Why Household Items Are Not Allowed in Your Vehicle During Transport

Carrier 13If you’ve been a follower of our website or you’ve read articles and blogs on here before, chances are you’ve seen a post or two about the concept of “junk in the trunk” and how it’s slang for “stuff in the trunk of a car that really, technically shouldn’t be there but we’re gonna let it slide.” There are, however, rules, and – perhaps more importantly – reasoning behind those rules. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the rules and regulations that govern the shipping of household items in a vehicle on an auto transport truck that you probably either don’t know much about or have never heard of. So follow along as we explain why household items are not allowed in your vehicle during transport.

1. Auto transporters are not licensed to transport any household goods
This is kind of rule #1. It’s kind of a big rule, too. See, long-haul commercial drivers have to be licensed in several ways. For starters, they have to be licensed commercially and have a CDL in order to actually drive their truck. Then, whatever company they’re hauling for (even if they own the truck outright) has to be licensed to transport goods in a specific sector (i.e. meats, dairy products, live poultry, cars, etc), and they need a license from every sector they transport goods within. Auto transporters haul cars, not beds, and can get in serious trouble if they are caught hauling things they aren’t licensed to haul (note: some carriers allow light household items in the trunk of vehicles, so long as they stay under a certain weight limit. This is because they are not allowed to go into the trunk of your vehicle without permission).

2. Weight limits are a big deal for auto transportation companies
Every commercial industry has weight limits – it’s a government thing. Let’s look at bridges: each bridge, no matter what it is, has a max weight capacity. With so many cars and trucks zooming across the bridge every day, engineers have to make sure that even during the worst traffic jam with the heaviest loads possible on the bridge that it still won’t collapse. Complex calculations go into this; I’m not a bridge engineer, so I don’t know the details, but at the end of the day weight limits play a big role in why auto transporters don’t haul household goods. Cars are heavy enough; additional weight such as heavy items in a car, or a packed car of stuff, or even an empty car with a full tank of gas can theoretically push them over the weight limit, especially if everyone’s car has a ton of extra weight on it. If a carrier is overweight at a weigh station, workers will go car-to-car on that load to find the extra weight…and then unceremoniously dump it on the side of the weigh station, and may or may not call you to come pick your stuff up. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

3. They can be pretty dangerous during transport.
Items in the trunk of a vehicle pose little danger; they are stuck in between the metal frame in a closed, compact container. Items in the cab of a vehicle – i.e. the front and/or back seats – are limited only by how well they are secured and how much space they have to wreck. This isn’t a for-sure guarantee, but better safe than sorry: items in a car can shift during transport, which means that something could theoretically do some serious damage to your vehicle. Obviously it’s a worst-case scenario, but carriers have enough to worry about, liability-wise, and it’s easier for them to simply put a blanket ban on any items in the vehicle during transport. Many carriers will wait until you clean/unload your vehicle (and yes, trash counts as “items,” so make sure your car is clean on the inside), but they may charge you for the extra time.

These are some of the main reasons why auto transport companies don’t allow household items, or any items for that matter, in the vehicle during transport. Not all auto transporters adhere to these rules, of course; some say screw it, put whatever you want in there, so long as they can load and unload the vehicle. Others are quite strict, and make you clean out everything including items in your trunk. It all depends on who you get, but any broker will tell you no items in the vehicle and also explain to you the junk in the trunk clause, and you’ll be able to ask them questions in order to properly prepare yourself for when the carrier arrives to pick your vehicle up. If you’re still in the market for auto transport quotes, you can fill out our free online quote request form and get multiple free quotes e-mailed to you within about an hour. For questions or concerns, you can call us toll-free at 800-930-7417 to speak to a live agent about all things auto transport.

