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John Robertson Interview
Interviews

John Robertson with ShipYourCarNow.com

Dealership News interviews John Roberston, the Senior Executive Vice President of ShipYourCarNow.com. John explains how your dealership can leverage their company’s experience in delivering one or two cars at a time (as opposed to a whole truckload) to help your dealership compete with today’s advances in car buying.

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Kelly Kleinman:
Hello from Southern California. This is the DealershipNews.com podcast where we bring you the new and old school insight into the business of selling cars and service. So you have the foresight to grow your dealership and stay ahead of the competition. I'm Kelly. Kleinman. And here is our show. Today we have with us a Michigan State grad.

Kelly Kleinman:
He. You hear that?

John Robertson:
There you go.

Kelly Kleinman:
That's the Michigan State fight song. He's a Sparty Addie's from Boca Raton, Florida. John Robertson, Senior Executive Vice President of ShipYourCarNow.com.

John Robertson:
Welcome aboard. Glad to be here. Kelly.. Thanks.

Kelly Kleinman:
Truth be told, I'm a Buckeye. It's hard to play that anybody else's fine. Hope you enjoyed that.

John Robertson:
Excellent.

Kelly Kleinman:
Good to see you. So it's a question I ask everybody. Some of us grew up in the car business. Some of us fell into in. What's your backstory?

John Robertson:
Well, it's it's kind of interesting. Kelly. actually spent a little bit time in car sales. Straight out of college. It was one of the first things I did. And I did that for about a year and got a taste of it and then left for 20 years.

John Robertson:
So I was off doing other things. I got back into automotive logistics just as a startup to start up a call center for a third party broker for a company called United wrote, I built that out for them. And gosh, once the stuff's in your blood, it doesn't get out, I'm sure. I've heard that story before on your on your show. It's just there.

Kelly Kleinman:
You got you fall into it, you stay in it. And that's just the way it goes. It's just the way it goes. But we're happy to be here, right? So,.

John Robertson:
Absolutely.

Kelly Kleinman:
How long his Ship Your Car Now, been in business? What does your network of truckers look like? How are they that it? Tell us the model.

John Robertson:
Sure. Sure. So, you know, Ship Your Car Now. It's been around since about 2010 was started by our founder, Gavin Kesten. He was actually inspired by a bad experience he had moving a vehicle that he had purchased from eBay, which had just you know, it was eBay. Motors was out there and doing some transportation, had a very bad experience with a with a car hauler and found out that there was kind of a dark side of the car hauling industry at that point. He kind of put that in his belt and said, you know, someday I'm going to do that. Right. And it turned out he he built out a personally owned vehicle move company. So that's what we call it when we move consumer vehicles like that. P.O.V. uses the acronym in the business. And he built that out and spent about five years building that up to be one the largest P.O.V. movers in the United States. Kind of saturated the market and was moving as much of market share as you could reasonably move and branched over into a business to business world. So he really started to move a lot of B2B vehicles, dealers, auctions, remarketing, fleet, leased, vehicles like that. So that was kind of a pivot point number one for them. And that was a big deal there. Their network of carriers that they had built out moving personally owned vehicles was really unique because they had built out a lot of a lot of carriers that moved less than a truckload.

John Robertson:
Right. So one car from point A to point B, one car from point C to point D, as well as the industry's changed over the last couple years. Dealerships are now moving more one car from point A to point B. You know, the old world of shipping a truckload. You know, when I was when I started up in the business, everything was about a truckload of cars get a truckload of cars. You don't have a truckload. You can't get a carrier to take up. Well, ship your car now. And that history. We built the carrier base over 13,000 strong. Now, all pre-vetted carriers that cover every inch of this, United States, including Alaska and Hawaii and even international that are used to moving those ones and twos and threes. So when it comes to companies like ACV Auctions and some of the other virtual stuff that's out there that's taken the market by storm in the last few years we're built for speed. That's that's our that's our genre. That's our sweet spot. We love moving those ones and twos.

Kelly Kleinman:
So as digital retailing solutions evolve in remote buying models like Amazon, Wal-Mart and Carvana gain traction, How do you make it easier for a dealer to compete from a pricing standpoint and in on a dealer's site as well from the standpoint of a positive user experience?

John Robertson:
Well, I think the big thing there is that, you know, a lot of the a lot of the dealerships, a lot of the traditional dealerships are concerned about all those aspects of, you know, my used car markets. They're used to, you know, hitting the demographics. That's within a 50 mile radius, making sure that they've got, you know, still got print out there and those other kind of things that are that are bringing those people into the lot. What we're seeing, especially with the younger generation coming onboard, they're looking more to, you know, they want to order a car off your phone. I mean, that's their gig right there, isn't it? And they don't really care where it comes from. With the advent of all the super camera systems, you know, like a blackwidow video systems and everything else, they're going on that that can take every angle of the car buying something virtually like that is not such a stretch for people. So that's where the Carvana is. And people like that are coming along and that consumer world and they're beginning to sell a lot more consumer vehicles that way. What we've done is we've got and this is kind of our our third pivot point now or second pivot point, I guess we call it, is to turn The industry a little bit and say, you know what? We're not just about shipping cars, we're about empowering dealerships with the technology that they can ship cars. So what we've done is Ship Your Car Now. We've taken the technology that we've used to move cars efficiently and effectively across the United States. And we're not putting it directly in the hands of the dealership. Why that's great for the dealership and the consumer? We cut out the middleman. The dealership isn't calling somebody to figure out, you know, here's the I got to find these five different guys to move this car and get a bid and all that work. We'll actually put a system in their hands. Either the consumer can access or the dealer can access and they're going to push a button and ship the car. So it's that simple with some of our solutions. And that's where we're. That's where we're taking the market. Kelly We're leading with our technology. We move the car for you as well. But the first thing we're gonna do is we're gonna get you on a platform that's going to take you to the next day, take you to the next edge, take you to the future and put technology in every dealership and so everybody can be Carvana.

