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Domestic Auto Transport: Your Expectations vs. Reality

What's in this article?
  1. When Can I Expect My Car Delivery To Be Complete? 
  2. I Can Book At The Last Minute..right?
  3. Will The Auto Transport Service I Select Impact My Delivery Time?
  4. With So Many Choices, Is It Easy To Find A Quality Auto Transport Service?
  5. How Much Protection Is My Vehicle Getting During Auto Transport? 
  6. How Much Am I Going To Pay For Auto Transport?
  7. How Does Location Impact My Vehicle’s Delivery Price?
  8. Will Expediting The Shipping Of My Vehicle Make A Big Impact On My Quote?
  9. Will The Time Of Year Affect My Vehicle’s Shipping Cost?
  10. How Much Will A Vehicle’s Specs, Condition, And Modifications Affect Shipping Prices?
  11. How Common Are Auto Shipping Discounts?
  12. How Can I Acquire My Dream Auto Shipping Service?
Domestic Auto Transport: Your Expectations vs. Reality

Whether you’re shipping your vehicle to a nearby state or across the country, hiring an auto transport service can seem overwhelming. Your greatest asset when aiming to streamline your auto transport process is the research that you conduct. 

There’s probably a part of you that gets thrown off when you hear the word research. 

That’s where we come in. 

A-1 Auto Transport aims to take the stress out of vehicle transport by providing transparent information regarding the industry. Our thorough experience gives us the knowledge to teach you how to approach auto shipping the right way. 

People looking to ship their vehicle often hit a wall when their auto industry expectations don’t line up with reality. Don’t let this get you down! Sourcing accurate information on how auto shipping works will help you possess an even-keeled approach when you initiate your booking process. 

We understand that you’re looking for fast, on-time vehicle delivery. Let’s dive into how you can have your expectations met when it comes to the speed at which you receive your vehicle. 

When Can I Expect My Car Delivery to Be Complete? 

Several specific factors are going to influence when you receive your vehicle from an auto transport service. When you book your transport and what type of shipping service you’re selecting are two of the main elements that will dictate when your vehicle arrives at point B from point A. 

I Can Book at the Last Minute...right?

We recommend that you book your vehicle transport appointment at least a few weeks before you plan on handing your car off. The auto transport market is continually shifting as certain times of year-end up being more demanding than others. Booking ahead vs. waiting until the last minute can limit the services you have available at your disposal and might even result in a company being completely unavailable. 

While penciling in your vehicle drop-off date early is essential, booking too early can become unnecessary. The ebb and flow that the auto industry presents directly impacts auto shipping prices. Many auto transport services don’t allow you to book more than a month before your first available shipping date. This 30-day restriction is in place, so an auto transport service doesn’t have to change your quote from the original price that they provide. 

Booking your vehicle transport 2-4 weeks in advance is your best bet.

Domestic Auto Transport Your Expectations Vs Reality

Will the Auto Transport Service I Select Impact My Delivery Time?

Auto transport pricing tiers will reveal the fact that not all auto shipping services are created equal. Domestic car shipping is typically done through open or enclosed transport. Airfreight auto shipping is available but less common due to its hefty price tag. 

Open-carrier transport is the most popular domestic auto shipping option due to its affordability. The tradeoff you get with the lower price that open-carrier shipping provides is your vehicle’s exposure to natural elements during transit. While you can let your imagination run wild with all the ways natural elements could damage a traveling vehicle facing the open air, a professional auto transport service will employ drivers with the experience to safely handle open-carrier cargo. 

You might be under the impression that enclosed auto shipping services are faster since they’re more expensive than their open-carrier counterpart. The truth is that open-carrier transport services are generally the fastest since they contain the highest level of market demand. Many requests for open-carrier auto transport translate to more truckers taking on these jobs along established routes. 

Airfreight auto transport is the fastest and most expensive vehicle shipping option. Supercars, high-value vintage vehicles, and other luxury vehicles are usually the clientele that airfreight auto transport attracts. Shipping a vehicle by air isn’t only fast—it’s additionally the most secure way to ship a vehicle domestically. Enclosed auto transport is the safest means to transport a vehicle on the ground. 

You might be curious how difficult it is to locate a professional auto transport service with the skills and experience to execute these vehicle delivery methods.

With So Many Choices, Is It Easy to Find a Quality Auto Transport Service?

There are tons of vehicle transport services to choose from. This is both a good and bad thing. The glass-half-empty outlook is that there’s too much noise in the market to make an easy decision. You can overcome this hurdle by utilizing strategies that help you cut through the noise and find an auto transport service that meets your needs on every level. 

