You have found yourself in need of auto transport but you aren’t exactly sure what that entails. As a first time customer, the process might seem a bit complex and overwhelming. The truth is, auto transport is a fairly straightforward process as long as you are well prepared in advance. There are several things you need to know about auto shipping to ensure the best possible experience and once you learn the ropes, you will see how easy the process can actually be. Below is a comprehensive auto shipping guide covering everything you need to know about auto transport.
Step 1: Shop Around and Get a Quote
The first step in shipping your car is to shop around and gather information about a few different auto shipping companies. Be prepared to provide your specific car information as well as the exact location of your delivery. You should also remember to get a quote from each company in order to compare pricing. Keep in mind that not all auto transport companies are created equal and the lowest price doesn’t always mean the best deal. This could actually be a red flag that something is not right. This leads us to our next step.
Step 2: Do Your Research
Once you have found an auto transport company that seems to fit your needs and budget, spend some time researching the company to better understand who they are. Read reviews and ask for references to get a better idea of their service record. In addition, you want to check to be sure the carrier is licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Administration and the Department of Transportation. You also want to make sure that they are properly insured.
Step 3: Choose Open or Enclosed Transport
When shipping a vehicle, you will have the choice between open or enclosed transport. Open carriers are typically less expensive, but your vehicle is susceptible to potential damage from weather or flying debris. Your other option is enclosed transport. An enclosed carrier allows your vehicle to remain completely covered during transport, which keeps it safe from the outdoor elements. This option does tend to cost more, but is recommended for luxury or antique vehicles.
Step 4: Schedule Pickup and Delivery
Next you will need to schedule your pickup and delivery dates. It is always best to schedule your transport several weeks in advance if possible. You should also note that due to unforeseen delays such as weather, traffic, and potential maintenance issues, it is nearly impossible to provide customers with an exact delivery date. Typically, customers are given a window for their delivery. At this time you will also choose between door-to-door delivery and terminal-to-terminal delivery.
Step 5: Prepare Your Vehicle for Shipment
There are several things you need to do to make sure your vehicle is ready for shipment.
-It is always important to check with your auto transport company about their liability insurance coverage in case anything were to happen to your car during shipment. Most reputable carriers offer some coverage, but you might need to purchase additional coverage in some cases.
-Wash the interior and exterior of your vehicle and give it a complete inspection. Take pictures of your vehicle’s condition and make notes of any scratches, dents, or dings. This will be important should something happen to your vehicle during shipment.
-Remove any accessories and disable alarms or other systems.
-Remove all valuables and personal belongings from the vehicle.
-Make sure there is no more than a quarter tank of gas in your vehicle upon drop-off.
Step : Wait for Your Car to Be Delivered
Upon delivery, you want to thoroughly inspect your vehicle for any possible damage and notify the transport company immediately of any damage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to Your Car Moving Questions
The hardest thing for people researching car moving companies to understand is that the prices they are getting are not hard and fast gaurantees, but rather ESTIMATES of what one company thinks it will take to get a vehicle moved promptly versus another company's opinion of what it will take. Don't be fooled, there are not carriers committed to take your vehicle at these quoted prices, the company you choose will still have to get to work getting a carrier to commit to move it at the price they quote you.
Your total price breaks down into two parts, the broker's fee (or 'deposit' as everyone calls it) and the carriers fee (your COD amount) Make no mistake about this, EVERYONE YOU ARE GETTING SALES CALLS FROM IS GOING TO BROKER YOUR MOVE. In this industry, there are brokers who try to fool you into thinking that they are the actual carriers and there are an equal amount of carriers who sell themselves on the fact that they have a truck or two but are not being honest about the fact that they broker out 90% of the orders they book. Here is a quick easy way to tell, if a company takes an up front fee, whether they call it a deposit or any other name, they are a broker. Carriers do not take any payment until the vehicle is delivered.
In our opinion, you are crazy to do so. Have you ever been paid up front for the work that you perform for your employer? Why would you pay a fee up front when there are reliable and trustworthy companies like ours that won't ask for it until we provide you with your carriers details?
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will be between one and two weeks. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.