Are you looking to ship a car, but you do not have the slightest clue where to begin or how the process works? Unless you are in the car industry, you may not be familiar with how auto transport companies operate.
The process is actually very simple, but it is important to do your homework to become educated prior to shipping a vehicle. This ensures that you hire the right company for the job and have the best shipping experience, possible. Do not worry. We have assembled this guide to walk you through the process.
What is Auto Transport?
Auto transport is a service people utilize when they need to ship their cars statewide, nationwide, or worldwide. Whether the company is an auto transporter or an auto transport broker, the company is in charge of getting a reputable carrier to safely ship your vehicle.
The primary difference is whether the company will be doing the moving, themselves. Meaning, does the company own their own trucks? Either way, using auto transport services will spare you the frustration of having to transport a vehicle, yourself.
Why Do People Use Auto Transport Services?
There is a variety of individuals that might be in need of auto transport services. For instance, college students moving to and from school, people moving to a new home, military personnel, car collectors, car buyers, car dealerships, and large corporations are all good examples.
At National Dispatch, we cater our services to meet our customer’s specific needs, keeping in mind that we are shipping more than just cars. Each customer has unique needs, but they all look to the auto transport industry for convenience, efficiency, and peace of mind.
What Are Your Options?
There are thousands of auto transport companies out there to choose from. Not only is it important for you to choose the right one, but it is also necessary to select a company that offers the services you need. Here is an overview of the common auto transport services offered in the industry.
Open Auto Transport
When you think of auto transport carriers, an open carrier is likely what your mind flashes to. These trailers, with one or two levels, are capable of hauling up to nine vehicles. This is the cheapest and most common method for shipping a vehicle. For this reason, these trailers are more readily available. It is important to note that the car will be exposed to potential hazards, such as dirt, dust, rocks, debris, and weather. However, damages due to these elements is uncommon.
Enclosed Auto Transport
An enclosed carrier provides more protection to the vehicles that it carries, shielding them from weather and road elements. Therefore, enclosed auto transport is often recommended for classic, vintage, and luxury vehicles. However, it is more expensive than open auto transport. For this reason, it is important to take into consideration your personal preference and vehicle type, along with the typical storage and driving conditions of the car.
Door-To-Door Auto Shipping
Door to door auto shipping offers the customer the most convenient pickup and delivery option. It is often considered the primary method of shipping in the auto transport industry over terminal to terminal. This service is the quickest and easiest for both you and the driver, because the carrier will drop your vehicle off as close to the delivery location as possible. Some delivery locations are difficult places for drivers to maneuver the large transport trucks, so a nearby meeting place may be necessary.
If you need your car shipped fast (really fast), then an expedited service is what you need. This service is best suited for individuals who are in urgent need of a quick delivery. If your schedule is open to other shipping options, guaranteed shipping may not be the best choice for you due to the expense. National Dispatch offers three shipping options ranging in price. We are happy to assist you in choosing an option that best fits your timeline and budget.
Learn more about auto transport services.
What Do You Have To Do?
Shipping a car across the country is usually the best option when it comes to a job relocation or an out-of-state purchase. Using these auto transport services can save you time, energy, and even money. However, the process can be confusing, especially for first-timers.
The idea of giving your vehicle to a stranger can leave you anxious and a bit overwhelmed. Maybe, if you learned more about what goes into the process and what steps need to be taken, you will feel more at ease.
1. Research The Company.
We understand that over time you have likely developed a personal relationship with your car. Therefore, it is easy to see why you do not want to hand it over to just anyone for fear that the company will not treat your car as they should.
Do your research to dig deeper into the company that you might potentially be doing business with. Ensure that they have the proper licenses to operate. In addition, research their insurance record and complaints, if any. As you are going through this process, it might be helpful to read online reviews from past customers. This will allow you the opportunity to see what it will be like to work with this transporter. Overall, go with your gut, and use your best judgement.
“What a relief. I was sure I would be stranded in the PNW without my car for weeks or be ripped off but this was a fantastic experience from start to finish.”
– Jennifer (National Dispatch Customer)
2. Get A Price Quote.
After you have sorted and selected the top companies, it is time to ask for car transport rates. Ultimately, you want to find a company that is competitively priced. You do not want to overpay, but paying a low cost can be risky, as well. What kind of service can you expect from a company that offers cheap pricing?