It makes sense that everyone is looking to score the best auto shipping deal. If a quote from an auto transport service seems too good to be true, you must investigate further. Certain auto shipping companies will be better than others, but several auto transport organizations are scams. Many red flags can reveal whether an auto transport company is worth your time. 

Watch out for the red flags below when consulting with an auto transport service:

  • Low online ratings
  • Guaranteed pickup or delivery time 
  • Online reports of scam audits 
  • Essential legal info like DOT and MC permitting numbers are unavailable 
  • Unprofessional website

Search engines like Google make it easy to run a quick background check on an auto shipping service you’re considering. Word of mouth recommendations is equally as valid!

How Much Protection Is My Vehicle Getting During Auto Transport? 

The expensive nature of vehicles emphasizes the importance of safe auto transport. Earlier, we mentioned how shipping your vehicle via airfreight is generally the safest way to move a vehicle. Enclosed auto transport follows airfreight vehicle shipping in the category of transit safety, with open-carrier shipping leaving your car the most vulnerable to damages. Whether you’re writing a hefty check to ship your vehicle through airfreight or opting for more traditional methods like ground shipping, a quality auto transport service should always offer premium levels of protection.

You must verify the auto shipping company you’re working with covers the vehicles they’re transporting through insurance. A professional auto shipping company will offer liability and cargo insurance covering potential damages to a vehicle that might occur during transit. While pretty much all vehicle shipping organizations will offer liability and cargo insurance, you must verify that the insurance covers your vehicle’s true value. You can measure an auto transport company’s insurance policy’s effectiveness by asking them for proof of insurance. 

You can take an extra step toward covering yourself by checking in with your own auto insurance provider. There’s a possibility that your policy will cover any damages that occur during transport. 

How Much Am I Going to Pay for Auto Transport?

A multitude of factors will influence how much you end up paying for auto transport. A few of these critical factors include the location that you’re shipping your vehicle, the type of auto transport service you’re selecting, and the delivery timeframe that you request. High and low vehicle shipping seasons, car modifications, and your vehicle’s size and weight are some additional factors that will impact the amount you pay to move your vehicle. 

Domestic Auto Transport Your Expectations Vs Reality

How Does Location Impact My Vehicle’s Delivery Price?

When we talk about shipping a vehicle to a certain location, we’re discussing the vehicle’s travel distance as well as the accessibility of its destination. Auto-shipping companies primarily charge a price per mile basis. Longer distance routes will incur smaller cents per mile charges while costing more overall. If your vehicles destination is in a less accessible area, your shipping charges are naturally going to be higher. 

Vehicle destination accessibility revolves around transit routes. Major cities like Los Angeles or Miami are two examples of accessible drop-off points since they are more common destinations than rural areas. Requesting a car drop-off in a rural area will result in a truck driver traveling further off of more established transit routes that connect to major cities like New York. 

Will Expediting the Shipping of My Vehicle Make a Big Impact on My Quote?

The faster you want to ship your car, the more money you’ll have to pay. Booking a vehicle shipping appointment on shorter notice with the desire to expedite your vehicle’s delivery gives the auto transport company less time to plan a proper route. 

Will the Time of Year Affect My Vehicle’s Shipping Cost?

The time of year won’t have a major impact on the price you pay, but it will impact your shipping cost to a certain extent. Winter vehicle transport can be more expensive than the summer due to potential weather hazards and higher demand in certain market segments. Recent retirees often ship their vehicles to warmer states during the winter, which can drive up your cost. These winter retirees are known as snowbirds. 

How Much Will a Vehicle’s Specs, Condition, and Modifications Affect Shipping Prices?

Vehicle modifications may require special shipping and handling techniques, which can increase your shipping cost. Like car modifications, an inoperable vehicle will require more work during the loading and unloading process. Your vehicle’s size and weight are two of the essential informational components that impact how much you pay for shipping. Larger vehicles will cost more to transport since they take up more hauler space and hold more weight.  

If you’re shipping a large car with modifications across the country during the winter, you may have more room for savings than you originally anticipated. 

How Common Are Auto Shipping Discounts?

Shipping discounts are standard within the auto transport industry. Consulting with an auto transport service can help you discover if you’re eligible for any discounts. 

Auto-shipping discounts generally apply to:

  • Military members
  • Multi-car shipment orders
  • Students
  • Seasonal orders (Spring, Summer, snowbirds)
  • First Time Shippers
  • Online bookers 

How Can I Acquire My Dream Auto Shipping Service?

Understanding the realities of the auto shipping industry is your first step. Finding an auto transport service that can make your dream shipping scenario a reality is next. A-1 Auto Transport can offer top-tier vehicle shipping services at competitive prices 365 days a year. 

Give A-1 Auto Transport a call at 1-800-452-2880 today to get started. 


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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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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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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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