Whether you’re moving to a new city or buying a car from out of state, shipping is the best way to move your vehicle around without hopping in the driver’s seat. As a bonus, professional auto transportation services don’t add mileage or wear and tear to your car. For a hassle-free journey, hand your keys over to a highly-reviewed auto shipping expert.
While people complain of the high cost of transportation, moving from A to B doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are eight tips for saving money on your car shipping expenses.
Table of contents
Ship during the right time of the year
Car transportation services from state to state offer different rates at different times because the business is seasonal. Like any other enterprise, prices are higher during the peak season to cope with increased demand.
For vehicle shipping, the peak season is typically from May to September as snowbirds and college students move back and forth. Summer is also the most popular season for a family relocation.
For a cheaper auto shipping experience, try and hold out until the winter months. At this time of year, fewer people are moving for school and work, meaning lower rates. Just be careful not to ship your car too close to the end-of-year holidays, as people traveling back and forth to see loved ones may raise the shipping rates again.
Have flexible timelines
Most people only think about shipping a car after an opportunity arises, leading to rigid timelines and higher costs. For savvy shipping purposes, think of auto transportation like booking a plane ticket. The earlier you make your plans, the cheaper they’ll be.
If you can manage to arrange an auto transport months in advance, you’ll pay a fraction of what you would for a standard or expedited shipping fee.
You should also consider standby shipping services, wherein you pay a lower rate than the usual price. Doing so means that you won’t have to wait for the transporter to find a slot in their carrier to your location. Transporters don’t consider this profitable, but it is better than running their carrier with an empty spot.
In the end, it is a win-win situation because you get a good deal, and the car transporter runs as efficiently as possible.
Shop around for the best options
The best transportation option isn’t necessarily the most expensive one. You’ll never know what prices and quality tiers are available if you don’t call around and compare quotes from different providers. Compare at least three car transportation services, looking at their total cost and reputation.
In most cases, if the cost is too low, you will find red flags about the quality of service from previous clients. You’ll be handing over the reins to whoever you hire, so perform your due diligence before signing on the dotted line.
Use open transport
There are three main types of auto transport: open, enclosed, and expedited. If you don’t mind your car getting rained on or gathering some dust along the way, open auto transport is the best bang for your buck.
The cost of the other two types is up to 40% higher than open transport, and the benefits include enhanced protection and speedy delivery. Enclosed carrier transport is typically used for luxury or classic cars, while the expedited service is for car owners on a strict deadline.
Pick terminal-to-terminal transport
Although door-to-door service is more convenient, it comes at a high cost. Door-to-door means that the auto shipper picks your vehicle at its current location then delivers it to the specified custom address. However, you’ll save a bundle if you allow some flexibility in your pickup and dropoff locations.
These companies usually have designated pickup and dropoff terminals, and using them can save on costs. You only need to find stations that are close to your location for convenient retrieval of your vehicle.
Though it’s cheaper than door-to-door, remember that many of these terminals charge a daily storage fee, so it’s not advisable to leave your car for an extended period.
Ask for discounts
Even if not listed on their websites, most auto shippers offer discounts, especially to military personnel, both active and retired. If you are a regular or returning customer, you might also qualify for a price slash.
Other people who can benefit from such offers include students (requires a student ID as proof) and senior citizens.
Ship multiple vehicles at once
If you have multiple cars, shipping them using one company will cost less than using different companies.
The reason is that filling up a car carrier trailer with more than one of your cars means the shippers will have fewer delivery stops, either to houses or terminals.
Thus, it will be cheaper for the company due to the reduced delivery costs. You can even negotiate a discount to get a better deal.
Ensure the vehicle is running
Old or damaged vehicles might have problems starting up, so transportation companies will have to use a winch to load and offload the car.
It is also difficult to schedule these deliveries, and in most cases, such cars are last on, first off.
These inconveniences are not free. Transport companies charge inop (inoperable) fees for cars that don’t run, which can be expensive. You can expect to pay up to $250 or even higher if you’re transporting a vehicle that doesn’t crank.
For those homeowners setting their sights on cross-country locations, investing in professional car shipping services is a must. Fear not, transporting your car from point A to point B does not have to be expensive if you use the tips above to make a few adjustments.
With the right strategy, you can capitalize on the benefits of auto transportation services, i.e.convenience, time savings, and boosted safety. Not to mention, you can swerve around the cons of long-distance road trips, such as wasted gas, wasted time, and wasted mileage.
Happy shipping, and don’t forget to put a quarter in the tank.