What is the Cheapest way to Transport your Car? | Citizenshipper

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

Shipping Your Car?

  • Fast and easy
  • Only pay when you book

When choosing between car shipping options, price is always one of the factors to consider. The quotes you get from different transporters can vary widely. As a vehicle owner, you might be surprised that there’s so much discrepancy there. That’s because not all haulers offer the same type of service. There’s a lot of stuff added on top of the basic service, contributing to the cost.

So what’s the cheapest way to ship a car, then? What conveniences and extra services are you prepared to sacrifice? And should you really go for the cheapest option possible? Let’s break down all the ways for you can bring down those shipping costs.

Saving on the type of transport

When shipping a car, you’ll often be asked to choose between enclosed and open transport. There are advantages to both of these approaches, and it’s up to you to decide which one suits you better. 

Open shipping is by far the more popular option. It’s what you picture first when someone says “car shipping”: vehicles stacked atop a long double-deck trailer. The open carrier fastens each vehicle securely in place, leaving them exposed to the elements.

Enclosed shipping the option you’d choose if worried about rainfall or road debris. As the name suggests, your car would be completely enclosed inside the trailer. This provides full protection against precipitation and the like. Unsurprisingly, the owners of luxury or antique cars often choose enclosed carriers.

And the difference in pricing? Well, on average, open carrier quotes are reportedly 60% lower than enclosed ones. Definitely something to consider if looking for ways to save money on car shipping.

Saving on time constraints

They say that timing is everything, and to a certain extent, this is true in car shipping. Most haulers operate on a sliding schedule, making multiple pickups and deliveries along the same route. When giving their customer an ETA, there are many potential delays they need to account for. They often give you a range of delivery dates, something along the lines of “within 3-5 days”.

Now, all car transporters try their best to honor these ETAs, and timely delivery should never be treated as a luxury. Still, some shipments end up prioritized by necessity. If you want a guarantee that your car arrives in 3 days as opposed to 5, you’ll need to pay extra.

So while the cheapest way to ship a car wouldn’t necessarily be the slowest, it wouldn’t be the fastest either. The amount of money you can save by opting out of “express delivery” deals is difficult to estimate. We always advise car owners to talk to each potential transporter before hiring one. Once you hear what kind of time scale they’re offering, you’ll have a better sense of what you’re paying for.

Saving on delivery options

Another factor contributing to the cost of car shipping is the choice between various delivery locations. Vehicle transporters tend to deliver to and from terminals. It’s more cost-effective for them, compared to shipping vehicles to home addresses. Still, both of these options are commonly available.

Terminal shipping is favored by customers living in high-density urban areas. This involves the hauler dropping off your car at a terminal (for example, at a dealership) and you going there to pick it up. It costs significantly less because it’s easier for them to drop off all the cars in one spot.

Door-to-door shipping, on the other hand, is exactly what it sounds like. The transporter takes each car to its owner’s home address. It’s more convenient, especially for people living away from urban centers and major motorways. But it costs more, of course — sometimes quite a lot more.

The cost of these last-mile deliveries is estimated to be as high as 53% of the total shipping cost! So, going with door-to-door shipping is rarely the cheapest way to ship a car. If and when possible, consider terminal shipping instead.

Why the cheapest way isn’t always the best?

All right, so we’ve outlined some of the ways to try and bring down those car shipping costs. Now let’s try and convince you that doing so might not be in your best interest after all!

The quotes you receive from car haulers aren’t the be-all-end-all of your decision-making process. At the CitizenShipper online marketplace, we encourage car owners to carefully consider all the options available to them. Sure, you might go with the transporter that sends in the lowest quote. But you might also pick the one that has more experience, even if he wants a little more money. Or you could go with the one that’ll get your car to its destination the quickest! People have different priorities when it comes to shipping — no one else can tell you what you need.

So by all means, go ahead and look for the cheapest way to ship a car. We’re just saying, don’t neglect everything else that comes into the equation! Think about the speed, the safety, the convenience. Think about what you need, and how much you’re willing to pay. Make sure the decision you make is an informed one — we’ve every confidence that it’ll be the correct one!

Featured Image Credit: www.quora.com