The Dangers of Cheap Auto Transport Companies
The vehicle shipping industry is a very competitive business and there’s a lot of companies in the mix looking for an edge. Unfortunately, some companies will go to extreme lengths to win a bid, even if it’s not realistic to move a car or truck at that price. Why would a company do this?
The reason is that many of the companies you find online are brokers and not carriers, which is not a bad thing in and of itself. The industry works mainly through brokerages, so that means many of the companies you get a bid from are not the company that will move your vehicle. Instead, they find a carrier that will hopefully fulfill the order at the price quote they’ve given. If no shipper is willing to do the work at the given price, then nothing really happens, which is where many of the complaints in the industry stem from.
Shop Around For Value Instead of Shipping Cost
The best way to avoid getting caught in a bad spot with a cheap and dishonest auto transport company is to get quotes from several companies. It’s pretty clear what’s going on if you get four quotes between $600 and $800 and one company grabs your attention with an estimate that’s only $400. This is a red flag and it usually, though not always, should trigger suspicion on your part.
Sound tricky? Well don’t worry, there are plenty of trustworthy car shipping companies out there that do things the right way. The best thing you can do to protect yourself from questionable companies and lowball quotes is to shop for value instead of price. This runs counter to much what we’ve been taught about what we should look for as a consumer, but it’s the best course of action when it comes to finding a company you can trust. As you might expect, these “lowball quotes” either lead to nothing happening or inflated overage costs to make up for the unreasonably low bid.
Guide To Finding A Reliable & Trustworthy Company
There are plenty of things you can do to protect yourself from scams and questionable transporters. Here are three great tips that will point you in the right direction and keep you from getting the wool pulled over your eyes by underhanded companies.
Know What You Need
Knowing what specific service you need or prefer is an important first step in searching for a good vehicle shipping company. That starts with understanding your auto transport options. You may want more protection from potential damage, a faster delivery time or insurance that offers more coverage than what’s offered by the transporter. You might even want all the above! That’s not a problem, but knowing the specifics of what you’re looking for will go a long way to helping you get the best value.
Do the Research
Some companies have a poor safety and performance record but have enough online real estate to convince you otherwise. The U.S. Department of Transportation requires that any company hauling vehicles have a USDOT number that tracks auditing practices and safety records. Take advantage of the ability to look up a company using this information before committing to an online quote. You’ll be glad you did.
Get It In Writing
Before you pay a deposit or hand over your keys, make sure you get the contract in writing. You should go over the contract carefully and make sure it matches up with your expectations of the service you’re paying for. Before any type of cargo is moved, including any type of auto, a bill of lading should be given to you. It details what exactly is being hauled, the condition it’s in, who owns it, who’s moving it and where it’s going. This document is how you log a complaint and resolve disputes so make sure you hang onto it!
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.