How to Receive a Heavy Equipment Shipping Estimate
Learning how a heavy equipment estimate is created will help you with planning out the entire process.
When it comes to shipping, there are a few things you really care about: Price, time, and the safety of your heavy equipment.
A-1 Auto Transport gets that
By being able to arrive at an affordable and agreeable rate, and being able to understand how the shipping company arrived at that rate, you will have a better understanding of the shipping process.
You will also be able to change specific factors regarding your shipping requirements to add services that you want, or even lower your rate if you have a fixed budget.
But before you can do any of those things, you have to understand the heavy equipment shipping estimate process and how prices are decided.
We promise that it isn’t the roll of a dice, there are real factors that influence prices!
Signs You’ve Found a Reputable Heavy Equipment Shipping Company
Learning how to spot a great company will help you receive a great heavy equipment shipping estimate and experience.
There are several signs you should look for. If you do not see these signs, you should inquire with the company why they are not present.
The heavy equipment shipping industry is extremely competitive, there are many options, and there is no need for you to ship your heavy equipment with a company that is cutting corners.
Sign #1: Adequate Insurance
All great shipping companies have insurance to cover your heavy equipment during transport.
The best companies will have more than adequate insurance. Insurance is one of those items that you do not technically “need” in life until you need it, like air or water.
Jokes aside, do not let your shipping company play “fast and loose” when it comes to providing enough insurance for your heavy equipment. Heavy machinery is expensive and replacing damages parts, or entire machines, is an expensive and time consuming process.
Even if a shipping company has insurance, you may choose to purchase additional insurance, usually from the company itself or a third-party insurance company.
Each policy is different, and covers different things. Each insurance policy is of a different quality.
Here’s a few tips…
- You can stack insurance policies to have great coverage during transport
- If you need to upgrade your insurance, try and do it through your shipping company. This will make claims a lot easier as they will be handled internally, instead of externally
- Find out how much base coverage your shipping company offers
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Any shipping company that tries to hide important details like insurance isn’t worth your time
Heavy shipping equipment companies with great insurance will be more expensive to hire than companies that do not. It is more expensive for them to operate, so they must raise their rates if they are to survive.
Great shipping companies are worth every penny because they will get your equipment to your location on time and in great shape.
Sign #2: Testimonials
There is something extremely suspect when a shipping company will not share testimonials from previous clients on their website and online promotional materials.
Yes, online reputation sabotage does exist and is a very real problem, but you can always tell when a review is genuine, especially if it has a personal story attached to it.
As always, do your due diligence. Contact a few testimonial providers and ask them about their experiences having heavy equipment shipped with the company. If their experience was positive, you can guarantee that they will recommend the company.
Talking to previous clients of the shipping company will help you understand the process the company uses to calculate rates, and why rates are different for different clients.
Your rate may be higher or lower depending on:
- The heavy equipment being shipped, the dimensions of that equipment
- Whether this is a one-off contract or you are asking for continual service over a long period of time
- And many other variables
Being able to understand why a previous client paid a different price, and whether they were satisfied with the service, will help you estimate your own rates before using the shipping company.
Sign #3: The Shipping Company Individualizes Your Service
To newcomers needing a heavy equipment shipping estimate, it can be an attractive thought to think that all shipping companies do is load your equipment on a low loader flatbed truck and drive it across country, or on a boat and sail it across the world, but the reality is much different.
If a shipping company does the former, and not the latter, you should question why they have a “one size fits all” model for heavy equipment of varying sizes.
Heavy equipment is a broad term and can include certain machines that are gargantuan in size. A basic farm tractor is a lot smaller and lighter than something like a loader crane or a large dump truck.
Some of the heavy equipment that a shipping company will ship include:
- Dump trucks
- Concrete mixers
- Utility trucks
- Light towers
There are many more types of heavy equipment that can be shipped, but these examples show how different the dimensions of heavy equipment can be.
The dimensions that a reputable company will ask for include the width, length, height, and weight of the heavy equipment you want to ship. They need this information in order to choose the best shipping solution for your needs.
They should also ask you about the timeline in which you need the heavy equipment delivered. Always expect to pay more if you require an expedited delivery. These rules apply to almost any industry and the shipping industry is no different.
Sign #4: The Shipping Company States What They Ship Best
Shipping companies may have preferences.
If you need to ship heavy equipment that they are comfortable shipping due to years of experience, you will receive a lower rate, as compared to requesting they ship equipment they have no experience with.
Inexperience takes time and resources to solve. You don’t want to pay more to an inexperienced shipping company when you could just as easily hire a more experienced one.
A reputable shipping company will usually have a list of preferred equipment it ships on their website. If not, they’ll will likely tell you when you contact them for a quote. It is common to see statements like “We’re a tractor-shipping company,” “We ship heavy equipment for the construction industry,” and more.
If you want to lower your rate, choose a shipping company that has experience shipping the heavy equipment that you need shipped.
How a Shipping Company Will Evaluate Your Heavy Shipping Needs
Once the shipping company receives your shipping parameters, it will determine the best way to fulfill your needs.
Here’s what you need to know…
You will receive a quote based on your parameters. This quote may be higher or lower than you initially anticipated, but if you have an understanding of how the quote was constructed, the figure will not be that far off.
Some factors that can lower your quote, and eventual rate include:
- Longer time frame
- No special service needs that go beyond standard practice
- Heavy equipment with smaller and lighter dimensions
- The time of the year you need your heavy equipment shipped
Some factors that can raise your quote, and eventual rate include:
- Greater insurance coverage from the shipping company
- Smaller time frame
- Special service needs
- Heavy equipment with larger and heavier dimensions
- The time of the year you need your heavy equipment shipped
Alternative factors that may not be foreseeable or changeable
- Traffic (if paying for hourly service)
- The cost of gas
- The route
Rates are usually standardized as best as possible. It may even be possible that you can simply pick a service from a shipping company’s service list, and receive a standardized price.
However, for every modification that a shipping company needs to perform in order to ship your heavy equipment, that rate will rise. You can see this in every service industry. The same is true for shipping companies.
A trick to reduce your heavy equipment shipping estimate
Do you like to save money? Who doesn’t.
One of the easiest ways to get more bang out of your buck when it comes to shipping heavy equipment is to shop around. Don’t take the first quote you get. Use it as leverage.
Most shipping companies are familiar with their direct competition and the market prices for shipping certain types of equipment.
And guess what?
They are going to be more than willing to match a fair quote. Now, if you got a quote from a shipping company with a bad reputation, don’t expect them to match that. Budget shippers are budget shippers for a reason.
But the reality is, a major auto shipping company isn’t willing to lose your contract over a few dollars. They will budge and they will match a lower quote if it is feasible to do so.
Great, now what?
Now that you have a general understanding of the creation of heavy shipping estimates, you are in a better position to receive an attractive shipping estimate for your equipment.
If you want to make the process even easier, give A-1 Auto Transport a call. We’ve been helping people and companies ship heavy equipment for many years. If you want a fair heavy equipment shipping estimate, reliable service, and peace of mind, give us a call today.
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.