Tips for Moving to a Cheaper City

Salt Lake City 2If you’re looking for a new place to move, why not try something…cheap? Not cheap like Walmart cheap; we’re talking cheap like cost of housing and living cheap. Cheap cities. Cheaper living facilities, things like that. Cities vary in how much their average house sells for down to how much a gallon of milk can cost, and these factors are all easily researchable and should be involved in your process of elimination. Here’s a good one: smaller homes are generally cheaper to buy, and they’re also cheaper to maintain, too; heating costs are lower, it’s easier to keep clean as there’s less to vacuum and fewer rooms to keep tidy. But there’s a lot more to it than just finding a smaller house; you need to take some time and research what cities have things that appeal to you and what cities have traits you’d rather avoid. Cheaper cities tend to have higher crime rates in some areas, but city-data.com covers all that for you, gives you neighborhood-by-neighborhood breakdowns of a wide variety of metrics that can help you find a new place to live. Here are some tips and things to watch out for while trying to find a cheaper city:

1. Make sure to watch the actual housing prices rather than just searching for areas with low costs of living.
This is a rookie mistake that a lot of people make. Just because an area has a lower cost of living than average, doesn’t mean that the housing rates are going to follow any sort of pattern. Areas with lower costs of living typically are cheaper to live in, but only if your housing prices are proportionate. Conversely, always make sure that the home you’re looking at purchasing is not only within your budget but in an area you can afford; sometimes, the higher cost of living in an area is disproportionate to housing costs, which can also lead to a financially-frustrating living experience.

2. Factor in average salaries for jobs in the area.
With lower costs of living typically comes lower salaries for certain positions. This is something that’s pretty basic; some areas have higher wages due to higher costs of living, and some areas follow that same trend the opposite direction. There are some areas where higher costs of living are because of higher wages in the area, but it’s not as common as the other way around. An extensive employment search should always be conducted when searching for a new place to live; there’s nothing worse than moving to a new area without being able to come by the money you need when you need it.

3. Make sure to look at what options are available for schooling and other activities.
Cities and towns have their own distinct flavor when it comes to nighttime activities, school districts, and more. Each one is different; some towns have a vibrant bar scene, while others have one bar to go along with their one stoplight. Make sure that the city you’re looking to move to has what you’re looking for in it before you actually move there. Some places let you take a guided tour of the town, or its districts; others, you simply have to turn to Google Maps or something of that nature to really find what you’re looking for. This will likely be different for everyone, as its so subjective (some people prefer the quiet night, some prefer to live it up, and there’s cities for both out there), but it’s something you definitely should do.

At the end of the day, where you move is up to you; we can only help you find it. And once you do, you can fill out our free online household goods moving quote request form to get multiple free household moving quotes e-mailed to you from some of the best household shipping companies in the industry. You can also fill out our free online auto transport quote request form and get household moving quotes at the same time; just select the household moving box on the second page and you’ll get both auto transport and household goods shipping quotes e-mailed to you. And, of course, you can always call our toll-free number at 800-930-7417 to speak to one of our live agents, any day of the week.

Auto Shipping to Aberdeen, South Dakota

Aberdeen 1Aberdeen is the county seat of Brown County, South Dakota, and is also the largest city in the county and the third-largest city in the state of South Dakota; it’s current population sits at over 26,000 residents as of the last official U.S. census. Aberdeen is located in the northeastern parts of South Dakota, and as such anchors its own micropolitan area, which is home to over 46,600 residents and includes all of Brown County and also all of nearby Edmunds County. The city was first plotted in 1881, as a railroad town along the Milwaukee Railroad. Though business grew rapidly along Aberdeen’s Main Street, the town was prone to flooding, which hampered continued expansion efforts and even drove businesses away, as their basements continually flooded. It took engineers three years to figure out a way to stop the flooding, but in the process they secured Aberdeen’s first working water supply, enabling even further expansion and growth than what was originally planned. Over time the city grew into a major transportation hub in the area, as four different rail companies built depots in the town, and all the railroads converging at a hub. This is the main reason Aberdeen was able to flourish as it did, though today only one railroad company, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, still operates in the town. Learn more about Aberdeen at the city’s official website.

