There are so many contributing factors that determine the cost when transporting your vehicle from state to state that it is hard to give a quote without touching upon these different aspects.
The following are the main qualities that weigh in heavily that most, if not all, transport companies will use when creating a quote for your personal situation.
The distance of Transport.
This is probably the most obvious factor, so it definitely deserves recognition first. The cost of transporting a vehicle from California to Nevada will be much lower than the cost of transporting the same vehicle from Oregon to Florida. Obviously, distance being the main reason for this cost differential. Same goes if you are looking simply to do intrastate transport. The distance between the topmost part of Northern California and the bottommost part of Southern California will be more than the distance from one end of Rhode Island to the other (obviously) and will warrant a higher cost for transport. Crossing state lines is much less likely to impact the cost than the actual mileage between point A and point B.
Type of Vehicle.
Not only does this pertain to the year, make, and model of a standard sedan, SUV, or truck, but also to the actual type of a more customized or unique vehicle. For example, certain motorcycles or off-road vehicles could potentially cost less due to the size and requirements of your specific ride. Conversely, classic cars or antique vehicles could warrant a higher price tag, depending on the level of insurance required, not to mention specialty transport instructions needed (more information to follow).
Closed Container vs. Open Air Carrier.
The most common method of transport is via an open air carrier truck. This is much more affordable because of the ability to fit more vehicles on the truck, and the easier method of loading and offloading versus closed containers. Closed containers are usually a better option for someone deeply concerned about the aesthetic value of their vehicle, and those who just prefer the absolute safest (and justifiably most expensive) method of transport.
Route and Timeline.
If you are flexible with the timeline for pick-up, transport, and drop-off of your vehicle, you will be able to negotiate the best deal possible. This is because it allows the transport company more time to match you with a driver already along with your route, allowing them to offer the best rate as well. If you have a pick-up or drop-off location off the beaten path, you can expect a higher quote because detours can slow down the transport of all the vehicles entrusted to the driver. However, you may consider lowering your cost by offering to drop off your vehicle at a more convenient location for the auto transport company.
Because “snowbirds” or those who migrate south for winter and back up north for summer often utilize auto transport companies bi-annually, they hugely dictate the market during these particular seasons. This is entirely due to supply and demand. Transport companies recognize the need in shipping these vehicles and work to capitalize on the income available during that time. If you need transport the opposite direction during these seasonal rushes, you may be able to negotiate an amazing deal, because so often trucks are sent back the way they came with little to no cargo on board.
While trying to figure out an average quote for vehicle transport from state to state is next to impossible without more specific information. All reputable auto transport companies will be able to provide you with free quotes, and after obtaining a handful of these based on your exact personal situation, you can calculate an average on your own.
Related Information & FAQs.
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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.