YOU JUST BOUGHT A CAR ON CRAIGSLIST, NOW WHAT?
You are excited. You are thrilled. You just can’t wait to sit behind that wheel. To get your hands on the keys, and open that car door for the first time. It’s the next step! Just have patience. But what do you do now? The car is paid for. The car is yours. BUT, it’s 1,865 miles away.
THE GOOD: YOU HAVE OPTIONS
You have options to get this vehicle to your garage, that’s the great thing. Most of the time on Craigslist, shipping the vehicle is not going to be an option to purchase. Once in a while, you will see this option on Craigslist ads. But for the most part, the buyer (you!) is responsible for shipping the car. This means that you are now literally in the driver’s seat. This is the good side of having options, you have the power to safely and securely get this vehicle to you.
THE BAD: YOU HAVE OPTIONS
Any time that we (people) have options, we need to do some work. Any time that we have options, we have the chance that we will miss the best opportunity, and choose an option that isn’t best for us. This is the downside of having an option. When you have made your Craigslist car purchase, make sure to find the most reliable option of getting your vehicle home. Hopefully, you won’t have a bad experience.
- Go pick it up yourself.
There is nothing quite like a road trip! Go get your new car yourself! Have a friend or your spouse or girlfriend drive you to pick up your new ride. Make a little vacation out of it. This option will definitely save you a lot of headache and stress regarding the condition of your car.
- Have a friend pick it up for you.
Uncle Joey is out of work right now, AND he only lives 120 miles from Austin, Texas where your dream car is. Have him go pick up your car! Pay for his gas, buy him a few beers, and put him up in Motel 6 a few nights. You have a trusted (hopefully) person driving your new car. Fly him home when it’s all done.
- Find a trusted transport company
There are many different options out there now with contracting a company to you’re your vehicle. Any Google search will leave you with plenty to choose from. This is the option that will make the most sense for the most amount of people. And to be honest, with the price of gas these days, and a few nights in a motel for your Uncle Joey, it really might be the least expensive when it is all said and done.
Most of the time, you are looking right around .75/mile. (Seventy-five cents a mile). So, shipping your vehicle from Austin, Texas to San Diego, CA (1,304 miles) might run you about $1,000. You will spend anywhere from $250-500 in gas alone, depending on the type of car. So, add a few nights in a hotel, your uncle’s meals to this, and you just might be to about the same price. However, that transport company is NOT putting 1,304 miles on your car, something to consider!
Your car can be driven, towed or loaded onto a trailer.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN SHIPPING YOUR CAR
- Credentials of the company you are going to choose
Make sure to do your own research on the company you want to use. You can easily do this on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website. Ask them to see a copy of their USDOT credentials as well. This will serve as another background check. The United States Department of Transportation issues a number to every company that ships cars.
Make sure that your car is properly insured by the shipper if you are shipping it. And if you are going to drive it yourself, or have a friend drive it, don’t forget to buy insurance in your excitement on this new purchase. It needs to be very clear in your shipping contract what the limits are on their insurance policy. If your car is worth $45,000, and their limit is $25,000, you might need to purchase additional liability insurance.
- Your car can be towed or loaded onto a trailer.
If you have your car shipped, note that it can be towed or loaded onto a trailer. It is important to know this. If it is being towed, your rear tires, etc. will be affected. This is something to take into consideration, and something to make absolutely clear with your shipper.
- Condition pre-shipment and post-shipment
Lastly, you need to make sure that what you paid for is what you get! Make sure to get perfect pictures from the seller if you have your car shipped. You don’t want to receive a car with a broken windshield. This isn’t what you paid for. It would not be a fun way to start your relationship with this new car. The condition of the car should be the same when you receive it as when you bought it. Document, document, document this with photographs, or even video if you can.
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.