How To Choose a Motorhome Transport Service
There is nothing more American than a summer road trip in the family motorhome.
When most people think of transporting motorhomes, they picture a scenario where they will personally drive the motorhome across the country, or even internationally. However, it is possible to contract a motorhome transport service/company to transport your motorhome for you. This is almost always the easier option.
Here’s what we are going to explain:
- The various types of motorhomes available for shipment
- Some common factors that you should consider when choosing a motorhome transport service
- Other useful information that will help you ship your motorhome
Shipping a motorhome isn’t that complicated, depending on its size. It still uses the same processes that you use to ship a regular car, truck, or larger vehicle.
What Type of Motorhome Do You Have?
There are three types of motorhomes generally available on the market. They are classified as either Class A, Class B, or Class C motorhomes.
Each class of motorhome is different, has different dimensions and weight (even within the classes), and these differences will be reflected in not only the motorhome transport service you can choose, but the rates you receive as well.
Here’s the deal…
Motorhomes that are larger in dimension, as well as heavier, will cost more to transport. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you because this is how the shipping industry works. Distance, weight, size, and time all influence the price of shipping a vehicle.
Class A Motorhomes
Class A motorhomes are the largest type of motorhome available. They can be bus conversions, or they can be built on a special chassis. Class A motorhomes, being the most expensive and largest forms of motorhomes, are usually seen in retirement communities, as well as on tour with rock stars.
Being the largest and heaviest forms of motorhomes, transporting a Class A motorhome will be the most expensive type to ship.
Class B Motorhomes
Class B motorhomes are the smallest type of motorhomes. They are usually converted minivans with a sliding panel door. These motorhomes are usually used by travelers, so it is likely that you may want to transport this type of motorhome cross-country or even overseas.
Of course, while overseas transport is more expensive, transporting a Class B motorhome anywhere will result in the cheapest general rate, since they are the smallest and lightest type of motorhome.
Class C Motorhomes
Class C motorhomes are van conversions, just like Class B motorhomes, but different. It is easiest to think of Class C motorhomes as van conversions that extend the structure of a van. With Class B motorhomes, the outer structure of the vehicle is not changed. To the untrained eye, a Class B motorhome still looks like a regular van.
However, Class C motorhomes are different. For instance, these types of motorhomes will usually have a sleeping compartment above the driver’s section, but Class B motorhomes will not.
Preparing a Motorhome for Shipping
Now that you understand motorhome classes, there are a few important things you should know about how to prepare and ship one.
Domestic shipping is always easier than international. There are fewer regulations, no major trade laws to worry about, and the overall liability is a lot less.
Don’t get us wrong…
There is nothing wrong with shipping your RV internationally, it’s just it requires a little more planning and preparation to do it properly.
Here’s a few key things you will want to know:
- Make sure you know what class your RV falls in. We told you above, so it should be easy
- Gather all relevant paperwork, insurance, and any other documents you will need for shipping
- Check all trade laws the U.S. has with a specific country, as well as any laws in your destination country
- Understand the costs associated with shipping an RV internationally
Besides the above, there are other cosmetic and mechanical things you will need to consider. Things like:
- Locking down all windows, cabinets, and doors. International auto shipping is a rough process and you don’t want your RV getting damaged
- Fastening down any loose furniture, remove any wall decorations, and make sure the hood is locked down
- Unplugging any electrical appliances, disconnect all power supplies and gas devices (propane ovens, etc.)
- Making sure your RV has functioning lights. Fixing faulty lights in a foreign country can be difficult
- Checking all your fluid lines before shipping (oil, break, gas tank, etc.)
- Handing over your keys to your shipping company
- Writing up an emergency list that covers any specific problems during shipment
Remember this golden rule.
You have to know your limitations when it comes to international shipping. There is so much to know and the smallest mistake can get you in a heap of trouble.
The U.S. government takes its trade laws very seriously and there are so many tiny details that you have to remember. Things like:
- Denied party lists
- Up to date paperwork supporting your shipment
- Classification codes
- Whether the RV is a civilian or military good (you’d be surprised what falls under military class)
- Is the destination country restricted or embargoed?