Kelly Kleinman:
So you're currently working with CDK Global. What kind of feedback are you getting from their dealership base?

John Robertson:
So it's I love the question and it's because I almost mentioned CDK Global too, because one of the things we're hearing from them and I heard this just yesterday from somebody, they said, oh, you've already got that built and it's already on the platform.

John Robertson:
I'm like, yeah, we part and you partnered with them and you built it. You got it embedded with them already. And all I have to do is go to the app store and click on it. And I can be up in 24, 48 hours. And the answer is yes, you can be up, up and running with a full shipping solution in 24 to 48 hours using our CDK global app that we've built out with that.

Kelly Kleinman:
So you're getting a lot of good feedback obviously from the deal. It's yeah, that gives solution from a pricing standpoint and.

John Robertson:
Pricing standpoint and everything. We're we're we're very, very low barrier to entry for that. It's really, you know, there's a minimum just to keep the project up and going. But as far as the dealers are concerned, our revenue comes on the side of the shipment. So there's really no direct cost to ship that vehicle to the dealer. So that's a huge advantage to them. And in most cases, you don't always have to do it this way because we're very configurable. We use iframes, we use API integrations. We've got a lot of partners where we're doing a full on integration. You don't even know it's us in the background. You just click a checkmark that says, I want to ship the vehicle for 899.99. And that's us doing the work behind you. But it's all built the way the customer wants to make it work. The CDK global happens to be primarily focused on us collecting the revenue from the consumer and the dealership just being able to offer that service above and beyond service to that virtual customer. So when you're when your cousin Bobby moved to Utah, he he's not by your Florida dealership and running over and buying his next used car from you. It's still no big deal to get that car shipped out to Bobby. We'll take care of it for him. And it's no problem. Virtual is is a reality for everybody.

Kelly Kleinman:
Well, the concern is always going to be the condition of vehicles shows up in. So I'm just kind of curious as to what kind of consumer guarantees are afforded a guy like me who's actually bought a car and headed transported across country in terms of nicks, dents and the usual potential wear and tear.

John Robertson:
Yeah. So there is there's really two phases to that, right? Kelly.. I mean, there's phase number one and I mentioned that earlier, the dealership's camera systems and the pictures that they're taking up these cars at the dealer lots and holes that, well, they're wholesale or dealer, consumer.

John Robertson:
There's so much better now the inspection levels and everything, even just three and four and five years ago where we're three times better than we were five years ago on that level of detail and everything that's going on with those pictures. So. So state number one is, you know, as a buyer, do you understand what condition that vehicle is and when you purchase it, what scratches already exist? Right. So that's number one. And that's that's a lot better for us. We'd love that. And there's some there's some great software out there. You know, there's a TMS called Super Dispatch that has some wonderful picturing capability in it where the drivers can take pictures at the point when they pick up the vehicle. That's our next phase, right. The driver's gotta do a good job of picking, taking pictures, doing an inspection when they pick up the vehicle. So the vehicle goes on the truck. We know what state it's in when the vehicle comes off the truck. We know what state it's in now. Assuming everything goes right and everybody's got pictures and life's good, that's a non issue. We walk away, but let's presume something doesn't go right. Because it's a shipping, it's it's a transaction. The vehicle is going to move. It's gotta go across the country. Things can happen. Ship Your Car Now carries this is one of the reasons we vet our carriers. They all have to have the appropriate insurance to make sure that's covered. And Ship Your Car Now carries additional insurance on top of that. So if anything did happen, even though we're monitoring our carriers all the time to make sure their insurance is up to date. But if for some reason it we're not to be up to date Ship Your Car Now carries insurance on top of that. So you're covered one way or another.

Kelly Kleinman:
Well, you've already touched on the technological aspect to a certain degree, but I was wondering how technology has affected the business. What do you see in the future? You know, one thing I couldn't do was track my my vehicle. I bought something for Boston and it showed up, I want to say, five or six days later. But where is it? Where is it? You know. Right. You have real time monitoring.

John Robertson:
Yes. So we're actually we're doing a roadmap for a technology development as we speak. Real-Time Monitoring is in that we we do it today. We don't do it electronically today. We do it the old fashioned way. We're actually monitoring the pickup.