One of the more difficult parts of auto transport to or from Aberdeen, South Dakota is the fact that it’s so out of the way. Auto shippers tend to stick to major interstates and oft-traveled highways through large metropolitan areas surrounding major cities. This keeps them close to most customers, cuts down on days between paychecks, and basically makes them more money. There are plenty of auto transportation companies that offer transportation to and from more rural areas, including Aberdeen, which sits an hour or so west of Interstate 29, but it’s likely going to cost you more money for pickup or delivery, simply because of how out of the way it is. On that route, you’re likely going to be the only vehicle that carrier picks up that day, which means that he’s going to have to either be close to a delivery location of another vehicle or else wait for more loads to become available down the road from yours. Do you see why they tend to stick to highly populated areas?

What season you’re shipping in can also make a difference. During the summer months, the sun is shining, everyone’s shipping cars, the industry is booming, there’s more overall cars being shipped, which means there’s more loads to go around. Auto transportation companies can take advantage in the surge of customers during the summer and lower their prices a bit. It’s competitive as all get out in the auto transportation industry, and brokers help to make sure that competition stays healthy by having access to entire lists of carriers along specific routes. Some routes are more competitive than others, though, from the customer perspective (in and out of Miami comes to mind), which can actually cause the shift to occur to the carriers – more loads than carriers on a specific route, brokers have the power in negotiations; more carriers than loads, however, turns the tables. During summer, shipping to rural areas is easier because there are more loads overall, but the price typically won’t spike because it’s not traveled to or from often.

During the winter, however, all bets are off; that particular area of South Dakota is ripe for severe winter weather, aka snow and ice, which is a driver’s worst nightmare. Not only that, but loads are more scarce; it’s downtime across the board, so shippers stick to the major routes to get what they can. They have less incentive to go out of their way unless the payment is high enough, and this is how the seasons can affect your prices…and your pickup date and window, too. If you’re interested in shipping a vehicle to or from Aberdeen, or really from or to anywhere in the country, you can fill out our free online quote request form and get multiple free quotes e-mailed to you within about an hour, and you can also call us toll-free at 800-930-7417 to speak to one of our live agents immediately, with no hassle.

Why the Auto Transport Industry is Primarily Cash-on-Delivery

Fuel 1Auto transportation services, as we’ve talked about before, are generally paid cash-on-delivery, with a fee to the broker in the form of credit card or other means of payment. First off, though, we need to say something: cash-on-delivery doesn’t always literally mean “cash” on delivery. Rather, it means some form of certified funds, typically either cash (yes, you can pay in straight cash), cashier’s check, or money order – really, any way that doesn’t make the shipper take anything you give him on faith, like a check. A check is easy to pay with, but it’s also easy to fraudulently pay for things with, and cashed checks are so unbelievably common in the car shipping industry due to the high costs that most auto shipping brokers won’t take checks (of course, some do; it depends on who you talk with). It’s for this reason alone that auto transportation services are treated as cash-on-delivery.

I’m not kidding, you’d be amazed at some of the things that customers have done over the years to try to pull the wool over their shipping company’s eyes and gotten out of paying hundreds of dollars for a top-flight service. Deliberately bouncing checks, stopping payment on checks, calling fraud on legitimate credit card payments – these are things I myself have had to deal with in the past. And that’s from the broker side – these problems just exacerbate every other minute problem in a carrier’s life, because most of the time they’re living on payment to payment. Hosing a carrier out of his pay is actually pretty devastating to 90% of the auto transport carriers out there because they’re all independent businesses, many owner-operators, living out of their trucks.

It’s the main reason why most auto transport carriers also don’t accept billing arrangements with carriers or brokers: there’s just too much time that elapses between when they drop off a car and when they get the money for it. As most carriers are owner-operators, they tend to live off the payments they get from their customers. Those are their paychecks, essentially, and a lot of that money goes toward fuel and living expenses (mainly fuel). Imagine your car is your source of income; in order to make money, you need to drive it, for whatever reason. Now imagine that it gets 6 miles to the gallon – that’s the going rate for many auto transport trucks. The money for fuel tends to evaporate rather quickly if it’s not replenished often; this is why most carriers only do cash-on-delivery with certified funds.