Feeling stressed by that list?
If the thought of any of those things gives you anxiety, A-1 Auto Transport suggests that you hire an experienced shipping company to help you get through the process.
Auto shipping companies know the export process and will help you mitigate any serious liability concerns.
But how do you know which motorhome transport service to hire? Don’t worry, read on.
Which Motorhome Transport Service is Best for Me?
There are several factors that you must keep in mind when choosing a motorhome transport service.
They are not all equal in the services they provide, and the types of motorhomes they can accommodate. You will want to know what they offer early on. Always start the conversation by asking if they can accommodate your motorhome’s class.
The size difference, for example, between Class A and Class B motorhomes is huge. It is quite likely that a motorhome transport service that specializes in transporting Class A motorhomes will not be able to accommodate Class B motorhomes, and vice versa.
This may seem obvious but…
The first thing you need to ensure is that the motorhome transport services you look at specialize in shipping the motorhome you want shipped.
The second thing you need to do is to verify that the motorhome transport services you are interested in has enough insurance to cover any potential accidents. Generally, a motorhome transport service will have at least $750,000 USD in BIPD (bodily injury and property damage) insurance coverage for the motorhomes they transport. But if your motorhome is extremely valuable, you may require more coverage than that.
Class A motorhomes can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can buy added luxury items for your motorhome, and it is not out of the ordinary that a wealthy client will have their entire motorhome customized with luxury items like marble countertops, gold trim, and cedar wood paneling. All of these luxury upgrades exponentially add to the value of the motorhome.
If you feel that $750,000 is not enough in insurance to protect your motorhome, you have two choices: use a motorhome transport service that does, or purchase additional insurance. Most motorhome transport services offer larger plans, all you have to do is ask.
When purchasing insurance, you can either purchase it from the transport company, or from a third-party insurance provider.
Here’s what we recommend
Try and purchase your insurance through your auto shipping company. If something happens to your RV, all claims will be handled internally and that will expedite the rate at which you will be compensated.
How Do Motorhome Companies Treat Their Competition?
You can tell a lot about a company by how it treats its competition, especially when it comes to determining competitive rates.
Of course, every company has a bottom line and you will not be able to reduce your rate “just because.”
However, you can lower your rate by altering your transport details. If you go to Company A and tell them that Company B is using a shorter, more direct route to calculate your motorhome transport, you can request that Company A use the same route, especially if using a shorter, more direct route will result in a lower rate for you.
There is nothing wrong with shopping your quotes against other companies.
Now, there may be a reason why each company uses a different route. For instance, Company A may use flatbed low loader trucks which are too long to successfully navigate the route Company B takes. There is nothing wrong with this!
However, it might also be possible that Company A never used Company B’s route because Company A’s route was fine until you questioned it. Company A may have also assumed that Company B used the same route they did.
A-1 Auto Transport’s way of doing things
We start by sending you a competitive quote that outlines the specific rates and fees for your shipment. outline why their rates are the way they are, and will be understanding if you question the rate.
Here’s what we believe…
Why hide your prices if you have to show a customer them eventually?
The best thing for you to do to increase your power and leverage during the negotiations phase, as well as to receive the motorhome transport service that you want, is to contact multiple motorhome transport services for bids.
Your needs are unique and you need the best company for the job. Why settle for less? Only consider companies that provide you with the level of insurance you want, an attractive quote, and the shipping services that you want.
Cut to the chase with A-1 Auto Transport
Our goal is to make the process even easier for you. We want you to get quotes from our competition because we know that we offer a better price.
If you want high quality service, insurance plans that will give you peace of mind, and a company that has an established reputation in the auto shipping industry, A-1 Auto Transport is the right choice.
We’ve been helping clients ship vehicles of all sizes for decades. You’ll never stress about domestic or international auto shipping when you hire us.
Ready to get started?
Give us a call today if your ready to ship your RV on time and for a great 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.