Can you make money transporting cars? | Citizenshipper

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

Shipping Your Car?

  • Fast and easy
  • Only pay when you book

You bet!

If you want to make money transporting cars, you probably have an idea of how you’d like to work.

You have skills, equipment and a schedule, and you don’t mind driving long distances. You’re a stickler for being on time and you know how to treat a vehicle with care.

Ringing any bells? Congratulations! You must be suited to a profitable career as a car transporter.

Here’s some more good news: A full 17 million new cars were shipped last year in the US alone, from within the US or abroad. And that’s just the new ones. Millions more loved and pre-loved cars need the shipping expertise of a reliable service. There’s no shortage of demand for car-shippers entering the market.

So how do you start earning?

1. Registering with a service

People care about their cars and are willing to pay top dollar to a shipper they trust. If you’re thinking about shipping cars as a career, step one is gaining the necessary permits. In the US, the Department of Transport is your first port of call. If you’re not already, get familiar with long-distance driving regulations. This will help secure your license and give you an advantage at the same time.

If you’ve tried running an independent shipping business, you’ll know the hardest part is finding business. That’s where internet marketplaces come in. Create a profile, mention your DOT number or MC permit, and start giving quotes to potential customers immediately.

Services like CitizenShipper are more than happy to make sure you get a DOT number. And, for motor carriers using interstates, an MC permit.

Being able to prove them will put you in the top tier of car-transport earners. 

Now you have the paperwork, it’s time to find your market. Antique cars are a big one, needed by collectors or specialist mechanics. There’s extra pay if you can prove you can transport a car long-distance without any damage.

However, they usually only need one car transporting. If you have the tools to ship multiple cars, there’s a different demand you can tap into. The choice is yours.

2. Making your name

In this business, reputation counts. Potential customers want to know you can deliver on your service and their car will arrive in the condition it began its journey. To gain more business, you need to let them know you’re the right person to achieve this. You need proof.

If you’re new to car shipping, obtaining proof must be your number one objective. Here’s how to make your name:

  1. Lower your quote for your first job. It’s tempting to ask for a large sum straight away, but chances are your customer will choose another driver with more experience for the same price. Be patient. Offer a low quote to beat out your competition: Cash-strapped car owners will receive it with relief. Then, with a perfect drop-off on your first run, you can gain the most valuable asset for a car transporter: A testimonial.
  2. If you already have glowing testimonials, you can skip this step. If not, it’s the stepping stone that allows you to raise your quote and start turning a big profit. Your first journey may not be well paid, but it means your next journey will be. You’re looking at big money in the long run.
  3. Got one? Publicise it! Ask your happy customer for a testimony; ideally, one that describes your care and punctuality. Did you arrive early? Was the car safe from bad weather, or even buffed and gleaming when the customer picked it up? Encourage your customer to mention what they appreciated. Then add that review to your profile; it brings more trust in you and more money for your time. Don’t be shy about asking: A few good testimonials and you can double your quote in less than a month!

3. Getting an edge

Finding your niche is the last step and the most vital, to carve out your share of the market. The way to make a higher profit that suits your skills and schedule is to let customers know what you do best.

Do you have a trailer that can ship several cars? Or are you a conscientious driver who can bring someone’s Jaguar across state borders without a scratch? Perhaps you own a trailer best suited to boats, or motorcycles?

Use your profile to let customers know. Put yourself in their shoes: If you need a Maserati carried to the nearest racetrack, or want two used jalopies taken to a used car dealership in Alaska, you’ll probably choose the driver who specialises in that particular type of work.

There’s profit in being particular. Customers prefer a specialist to a jack-of-all-trades. So pick your specialty – short-haul midwest antiques or coast-to-coast land-rover shipping. Become the best, and request all the feedback you can from each job. 

The formula is simple. Better feedback equals higher commission. More experience means more work. And more good work in a particular region or at a certain kind of work, means more dollars in your pocket.

It’s a simple science. And you can make it work financially for you.

4. Ready, set, go!

If you’ve made it this far, you have all the advice you need to start cashing in on the car transport market. Simply build your profile, outbid other drivers and let the jobs come to you. 

There are more than twenty million new or used cars waiting to be shipped in the US this year. There’s never been a better time to sell your services.

Start earning today.

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