- Most Common Mistakes Made When Shipping A Car
- Going With The Cheapest Option
- Not Doing Enough Research
- Not Being Prepared For Pickup
- Leaving Personal Items In The Vehicle
- Not Taking Note Of The Vehicle Condition
- Finding Cheap Local Shippers
- Choose Open-Air Transport
- Use Terminal-To-Terminal Services
- Ship In The Off-Season
- Get Multiple Quotes
- Use An Auto Transport Broker
- Are Local Auto Shippers Better Than Large Car Shipping Companies?
- Advantages Of Local Shippers
- Disadvantages Of Local Shippers
- Advantages Of Large Car Shipping Companies
- Disadvantages Of Large Car Shipping Companies
- When To Choose Local Auto Shippers
- How To Choose A Car Shipping Company
- Flexible Transport Options
- Good Customer Reviews
- Proper Licensing And Credentials
- Clear Auto Transport Costs
- No Red Flags
- Working With A1 Auto Transport
When it’s time to ship your car, you’ll likely face a long list of companies to choose from. The United States has one of the fastest-growing auto shipping industries in the world and offers some of the most efficient vehicle transport services both domestically and internationally.
The number of options can seem overwhelming especially if you have no one to guide you through the process. It’s not difficult for a first-timer to choose a bad auto shipping company and face the negative consequences of that choice.
The best thing you can do to avoid making those mistakes is by learning more about the process and the pros and cons of different-sized companies. Let us be your official guide for navigating this industry, and help you make a solid decision:
Most common mistakes made when shipping a car
Let’s start with the most common mistakes people make when they want to ship a car in the US. If you know what they are, you’ll know what to avoid:
Going with the cheapest option
Cheaper is never better when it comes to anything related to vehicles. More often than not, it works out in your favor to spend the extra money to ensure the best quality service.
Many people fall for promises that are way too good to be true and their pockets end up hurting as a result. Stay vigilant, and always be on the lookout for scams.
Not doing enough research
Car shipping requires researching every company that piques interest. This means finding out if the company has the proper authorization to carry out these services, and if they are reputable.
You don’t want to end up in a situation that will leave you saying, “If only I knew.” The resources are at your disposal and the internet can provide a wealth of knowledge. The best bet is to always go with the company you can find the most information on. If it’s lacking, you’re usually off elsewhere.
Not being prepared for pickup
If you don’t properly prepare your vehicle for transport, you will face a delay in the process. You are expected to produce all the necessary documents before handing your keys over and make sure your vehicle is in good condition (unless it is being shipped as an inoperable vehicle).
People who fail to have their vehicle ready sometimes end up missing their pickup day because other vehicles must get to their destination on time. The driver cannot risk waiting on customers to clean and clear out their vehicle.
Leaving personal items in the vehicle
The main reason customers are told to remove personal items from their vehicles before shipping is to avoid being held liable for damage or theft. As it is part of the policy, there’s no action a customer can take for failing to follow the rules.
Not taking note of the vehicle condition
When a customer claims their vehicle was scratched or dented during transit without proof of the vehicle’s original condition, it becomes more difficult to receive compensation. All customers are advised to wash their vehicle and take pictures of the interior and exterior for this purpose.
The driver should also inspect the vehicle and make note of its condition on the Bill of Lading.
Finding cheap local shippers
Who doesn’t like saving money? Car shipping services can be expensive, so if there are ways to make it cheaper, why not explore all those options?
Warning: In the auto transport industry, cheaper does not always mean better. In fact, we prefer to use the word ‘affordable’ to describe competitive rates.
From here on out, we’ll use the better term, ‘affordable’, to refer to what we all know means “how can I pay less for the best?”
Here’s how you can make the most of your local shipping services at less expense to you:
Choose open-air transport
Most if not all auto shippers offer open-air transport as a basic service. It’s the easiest way to transport a car and the most affordable. Most vehicles can be transported this way, but it’s all up to the customer. Unless you have a rare or expensive vehicle, enclosed transport may be considered unnecessary.
Use terminal-to-terminal services
The more extra steps an auto shipper has to apply to your car transport is the more it will end up costing you. For example, if the driver has to come to your house to pick up or drop off your car, there will be an extra cost involved.
Instead of opting for door-to-door service, choose terminal-to-terminal service. Terminals are usually conveniently located so customers can come by to pick up and drop off without going out of their way.
Of course, your circumstances will dictate what is more convenient and comfortable for you, and you may choose to go with the alternative if you are new to the area, or have a lot of packing to do.
Ship in the off-season
Auto transport prices are not fixed and will fluctuate through the year as the auto shipping industry goes through its seasons. The off-season is largely in the winter months due to weather conditions, and demand will drop throughout the year for similar reasons. Peak season follows peak human migration in the year, like around fall when schools open, and when weather conditions are right, like during the spring into the summer.
