When you think about handing your vehicle over to a complete stranger to have it shipped across the country, it’s only natural that you might feel a little nervous. After all, a car is a very valuable asset and you don’t want to put it in the wrong hands. Finding a reputable shipping company online that suits your needs can seem like a daunting task, but the good news is that there are plenty of things customers can do to research car transport companies before handing over the keys. Here are a few helpful tips for choosing a trusted auto transport company.
Check for Proper Licensing and Registration
Most people begin their search for a shipping company online, but it can be difficult to determine whether or not a company is legitimate when you can’t visit their physical location. One way you can easily tell if a company is legitimate is by checking to see if they are properly licensed and registered. First off, it is required by law that all auto transport be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You want to look for an MC docket number, which verifies that the company is indeed registered with the FMCSA. Another federal licensing requirement is being registered with a USDOT number from the United States Department of Transportation. Although this is only required in 37 states, most reputable companies will have one and this is one of the best ways to check a company’s background and history. Finally, there are licensing requirements specific to each state so you want to make sure the company is properly licensed for their state.
Check Online Reviews
Once you have verified that a company online is properly licensed and registered, the next step is to check their reviews. Reading online testimonials and reviews can give you good insight into the company and how well they performed their services. In addition to reading reviews on the actual website, look for other reviews on sites like Yelp or Google Reviews. Most companies are only going to show positive reviews on their own websites, so these other sites can give you more authentic reviews. You also want to check reviews on social media as well as with the Better Business Bureau.
The industry is packed with different auto transport companies, but the most reliable shipping companies should compare well with others. While it’s normal to want to look for the best deal, beware of a company whose price is far lower than their competitors. Oftentimes, if something looks too good to be true, it is. It is impossible for a company to offer the same service at a price far below the market price, so watch for these “red flag” quotes so you don’t get scammed.
Contact the Company
Even scammers can fool consumers with a fancy website. Don’t make a decision without making personal contact. Reputable companies should always have a phone number as well as a physical address. Be sure to call and speak with a knowledgeable worker who can answer your questions and clearly explain how the process works. A company that cannot answer your questions is a company you should avoid.
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.