YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN A NORMAL SKILL YOU HAVE WILL COME IN HANDY!
An unexpected side hustle
While I was traveling around earlier this year, I stayed with family in the Midwest for a few months. I found out about this vehicle transport side hustle from one of my sisters.
My sister was driving new vehicles, mostly sedans and SUVs, from the local car dealership to the new buyers. I asked her about it because, well, I know how to drive!
After all, I had just driven 1,400 miles with no incident other than keeping my cat happy. I knew my cat wouldn?t be going to work with me if I did get hired, so it would be easier. Right?
What is Vehicle Transport?
What my sister told me about this job was sort of weird. It almost sounded too simple. She said she showed up, got two dealer license plates from the van lady who drives the drivers back from the delivery point, put the front and back plates on the car (with a special little tool), then got in the vehicle, got situated, and drove.
It sounded doable.
The dealership bought fleets of cars and sold them in volume to the state for general use and for state police. They didn?t use car carriers to move the cars to the purchaser. They hired flunkies like my sister (and me).
I figured ?what the heck,? I can do that. So, I asked my sister to give the dealership hiring person my name. A few days later, they texted me for a copy of my driver?s license. The next day they texted me again asking if I could drive the next day.
That was that. I was going to do vehicle transport.
That was literally the extent of the hiring process. I never talked to anyone in person or even on the phone. But I am from this small town so they ?knew? me or at least ?knew of? me even though I hadn?t lived in the area for a long time. Decades. But they know my sister, and I imagine they checked out my background to see if I had any driving-related accidents or arrests. I didn?t, so I was golden.
My First Day Driving
I found out that the worst part of the job, well, one of the worst things, was having to show up early. At 7 am, sometimes 6:30 am. I?m not a morning person. Oh well. They are.
The first day I got there (just a little late). It was March and cold. Someone had kindly put my dealer plates on my vehicle for me. After all, they were standing around waiting for me to get there. What else did they have to do? I felt bad. A little bit, but dang, it was early!
Then we were told where we were going in case we got separated (which we did). I thought we needed to stay in a convoy situation. And that we would stay together. Ha!
As the photo above shows, I started out driving SUVs to the state police vehicle lot.
My biggest adjustment was getting up in the danged thing (those vehicles are tall!), then getting the seat forward enough so I could reach the pedals. Then the mirrors needed my attention so that I could see since the back window of the SUV was obscured because of all the police stuff back there. Many of the SUVs were police interceptors. They had big V8 engines, which came in handy for passing semi trucks on the highway. Our route was mostly highway driving so seeing out the back window turned out to not be a big deal.
When we were all ready, the woman who drives the van to bring us back to point A sped off down the highway. Two he-men were in pursuit. This turned out to be par for the course. These three always led the way, and the rest of us trickled along. I didn?t want to get a speeding ticket, so I just put the cruise control on (when I finally figured out how), found the local NPR station, and watched the road.
We all got to the destination (point B) within five minutes of each other most of the time, so the whole speeding to get their first was not necessary. But you know: he-men.
Duties of a Vehicle Transport Job
The job was pretty much the same, day in and day out. Once in awhile something new came up or we drove to a different point B but not often.
Each week we were asked via text if we wanted to drive certain days that upcoming week, and we could say yes or no. They hired mostly retired old men and retired women like my sister or people like me, not yet of retirement age but available for work. The dealership was happy to get as many warm bodies as they could. That was definitely the main requirement: being a warm body. Oh, and knowing how to drive helped.
Some days we drove from point A to point B, got in the van and rode back to point A. Then we?d do it again. And again. And sometimes again. The most round trips I drove in one day were four. It was a long day. Driving is more tiring than you realize!
The other thing besides getting up early to drive that was not fun was parking these suckers. The vehicles were reminiscent to me of driving my RV. I hated driving that thing, and some of these vehicles were just as big. We were expected to back the cars or SUVs in to the parking lots at point B. Ha.
I sucked at backing up in to tight spots, and more than than once, I asked one of the other drivers to park my SUV for me. The last few days I worked, I pulled the big extended cab pickup trucks we were transporting into the spaces. I didn?t even try to back them in.
I joked that they paid me to drive, not to park. More on the pay in a bit.
One task we had to do was put the dealer plates on both the front and back of the vehicles before we drove them. To do this we had to use a special little socket tool to tighten and loosen the nuts used to keep the plates on. This was more of a pain than anything else, especially on cold mornings. And we had to remember to remove the plates upon arrival so we could use the plates again (and again).
Comfort Breaks While Working
One thing I had to figure out right away, the first day in fact, was where the heck I could go to the bathroom. The guys who drive were often seen moseying behind rows of cars at point A. They?d emerge a few minutes later.
Well, as females, this process was not as convenient. But my sister and I had grown up peeing in corn fields or wherever we could while cruising around as teenagers. We?re not fancy girly girls.
Most days my sister and I drove together so we acted as human shields and/or lookouts for each other more times than I can count. Yes, we squatted to pee. One memorable day I was tickled to see that I?d melted a large spot in the snow.
Ah, the simple pleasures in life.
The van driver did stop at a convenience store or a fast food place after our second trip to point B each day. Sometimes I crossed my legs and waited to use the potty at this place. And if we were doing many trips in a day, the van driver had to fill up the van with gas. We could use the potty at the gas station. I learned all of this after a couple of days ?on the job.?
Vehicle Transport Pay
If this job sounds ideal, I hope I?m not about to burst your bubble. The pay was minimal. We were considered to be contract workers, not employees of the dealership, so they legally could pay us whatever they wanted.
What they paid was a whopping $7 an hour. Yep. I should say that?s what they paid me. I don?t know for sure what other drivers earned.
We were paid for driving from point A to point B and were paid for riding back to point A so it was ?okay? since all of our time counted. But this is not a get-rich-quick gig. At all.
But I had the time, knew how to drive, and only did this job for about six weeks total. I earned around $550 total. Some weeks I worked one day; other weeks I worked three or four days.
I imagine other dealerships pay different wages. I doubt if this is something I?ll pursue to do as a side hustle again. If you?re interested though, check it out. Keywords to search to find jobs might include vehicle transport, auto transport, car shipping, etc.