Most companies have a quote form set up on their website. This allows you to enter in some general information and receive a quote quickly. The specifics of the car shipping calculator will vary by company. For instance, National Dispatch offers a quote form that requires no personal information. Simply, enter in the vehicle make, vehicle model, pickup location, and delivery location to receive a quote instantly.
Upon entering in this information, you will be redirected to the pricing page. The format allows the customer to easily see how different options, such as carrier type and vehicle condition, affect the rate. Then, you can book online or by phone.
Understanding The Variables Of A Quote
So, you entered in your vehicle information, along with the locations for pickup and delivery. Now, you are staring at a price on a screen, but how was it calculated? If you are going to pay hundreds of dollars to ship your car, you should understand what goes into the price. Here are some factors that influence the price you pay.
- Vehicle type: Since size and weight are important variables, it is easy to see why the type of vehicle would affect the overall price. Large trucks and SUVs will cost more to transport than compact cars because of this.
- Distance: Obviously, distance is a major factor that affects car shipping quotes. Not only is it important to keep in mind how far the driver must travel between locations, but consider where the driver is traveling to. Is it a location that is close to major highways or is it out in the middle of nowhere?
- Season: The time of year plays a factor in supply and demand. In other words, more people tend to travel and move during the warmer parts of the year. Therefore, you may see less expensive rates during the winter. However, this varies by company.
- Type of transport: We have already discussed the types of trailers (open and enclosed). Your rate will vary according to which one you choose, as enclosed auto transport is more expensive.
- Condition of car: Does the car run? If not, it can still be transported. However, it will cost more due to the amount of work and equipment that is needed for loading and unloading.
- Time frame: Do you need your car as soon as possible? If so, then you will end up paying more for a guaranteed shipping option.
3. Check Insurance Coverage.
It is always good to check with the auto transport company about their liability insurance coverage. How much is covered under their policy? You may also want to check with your own auto insurance company to see what is covered in the event of an accident. Although damage during shipping is unlikely, you want to be prepared.
4. Prepare The Car.
Once you have decided on a reputable and experienced auto transporter, it is time to prepare your car for its journey. Soon, the driver will arrive to load the vehicle onto the transport trailer. However, there are a few things you want to do to ensure shipping goes on without a hitch.
Wash the exterior.
Scrub the outside of your car to remove all built-up dust, dirt, and grime from the surface. This is especially important for the next step in the process. If you have the time and energy, you can clean the interior of the vehicle, as well.
Perform an inspection.
Once your car is all clean and shiny, you can now complete a visual inspection. Walk around the exterior of your vehicle to check for any existing damage, such as paint chips, scratches, and dents. Take photos of any damages that you find. This will be important if something were to happen when your car is the responsibility of the auto shipper.
Check for leaks.
You will want to make sure that your vehicle is up to date on any maintenance. Perform a closer inspection to check for leaks. You would not want your car to leak on any other cars, and vice versa. It is also important to check the tire pressure and battery, as the vehicle will be driven on and off the carrier. In addition, it means less you will have to do when your car arrives at its destination.
Avoid added weight.
Additional weight refers to two main categories: fuel and personal belongings. You will want to ensure that the car is left with about one-quarter tank of gas. There is no need for a lot of fuel, as your car will only be moved on and off the trailer for loading and unloading. Most auto transport companies will not transport your personal effects due to insurance and safety reasons. Therefore, these items will need to be removed prior to auto shipping.
Learn more about How To Prepare A Car For Transport.
5. Celebrate A Safe Delivery.
Your vehicle arrives safely at your home or business location. All the worrying was for nothing, but there are often more tasks to be completed. If you have just moved your car to a new state, you must register your vehicle with the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Do not put this off, because states differ in the number of days that they will give you before penalty or fees.
Whether you need your car shipped statewide or nationwide, National Dispatch has the experience necessary to ship your car in a safe and timely manner. Our expert staff, competitive rates, and company-owned fleet bring to light our goal at providing our customers with a one-of-a-kind experience that will not break the bank.
We understand that consumers, like you, do not want to have to jump through hoops or get bombarded with emails and phone calls when searching for a great company. This is why we offer FREE car transport rates to anyone that visits our website. No personal information is required to receive a car shipping quote in seconds.
If you are still unsure that we are the right company for you, just read some of our customer reviews, take a look around our website, and get a feel of who we are. You can also contact an auto transport agent by calling 800-321-2051.