How To Avoid Hidden Costs When Shipping a Motorcycle

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated February 23, 2024

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As a biker, you’re probably used to your freedom of the open road. It’s understandable if you’re hesitant to let go of your beloved machine, even temporarily. However, life can be unpredictable, and you may need motorcycle shipping across the country someday.

Whether you’re moving, relocating for a job, or purchasing a used bike from a private seller, you don’t want to get stung by hidden costs. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on how to avoid hidden costs when shipping a motorcycle.

Do Your Homework About Shipping a Motorcycle

Shipping a motorcycle across the country can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The first thing you should do is research different shipping companies. Look for the ones that have good reviews and ratings. Check the company’s website, social media accounts, and third-party review sites to see what previous customers have said about their experience. It’s also good to ask friends or family members for recommendations.

Once you’ve found a few potential shipping companies, compare their services and prices. Some companies may offer additional services, such as creating, which can increase costs. Compare your motorcycle shipping quote against different companies to ensure you get a fair price. Keep in mind that the cheapest option may not always be the best.

Know What You’re Shipping

It is essential to be clear about what type of motorcycle you’re shipping. Different types of bikes will require different handling, crating, and shipping methods. For instance, if you’re shipping a custom chopper, a standard motorcycle crate may not be suitable. So make sure you inform the shipping company about your motorcycle’s make, model, and any customized or aftermarket parts. If possible, take photos of your motorcycle before it gets shipped so you have proof of any preexisting damage or scratches.

Choose the Right Shipping Method

Your choice of shipping method will also affect the cost. Motorcycle transportation companies offer different shipping modes, such as open or closed transport trailers, air freight, or container shipping. Choosing the right shipping method will depend on specific factors such as cost, distance, and time constraints.

Open transport trailers are the most affordable, but your motorcycle is exposed to the elements and potential damage. Closed trailers or container shipping are more costly but offer more protection. Air freight is the fastest method, but it is the most expensive.

Make sure you communicate with your shipping company to understand the pros and cons of each shipping method. They will offer you valuable tips on choosing the best shipping method for your motorcycle.

Be Prepared

Being well-prepared before shipping your motorcycle can significantly reduce the possibility of hidden costs. Make sure you clean your motorcycle thoroughly and remove any personal belongings before shipping. Don’t forget to disconnect the battery and empty the fuel tank to avoid the risk of any spills or leaks.

It’s also essential to pack any loose parts of the bike securely. This includes the mirrors, windshield, and other detachable parts. If you’re unsure how to do this, ask your shipping company to provide instructions or hire them to crate your motorcycle for you.

Check for Insurance Coverage

Your motorcycle is a valuable asset, and it’s essential to protect it. Hauling companies offer different insurance coverage. While basic insurance may be included in the transportation cost, it may not be sufficient to cover the total value of your motorcycle. Look for additional insurance coverage to ensure that you’re adequately protected. Make sure you read the terms and conditions of the coverage and ask any questions you may have before committing.

What Determines The Cost Of Motorcycle Shipping

Before you decide to ship your motorcycle, it’s essential to understand the factors that influence the price you’ll pay. Here are some of the critical factors to keep in mind:

Distance Traveled: Generally, cross-country shipments have lower rates per mile than shorter trips, but they cost more overall.

Type of Transport: You can choose between open trailers and enclosed trailers for motorcycle shipments. While enclosed trailers cost more, they offer extra protection that may be worth it for luxury and classic bikes.

Type of Delivery: Door-to-door shipping is more expensive than terminal-to-terminal shipping because your motorcycle is shipped as close to your door as possible.

Seasonal Demand: Demand is higher in January and summer months, making motorcycle shipping services more expensive.

Carrier Competition: Using a marketplace-style service with higher competition between carriers can lead to lower shipping costs.

Fuel Prices: When fuel prices rise, the cost of motorcycle transport increases as well.

Hidden Fees: Insurance costs, surcharges, and carrier price increases may lead to higher costs for motorcycle shipments.

Understanding these factors can help you prepare for the cost of shipping your motorcycle and choose the right transport option for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Choose the Right Shipping Company for My Motorcycle?

To choose the right shipping company, do your research and look for companies with good ratings and reviews. Check the company’s website, social media accounts, and third-party review sites. Compare their services and prices, and don’t always go for the cheapest option.

What is the cheapest way to transport a pet?

Typically, ground transport is the cheapest way to transport a pet.  Longer trips using a transportation service, like CitizenShipper, typically average around $1.00 per mile.  Using a pet transportation service ensures your pet arrives in your new location safely, while minimizing stress and overall cost. 

How much does it cost to ship a pet internationally? 

While shipping your pet domestically is a relatively straightforward process, international shipping can be more complicated.  Hiring a pet transport service to help with international logistics can save a tremendous amount of stress and time.  

Each country of arrival will have specific regulations regarding pet health checks, necessary vaccination, and possible quarantine requirements.  The cost to ship a pet internationally can vary, especially if you need to board your pet for an extended quarantine. 

How much does it cost to transport cats?

The cost to transport cats will vary depending on the transport method.  Cats can be transported via ground or air transit, and are often small enough to be considered a “carry on” item.  Transporting a cat can cost as little as $25 on Amtrak, or as much as $125 to fly in the main cabin of an airplane.

How much does it cost to travel with a small pet?

Traveling with a small pet, compared to a large pet, is much cheaper.  Smaller pets can fit under the seat in front of you and can often qualify as a “carry on” item.  Traveling with small pets on Amtrak can cost $25, while airlines can charge around $125.  Keep in mind certain companies will only allow cats and dogs to travel.  

What does it cost to ship a puppy?

While puppies are small enough to fly in most airline cabins, they can incur additional costs.  Puppies generally require more attention, and therefore can be more expensive than shipping an adult dog or cat.  

Many breeders will utilize an air nanny service to accompany your puppy.  If the air nanny is experienced, or a regular, certain airlines may provide discounted rates or waive certain fees.  Breeders regularly ship puppies to their new homes and are well-versed in arranging transportation.  

Bottom Line: Motorcycle Shipping

Motorcycle shipping can be a nerve-wracking experience, but proper planning can be a hassle-free process. Make sure you do your research, understand your motorcycle’s shipping requirements, choose the right shipping method, be prepared, and check for insurance coverage. Following these tips can save money and have a stress-free experience transporting your motorcycle.

At CitizenShipper, we understand your motorcycle’s value and know how crucial it is to get it shipped without any hidden costs. We have partnered with thousands of verified and reviewed service providers to offer cost-effective, secure transportation for your motorcycle. Contact us today to learn more.