While some clients are familiar with the shipping industry, many more are newcomers with various questions. In the following paragraphs, we’ve explained some common and uncommon inquiries our staff has received in the past 20 years.
1. Are you a carrier or a broker?
You can contact a carrier in your local area to transport your car. However, that company or person may not have a route to the city you’re moving to. If you’re going overseas, the truck can take your car only as far as the port.
Someone is needed to coordinate large projects and get your car to the city/country you want. You may also require help finding the right carrier for a project within the United States. The company you need in such situations is called a broker.
A1 auto transport is such a company. Through our referral service, you can easily obtain the tools and people you may need for any type of auto transport.
2. Will I take on any obligations if I receive a quote?
A1 auto transport will not require you to pay anything for a quote. You won’t be asked to sign anything either. Estimates are free, and so are phone discussions, and the information we provide.
If a company does ask for a commitment or payment to receive a quote, it’s something you need to consider carefully. It’s normal to know how much a service will cost before you purchase it, and this information should be offered for free.
3. What’s included in the quote?
One way to avoid getting scammed is to make sure the quote covers every aspect of the transport. You should also check the contract for this. If you find hidden expenses you were not notified of, you may be better off working with another company.
If you’ve found one hidden fee, there may be others you are not aware of. Transparency is one of the main characteristics of a reliable auto shipper.
4. How much will the transport cost?
Auto shipping rates depend on various factors. Therefore, you can’t find ready-made quotes on a company’s website. You’ll need to speak to an employee to obtain one that’s relevant for your project.
One thing of note is that although one company can have bigger quotes, their services may also be better. Some companies specialize in high end services while others target the masses. Large companies are likely to do both.
As a broker, A1 auto transport has solutions for both local and international transports. So, the price may change depending on the ones you pick.
5. How is the price calculated?
Learning how the price is calculated may give you hints into how you can reduce it. It may also alert you of possible scams. Some factors most companies take into consideration are:
- Your vehicle. Its type and size will likely influence the tools used in carrying it. Different tools/methods lead to different costs.
- The distance. In general, the farther away you’re shipping your car, the larger the fee.
- Your options. You’ll be offered several options for the transport. Some are cheaper while some are more expensive.
- Local vs. international shipping. If you’re sending your car abroad, the fee may be larger compared to a local transport across the same distance.
6. How are payments handled?
Most companies will require a deposit before the actual shipment. In case you decide against the transport at the last minute while the carrier is on its way, the deposit will help the company recover its losses. However, you should not be required to pay everything in advance.
Some companies may not require a deposit, though this is rare and a bit suspicious. As for how to perform the actual transaction, you should be able to send the money with most credit cards, PayPal, etc. If you’re unsure whether your payment method is valid, you can ask our representative over the phone.
7. License and registration?
It may seem rude to ask a company about its paperwork, but it will help you identify scammers. To operate in our industry, auto shippers must be registered at the Department of Transportation.
If you’d like to avoid an awkward conversation, you can look up the company’s registration with a DOT representative. You can also request safety reports and other useful data.
8. How will you ship my car?
Most auto transport companies will use either open or enclosed carriers for their operations. The general advantages of each option are as follows:
- Open carriers are cheaper, easier to book, and much more common than the alternative.
- Enclosed carriers are faster, have more incorporated safety measures and a higher insurance limit.
Depending on the customer’s situation, ships, planes, or trains may be used as well. A1 auto transport can provide all these transport methods and will advise you on which are best according to your requirements.
9. How long will the shipment take?
This depends greatly on the distance you’re sending your vehicle across as well as the exact locations between which you’re sending it. The timeframe can be longer or shorter depending on the shipping options you pick.
If you cannot afford something more expensive, it will be better to schedule the project long in advance and work around the given timeframe. If you’re pressed by time, our staff can provide an appropriate solution.
10. I want to ship the car on a particular date. Can it be done?
If due to work or other commitments, you need to transport your vehicle during a certain timeframe or on a particular date, it should be one of the first things you discuss with our company’s representative. Calling early will make things easier, since there will be a higher chance of a carrier being available on the day you want.
A1 auto transport is always prepared for emergencies or unique projects. Calling early will help, but you can rely on us regardless of the situation.
11. What paperwork does a client need to prepare?
The transport may have to be canceled or delayed if you don’t prepare the necessary paperwork. Otherwise, the driver may be detained in the middle of the transport by various authorities.
If you’re sending a vehicle abroad, you’ll need more documentation than for local projects. You can speak to our staff about this issue. They’ll advise you on what to prepare depending on where your car is going.
12. What should I know about the shipping process?
A1 auto transport will coordinate your project, but you should be aware of the parts that require your presence. You’ll need to discuss what type of transport you want with a representative. You’ll have to send your car off on the due date and be ready to receive it when the truck arrives.
Depending on where you’re sending the vehicle and what type it is, there may be other actions you need to take. Make sure you know exactly what you’ll have to do before the transport proceeds.
13. Are there any discounts, and how can I apply for one?
You can find detailed information on this topic on our website, or you can call our staff for direct answers. We have discounts for new customers, seniors, people who work in the military and/or transport multiple vehicles, discounts available during certain periods, etc. If you do not meet the criteria for one, there are likely simple steps you can take to qualify.
14. What type of auto transport services can you provide?
Although auto transport companies all move cars from one point to another, the way they do it and the areas they specialize in can differ. Some companies may provide only local transportation services, while others may operate internationally. Some offer just open auto transportation, while others specialize in delivering one car at a time. A1 auto transport is a referral service, so can find all the tools and shipping solutions you may need through us.
15. Can you ship any vehicle or are there limits?
You should be able to move your car with most auto transport companies. However, vehicles that have been modified heavily, are unusually large, or extremely expensive may need specialized support.
In such cases, noteworthy features should be mentioned to our representative on the first call. To offer you the best service, we must be aware of your situation.
16. What if my car is damaged?
Not all auto transport companies can move non-running automobiles. It’s important you let them know of its state during the first call.
In general, it’s harder to move a damaged vehicle. Its loading and unloading will need to be assisted by specialized equipment. If there are any loose parts, it’s best to strap them down before the truck arrives.
Of course, you can count on A1 auto transport for such situations. Damaged or totaled automobiles can be moved easily with the appropriate tools and personnel, and we can provide both.
17. Can my car be shipped during winter?
Auto transport services are available during every season. In warmer periods, there are usually more requests due to more people deciding to move. However, you can take advantage of this situation by doing the opposite. To encourage clients, many auto transport companies give discounts during colder periods. You’ll also find it easier find an available carrier.
18. Is expedited shipping available?
Yes, depending on how fast you need the transport to be, we can change the type of truck used, give higher priority to your shipment, and expedite the process. We can also arrange for air freight if you’re moving the vehicle overseas and cannot wait for a ship to deliver it. However, the more resources are put forth, the higher the shipping fee will be.
19. Is there any form of customer support available?
You may not require regular updates while your car is being transported, but it will give you peace of mind. Clients who are attached to their vehicles or own pricy automobiles, are more likely to request frequent updates.
Some companies offer such services while others don’t. A1 auto transport includes regular notifications as part of its white glove service.
20. What separates you from the competition?
It may be a slightly uncomfortable question to ask, but if you’re going back and forth between multiple options, it can help you decide. It will give you a sneak peek into the culture of the company and into what they value most.
If the employee gets frustrated due to your questions, it can be a red flag. As long as you are polite, the response will likely be positive. Since it’s something best expressed verbally, we recommend you address this question and any other you may have to our representative over the phone.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.