You’re guaranteed to find the most affordable car transport rates in the height of winter when auto shippers try to attract customers through seasonal deals. So, try to make your schedule more flexible to accommodate these lowered prices.
Get multiple quotes
Even local auto shippers will have different rates. It only makes sense to get multiple quotes so you can compare which shipping companies are more affordable. It’s important to remember that extremely low prices can be a red flag, and you should be mindful of the company’s reputation.
Use online quote tools to get an idea of what your auto transport fees will be like. Click here for an easy-to-use, no-obligation quote form.
Use an auto transport broker
An auto transport broker can be a huge help in connecting you to the best local auto shippers in your area. They will walk you through the process and help you avoid costly mistakes that make it hard for first-time car shippers.
A1 Auto Transport is an excellent option for making your auto shipping process as simple and stress-free as possible. Call us at 1-800-452-2880 and let us know how we can help!
Are local auto shippers better than large car shipping companies?
Local auto shippers are usually smaller companies depending on where you are located in the U.S. They sometimes have under 5 auto transport carriers and a limited number of truck drivers. Oftentimes, they affiliate themselves with auto transport brokers to help guide customers to them.
Large car shipping companies typically have terminals in different cities throughout the U.S, with more trucks and drivers to operate them. Their transport schedule is usually more flexible, and they can ship more vehicles in a year.
The choice between the two will depend on your needs. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of local shippers
- Most useful when shipping within the state, or to a neighboring state
- Terminals are close-by and familiar
- Greater attention to detail and local customer needs
Disadvantages of local shippers
- Customers have to confirm licenses and credentials themselves
Advantages of large car shipping companies
- Offers more vehicle transport services
- May not require an auto transport broker
- Can better facilitate cross-country and international car shipping needs.
Disadvantages of large car shipping companies
- Can be more expensive
When to choose local auto shippers
Choose local auto shippers when your needs are simple and straightforward. Smaller companies are best utilized in their main service area since they know all the best routes and can travel within the area much faster than a larger company.
How to choose a car shipping company
Choose a car shipping company like you’d choose a babysitter for a child. You must trust that car shipping company with your vehicle to keep it safe and do certain things to ensure your needs are met.
This car shipping company should have:
Flexible transport options
For your needs to be met, the shipping company of choice should have flexible transport options, or at the very least, the right ones.
If you need an enclosed transport service, but the company you are looking at only offers open-air service or flatbed shipping, you’ll need to look into another company. If there’s no premium service for luxury vehicles, you might not feel comfortable about leaving your vehicle in their care.
If you’re headed to a less populated area, the terminal should be within reach if they don’t offer door delivery service. Otherwise, you’d have to go out of your way with that company to retrieve your vehicle.
Try to think about exactly what would make this process more convenient, and find out if the car shipper offers those services. If you need your car right away, and there’s no expedited service, you might end up at a loss.
Good customer reviews
Customer reviews are usually a good indicator of a vehicle shipping company’s standards. Make sure the good reviews on the website are legitimate, meaning they read well and don’t seem generated by bots.
If you can’t tell if the reviews are legitimate, use independent reviews, for example, from Yelp, Google Reviews, or the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Do not dismiss a shipping company entirely because of a low rating. Pay attention to the reason for the review since some people can be malicious with no good reason.
Proper licensing and credentials
For every shipping company you are considering, ensure they have the proper licensing and credentials to carry out the services legally in the United States. These strict regulations are in place to protect customers and motorists from potential harm.
Unauthorized auto transporters sometimes flout these very laws, the most harmful of which are related to safety. This can mean mishandling of your vehicle and negligence which could result in damage or loss.
It doesn't matter if the company had the credentials and they recently expired. If caught transporting a vehicle illegally, it will be confiscated by authorities and you will face delays in the shipping process.
Clear auto transport costs
You should always be sure of how much a service will cost before you commit to it. Even after getting a free quote online, you still have to touch base with the company to ensure there are no hidden fees or hidden costs involved in the particular service you need.
Read all the fine print, and pay attention to what previous customers have said about payment.
No red flags
There should be no red flags when choosing an auto transport company. You should feel like your vehicle will be safe and secure in their care. If for a moment you feel unsure or notice any red flags after speaking with a representative, cross that company’s name off your list and move on.
Working with A1 Auto Transport
At A1 Auto Transport, our commitment to our customers is “Safe and reliable vehicle shipping”. With van lines that reach every area of the country, we are the premier choice in finding the most suitable carriers for your vehicle transport needs. A1 Auto Transport also has its roots in over 190 countries, offering international auto transport services and advice on how to make it happen.
97% of our customers would recommend us to others, and we offer the peace of mind that is crucial to any vehicle shipping service. You name it, we make it happen, without the stress and without putting yourself at financial risk.
After 33 years of service in this industry, we can proudly say we are among the best in the game. Learn how we can help you today when you speak to one of our representatives. Call us at 1-800-452-28800!