John Robertson:
We're monitoring the transition. We're monitoring 24 hours out. And quite frankly, we're talking to drivers directly via phone because guess what? That's the best way to talk to a driver. They don't necessarily have time to answer e-mails. They don't have time to do those kind of things. So we actually go the extra effort. You as a consumer don't know the difference. You don't realize that I'm doing some manual stuff to make this happen. You just see that your car's been picked up. You see that your car is 24 hours out. But in reality, I'm doing some manual stuff behind there to make that happen today. Now, in our roadmap, we're going to put some technology in. There's a lot of controversy over technology on, you know, whether or not you put it on cars. You can track it. And, you know, it should be people be able to see where the cars is. Is there some security exposures there or there's some other things going on versus just monitoring the waypoints. So, quite frankly, we're we're talking with some legislatures and some stuff like that to try and determine, you know, what where some things are going to fall on this whole tracking, mystical tracking ability that everybody wants. Right. I mean, there's a reason there's a reason that some places don't necessarily give you that you can't track an Amazon drop, you know, when it gets picked up, you know, when it's expected for delivery, but you're not going to go to a map and see where it is. There's a reason for that. And we're not sure that that that doesn't apply the same to the auto industry. So we're we're treading carefully before we go too far. But meanwhile, meeting our customers needs by. They always know when where the car is, when it's going to be dropped off, when it's been picked up so that the major points in that transaction are covered for them.

Kelly Kleinman:
That makes a lot of sense. What separates you guys from the others in the automotive shipping logistics business?

John Robertson:
Well, I think, you know, and I've been around the business for a while now. I think there's probably the biggest thing that separates us from everybody else is we truly are starting with our technology. We truly are integrating and building out solutions that work for our customers within the software and within the systems are using today, or we're giving them a system that they want one. And then we happen to move the car, too. So it's really more about making that transaction more efficient. I mean, if you think about it the old day, right? I'm I'm a I'm a general manager at a dealership and I just bought some units at auction. I've got to I've got a call four different drivers I know, you know, Bobby's fishing this week Julie's truck's broke down. What not how long am I spending doing all this stuff right. To figure out where that car. And then I can't find anybody. So I posted up on some boards and I I hope some carrier that maybe has the right insurance. Calls me and wants to do it for the amount of money I want to pay. What if I just checked the box when the purchase happens and they include shipping in this transaction? What if I just roll all the cost of the shipping into the financing package for the consumer? So even that eight hundred ninety nine dollars it takes to move across the country, to them it looks like four dollars and 20 cents on the monthly payment. They're happy, as can be to see $4 in 20 cents gets their car over to them across the country and it gets there quickly. Charge the right price to move the vehicle. That's what we're about. We start there.

Kelly Kleinman:
Then we take care of moving the vehicle through a wash and wax. Then he's got a deal.

John Robertson:
I'll tell you, there's some other cool technology stuff we're looking at. There's some there's some camera technology we can some video technology we're looking into for next year to actually put in our driver's hands.

John Robertson:
We've got some upgrades may be available. Some are consumers where they can pay a little extra and we can actually videotape their car being loaded on a truck. So some cool stuff going on there. So there's a lot of technology that's real broad question, but there's a lot of fun stuff that we can do that we're rolling and our plans for next year to keep us out on that front edge with everybody. Right. We want to stay ahead of the competition and offer our customers the best.

Kelly Kleinman:
That's what we try to do over here. DealershipNews.com. So if I'm a vendor, a third party classifieds site. If I'm a car dealer.

John Robertson:
Yeah,.

Kelly Kleinman:
How do I contact you.

John Robertson:
So good. Good news is we work with we work. The lead generators, we work with those guys. You got to AutoTrader Classics right now. We're right. There is the primary carrier on all of their.

John Robertson:
When you look up a classic car, we love those guys. Been working with them for over a year. And basically, you can reach out to us, go to our Web site, shipyourcarnow.biz. The dot com is our is our consumer Web site for your your channel here. Kelly.. They're going to want to go to our dot biz site. If you've got some awesome case studies on that. We've got some live videos. You can see people's integrations and how it actually works in a couple of different real life scenarios. We're running today so you can kind of visualize, hey, I can see that being on my Web site, I might do it a little different. You know, I might I might offer the consumer a fast ship button and a slow ship button. So they see two prices as opposed to this Web site that's only offering one. We offer up to five levels of pricing, by the way, which is completely unique. Nobody's doing that today to give the give the consumer or the dealer options on how how they want to ship kind of the Amazon models. You want the prime. You want it right away. Do you want to or is seven days good enough? So we're doing that as well. Or they call me directly. Obviously, feel free to reach out to me, john@shipyourcarnow.com and we'll get to take care of folks.

Kelly Kleinman:
That's John from ShipYourCarNow.com, John Robertson. Thank you very much. I really appreciate you coming on board today. That's all the time we have for now.

John Robertson:
Go green.

Kelly Kleinman:
I don't know if going to bowl this year, but Right. We're working on.

Kelly Kleinman:
This is Kelly.. Kleinman DealershipNews.com. Thank you for joining us. We'll see you soon. Thanks again.

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