Don’t Ship A Car When It Is Full Of Stuff

car shippingWe know you want to pack your car before shipping it. Everyone planning to ship a car across country full of stuff assumes it would be an easy way to save costs on moving. Unfortunately, we can’t recommend loading your car with stuff before shipping it on an open carrier. We occasionally receive pictures from our drivers of what customers want to include during their transport. Don’t be like these folks. It will actually cost you more in the long run: in funds, in drama, and/or delays.

Your car shipping quote is priced for an empty vehicle. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, the weight of a vehicle effects how much gas is required to transport it. Even if you only want to include a few bulky items, it adds up.  If every vehicle on the auto hauler has a few items, the total weight load is significantly increased throughout the transport. A driver may be willing to transport your vehicle with some items in it for an additional fee, but we can’t negotiate or guarantee the charge in advance for you.

But let’s be practical, leaving items in the car may increase the risk of theft. When your car is on the open carrier, anything visible in your vehicle is visible to every vehicle the truck passes. While your vehicle is insured during transport, items left in the vehicle are not covered. You may be willing to risk theft, but your driver may not want to take the gamble on your behalf – and he’d be most affected by any incident.

Most importantly, though, your driver has to be able to load your car safely on and off the hauler. When a car is packed, luggage obstructs his view. If the truck arrives to the pick-up location and finds your car packed to the ceiling, your driver will ask you to remove items or he will have to refuse to load your vehicle. (And even if he doesn’t load your vehicle, he is entitled to compensation for making the trip to your location.)

It’s less hassle to leave your vehicle empty of belongings. Leaving stuff in your car may accrue additional surcharges, or it may invite theft, or it may cause your driver to refuse your load. If you have any follow-up questions about leaving stuff in your car for car shipping, give us a call: 866-221-1664.

Vehicle Shipping Tips – Good Advice Before You Ship

vehicle shippingThis is just to go over a few things about Vehicle Shipping for you before you make a decision.

Price and getting the car moved safely and on time are probably your biggest concerns.  Here are some things to consider.

First, never pay an upfront deposit.  This is very important.

If you are requesting quotes online, I can assure you that every company you’re speaking with is a broker (or a carrier with a brokerage division) and the people you are speaking with are salesmen who work on commission.

So what happens sometimes is that some salespeople will tell you whatever you want to hear just to get that deposit because they don’t get paid until you pay the company. Then if they can’t get you a car carrier because they bid it too low you could be the one left with no car moved.

Plus, now you’ve given out a deposit that you have to somehow get back. And if you do get the deposit back you’ll see a $75 cancellation fee in their terms and conditions.  (not in ours, of course)

So, whether you ship a car with us or someone else, do NOT give an upfront deposit.  There are to many ethical companies like us who don’t ask for a deposit until after we get you locked down with a carrier.

Secondly, make sure that the Vehicle Shipping company that you choose to move your car has a good rating with the BBB.  Again, this is very important. You want to make sure that they are going to set you up with a reputable carrier.

We only use car carriers that carry a minimum of $750,000 in insurance and have been PRE-SCREENED so that they are known to be very good. 

One problem with this industry is that most people only move a car once in their life and so it allows for people to be, how shall we say, “less than honest” since they don’t need to worry about repeat business.

We have an A rating with the Better Business Bureau and are Accredited by them.

It’s easy to see anyone’s rating.  Just go to  Once there, select the company’s location, (ours is Los Angeles).  Then just type in the name of the company (i.e. Safe-Direct Car Shipping).  From there you can read a 3 year history on what the BBB has to say about the company.  If they have a lot of complaints (especially unanswered complaints) you may want to consider a different company.

As far as quotes are concerned, all of the quotes you are getting are actually just estimates.  What really happens is that we all use the same website to post your move once you select a company.  It’s called Central Dispatch.  This way the carriers have one place to go and can see what moves are out there.  It makes it easy on them since they are driving all day and can only check when they stop at a truck stop and such.

Anyway, when you look at someone’s quote, usually the amount of the *deposit* goes to the broker and the rest is what they are going to offer the car carrier when they post it. (This is usually the amount you pay COD)

So if you get a quote that is much lower than everyone else, you need to realize that it may not pay the car carrier enough to get their interest.  So your move can just sit on that website with no one interested in it. And it’s usually those low quotes that want a deposit up front as well. Be careful.

With that being said, if you ever feel the quote you get from us is not *competitive* enough, we have no problem re-looking at your quote with you on the phone, and we’ll even go online while we’re talking and tell you what other cars are offering at the time. Making sure you are priced in line with the competition is your our top priority.

I hope this has helped you understand this industry a little bit better. If you have any questions, just call us at 866-221-1664 and we’ll take the mystery out for you.

Free Car Shipping Quote

How to Ship a Car with Items Inside (and not pay extra)

The number one question most customers have is “Can I Ship a Car with items inside?”

Well here are the facts, along with some guidelines to help you.

First comes the bad news (of course), which is that the FMCSA (i.e. the licensing board for ALL car shipping companies) strictly states that no car carrier (or broker) is allowed to ship a car with items inside.

