted by a low price and forget all the other components of the value of the service they are buying. As Doug said, "Too often, customers have to learn the hard way... but by then it's too late." Part of your job as a car hauler is to try to help your customers make the right decision and avoid getting ripped off by incompetent or crooked people.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Enclosed Transport: E track clip with built-in ratchet

Photo courtesy of Lee Knox.

No, you won't find this assembly on our site. Lee assembled these by buying some of the heavy duty bull ring type e track fittings and removing the bull ring. The bolt secures the ratchet to the two e track clips. They are 4 9/16" high at the side of the winch stand, and 5 1/8" high at the release lever. Lee says they work pretty good for the 1940 Ford he transports.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Low Profile Tool Box for Cottrell C12, C14 etc

Paul over at A Reliable has a smoking hot deal on low profile tool boxes to fit Cottrell. This box goes in between the pooch plate on the lower rear position. They can fit 40 or more wheel straps and ratchets. He sells them for $750 installed. A Reliable is located in Pensacola, FL. (850) 479-7799

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

US auto makers continue recovery

GM and Ford see strong sales gains; Toyota lags - MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler all posted double-digit gains in monthly U.S. sales Wednesday, while Toyota Motor Corp. lagged the group as incentives lost some of their punch.

GM reported a 16.6% rebound from its bankruptcy-deflated results of May 2009, and Ford Motor Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!f/quotes/nls/f (F 11.87, +0.02, +0.17%) followed up with its sixth straight month of gains in excess of 20%, thanks to the success of its new model lineup.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Prices going up soon for steel, aluminum, etc.

If you've been deferring maintenance on your auto transport trailer, now might be a good time to sit down and make up a shopping list... prices are set to jump due to increased costs for component materials like steel, aluminum, webbing, etc. Here is a link to the current specials for car hauling parts, straps, chains, etc., due to expire as soon as we run out of stock purchased at the old price. There is also a coupon code to save you $10 for orders placed online before May 31st.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is Boydstun starting up again?

In a word... No!

However, I do have some good news for Boydstun screw truck owners. Or anybody who would prefer to have their truck worked on by techs with experience with this sort of equipment as well as good, old-fashioned chain trucks.

Lee Ireland and Pam Lee, formerly of Boydstun Metalworks, are back in the old service building at 9002 North Sever Court in Portland. They are working under the auspices of Western Pacific Leasing and Truck Repair, which is hooked in with Paccar. Lee hired Pam last month, along with three other former Boydstun employees. In addition to the old Boydstun facility, they are also running a mobile repair truck.

This is where we are going to direct all those folks that call us looking for screw actuators, solenoids, etc. You can call Pam or Lee at 503-233-8135.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Car Hauler Finance Update

Was talking with Jamie over at Zip's Truck Equipment about those pre-2003 Miller car haulers with the star-hole deck plate... and how best to use soft-ties on them... and the conversation circled around to truck finance. I didn't realize this, but Zip's does their financing in-house with a sister company they set up. They ARE doing truck loans, believe it or not. Here are the rough guidelines:
  • 15% down on leases
  • 25% down on truck
  • they lien against truck... won't ask you to put up your house as collateral or any kind of nonsense like that.
  • they like to see at least a year's experience in the industry
  • 600+ FICO score
  • terms of the loan tailored to the equipment
  • they will loan money on outside deals, say if you find a truck at Rush Peterbilt or on Autohauler Shopper website or Truck Paper.
Zip's has late model used Cottrell and Miller car haulers available... highmount 7 car quickloaders, stinger quickloaders and stinger high rails. Call Jamie for more info (641) 394-4083.

Another good place to call for truck financing is West Coast Enterprises. They are a Cottrell dealer but also do outside deals. Call Andrea West (559) 264-6984. They have tons of late-model Cottrells available, as well as used equipment, lease turn-ins, etc.

Tec Trucks in Portland is another good resource, since they have the ability to pay cash for trades when they do a truck deal. They have a good inventory of car hauling trailers also.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Noise and Signal in the Economy

Lately, there have been crazy swings in the stock market caused by technical glitches (perhaps), and possibly fears of default on sovereign debt by Greece... and fears of the spread of this "contagion" to the weaker economies in Europe: Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland. While I admit the prospect of a lapse back into recession by the European Economic Union is spooky, one shouldn't immediately reach for the panic button.
  1. Flight to safety of US bond market will keep bond prices high and yields low... meaning, we can keep financing our own debt at reasonable interest. Consequently, long term interest rates on mortgages should stay lower even after the government pull-out of the mortgage market.
  2. This will provide positive feedback to the (slowly) recovering US real estate and construction industries.
  3. Stronger dollar means your money will go a further.
  4. "It's the jobs, stupid!" (I'm paraphrasing Bill Clinton's campaign manager's mantra during his last re-election bid.) US jobs data continue to improve. Check it out.
  5. Improving jobs numbers will reinforce economic recovery as consumers make a bigger come-back and demand increases. US auto sales were up 20% in April.
  6. Increased demand will reinforce jobs.
  7. Asian economies are doing well, which is good for US exports, because most exports are to Asia, not Europe. According to the Wall Street Journal, GM's China sales rose 41% in April.
Sure, gold is up around $1,200 an ounce. Banks are still shoring up their balance sheets and capital reserves and being stingy with loans to certain sectors (ahem! truck loans!) This too shall pass. The fundamentals, if not strong, are at least improving. I'm cautiously optimistic that the meaningful data are in jobs and housing and retail sales data, not in stock market gyrations.

