Car Shipping Cost Explained by a Trucker

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Car Shipping Cost Explained by a Trucker
Car Shipping Cost Explained by a Trucker

If you're looking to gain thorough insight on how car shipping costs work, you've come to the right place. When seeking information on car shipping costs, it's a smart idea to source information from truckers who know the industry. A-1 Auto Transport employs truckers with years of experience—so we're enlisting their help with this article so we can include the most accurate and essential information for you to read. 

Throughout this article, we're going to be covering: 

  • The average cost to ship a car
  • Factors affecting shipping prices 
  • Car shipping methods 
  • Car delivery services 
  • Sourcing service quotes

—and more! 

Truckers understand that most people seeking information on car shipping costs are looking for an average price as a starting point. Let's unpack what average costs to ship a car are. 

What Is the Average Cost to Ship a Car?

While the average cost to ship a vehicle is based on several factors (more on that later), shipping a car domestically will cost between $500-$1,500 on average. If you're shipping a car internationally, you'll incur a higher cost. Since shipping a car can end up being a costly endeavor, our truckers thought it'd be best to talk about the types of discounts you may be eligible for. 

Is There Any Way to Receive a Discount When Shipping My Car? 

There are a number of discounts that you might be able to take advantage of when shipping your car. Part of your consulting process with an auto transport company should involve asking if you're eligible for any discounts. Let's examine some of the most common discounts offered by auto transport companies. 

Military discounts tend to be a standard discount offering from most auto transport companies. A-1 Auto Transport understands that members of the military are often subject to service relocation. Offering members of the U.S. armed forces an auto shipping discount is a way to make that relocation easier. 

Students moving make Late Summer and Early Fall some of the busiest times for auto transport companies. Whether a student needs their car shipped to a nearby state or across the country, A-1 Auto Transport has them covered. 

It's common for businesses to offer customers a discount for bulk orders. The same goes for a situation where a customer needs to ship a fleet of vehicles or a multi-car shipment. Two examples of someone who would need to ship a fleet of vehicles/multi-car shipments would include a rental car company or a person transporting vehicles to a car show. 

Senior discounts are standard in the auto shipping industry because aging adults often monitor their budgets carefully and live through fixed income. 

First-time customers and returning customers should ask an auto shipping service whether they qualify for a discount as it's natural for a vehicle shipping company to desire to attract new customers and retain their loyalty after a completed job. 

Discounts for early bird customers and first responders are relatively standard. An early-bird customer in the auto shipping industry is a customer that books a vehicle transport appointment within 48 hours of receiving a quote. Similar to military members, vehicle shipping companies will often acknowledge first responders' service by offering up a discount. 

Several specific factors influence how much you'll pay to have your car shipped. Some are easier to identify, while other factors might be more unknown among the public.  

What Factors Affect Shipping Prices 

The distance your vehicle is traveling, the size and condition it's in, how far in advance your schedule your appointment, and what shipping method/delivery service you select will be the main factors that influence your total car transport cost. 

The distance that your car travels from 'point A' to get to 'point B' greatly influences how much you will pay for shipping. Vehicle shipping companies often base part of their quotes on a "price per mile" basis. Long-distance routes will involve a customer paying less per mile but a higher price overall. When looking to cut costs on your vehicle's distance, try having your car shipped from a metro area to another metro area. Having your car delivered to or from a remote location will be more inconvenient for an auto transport company, and thus, more expensive. 

Your vehicle's size will either raise or lower the amount your pay for shipping as a shipping company moving a larger vehicle will have less room to ship other vehicles alongside yours. You might be wondering why the condition of your vehicle impacts how much you pay for shipping. Let's say your vehicle doesn't run. If you're shipping an inoperable vehicle, the transport company will have a more difficult time loading, unloading, and moving your vehicle, if necessary, during transit. 

Car Shipping Cost Explained By A Trucker

The further ahead you schedule your vehicle shipping appointment, the lower the price you pay. Scheduling at the last minute can inflate the price you pay due to a vehicle transport company's lack of availability. If you book at the last second and request to have the delivery expedited, expect to pay even more money. 

Each vehicle shipping method is priced differently. When selecting a way to ship your car, it's all about selecting a service that meets your needs and budget.  

What Different Types of Car Shipping Methods Are There? 

If you're shipping your vehicle through a land route, you can choose open carrier shipping, enclosed auto shipping, or air freight shipping. When shipping a vehicle overseas, sea freight or air freight shipping will be your two transport service options. Open carrier shipping is the least expensive option for ground travel, while sea freight shipping is cheaper than air freight shipping for overseas transport. The high cost of air freight shipping results in a customer base looking to ship high-value cars at an expedited rate. 

Open carrier shipping is less expensive than enclosed shipping since your vehicle will be exposed to outdoor elements during its transit route. While having your vehicle exposed to outdoor elements during transit does increase the probability of damage to your car occurring, truckers who ship vehicles are trained to secure and travel safely with your vehicle. There's a reason why open carrier shipping is the most popular method for vehicle transport as customers are consistently satisfied with the rates and service they receive. 

Selecting a vehicle delivery service is just as important as choosing a transit method. These two services may sound like two in the same, but there is a crucial difference. 

What Different Types of Car Delivery Services Are There? 

When setting up your auto transport appointment, you'll provide the company you're working through with a destination for the vehicle to travel to. We've covered how your car will cover the distance it needs to travel to get to its destination, but we haven't covered how your vehicle will make it to the address/delivery location you provide. Your vehicle will begin and finish its shipping journey through port-to-port or door-to-door delivery. Most people select door-to-door shipping as the service is more convenient than its less expensive counterpart of port-to-port delivery. 

