For many Southwest Florida businesses, the unofficial end of tourist season, typically marked by the conclusion to Easter weekend, means a chance to relax. Take a breather. Unwind a bit.
Young’s Transport Inc. is not one of those businesses.
Specializing in transporting snowbirds’ personal vehicles to and from the Midwest, the Fort Myers-based company is busy shifting into high gear this time of year while other businesses are letting their foot off the gas.
“What we consider ‘season’ and what other people consider ‘season’ are two very different things,” said owner Dana Miller, who in 2006 took over the business started by her father, Doug Young, in 1997. “This might be the end of season for some, but for us it’s just the beginning of busy season.”
For the next two months, Miller said, Young’s Transport will undertake the task of returning seasonal residents’ vehicles to the places from whence they came, mostly Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Missouri, though Young’s is also amenable to other locales.
“After that, we’ll ease up a bit until September, when it’s time to start bringing all the vehicles back to Florida,” Miller said. Transport specialist Jeannie Phillips, a 20-year veteran of the industry, said Young’s would deliver 135 vehicles back north by the end of May.
“At this point, we’re running at full-bore,” she said. “We’re booked up until June 4, so we’re actually needing to turn business away.”
Using a Naples-to-Chicago trip as an example, Phillips said it costs around $950 to haul a four-door sedan from paradise to the Windy City. “That’s the total — nothing is added on to that,” she said.
Phillips said the cost to transport larger vehicles, such as SUVs, rings in at around $1,000.
“That’s due to the added weight and the space they take up on the trailers,” she said.
Running three trucks during its busy season — two of its own and a third driven by an independent owner-operator — Young’s typically transports eight or nine vehicles on each trip, Phillips said.
“We also do transport for corporations and dealerships on the way back because without them we couldn’t even cover the cost of fuel,” she said.
After beginning operations in Naples almost two decades ago, Miller said Young’s moved near Alico Road in Fort Myers to be nearer to Southwest Florida International Airport.
Which makes it all the more convenient for clients, thanks to the free airport shuttle offered by Young’s, Phillips said.
“Customers book their flights around the transport, so they bring the car to us and we take them to the airport with our shuttle van,” she said. “Then when the next season rolls around, the whole process works in reverse.”
As far as logistics go, Phillips said Young’s typically travels up Interstate 75 to Atlanta, then travels through Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, lower Michigan, Indiana, lower Wisconsin, Illinois and St. Louis before heading back south to Florida.
“This might be our busy season right now, but everybody should know we run both ways year-round,” she said.
Among the many benefits to using the service, Phillips said, are saving time, reducing miles on a vehicle and avoiding the lengthy drive itself. “I don’t know if you’ve ever driven through Atlanta, but it’s not the most pleasant experience in the world,” she said. “To be honest, I really don’t know how our drivers do it.”
The drivers were also on the mind of client Bill Krause of Wisconsin, who provided a glowing review of Young’s service.
“The driver kept me informed as to the date and time when he would pick up the car, and called me again to tell me he had arrived,” Krause said. “I couldn’t ask for any better service.”
Those words were music to Phillips’ ears.
“We really do try to take care of everyone to the very best of our abilities,” she said.
Young’s Transport, Inc. is located at 17001 Alico Commerce Court, Fort Myers.
For more information, call 239-288-7225 or see www.youngstransportinc.com