Many clients consider the process of shipping a car troublesome. Most people think that if they’re shipping five cars at once, the stress and hassle will also be multiplied by five. So it comes as no surprise to find that many people dread the idea of shipping multiple cars simultaneously.
However, the technology and methodology used in shipping cars have changed dramatically over the years. This means that shipping multiple cars simultaneously will not mean more stress on the part of the shipper. Most shipping companies have the tools, training, and policies to deal with multiple car shipping. The only thing you should expect to increase is the price, not the number of problems encountered.
Still, if you’re shipping multiple cars, it’s better to be fully prepared on your end to minimize problems and road bumps. We’ve prepared this special guide to know how the process works and what to expect from multiple car shipping.
Find the Best Shipping Method for Multiple Cars
If you’re shipping multiple cars, you’ll want to look for a shipping method that allows you to ship your cars with one trailer or at least close together to prevent mix-ups later on. Currently, if you want to ship your cars by land, you can choose to do so either through open-air transport and enclosed transport.
The difference between the two shipping methods is simple. As their names suggest, open-air transport uses an open trailer, while enclosed transport uses an enclosed trailer or a shipping container.
Which of the two shipping methods is best for you? It depends on the number of cars you have, your budget and your preferences. First, let’s take a look at how many cars fit into these trailers. An open-air trailer can usually accommodate 7 to 10 cars, while an enclosed trailer can accommodate 3-5 cars, depending on how large the container is. If you have less than five cars, enclosed trailers are a good option. If you have more than 5, you may want to go by open-air transport.
Of course, you should also consider the amount of protection provided by these methods. With open-air transport, your cars are vulnerable to the elements. Yes, they usually put tarps or dust covers over the cars, but these don’t provide ample protection from rain, dirt, snow, and extreme temperatures. With enclosed transport, your cars are protected because the shipping container acts as their shield.
Because enclosed trailers provide more protection, it is more expensive compared to open-air transport. Enclosed car transport can cost twice as much as open-air transport for a single car. Multiple cars mean higher shipping costs, so if you’re on a tight budget, open-air transport might be better for you.
Shop Around for Shipping Estimates
Because you’re shipping multiple cars, it’s only fair that you should look for an affordable shipping package without sacrificing the shipping quality. You can ask for recommendations, look at reviews on the Internet, and call around 3-4 companies to get several quotes. It’s important to get several quotes because a single quote won’t give you enough information. With several quotes, you can get the average market value of the service you’re trying to get.
The estimate the shipping company gives you will depend on several factors:
- Open-air versus Enclosed Transport
- How far the destination terminal or depot is
- Your chosen pickup point. Door-to-door delivery is more expensive compared to terminal or depot pick up.
- Your shipping date. Peak months and days will have higher shipping rates.
- It will depend on whether your cars will take up the entire trailer or if you want to share the trailer with other vehicles.
- Many companies offer different types of insurance. Full coverage insurance will cost more than partial coverage insurance.
Choose A Car Shipping Company
Go over the quotes you have at your disposal and compare what services are included in the shipping package offered by each company. If you are still unsure or have more questions for the company, ask them before making your final decisions.
When looking for a shipping company, there are some things you should consider before making your decision:
- The shipping fees and the services included
- The company’s legitimacy
- The company’s previous experience when dealing with multiple cars
- The insurance coverage provided by the company
- The company’s areas of service (they may not have facilities at your intended destination)
- The company’s standing with government agencies like the FMCSA
If you want to know more about a company, the best way is to search for previous customers and clients online. People usually give feedback through social media or online review sites, especially if they’ve had a bad experience with the company. You can also check the Better Business Bureau or FMCSA website for customer complaints against the company. You can also check the Internet for any news regarding traffic incidents involving the company.
Book Your Car Shipping Date
If you’re shipping multiple cars, it’s crucial to book way ahead of time. Around 4-6 weeks in advance is the recommended time allowance because it allows companies to accommodate all your cars into one shipping trailer.
As stated earlier, your chosen shipping date can increase your shipping costs. The months of March to September are considered peak season for shipping companies, so booking outside of that may save you a lot of money.
Prepare Your Cars For Shipping Day
There are several ways by which you can sufficiently prepare your cars for shipping day. Although most shipping companies are cautious with handling cars during loading and unloading, you can always give them a hand by making your cars easier to transport.
- Prepare your cars’ documents. The company will often look for proof that you are indeed the owner of these cars.
- Ask your shipping company if they will load the cars onto the trailer by driving them into place. If yes, you can leave a bit of gasoline in the cars. If not, you should empty the tanks.
- Remove any valuables or personal belongings. Some people ship their cars together with personal items to save money; however, insurance usually does not cover these items.
- Take note of the condition of your cars before shipping. Take videos or photos to use as references later on.
Ship Your Cars To Their Destination
Decide on how to get your cars to the shipping company. Depending on your location, it might not be possible to park the company’s trailer at your home or your place of business. You may need to employ people to drive the cars to the shipping company’s lot or hire a moving truck to take them there. If your place of business has a large parking spot or a space big enough to accommodate a vehicle trailer, the shipping company might pick them up directly.
You have the option of watching as your cars are loaded into the trailer. We recommend taking a video of the entire procedure, just in case, there are disputes later on. The crew will either drive the cars into place or move them manually. Each car is secured in place individually. Once the necessary paperwork has been signed, you can bid your cars farewell and wait for the arrival date.
Wait For The Arrival Date
After booking your shipping date, you’re usually given an estimated day of arrival by the shipping company. However, these are just estimates, and unforeseen circumstances may extend your waiting time by a day or two. Some companies will send you emails or text messages giving you updates on the shipping process.
Multiple car shipping that is less than 1,000 miles usually takes around 2-3 days. On the other hand, long-distance shipping can take as long as two weeks.
Because you are shipping multiple cars simultaneously, you may want to avail yourself of door-to-door pickup. It’s more expensive than a terminal pickup, but it’s worth the cost if you’re shipping several cars. However, keep in mind that your destination should have enough space to accommodate a huge vehicle trailer.
Another pickup option is a terminal pickup, which means you will pick the vehicles up at the terminal or depot. This may be troublesome with several cars, but if you can get your employees, friends, or relatives to help you, you can drive the cars to your home or place of business.