Are you wondering what makes door-to-door shipping so convenient?

It's all in the name. Door-to-door shipping involves an auto transport company picking up your vehicle at your home and delivering as close as possible outside of the door of your destination's location. Port-to-port shipping consists of you delivering your vehicle to the port or land location it's departing from and picking up the vehicle once it arrives at the location the transport company gives you. You can experience different feelings of inconvenience during port-to-port shipping if your destination is in a more remote or inland area from the pickup point. 

Now that we've examined the fundamentals of how vehicle shipping costs are calculated let's take a look at the topic of how you can source quotes and find the best deal possible. 

How Do I Source Shipping Quotes?

It's important to apply a certain element of strategy toward your effort to find the best vehicle shipping quote. When an auto transport company sends you a quote, please keep in mind that this figure estimates the service's overall price. The broker you're working with will be able to give you the exact price of the service when the job is assigned to the driver that's covering the duty. Gathering multiple shipping quotes will be an essential first step to take in your mission to find the best quote from a reputable auto transport company. 

So, how do you know that a company is reputable? 

All reputable auto transport companies will include an insurance policy in your quote. Consulting with your personal insurance company to see if they'll assist with any damages that might occur during the vehicle's travels is a great way to keep your vehicle and wallet as safe as possible. If you have a handful of companies with reliable online reviews from accredited sources and all offer insurance, start comparing rates and fees. 

Many factors can raise or lower your cost for auto shipping. A-1 Auto Transport aims to make the process of shipping your vehicle as transparent and stress-free as possible so you can transport your vehicle where it needs to be. 


Joe WebsterWritten By:Joe WebsterConnect with Joe Webster on facebookConnect with Joe Webster on linkedin

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.

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Satisfied Customers

“I am meticulous when it comes to everything. At first, I was thinking of just driving all the way to Illinois from New Jersey. A friend recommended me to go to A1 Auto Transport and told me a lot of good things about them. I refused initially because I had filed a 4 day leave just to drive and visit my mother. But things did not go well. My boss asked me to cancel my leave because a very important client asked for an urgent meeting, and the manager could not attend to it. I was hopeless and took the risk of asking help from A1. The notice was short and I forgot I needed to inform them in advance. After a couple of hours, I received a call and they told me they found a way to book me with no extra fees. I am so thankful I got to attend to my work matters. I did not get to see my mother, but the vehicle and items inside it were in perfect condition as if it was me who took care of it. I owe you guys big time! I got one huge deal from our client.”

“The plan was to ship my car from California to Utah. I went through nearly 20 quotes after using an auto shipping site which linked to a bunch of brokers. Finally, I found A1 Auto Transport, a company with its own trucks with great reviews. I was sold. Joe was very competent, gave off the impression he’d done this a million times, and it really showed throughout the transport. He listened to my request carefully, offered me several options, stayed in touch during the transport, and made sure I was happy with everything. Overall, a great company which I would definitely recommend to others!”

“I’m so glad I met you Joe!! A truly fortunate experience. Having to transport a car to Minnesota, I was stunned to see the company, who was supposed to take care of it, just vanish. I couldn’t reach them anymore, like they went bankrupt overnight. However, I was lucky enough to not pay anything, so I simply researched some more until I found A1 Auto Transport. Joe answered my call the first time and we soon agreed on a date and a quote. Unfortunately, I got caught up in work and forgot about it. The order was not confirmed, so Joe must’ve thought I changed my mind. I called him the next day and arranged for a new date. This time, I made a note on my phone and it went well. I replied to his email this time, and the driver arrived at a parking lot down the street on time, as promised. The driver was nice enough to not mention my previous mistake. He delivered my car in just 3 days. Upon careful inspection, there were no scratches or damage done to it during transport. Joe was there along with the driver and they both waited patiently until I was satisfied. Thanks!”

“A1 Auto is kind of like your favourite mom and pop pizza parlour, the one you can’t get enough of despite all the new, expensive avant-garde pizza shops that have mushroomed conspicuously across the entire neighbourhood and seem to have taken over the whole world...but not you. Because you value quality and genuine customer service, and know this business understands and works doubly hard to give you your money’s worth. I’ve been using A1 Auto Transport whenever I left California for business: they may not be the cheapest car transporters around, but the sheer professionalism, dedication, and heart they put into their work is just amazing and worth my every dime. I’m probably one of the most sceptical people you would ever meet. I’m rarely convinced when bombarded with dubious, self-congratulating ads of companies that look like they’ve spent tons of money on marketing materials just to lure your average guy in. A1 Auto Transport is the complete opposite of these companies. My car always arrived promptly on schedule, never with a hint of scratch or dirt or damage, and they keep me updated every step of the process. When you’ve found a company whose genuine care for their customers comes naturally, you stand by them no matter what. It’s the most logical thing to do.”

“A1 Auto Transport helped me move a vehicle to Iowa from Houston. I was a bit nervous, no knowing much about such services. Thanks to Joe, I was able to clear the fog a little. He answered all my questions and explained everything in a way that left no room for interpretation. The details were straightforward. I picked Sunday as the pickup date, since I wasn’t at work, and they accommodated me. The truck arrived an hour early, yet the driver patiently waited for me to arrive. He thoroughly checked my car for scratches or anything that might affect the transport then drove it onto the truck. I was given a 2 day time window during which the car was supposed to arrive in, and it got to Iowa in the evening of the first day. The trip didn’t damage it at all. Next time a friend wants to move, I’ll surely recommend A1 Auto Transport.”

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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