Sunday, January 29, 2012

What to expect from your car transport professionals

Ok, this was my 2nd adventure shipping a car to the west coast and I thought I was so smart! The broker would have nothing on me as I was going direct to the transport company this time and cutting out the middle man. Well, not so fast... (remember this word, "Fast")

I found that it's possible in this economy that you could wait forever to get your wheels from point A to point B. It might just be easier to make the drive out to California than hire a transport.

Case in point, I started early. I was shipping the "acting" daughter's car this time in hopes it would arrive by (not the real date) Dec 19th. So I started on November 1st talking to the transport and shared that they had shipped the "film director" daughter's vehicle and could I book directly with them instead of the broker. You know, they could make a little more money that the broker usually takes and I would perhaps pay a little less than last time?

Well, it was 3 weeks of "we're trying to get a full load to return from California" and "Tuesday he is leaving from San Diego" and "Tuesday he is leaving from San Diego" and wait a minute, I thought he left last Tuesday? Isn't the truck in Florida now? So I gave them another Tuesday and still they were in San Diego, so I asked my husband to call his best friend, a trucker, to see what connections he had and hubby of course spent the weekend watching The History Channel while I'm handling other things and Monday I'm like, "wait, did you call?"


So I email trucker-wife and she tells me to call her hubby the trucker-friend and now I have a truck that is ready to load the car in 20 minutes (not trucker-friend's truck, but someone in his sphere of influence) and I've still got to load it full of daughter-stuff (which they don't want you to do) before it goes on the truck. Daughter is in NY on a birthday adventure (not hers) with friends and I just stopped everything (my work) and loaded the car.

I called the awaiting transport to learn he really needs to get out of Dodge and I just let him go, figuring I was just panicking by dealing with the prior (Lost in San Diego) transport, this was going to be easy.


So back to the internet to look for candidates for my transport dollars! Yes, we agreed to help the girls make the journey west.

Now I know what you are thinking, why doesn't your trucker-friend transport the car? Because that isn't what he trucks and he doesn't have transport buddies waiting for him to send them a car, otherwise I wouldn't be telling you this story. DUH! He happened to have a neighbor transporting and well, you don't need to know all that...

So I'm on the master site of all transport reviews and I'm ready to ship, less a bike that I can't figure out how to dismantle to shove under the black sheets that concealed a mound of packed duffle bags (full of fragile dishes and glassware in bubble wrap). Really, the bubble wrap party was a week earlier over wine and reruns of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Oh and only daughter and I could handle the duffle bags, as one wrong move and it would look like the Wolverine was trying to break out. So it was probably better that I couldn't figure out the bike thing.

Where was I? So I'm freaking out, I'm trying to work and now I'm 1-1/2 weeks from delivery date (when daughter would be in California) and thinking, she'll have to rent a car if hers doesn't arrive on time?

So you're saying, "hold the phone," why isn't the daughter handling this? Because, I'm the one with prior experience. Remember... the opening sentence... I figured this would be easy.

Ok, so now I'm Googling car rentals to see what that costs and I'm ready to just jump in the car and start driving, because this is really pissing me off!

So I call the AAAAA+ rated transport after scrolling through a gazillion reviews and I get an intelligent woman on the phone and tell her everything you know so far and she says are you willing to pay $50 more if I get a driver sooner. SURE!

Now I'm happy, I have a brokered transport (and paying more, but who cares by now), and I don't have to worry anymore and bingo, she calls me the next day with a truck that's ready by 6 pm Friday and I arrange for hubby to meet the truck after work because I'm going to be at a tradeshow and life is good.

The transport day arrives and hubby gets a call that the transport is 30 minutes away. I'm still not home. I get home an hour after the call. The transport calls and the truck is 30 miles away, deja vu San Diego. So we go to dinner. We come back from dinner and call the transport and they are still 30 miles away. They call us at midnight and have 2 flat tires and they'll come in the morning.

Saturday arrives and we get a call that the transport is 10 minutes from our house. I just stayed in my pajamas. "They are probably on the other coast," I told hubby. He cheerfully dresses and so I eventually follow suit-- in time.

Now he calls the transport back after an hour and they say they can't come down our street there are too many trees that can scratch the cars. "Ok, we'll meet you at the vacant shopping center down the road."

We were so naive! We drove daughter's car and I drove my my car and we waited, and waited and waited.

They must have done a Google Earth to tell us about the trees, because they were still hours from us and we got another call that they were 1 mile away and I just started making lunch and my husband took the bike to a bike shop to get packed for shipping.

And 30 minutes later I get a call that while hubby's out he's found the transport truck and I needed to bring the car to them?

Ok, so (I've left a lot more out for the sake of time) they have to unload the whole truck to get daughter's car on the top (last delivered) position. We watched, a lot more time passes and I notice they left her window down!

So I said, we can't leave until the window is up. So hubby agrees to stay with the transport and watch. Oh and I didn't mention, there is a language barrier.

As it turns out, they had a near-dead vehicle that wouldn't start consistently and using some chain contraption (I'm repeating hubby's story because I left), they couldn't get it up on the truck and the stress snapped the chain and it ricochetted back and cracked the vehicle's windshield. Hubby felt terrible for them and went out and bought a winch for them to use and finally they were fully loaded and ready to leave and then my husband looked up and noticed the window was still down on our daughter's car!

So he stopped them again and they gladly took care of her window. He watched.

When the car arrived in California, it was more lies on where the transport was, and I just said, "tell me you've not entered the state, because I know you are nowhere near your destination."

The car arrived 3 days early and we found a friend to receive the car in, another long story... And everything was in perfect condition. Both transport deliveries did a good job of taking care of the car. But why, why? All the headaches with telling the truth? I'm ok with the truth.

They only had to say, "we have a piece-of-crap-mobile on the truck that is costing us time and we can't dump it, so it's going to be several hours before we get there."

Was that so hard?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's Pilot Season for One and ALL

Blair went home to Cali last week and Marquel is moving out to LA shortly, just in time for pilot season so it could be a chance for her to get some work immediately. Blair is quickly editing a pilot she and a friend wrote, directed and shot last month and they already have interest! After seeing some recent movie trailers I noticed an emerging trend, so I think they've got something.
Being The Film Mom, I just learned a new term, Momanger or Mom/Manager and while I find it cute... is that what Dina Lohan is? My kids have not expressed ANY interest in having me interfere with their developing entertainment opportunities and quite frankly, being their mom is job. I get last minute calls to locate resources, send electronic files, transport vehicles, run errands, find, sew and ship props, read, review scripts/films, fund raise/send money, P.R. (aka family newsletter) and plan family activities. It's never a dull moment and that's what I love!