Contributing author Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. A Ringgold, VA based carrier. Joey started his company in 2010 after serving time as an unhappy employee with a local trucking company. The time spent there was not fun but, in hindsight, was a turning point that propelled Joey into the wonderful world of being an entrepreneur. Please visit JoeySlaughter.net for more insightful blogging.
I’m sure there are tougher trucking jobs out there, but in my 22 years of experience, nothing approaches the challenges and hazards of car hauling.
- You need the endurance of a distance runner as you will walk miles to find and retrieve all your cars in auction parking lots where there are thousands of vehicles.
- You need the strength of a gorilla to secure anywhere from 8-11 vehicles on a load. This usually involves 4 securement points per vehicle so do the math; that’s a lot of work.
- You need flexibility and slenderness ( I struggled with this) to slip out of a car door when you can only open it a few inches when loaded on the lower deck. I’ve had to slide out of the windows of some. Don’t ask!
- You need the agility of a monkey as you climb all over the trailer like a jungle gym.
- You need the delicate hand of a surgeon as you maneuver and secure a load of $40K and up vehicles completely surrounded by steel. That delicate hand comes into play again as you move the hydraulic decks as close as 3 inches above the roof of a Mercedes E-Series and secure into place for the ride.
- You need confidence to drive a vehicle on narrow ramps up to 10′ off the ground as you load the vehicles.
- You need an attitude of safety, as you walk around on the top deck and below loaded cars. There have been drivers killed after falling from the top deck and crushed to death under loaded cars when their hydraulic lines failed.
- You need the ability to see the puzzle fit as you load the cars and position the decks for transport. You won’t know the height of the load until everything is secured and ready to go. And then, if the load is too high, you get to start over!
Company drivers can make between $60,000 and $80,000 depending on company and route. Most of the bigger companies transport new cars from manufacturer to dealer. They are loaded at the manufacturing plant or strategically located rail yards. These are local and regional routes that require very few overnight stays. There are other companies that specialize in transporting POV’s (Personally Owned Vehicles) for people moving across the country and these are OTR positions. Independent owner-operators primarily handle the transport of rental cars from site to site and the bulk of the used car market from big auctions like Manheim and Adesa.