What are the effects of the economy on car hauling?

Ford economist Emily Kolinski Morris said the recent growth in U.S. gross domestic product—it rose 3.2% in the first quarter—is supporting a recovery in car sales. Ford is forecasting that 2010 sales industrywide will rise to 11.5 million to 12.5 million vehicles, up considerably from last year's 10.4 million. "I would be very surprised to see the sales pace tail off," she said in a separate conference call. -- Wall Street Journal: May 4, 2010

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The curse of the “Zombie Truckers”

Zombie Truckers are still afflicting motor carriers both large and small

Mar 5, 2010 1:56 PM

Though a term more appropriate for a George Romero film than the freight market, “Zombie Truckers” are still afflicting motor carriers both large and small by keeping capacity in play that technically shouldn’t be there. The term – coined by Larry Gross, president of Gross Transportation Consulting and senior consultant with FTR Consulting Group – refers to truck operators who are not making their monthly equipment payments and thus should be bankrupt or shut down, yet remain in operation because the banks do not want to repossess their equipment as its value remains minimal.

This was a really interesting article I was tipped off by a friend who has 40 years in the auto transport business. One thing he says he's seen in all the years of analyzing the numbers is that a truck has to earn a certain amount per day on average, or you'll be better off parking it.

2009: A retrospective in miniature.

OK, we all know 2009 was tough sledding... but here is something interesting... despite the economic morass we were in last year, the little port of Tacoma, WA managed to pull in quite a few cars. Auto units: 117,357. That's $3.01 billion worth of vehicles, to be specific. (Source)

Port employees earned wages working at the port. Businesses and drivers earned money unloading, loading and transporting those cars. Some sales people down the road somewhere made some money selling those cars. Other people earned money fueling them up, washing them, providing service, etc.

What's the moral of the story?

I think it is good to keep things in perspective. Business was way off last year in a lot of different industries, but there was still business, even during the financial gridlock that was late '08 early '09. The governments and the businesses of this world cobbled together an exit from the financial and economic quagmire. We are still walking that path. It's not over yet. In a world as interdependent and complex as ours is now, could it EVER be over, really? But we have no choice but to keep moving forward, just like our grandparents had to do in the Great Depression and during World War Two. They survived by working hard and thinking creatively. We will do the same. Because we must. Comparing the two eras, I think you'll agree that what we went through was nothing like what they experienced. The governments of the world may have not come up with the best solutions for the economic crises, but they avoided a catastrophic breakdown of the financial system and a total locking up of liquidity.

Last year a little port in Tacoma, Washington moved 117,357 cars. And things are already picking up. I'd say we're on the mend. For now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Convert your chain truck to a strap truck

We got some pics from one of our friends down in Jacksonville, Florida... T&C Welding is now offering a pretty snazzy solution for guys who want to convert their chain trucks over to strap. Here is a a few pics of their quick release strap box:

They also can modify your hauler so you can lower the top deck almost all the way down... allowing you to strap the cars down with your feet flat on the ground. If you're tiring of lugging around a bunch of hand ratchets, this could be a good investment for you. Junior has been building these systems for the past couple years for a local Jacksonville hauler, so he's had time to get the kinks out of the system. If you're interested in saving some weight (and saving your back), you should look into this system. It's a lot more affordable then selling your chain truck and buying a strap unit. Cost is about $1500 per deck, i.e., per auto. Lowering kit runs about $5,500 to $6,000 to do.
For more information on this system, give T & C Welding a call at (904) 778-7711

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Auto Transport Business Software

Found an interesting company that has developed software customized for the auto transport business. Fellow to talk to is Aaron: (561) 244-2577

Friday, April 16, 2010

Should you buy parts for your car hauler sooner rather than later?

Inflation is right around the corner... literally. Southeast Asian economies are seeing higher cost inputs for metals and energy. China's annualized GDP grew at almost 12% in the first quarter this year... and their industrial production grew over 18%! In America, anecdotal evidence on the producer side suggests that prices are going to go up in the near to mid-term. And let's not forget fuel-- it's been creeping up all year, and Memorial Day is in six weeks.

I know two major steel chain manufacturing companies that have absorbed 12% increases in steel rod, the main component in welded chain.

A friend of mine who buys steel says his per foot cost on what he buys has gone up twice in the last four months.

