Shipping a car can be hard stuff. With so many auto transport companies popping up around the country, it can be an overwhelming endeavor. Whether you’re moving to another state because of a new job, retiring to sunny Florida, or selling your car to a buyer in another state, getting car shipping quotes is probably a new process for you.
When you’re perusing the Internet for car shipping quotes, follow some simple tidbits that allow you to feel at ease throughout the process. Here’s some advice so you don’t get stressed during the car shipping process and everything seamlessly falls into place.
What Costs Are Included in a Car Shipping Quote?
There are several factors that create the total car shipping quote. These determine the auto transport company’s quote. Factors and costs included in a car shipping quote include:
- Distance: The farther the distance, the lower the per-mile cost. The average cost of shipping a car under 200 miles is about $2.92 per mile. However, the cost drops drastically to about $0.78 per mile if shipping your vehicle more than 1,000 miles.
- Transport type: Whether you use enclosed or open transport will affect the auto shipping quote. Enclosed transport is more expensive, while uncovered transport in an open trailer is more affordable.
- Vehicle type: If the car is smaller or weighs less, it will result in lower quotes. Larger vehicles require more space and gas to move, which affects the price you’ll be quoted. Rare or exotic cars are the most expensive vehicles to transport.
- Time of year: The summer months will see an increase in prices, as well as in January, right after the holidays.
- Gas prices: This is a no-brainer. If the gas prices are higher, it’s most likely the auto transport quote will be higher.
- Extra perks: If you decide on some extra perks like door-to-door shipping, it may cost extra and the auto shipping quote will be higher than normal.
Where Can You Get Car Shipping Quotes?
The first place to start is a simple Google search. Transporters near you will appear on the first page of results — most have online forms you can fill out. Others require you to call for a quote. The transporters use the information about your car to calculate a quote. For most traditional auto transporters, these quotes aren’t negotiable.
Over the last decade or so, auto transportation marketplace like CitizenShipper have entered the market. Hundreds of transporters use these platforms to find business; you can take advantage of these competitive markets to get lower car shipping quotes from the best auto transport companies. All you have to do is create a listing on the marketplace and wait as the bids roll in.
Before you choose a transporter, you can negotiate their quote and discuss details through an internal chat system. Some transporters won’t negotiate pricing but you’ll find many have flexible rates.
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What To Look For In a Car Shipping Company
When you are considering car shipping companies, there are a few things that you should look for:
- The best car shipping service is one where they can take any car: both lightweight and heavyweight vehicles, as well as low-cost and higher-cost cars.
- It’s important that all car shipping services follow all the rules and regulations required by the federal and state governments.
- Good communication is essential for your peace of mind. If the car shipping company provides regular updates, that’s a great sign.
- Excellent customer is a strong indicator that the car shipping company will take care of your car as if it were their own. Pay attention to the small details and how they go about their customer service duties.
- Always look at reviews on Google and other social media sites. You should also join Facebook groups and ask questions to determine which companies are the best ones.
And here are some things you should avoid:
- Make sure they don’t add surprise hidden fees. Have them give you a final quote before you begin the process.
- Know the scams these fake car shipping companies like to practice: the lowest price scams, the price switch scams, and the hidden free scams.
What’s Needed To Get a Quote?
You need your car’s information in order to get a quote from an auto transport company or a two-way marketplace like CitizenShipper. Typically the information you need to gather in order to provide the company is:
- Vehicle make, model and year.
- The status of operation of the vehicle.
- The dates you want the vehicle picked up and dropped off.
- The locations of where you want the vehicle picked up and dropped off.
- Whether you want enclosed or open transport.
- Your contact information.
Do You Have to Pay for a Car Shipping Quote?
Any reputable auto transport company won’t charge you for a quote. With CitizenShipper, getting a car shipping quote is always free — plus you can view transporter profiles and chat with the drivers that bid on your listing without paying a cent.
Once you choose the driver you like best with the deal you like most, you’re ready to book your trip. It’s really that easy!
Is the Price on a Car Shipping Quote Final?
This question gets asked a lot. Sometimes you may want to haggle a bit with the auto transport company to see if a better price is possible — after all, you always negotiate with the dealer when buying a new car!
Traditional car shipping companies are almost always locked into your initial quote. Drivers using a marketplace like CitizenShipper are more likely to be open to negotiation. If you can be flexible about the timing or pick-up/drop-off locations, most transporters will work with you on the cost.
Are Seasonal Fluctuations in Quoted Prices Normal?
As stated above, seasonal fluctuations when getting a quote is normal. Auto transport is more expensive in the summer months and in January, right after the holidays. Because of this, seasonal fluctuations are a thing that every auto transport company does.
Are you Required to Commit to a Quote?
Once you have decided on the quote, you can start the booking process with the car shipping company. Before this point, the quote they sent you is the actual price estimate. Once the booking process is complete, the actual price is determined that you’ll have to pay.
How to Prepare for the Car Shipping
Once you get your quote, you need to prepare for the actual car shipping. Here is a handy checklist to have on you so that you are perfectly prepared when the car shipping company comes to pick up your vehicle.
The Car Shipping Preparation Checklist
- Make sure your car can be driven: check the tires, make sure it has some gasoline, and check the engine so that it can be driven onto the trailer.
- Disable your car alarms.
- Take off any attachments your car may have. Those include bike racks or antennas.
- If your car weighs more, shipping your car will cost more, so make sure you have less than a quarter of a tank of gas in your car.
- Wash your car so it’s easy to spot any vehicle damage done during transport. Also, take out any valuables from inside the car, as well.
- Very important: ensure that your emergency brake works. Car shipping companies will refuse to ship your vehicle if it doesn’t work.
- Make sure you receive a bill of lading from the car shipping company. This bill of lading is the contract between you and the shipping company and it outlines all the terms and conditions of the contract, including a part about potential damage.
- Get vehicle insurance: Car damage doesn’t happen often, but if it does, it’s smart to be covered. As the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Getting a car shipping quote is a relatively simple process. Auto transport companies will give you a range of quotes and you will have to pick the best one for you.
Getting quotes with CitizenShipper is an easy process and one that is quick and painless. Driver profiles are there for you to determine which one you like best. The bottom line is that shipping your car doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming.
Our drivers will care about your vehicle as much as you do because they’ve transported many, many cars. Create a listing today and get free vehicle quotes in just minutes!
Patrick Macfarland has been a teacher, a candidate for public office, and a local tour guide. But now he dedicates his time writing full-time, currently at CitizenShipper and VeraContent.