Shipping your car to another city, a different state, or across the world even isn't something uncommon. A lot of people do it whether because they need to move for a new job opportunity, to start a family, or for a sense of adventure. It's also one of the reasons why the auto transport industry is thriving and is highly competitive for carriers and brokers.
If you are a customer looking to transport your car to another destination, chances are you have a certain budget and a certain time-frame for it. Of course, the first question anyone asks is: what is the cost of car delivery?
Let’s break it down in detail and see why you’re looking at such a wide range of prices when browsing for a car transport service.
Calculating Car Shipping Cost
The cost of a car delivery will depend on many factors that connect to one another. The main variables that you need to provide when asking for a delivery quote are related to your car’s size and to the distance, it needs to travel.
Naturally, the cost of the delivery will depend on how far it has to be transported. But, as the distance increases, the price per mile will go down. We have included a list of average prices per mile below. The reason the price goes down when the distance is bigger is because, the loading/unloading costs and other connected activities besides the actual driving are the same for short distances and long distances.
- The size of Your Car
The size of your vehicle is one of the factors that will weigh most when calculating the cost. For an SUV, for example, the price will go up considerably, compared to a sedan.
- How Fast You Want it to Be Shipped
Sometimes, the only way to get a lower price on the transport of your car is accepting to have it delivered at a later date. Or being prepared to wait for the carrier to offer a lower price once they are done with their priority transports. Express deliveries are typically 30% more expensive than standard deliveries.
- Season and Weather Conditions
If the truck will be traveling in bad weather conditions, the price may go up. The season will also influence the price of your auto transport. If there is a high demand, the carriers can raise the prices. Summer is the most popular season, so you might not find a lot of discounts. Wintertime delivery can be cheaper since carriers want to retain their customers.
- The Popularity of the Route
Similarly to air transportation, the most popular routes will often have the same prices. If you need to get your car in a remote area, you can expect slightly increased costs. Finding trucks in remote areas is also harder, so there won’t be much competition to compare and choose from.
- The Type of Trailer That Will Be Used
Having your car transported in an enclosed trailer will cost more than shipping it by an open-air trailer. Since closed trailers have less space, they can transport fewer cars on a trip. Therefore, the cost will be split between fewer customers, increasing the price.
The Average Costs of Car Delivery
Based on statistics and what companies have worked with, you can get an idea of how expensive your delivery will be. Average prices can be statistically accurate, but they won’t guarantee the same range for your specific situation. Offers on the market are so varied, even from the same carriers or the same area, that it’s impossible to say what you will pay before actually contacting an auto transporter.
Average costs for delivering a normal-sized car inside the US are as follows:
- East Coast to West Coast or vice versa: $1,100
- Midwest to East Coast: $700
- Midwest to West Coast: $900
- South to North: $700
If you want a better estimate of your costs, you can calculate based on the cost per mile. The average price of a mile will depend on the total distance the car will travel, and it will go down as the distance increases, as follows:
- $1 per mile for distances up to 500 miles
- $0.75 for a 1,000 miles trip
- $0.50 for a 2,000 miles trip
- $0.40 for a cross-country trip
The Costs of an Auto Transport Carrier
As you can see, the average price for delivering a car from one point to another is quite high, relative to your usual expenses. But once you have a better understanding of the industry, you will no longer see it as an exaggerated cost.
Carriers have a lot of expenses to deal with, and an important part of what you are paying goes into the expenses they have to make during the trip and in between trips.
Equipment for loading and unloading vehicles in the trailer - in some cases, the cars that are being shipped are not in a working state, which means they can't be driven on the platform of the trailer.
Fuel - most trucks operate on diesel fuel, which is expensive. Any extra mile to pick up cars from remote areas, for example, will cost more.
Insurance - legit auto transport companies and drivers are insured for theft, property damage, personal injury, etc. The insurance policies they have to take can be quite expensive.
Truck fleet maintenance - every truck needs to be in very good shape for it to be allowed to commercially transport goods. Because of the intense wear and tear of these trucks, they need inspections more often, repairs, and replacing.
Driver's fee - the driver employed by the auto transport company does it at a professional level. They also need daily pay for food and accommodation.
How to Lower the Price of Your Car Delivery
If you need your car to be shipped but you are worried about the costs, here are a few tips on how to lower your transportation costs.
Compare prices from several auto carriers. If there are a lot of competitors in your area, choose to work with a broker, it's faster and you could get certain advantages.
Unless you have a very expensive sports car or something high maintenance, opt for an open trailer instead of a closed one.
If possible, be flexible about the date of delivery. Slower delivery can lower costs.
Avoid moving your car during the season. Winter moving will be cheaper.
As long time specialists in the auto transport industry, we at A-1 Auto Transport consider each delivery request a challenge to make it fast, affordable, and as friendly as possible for our customers.
Give us a call or an email and tell us what kind of car you have and where do you need it to go. We will discuss all the details and give you a free quote that you can further include in your decision making.
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.