Friends overseas say prices are starting to jump.

So I know I'm kind of biased, but I'm thinking that if you have some deferred maintenance on your car carrier... old aluminum cylinders that are puking oil... rusty, worn out cluster chains... bent and cracked ramps... frayed auto tie-down straps.... that sort of thing... you probably should buy sooner rather than later.... before diesel jumps up to $6 a gallon!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

How to make money hauling cars?

Well I sure can't tell you the best way to make money hauling cars, but there is a pretty interesting calculator on this website that can aggregate some of the costs and put that up against the money you make hauling hotshot loads... I think this should be pretty adaptable to the carhauling business. So for those of you thinking of jumping into car hauling with thoughts of getting rich quick, play with his calculator a little bit before you buy a truck!

Hotshot Profit Calculator

This is why you should use 4 straps or chains per car.

Car hauler dumps fuel and cars, closes I-70 for 9 hours | | Zanesville Times Recorder
NEW CONCORD -- A nearly nine-hour closure of Interstate 70's westbound lanes on Tuesday was caused by a the rollover of a car hauler that dumped fuel and cars.

The accident happened around 8 a.m. and closed lanes until just before 5 p.m.

Lt. Mike Forshey, of the Ohio Highway Patrol Zanesville post, said Ronald H. Young Jr., 41, of East Greenville, Pa., was traveling west when he looked down at his GPS unit, and the hauler carrying nine vehicles slid into the guardrail, carrying the cab of the car hauler with it.

Three cars were ejected and rolled into the field, Forshey said, while the cab containing Young rolled over and landed on its roof.

The driver also was not wearing his seat belt... so he did have to go to the hospital for injuries. Moral of the story-- strap yourself AND your cars. You just never know.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Toyota Bends the Curve Upward; US Jobs Report favorable

Toyota Discounts Spur March U.S. Sales; Nissan Up 43% (Update3) -
April 2 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp.’s incentive push after record recalls helped the automaker post a March U.S. sales increase following two months of declines, while Nissan Motor Co. led gains among the largest Asia-based brands.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday that the economy added 162,000 non-farm jobs in March... and no, they weren't all Census Takers!

See full article from DailyFinance:

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Nummi Closure: Robots heading back to Georgia

Pension watchdog says Nummi plan underfunded
The federal agency that protects pensions says New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. is liable for $292 million in benefit payments but has just $161 million in assets, and it wants Toyota Corp. to help make up the difference.

Nummi was founded in 1984 as a partnership between Toyota Corp. and General Motors, but last summer GM quit the partnership and turned its interest in the Fremont plant over to Motors Liquidation Co., the bankrupt remnant of the old GM.

*I was talking to a customer in Kentucky the other day, and he said they were already loading up the robots from the Toyota plant and shipping them back to Georgia.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jack Cooper Transport and Reality TV

Jack Cooper Transport explores reality TV possibilities -
Jack Cooper Transport Co. teetered on the edge of bankruptcy last year and continues to fight for a turnaround of its fortunes.

Is that a story made for reality TV?

Mike Riggs hopes so. Riggs, chairman and majority owner of Cooper Transport, said the company has become a client of a Beverly Hills talent agency that will shop the idea of a reality TV show revolving around the car-haul company.

“I had never heard of such a thing, but there apparently is a niche of reality TV shows dealing with the workplace,” Riggs said.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Car hauling equipment in the UK

Came across an interesting website of a UK car hauling trailer manufacturer. Check out the car tie-downs they use over there. Looks a lot like the rollback straps we use over here in the US.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Need help with cold case

Thank You
Gary Clark

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Clunkers crush auto auction business in Danville

By Karen Blackledge
The Daily Item

DANVILLE — Wednesday marked the end of the oldest auto auction business in Pennsylvania, as the Danville Auto Auction closed, a casualty of a brutal used-car market decimated by the federal government’s Cash for Clunkers program.
Auction owner Robert “Bob” Welcomer said the auction’s business name has been acquired by a competitor, Central Pennsylvania Auto Auction in Lock Haven, but the Danville business will be shuttered under the terms of the transaction. Four full-time workers and as many as 35 part-time workers will lose their jobs.

Welcomer said there simply was not enough business for the two competing auctions to survive.

At the peak of its business, the Danville auction sold 300 vehicles during the once-a-week sale. On Wednesday, only about half that many vehicles went on the block.

The auctions have been hurt by a double-whammy. The economy has driven many used-car lots out of business, which eliminated many of their customers, and Cash for Clunkers took many of the vehicles that might have been sold in auctions off the market.

This is another example of how government intervention can distort the economy... picking winners and losers. Presumably to offset the lost jobs at this auction, there might be jobs retained at machine shops and other service providers to the new car industry... jobs that would have been lost if there hadn't been a massive government intervention. This is kind of emblematic of the law of unintended consequences.

Full Story: The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA - Clunkers crush auto auction business in Danville