The Use of Backhauling In The Car Transport Industry

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In the auto transport industry, backhauling is actually quite common, even though, on the surface, it may not seem to make sense. A close examination of backhauling and the reason why auto transport companies frequently engage in this practice will shed some light on its current popularity:

What is Backhauling?

Backhauling occurs when an auto transport carrier picks up a vehicle in a location, transports it to another location, where they then pick up a different vehicle and bring it back to the original location. More specifically, the following example is the best representation of what backhauling is:

  • An auto transport carrier in Los Angeles, California picks up Vehicle A. They then drive it to San Diego, where it is dropped off.
  • While at the same location in San Diego, the driver picks up Vehicle B and drives back to Los Angeles, where it is dropped off.

The auto transport carrier is thus going back to the original area where it just came from, with the difference being that it is transporting a new vehicle.

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Why Auto Transport Carriers Engage in Backhauling

Backhauling simply makes logistical sense. In many scenarios, a carrier will drop off vehicles in various locations or one specific location and then have to return to its home base empty handed. They may drive from California all the way to Illinois to drop off a series of vehicles on their route, but then have to return to California without any vehicles. By choosing to pickup vehicles on the way back to California, they can make money on the return journey, rather than spending money on gas and expenses without any financial gain.

Do All Auto Transport Carriers Do It?

Not all auto transport carriers perform backhauling, even though it makes economic sense for them. Backhauling requires a significant amount of planning, mainly in advance, as they have to arrange it ahead of time in terms of picking up vehicles to transport back on their return journey. It needs to make sense for the carrier both logistically and financially.

The main priority of carriers is still the original transport load, so backhauling is not always on their minds.

How You Can Benefit From Backhauling

You can benefit from backhauling mainly in the form of discounts. Since carriers, as long as the route makes logistical sense, would rather make SOME money rather than no money on the return journey, they may offer major discounts in order to secure your business. You're more likely to find a carrier that could transport your vehicle in this scenario if your vehicle is being delivered to a major city or at least on the way to a major city. If your vehicle is located or has to be delivered to a remote location, the chances are slim that you'll be to do it.

Each auto transport company has different policies as it pertains to backhauling. You can contact A-1 Auto Transport today and ask about trying to arrange it!

Written By:

Joe Webster
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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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