Carriers have to be paid cash-on-delivery because it’s the only way their business model stays up. Cash, cashier’s check, or money order is all they accept; if they did checks, it’d be too easy to lose track of the money, and then the entire company would collapse because they can’t fuel the truck. Granted, this may seem a little…apocalyptic, but the theory is what matters, and that’s the main reason why the auto transport industry is primarily cash-on-delivery. Anything else just isn’t plausible. It’s also the easiest for most every customer – no need to wait for checks to clear, and their cars don’t end up being held hostage or simply stolen because if that happened the carrier wouldn’t get paid, now would he? Would you pay a carrier who didn’t deliver your vehicle the money you earmarked for delivering your vehicle? Of course not, no one would. This is another big reason why carriers only take cash-on-delivery: because many customers demand it.

If you’re interested in getting free auto transport quotes, you can fill out our free online quote request form and have up to eight of them sent to your e-mail within about an hour. This is a great way to get multiple quotes for absolutely free, giving you the time you need and the resources at your fingertips to find the best company for your specific shipping needs. If you have questions about the industry, our website, or any of our advertisers, you can call us toll-free at 800-930-7417 and speak to a live representative. Our representatives can get you answers to your questions as well as get you your free quotes – all it takes is a phone call or some information inputted into a form.

How Auto Transporters Find Their Loads

Carrier 13There are a lot of different ways that auto shipping carriers can go about finding a load to actually ship. While this may not be “news,” per se – what can we say, it’s a slow time in the auto transport industry, namely because the summer season is winding down and the industry as a whole is starting to slow in preparation for winter. This is good news for some customers, good news for some carriers, and bad news for both at the same time. Customers get upset with longer pickup times during the winter, while carriers don’t like the fact that loads can be harder to find, more competitive, and pay less as a result. If you own or operate an auto transport truck, this blog is for you, because in this one we’re going to discuss some of the various ways that you can go about actually finding loads to transport without having to resort to theft.

The fastest and likely easiest way to find a load is via an online load board. Load boards are great in that they’re a one-stop-shop, basically, where you can find vehicles to ship along the routes you service, talk to different companies, start networking, and start building your company. Load boards are fast and generally inexpensive, though usually you have to be a member to get access to all the cool features. You can also work through broker portals; in other words, if you get in contact direct with a broker who doesn’t have any freight on your route, they can probably give you information on other brokers that would have loads on that route; it’s another way to network, which is also a positive when it comes to this industry. However, broker portals can be limiting in what they offer, and sometimes seem too good to be true.

Auctions are another great source of revenue because you tend to be able to get multiple vehicles at a single go. Salvage auctions and dealer auctions work much different than one another, so keep that in mind; you may be able to secure a full load, but there’s a lot more rules and regulations to auction auto transport than meets the eye. Dealers are another great way to go, especially if you’re shipping high volume. Dealers require commitment from you, though, and you need to be willing to make multiple stops for a single dealership, but the pay tends to be good. Networking is the best way to get in on the ground floor with most auctions and dealerships.

These are the main ways that an auto transport carrier can find loads, and this can be useful for customers too because at least now you know what carriers are looking for. This just scratches the surface of a complex industry, of course, but it’s something, anyway. If you need to ship a car, your best bet is to go straight with a broker, because they’re the go-to’s for auto transport trucks more often than not. Brokers work with you to find the best rates on your shipment, work only with top-rated carrier companies, and make sure that your vehicle stays in the best of shape. If you need quotes to ship a vehicle, fill out our free online quote form; you’ll get multiple free quotes e-mailed to you and you can talk to a live representative from that company by calling their toll-free telephone number. You can also call our toll-free number at 800-930-7417 and speak to one of our agents, if you have questions or concerns.

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