The car carrier industry is a booming business, with high growth due to Internet sales of vehicles. These transactions between sellers and buyers all around the United States mean a higher demand for vehicle transport than ever before. Car carrier companies are hiring truck drivers, dispatch operators and customer service representatives.
There are many opportunities in the car carrier industry for truck drivers because these long-haul jobs can require being on the road for two weeks at a time, and many drivers do not prefer that sort of schedule. Car carrier companies nearly always hire drivers with previous truck driving experience because of the complex nature of this work. The drivers typically follow complicated routes around the country, picking up and delivering cars and other vehicles at numerous locations. They are also responsible for the actual loading and unloading of all the vehicles. Some drivers put in nearly 3,800 miles a week.
Car carrier drivers must have a Class A commercial driver’s license, or CDL, which requires drivers to pass a written test and a driving skills test with a commercial truck. People interested in becoming a truck driver can obtain training from a truck driving school, and many commercial trucking companies offer paid training for their new hires. Since car carrier companies nearly always hire experienced drivers, acquiring training and some experience at a commercial trucking company is an excellent option.
Other car carrier jobs include dispatch and customer service. Customer service representatives respond to emails and phone calls from potential customers asking for quotes, then take customer orders. They explain the system to people who are unfamiliar with how it works, and also answer questions from current customers about shipping dates. CSRs must be friendly and polite, with good communication skills to impart information about vehicle transport. Dispatchers schedule the shipping orders, creating the most efficient route possible, often arranging pick-ups and deliveries for one driver across the entire country. Because the work is so complicated, dispatchers must be well-organized and have a solid familiarity with U.S. geography.
Average annual earnings for auto transport drivers in 2008 was about $31,000, with the highest salaries topping out at about $41,000. The median hourly rate for customer service representatives in the transportation industry was about $12.50, and for dispatchers about $14.50. Most positions are full time, although some part-time dispatch opportunities are available, and some employers allow dispatchers to work from home. Full-time positions provide health insurance, paid vacations and holidays, and a 401k plan.
Because companies vary in reputation, potential applicants should investigate customer reviews of the companies they are interested in before applying. At least one car carrier company has been convicted of fraud and forced to pay nearly $100,000 for reimbursement to customers, while several have only 1 1/2 or 2 stars out of 5 possible in numerous reviews. See the Resources section below for a link to car carrier reviews.