Tricks and Tips

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Finding the right company to ship your car

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1. Auto transport companies consist of carriers and brokers.
Carriers are the companies that actually own the trucks to transport your vehicle, and brokers are the “middle men” that help connect customers and carriers. Both are required to have a motor carrier license (MC #) which you should find on their company website.
2. All auto transport companies must possess licensing and insurance.
The carrier is required to have liability, cargo, and collision insurance to protect the customer in the case of an accident, while the broker must be bonded to ensure the customer will be covered in case the carrier’s insurance proves insufficient or problematic. Most car carriers with an online presence will also broker out vehicles when they do not have a truck available for the transport.
3. If a company is licensed and insured or bonded, consider experience and customer feedback.
Many carriers will proudly mention on their website how long they have been in the business. However, the broker market tends to be more volatile with companies coming and going on a regular basis. The start-up costs for a car carrier company are much higher than a broker with new car carriers costing over $200k.
4. is an excellent place to find customer reviews.
The ease of feedback is vital to the integrity of the industry. Other feedback venues such as Google local ads and are also available for reviewing transport companies. These public reviews can either affirm or contradict the testimonies on a company’s website.
5. Once you have narrowed your search to a few companies, get quotes.
Acquire the relevant shipping info, given your projected move dates. If you are planning to transport a vehicle before a flight, always schedule a pickup date at least two days ahead as delays are common in the trucking industry. This will increase your chances for having the vehicle picked up in the expected time frame. Many companies will ask you to make a deposit up front, but it is possible to find a company that does not charge you until the vehicle is dispatched or picked up.
6. About those free quotes…
I recommend against using websites that give multiple free quotes at one time. One reason for not using this service is the fact that you will have anywhere from 8-15 companies calling and emailing you for the next two weeks. Also, these brokers under heavy competition often quote too low, and then have trouble finding a carrier to ship the car within the customer’s requested time frame. The Internet is full of horror stories about people choosing the quote with the lowest possible price. If you’re desperate, the gamble may suit you, but many would agree that it’s just not worth it. I would recommend looking for an experienced company that is both a carrier and broker, as these companies seem to understand the industry best from working on both ends. A good transport company will have no problem finding a carrier at a competitive price.
To ensure that your vehicle transport experience is a smooth and satisfactory one, remember to make sure that the auto transport company you use is licensed and bonded or insured, experienced and well-reviewed. You will need a credit card to book an order, but you always have the right to ask the company not to charge payment until a confirmed pickup date is assigned with a driver’s info given.

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