Not all auto transports cost the same, even if the vehicle and the distance is similar. If you’re satisfied with the price you’ve been offered, then there’s no need to look further. However, if you’d like save a bit more money or are in a difficult position where you need to reduce costs as much as possible, the following advice will help.
1. Size and numbers
Smaller cars are cheaper to transport. If you own multiple vehicles but don’t want to ship all of them, it’s best to go with the smaller one. If you want to transport all of them, it’s best to do it in one go, so you’ll obtain a multi-car discount.
You should consider the car’s consumption, so you won’t save on the car transport only to overspend on fuel. Its condition is also important. If your small vehicle requires regular maintenance, then you may save more money in the long run by shipping the newer yet larger automobile.
If your car isn’t running, its shipment will be more expensive. If the issue is not difficult to fix, it’s best you do it before the transport. If not, you must inform the carrier, so they may prepare and bring the necessary equipment.
Also, modified cars generally cost more to transport. It depends on how extensive these modifications are, but if you can remove them, you’ll get a cheaper deal.
2. Consider the season
Auto shipping costs don’t stay the same throughout the year. They’re subjected to fluctuations caused by various developments.
For example, some people migrate between the northern and eastern states when the cold starts kicking in and when it recedes. This creates a situation where there’s a huge demand for shipments north-south during winter and south-north during spring.
However, carriers need to fill up for the opposite trip as well. Therefore, some may lower their prices by up to 50% to meet quotas. Even if you follow the standard route, you may also benefit from special deals, like A1 auto transport’s snowbirds car shipping discount.
During summer, many people decide to move. As a result of the influx of customers, transports in the US between the east and the west tend to be more expensive. If you’re going on this route, it can be cheaper to ship your car in another season.
Most professional shippers will offer a number of discounts. At A1 auto transport, you can obtain one if you’re a student, in the military, or a senior. You can obtain one when transporting 2 or more cars at a time, if you’re moving during winter or spring, or when seasonal offers are available. You’ll also get a discount the first time you try out our services.
4. Terminals vs. door to door
Common knowledge is that terminal to terminal services are always cheaper than door to door shipping. However, in some situations, this is not the case. You may be located very far away from a terminal, yet close to a highway through which your carrier may pass.
In some cases, you may need to take a day or several off work to get your vehicle to the terminal. If this affects your income, it may be good to reconsider your options.
Furthermore, non-running cars can be problematic to bring to a terminal. You should take into account the cost of taking your car to/from a terminal on top of the transport’s fee. If the final sum is bigger than a door to door service, then it may be better to go with the simpler option.
5. Your location is important
Let’s say you live on a mountain in a rural area. It’s unlikely that too many trucks have routes through there, so the company you pick will have to take a detour. These detours are costly, and the price is added to your fee.
If you’re not located near a big city or a big road, you can save a lot by proposing to meet up somewhere more convenient for the carrier. You can suggest meeting in a larger city or close to an interstate. Some companies, like A1 auto transport provide terminals throughout the US. They’re placed strategically, so they can be accessed with ease from most locations.
6. Open or enclosed transportation
In most situations, it’s much cheaper to move a vehicle with an open carrier than an enclosed one. Shipping companies have much lower fees for this type of transport because it’s less costly to them.
Many more automobiles can be transported at a time than with an enclosed truck, so everyone’s costs are lower. However, because open trailers don’t offer much protection against factors like rain, flying objects, vandals, etc. they can cost you more in a few distinct situations.
If your vehicle is so valuable that even bumps and scratches are costly to repair, then an enclosed truck may be better. If you’re planning on selling the vehicle or showing it at a public exhibition, then a scratch caused by flying pebbles while on the road may cost you more than enclosed transportation.
7. Get a representative’s advice.
Most companies will understand if you’re in a tough financial situation and guide you towards their cheaper options. If you call an employee and explain the situation, you may end up with a price 15% lower than what you would have received through an online form.
The representative can give you tips on how to obtain discounts, what the cheapest shipping methods are, what you can do to not pay as much, etc. To encourage negotiations, you can mention you’ve been checking different companies and are looking for the best price.
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.