Auto transport services involve shipping your vehicle in those cases where you cannot drive it yourself. The description of this service is rather self-explanatory, which makes some people think they know exactly what this process entails.
However, shipping your car isn’t the same as mailing a letter or a smaller possession. There are a lot of different things that need planning and securing to ensure successful delivery.
Here are people’s most common expectations regarding auto shipping, and the reality behind it.
Expectation #1: Any Auto Transport Company Will Do
When you think of auto transport services as a whole, it’s really easy to make the assumption that any company will do. So, a lot of the time, people will look for companies in terms of who offers the best car shipping rates, since of course, nobody wants to spend a lot of money on shipping their vehicle.
Reality: The company with the lowest rates, or the company that’s most convenient for you isn’t always the best choice.
It all comes down to:
- The type of car you want to ship
- The distance
- The destination (overseas shipping, out of state, etc.).
For example, a small, local auto transport company may have no trouble shipping your motorcycle to a nearby city, but can they handle shipping out of state? Or, if you need to transport a bigger vehicle, like a truck, internationally, do they have the necessary resources to do that?
The truth is, price is just one criterion when looking for an auto transport company. You should also consider the type of shipment you have, and search for companies that can accommodate that.
Expectation #2: The Price Estimation Is Also the Final Price
Car shipping rates aren’t always clearly written down on a company’s website. This is because a lot of times these rates can change slightly depending on the vehicle, travel distance, or even the route the car has to travel.
So, clients will ask for a price estimation from the moving company, and maybe even compare that to other companies in order to make their decision. When they do pick a company, they expect to pay that estimated amount.
Reality: Price estimations in the auto transport world are just that, estimations. Prices in this industry can change drastically from one day to the next, so it’s possible to have an estimation that doesn’t resemble the final amount you have to pay at all.
The thing is, the auto transport company should come out right off the bat and explain all of these things to you. However, some companies may even go as far as to guarantee that the estimated rate will be the final one, or even just allude this will be the case, to get people to sign the contract. This can create a lot of problems at the end of the job when the client is greeted with a completely different bill than they were expecting.
Expectation #3: There Are No Hidden Costs
You talk to an auto transport company, tell them exactly what you want, and they tell you how much it’s going to cost. You shake hands happy you avoided those "hidden costs" you’ve read about on the Internet. But did you?
Reality:Hidden costs aren’t as hidden as you’d think - most of the time, they’re right there in the contract. The thing is, you may not have realized you’ve added these costs to your package in the first place. The company representative may ask you if you want additional services like car washing, picking up the vehicle from your home, or even an inspection, but fail to mention these extra services have to be paid for in addition to your transportation rate.
When the representative asks if you want anything, always ask: how much does that cost? And make sure to ask them to add these additional services to your price estimation, to get a better idea of how much you can pay for the shipment.
Expectation #4: Auto Shipping Is Safe
Perhaps it’s the reason you opted to have your car shipped by professionals in the first place. When you bring in a team of pros, with special vehicles designed for really heavy cargo, and equipment for securing said cargo, there is really nothing that could go wrong.
Reality: Of course there can be slip-ups with your shipment. No company can guarantee with 100% certainty that nothing will happen to your car since they cannot control every single step of the process.
For instance, traffic accidents. Even if their drivers have impeccable track records, the reality is you never know when you come up against a reckless driver on the road, who causes an accident and inevitably damages the cargo, your car included.
Auto transport companies don’t have to make such guarantees because they must have insurance, by law, to protect their cargo in the event that something goes wrong. Still, you should always ask what exactly does that insurance cover, if your own auto insurance may also pay for damages, or if they offer additional protections.
Expectation #5: Once I Hire a Company, There’s Nothing Else I Need to Do
You bring in a team of pros specifically because you do not or cannot do something yourself. Auto-shipping is no different. After the contract was signed, all you have to do is wait for the car to be picked up and dropped off (or take/retrieve it from the company terminal, if that’s the type of service you opted for).
Reality: You should prepare your car before transport, and not just when it comes to giving it a good wash.
First, make sure there is gas in the tank. Even if you drive the car to the terminal yourself, it will still be driven on and off the trailer, possibly even around the lot. If you leave the car with an empty tank, you may be charged extra for the non-run fee. The same goes for the battery - ensure it’s fully charged to avoid paying this fee.
Then, you should also check inside the car and remove any additional items, even if they’re not valuable. For one thing, auto transports aren’t responsible for these items, and they can’t secure them either. Though your car is properly secured, the movement during transport can create damage if there are loose objects inside the vehicle, and your insurance may not cover these damages since technically it’s not the auto company’s fault.
If your car has additional features, like the state of the art electronics, you should remove these as well. It’s simply a safety measure that can prevent some pretty high repair costs if these devices get damaged during transport.
A Team You Can Trust
The reason the problem of "expectation vs. reality" of auto shipping even exists boils down to one thing: auto companies don’t always take the time to fully explain to clients what this process actually entails.
But not us. With A-11 Auto Transport, we work hard to offer all our clients stress-free shipping services and discuss at length about everything they shipping needs involve. With over 30 years of experience in the business, there’s really nothing we haven’t been through and overcome - successfully, might we add. And these are qualities you really need in your auto transport company.
So, do you have a job for us? Use our quote calculator to get an idea of how much the service will cost, then get in touch with a member of our team.
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.