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Day in the Life of an Auto Transport Driver

schedule
The purpose of this post is to illustrate how busy a truck driver (especially one who transports cars) can be and why it’s so hard to guarantee times and dates.

This driver is loading cars onto his trailer today.

8am: Load a car from a dealership.

Not too many customers are available this early in the morning so the driver will start with a pick up from a business. To figure everything out at the dealership and to load the car onto the trailer takes 45 minutes with an empty trailer.

He drives to another dealership 45 minutes away.

930am: This dealership is a little bit faster so he is able to get the car and load it onto the trailer in half an hour.

The driver goes to pick up the first residential car 15 minutes away.

1030am: It took 15 minutes to get to the destination but the driver had trouble getting into the neighborhood, he had to resort to plan B and go to a plaza around the corner which cost him an aditional 15 minutes. By the time the customer arrived it was 1050am. By the time the inspection was done and the car was loaded onto the trailer it was 1130am.

He drives to another dealership that is half an hour away.

12pm: The car here is missing some kind of important paperwork. The manager responsible for the paperwork is out at lunch and can’t be reached on his cell phone. The driver ends up waiting an hour. Once the manager gets back the car is loaded onto the trailer in 15 min.

He drives to the next residential pick up 15 minutes away.

130pm: He is able to get into the neighborhood. The pick up goes smoothly and the car is inspected and on the trailer in 20 min.

There is a truck stop nearby. The driver stops to get fuel and food. He will spend 45 minutes or so waiting on a pump to open up.

Once finished he drives to the next pick up.

330pm: The driver made arrangements with the customer earlier to meet at a plaza. The customer is there and waiting when the trucker arrives. The inspection is done quickly. But at this point the trailer is in disarray. The cars are not in the correct order that they are supposed to get dropped off in. This happens because the pick up order is not in sync with the drop off order, it almost never is. So he now has to rearrange the cars on his trailer. This takes an hour and a half. From here on it will take longer to load the cars because he will want to keep them in order. So he may have to drop one or two cars down and reload them just to load up one car.

He drives an hour to the next customers house.

630pm: It’s dark and there are low trees in the neighborhood. The driver has an open trailer and driving down the street could result in the cars on the top level of his trailer getting damaged by the trees. He decides to go to a nearby plaza that the driver spoke with the customer about earlier. The customer will need to be driven back home because he has no one to drive him back in a second car. By the time the driver has taken the customer back home and has the car ready to load it’s 30 minutes later. By the time he loads it it’s another 30 minutes.

At this point the dealership where his next pick up was is closed. He has no choice but to stay the night in that city. If he could have picked up the car tonight he could have driven the two hours to get to his last pick up. Instead that pick up is reschedule for later the next day.

This would be considered a successful day by any truck driver’s standards, even though everything wasn’t finished. The cars were picked up with minimal down time in between and nothing was cancelled. There are a lot of opportunities for trouble which is why guarantees are always taken with a grain of salt and are never given very far in advance. Anything can happen on the road so try to give your driver as big a window for pick up and drop off as possible.

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