But, like anything else, that doesn’t mean that people (and car carriers) don’t do it.

It is definitely possible to do, but you need to be careful if you want to avoid any extra charges.

The general rule of thumb is; keep the items out of sight and under 100lbs.

That’s the best advice of all for you to follow, especially if you are looking to avoid added costs.

The reason is this – a car carrier will burn more fuel with every extra pound that is on it’s back, so you want to keep the weight of what you put inside the car minimal.

Also, keep in mind that the truck driver has to drive your car onto the back of an 18 wheeled car hauler, possibly even up top, and then *back* it off again on delivery. So, it’s enough of an acrobatic feat as is, you don’t want to make it worse, so you want to make sure he can see out all of the windows.

The best practice is to keep the items in the trunk and light, light, light.

*IF* you can stay within those guidelines, then the chances of your being charged extra are slim to none.

But, let’s be honest – you’re reading this post because you want to put A LOT more than that in your car for transport. Right?

Well, it’s still possible, but the fact of the matter is, if it’s excessive, you may have to play a little game of “Let’s Make a Deal” with your driver on the day of pick up.

Here is the key advice for those of you in that situation – Make sure that the items in your car can be easily removed.

The reason for this is simple; if you and the driver can’t come to a reasonable agreement, you want to be able to easily remove the stuff from the car so that the driver can take it.

But here’s the number one thing working IN YOUR FAVOR – The driver has committed that space on his truck for your car, and the LAST thing he wants to do is drive away without your car on his truck, because that means he has to find something to replace it – which costs time & effort & *money*. (So he REALLY wants to strike a deal too, he just needs to cover his added expense.)

9 times out of 10 our customers are able to strike a fair bargain that leaves everyone happy, so just be smart and keep it down to the essentials when trying to ship a car with items inside.

How to Ship a Car to Florida – Without Losing your Mind

car shipping toIf you’re shipping a car to Florida this winter, this one piece of advice could save your sanity. “Snowbird Season” is by far the most maddening time in the world of Car Transport (mainly for customers).

Our advice is plain and simple (but I will elaborate on it below):

Do NOT place your order until the week before you want your vehicle shipped.

I know – that sounds crazy, right?

I can imagine what’s going on in your head right now. – “How can that be?” “Won’t I get a cheaper rate?”  “I’ve got A LOT to planning to do and I want this off my plate!” “This guy from Ship a Car Direct is nuts!”

Bear with me, because I’m going to get a bit ‘technical’ first, but I’ll explain why later.

It’s imperative that you understand this – Car Transport is an Open Market system.

What that means is – the cost to ship a car is a result of the current conditions of any particular move. Yes, that always includes the price of gas, but in this case it has more to do with the sheer VOLUME of cars that have to be shipped within a VERY SMALL WINDOW of time on a LIMITED number of Car Carriers.

Basically, it’s back to Economics 101 – the law of supply and demand. (I just heard half of you fall asleep)

In the case of “Snowbird Season”, it means there are more cars that need to be shipped to Florida during the months of December & January than there are spaces on trucks to haul them. (i.e. demand for truck space – HIGH, supply of truck space – LOW)

This creates a premium for car carrier’s spots, and car carriers can therefore start to charge whatever “The Market” will pay for those spaces on their truck.

SO – what does this have to do with waiting to book your order the week before?

Well, there is no such thing as ‘being in line’ for those spots on those car carriers, nor is it at all similar to booking a ‘reservation’ on the carrier the way you would on an airline. (In fact, while we’re here, you have to get over comparing car transport to airlines altogether – where booking early saves you money – that doesn’t exist in car transport AT ALL, let alone when you ship a car to Florida) When push comes to shove, if everyone is offering $X to ship their car to Florida and you appear on the scene offering $X + $100, guess who the truck driver trying to run a profitable business during a tough economy is going to view as the front of the line?


That’s why, when you call us about shipping a car to Florida (or FROM Florida in the spring) and you are still a few weeks away from your move, we will always tell you something along the lines of “Well, THIS is what it costs currently, and THIS is what it was last year at the time you are looking to ship, but what we will need to do is look at the competition (i.e. similar cars within 25 miles of you that are going to your same destination at the same time) and make sure that we are priced in line (or just slightly better) than they are.”

Now, quickly (to wrap up), there are plenty of car shipping companies out there that will gloss over this aspect of the industry and let you book far in advance at a rate that will be too low in a few weeks – and you may even spend the next few weeks blissfully thinking that all is well – but when your move date rolls around and you are one of the vehicles only offering $100 less than $X, then I can assure you that when your car is still waiting and you are only hearing excuses and requests for more money from the company you chose, you are going to go BERSERK!

So, keep your wits about you, stay calm, know that there really is ‘no such thing as a free lunch’ & that the move may not be a cheap as you’d hoped, BUT get your car priced right when it’s time to move and you’ll be the one in the drivers seat (literally) while your fellow ‘Snowbirds’ are still waiting for their cars to be picked up.

(and, of course, you’re always welcome to use our Free Quote Calculator to get some rough ideas of what the costs may be.)