How do I choose a transportation company for my car?

Ulhas Sukhare Ulhas Sukhare · Updated: March 8, 2023 / Published: July 11, 2020

Take two Ford Explorers. Drive one 10,000 miles with a family in the backseat and leave the other unused in a garage. The result? Two entirely different cars with entirely different needs when you need to transport them from A to B.

Then there’s distance. How far does your car need to go? Between towns, between states or across America? Finding a transportation service that suits both your car and the distance it needs to travel is no mean feat. Its the reason car transportation companies are so common and so various.

Add budget and schedule into the mix, and you begin to realise choosing the right company is not as simple as ordering from Amazon. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all car transporter, though many claim to be. Every company specialises in something. And the more you care for your car, the more keen you’ll be to select a company that suits it from pick up to delivery, and everything beyond.

So what features should you look out for?

1. Registration

A sure indication of a quality service is official registration and certification. By law, all car shipping companies must hold a registration with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT).

If you’re unsure whether an appealing company has the right registration, a quick Google search will clue you in. Struggling to find one? It’s possible that company is a scam, and the other features that appealed to you may be exaggerated or false. A market like car transportation does, unfortunately, attract its fair share of scammers. So make sure each transport company you are considering has MC and USDOT numbers available on their website. After all, why would they try to hide them?

If you’re thinking of taking a chance on a small business with a cheap quote, remember that a USDOT registration is also a guarantee of a basic level of safety and competence on the road.

2. Responsiveness

A good car transportation service cares about their customers. While most websites feature an FAQ page, the option to speak to a representative, or to the driver themselves, is a surefire guarantee the company cares about service. Whether your query is about cost, security or how the process works, a reputable company will enable you to reach out.

Even better than speaking to a customer service representative is getting in touch with the person who will undertake the job. Larger companies will not be able to offer this. But this option can be a big plus for one of two reasons:

  1. If your car is finicky in any way, or is delicate and needing close attention, being able to let the shipper themselves know is a better guarantee of the service your car requires.
  2. When the time comes to negotiate a quote, it’s frustrating not to be in a position to speak to the quote-giver, whether to ask for reductions or to gauge experience-level. 

Also, should any problems arise en route, your driver will be able to let you know straight away, and not leave you waiting at the drop-off uninformed.

3. Specialism

If the vehicle you want shipped is not run-of-the-mill, it’s worth choosing a smaller specialist transporter than a big brand company. Most companies of whatever size will try to gain a market share in most kinds of vehicle transportation – there’s little money in only catering to Bugatti owners, for example. But some drivers and companies will have the equipment and know-how to offer expertise on uncommon shipments.

A specialist service may cost more, and a company with an identified specialty will naturally serve you a higher quote. But a marketplace that links all drivers, whatever their background, equipment and expertise, will help to keep the cost manageable.

4. Price

It’s true you get what you pay for, but sometimes that’s not such a bad thing. If your car’s in good nick, a robust runaround not a vintage Jag, and price is your biggest concern, there are companies that cater for you. Only don’t be surprised if the delivery is late, the car is scratched or the transporter has no experience to mention.

Can’t a transporter be cost-effective and careful? Yes, if you know where to look. An online marketplace allows drivers to bid and outbid each other on your job, and experienced drivers will be able to offer a lot more for less. They often have testimonials on their profiles, so you can now for sure they’re reliable and the cheap price isn’t the overture to a scam. The market drives down prices and increases competition, allowing you to pick and choose a driver you trust for a quote you’re happy with. 

It’s a benefit you won’t find with auto hauler giants like Montway or with small outfits near your hometown. It’s why many customers turn to marketplaces like CitizenShipper for the best deal from vetted and trustworthy transportation providers.

If cost matters most, use a market. Post your shipment on CitizenShipper for free, and let the quotes come to you. Then you have total control over which driver suits you!

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