Best Practices of Quality Heavy Equipment Transport Companies
Finding the right heavy equipment transport companies isn’t hard if you know what you are looking for.
This industry is full of a lot of reputable and dedicated companies. But for every great company, there are several fly-by ones that rush their shipments and risk damaging your heavy equipment to save a few dollars.
You won’t believe what we’ve seen…
A-1 Auto Transport has been in this industry for a long time now and we’ve really seen it all. Some notable examples include:
- Heavy equipment transport companies not rigging a piece of equipment properly and dropping it
- Shipments getting lost
- Heavy equipment getting stalled at U.S. customs due to improper paperwork
These kinds of mistakes are inexcusable and shouldn’t happen. But they do.
So, we want to help you find the right company, the A-1 kind of company. Here’s what you need to look for.
They Mention the Various Permits They Have
Not all heavy equipment shipping is equal in requirements. There may be some additional steps that a transport company needs to obtain in order to ship your heavy equipment. Some permits are standard, like police permits. Others, like highway permits, may not be.
If you live in a small town and you need some heavy equipment moved across town, the transport company you use may not have a highway permit because your small town may not have a highway running through it. If you are requesting that the company transports your tractor from your farm to the dealership for maintenance, or to trade it in, the transport company can simply drive on the main roads through town.
This is just one example of many where a permit may not be necessary for you. However, ask your transport company of choice which permits they have, and which they require to transport your heavy equipment.
International shipping is a whole different ball game. It really is worth paying for experience when it comes to international shipping.
A newer company may offer you an amazing rate, but their lack of experience could lead to your heavy equipment stalling at U.S. Customs, getting denied, or worse, violating trade laws.
Without going into extensive detail about trade laws, international shipments need to consider things like:
- Denied party lists, restricted countries, and any special trade rules
- Whether your item is a civilian or military good (a lot of heavy equipment can fall under the military classification)
- Regulations in your destination country
- Whether you can ship your heavy equipment as is, or if you will need to disassemble it
It isn’t easy to know all of this. That’s why it makes sense to hire a heavy equipment transport company that has extensive experience dealing with export laws and international shipping.
They Have Years, if not Decades, of Experience Shipping Heavy Equipment
Shipping heavy equipment is a complex process. There are many obstacles present in each delivery, and the successful deliveries require a transport company that can react well to sudden impediments in real-time.
Many things can alter a pre-planned delivery, things like:
- A route can be closed off due to traffic or an accident
- Measurement miscalculations
- Heavy machinery may not fit on the low loader flatbed truck sent to transport the equipment
- An individual who was going to be at the destination to receive the equipment may not be there at the requested time
- Paperwork problems
- And so much more
There are many factors that are open to change. The best transport companies know that change is inevitable and can roll with it.
They Will Have Great Pre-Planning Services
Transporting heavy equipment is a tough job. The burdens of the actual delivery, however, can be softened due to an extensive pre-planning process.
The best transport companies will ask detailed questions, provide you with meticulous quotes that breakdown their rates, and have dispatchers and drivers on staff to help ensure that your delivery is a success.
The more information you can receive from a transport company prior to the delivery, the better.
The best transport companies will either provide you with such information without needing to be asked. Open lines of communication are best founded with a wealth of information, designed to make the communication process as clear, simple, and smooth as possible!
They Will Deny You Service
This may seem counterintuitive, but it is not if you consider the benefits of being rejected by a company that is unable to service your requests.
The best transport companies will recognize when a prospective customer comes to them with a proposal they cannot fulfill.
Think about it like this…
Would you rather be strung along and have your time wasted, or be told early on that they can’t fulfill your request? The answer is pretty obvious.
In terms of heavy equipment shipping, a customer may want a cement truck shipped, but a transport company that only ships tractors may be ill-equipped to fulfill such an order.
In such an event, the best companies will turn away this customer, and will recommend transport companies that can meet the customer’s needs.
The transport industry is all about networking and certain auto shipping companies will be more than happy to recommend you with a serviceable alternative if they are unable to help you out.
Be very wary of a transport company that agrees to ship your heavy equipment, but has little experience actually doing so for other customers.
Your equipment is important to you. Your job may be dependent on your equipment. If your tractor cannot run because it is damaged in-transport, you cannot harvest your crops. Always use a transport company that has direct experience shipping the heavy equipment you need shipped.
Here’s what we recommend:
- Check out their Google and social media reviews. While these reviews can be faked, and in some cases, they are, you can learn a lot about a company based on their legitimate reviews
- Share their quote with a competitor, see if they are willing to match that quote, or if they scoff it off and suggest that their rate is low because the service is poor. Small details like this can be telling
- See if the company is active and busy. A busy shipping company likely is doing things right because customers are choosing them
They Follow OSHA Safety Precautions and Requirements
OSHA is America’s Occupational Safety and Heavy Administration. It is a division of the Department of Labor.
The transport company you use needs to be updated on the laws and regulations practiced and preached by OSHA if it is to provide a safe working environment. A company that does not take safety seriously is a company that you should avoid contracting for your transport.
What do you think?
If a company mistreats its employees and puts them at risk, do you think they will treat your heavy equipment with care?
Unsafe work environments are dangerous to everyone. If a transport company does not value workplace safety, it is reasonable to conclude that their licenses and permits are not up to date, that their staff are not well-trained, and that shipping your heavy equipment with them is a risky proposition.
Do not hire a transport company that cuts corners, even if they provide you with a cheap quote. Extremely cheap quotes are cheap for a reason.
Always use a quality transport company, even if they are slightly more expensive because it will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches when something does go wrong with the cheaper option.
They Specialize in Moving Specific Equipment (Even if Just Heavy Equipment)
This is not a deal breaker, but is something to keep in mind. Consider the phrase “Jack of all trades, Master of none, But better than a master of one.”
Essentially, there is a middle ground between a transport company that specializes in one type of heavy equipment transport, and a company that generalizes the heavy equipment they transport.
If a transport company states it can transport any heavy equipment you have, regardless of the type of heavy equipment you have (and there are tons of variation in heavy equipment), you should consider the fact that this company may not specialize in moving your equipment.
On the other hand, if a company specializes in transporting your equipment, you should consider that you may need to use a different company in the future to transport other heavy equipment that you need shipped.
A great middle ground is if a transport company specializes in shipping a few types of heavy equipment, and has general experience shipping other types of equipment if need be. If you need to ship multiple types of heavy equipment, use a transport company that provides general services. If you need to ship specific types of heavy equipment, use a transport company that provides specialized services.
Breaking It All Down
In this article, we covered six of the best practices that quality heavy equipment transport companies practice and abide by.
If a transport company does not utilize some of these practices, they may still be a good company. Just question them as to why they do not. I’m sure they will have a good reason. As always, visit multiple companies and receive multiple quotes before you decide on one company.
The A-1 Auto Transport Way of Doing Business
Sometimes it just isn’t worth the hassle. If you want a hassle-free heavy equipment shipping experience, A-1 is the choice for you.
We’ve spent many years working in this industry, we know the prices, and we know how to save you a few dollars without compromising the quality of service.
If you want peace of mind and a high-quality service, A-1 is the company for you. Give us a call today and we will help you get your heavy equipment on its way.
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.