Auto Transport Prices: Summer vs. Winter
The auto shipping industry is very much seasonal. Unlike shipping a package through the postal system, which typically just looks at the size of the package you’re shipping and how fast you want it there to determine your price, auto transportation takes into account a lot of different factors, particularly when you are shipping your vehicle. For most people, they need transportation services when they need transportation services, and don’t have the luxury of waiting for prices to fall or carriers to arrive in their area because of weather conditions. Understanding how the industry works during the season you are shipping your vehicle will help maintain your sanity and also answer a lot of questions that you may have about why your vehicle is not moving as quickly as you’d like or why your price is so high.
Summer tends to be the more expensive – at least on the popular routes
The summer season sees more people shipping their vehicles than any other, and more customers is always a good thing in the car shipping industry. However, the number of available shipping companies out there is fairly static; sure, companies start up every day, but companies also fold every day. It’s a competitive industry, and even in the summer months newer companies have a hard time finding customers due to lack of establishment. An influx of customers during the summer tends to lead to higher prices, because auto transport trucks can basically cherry-pick loads that are traveling along popular areas, and the higher the asking price, the quicker a vehicle tends to be picked up. Cities such as New York, Miami, Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles are always popular, but you’d be surprised at just how many people ship down south during the summer, and metro areas always have more trucks in them than rural ones. During the summer everyone is shipping, most out of those metropolitan areas, which gives carriers a lot more leeway in determining what cars they ship and what ones they don’t. Many carriers use the funds that they gather during the summer and fall months to survive the much slower winter shipping season, where there are less customers – and less money – to go around. Speaking of winter…
Winter shipping tends to take longer – at least on the rural routes
Prices during the winter months tend to drop because there are less people moving, and carriers often have to take what they can get. Again, the number of companies available to transport vehicles remains relatively static, like in the summer, and instead of customers fighting for truck space, trucks are fighting for customers, meaning customers (and the brokerage firms that help them find carriers to haul their vehicles) have a lot more leeway in how much they want to spend. As the season goes on, carriers get more and more desperate to avoid “deadhead” – empty spaces on their trucks. Winter shipping also sees a lot of routes become inaccessible or more treacherous, mainly through the northern states, as snow and ice starts playing a factor in where carriers can take loads to and from. This can make it more difficult for your auto transportation company to find a carrier willing to move along specific routes, and many routes completely dry up, carrier-wise. For instance, shipping out of North Dakota or Wyoming during the summer is easy because it’s sunny, but during the winter the snows set in. Carriers don’t like snow – it’s treacherous and more than one carrier has lost an entire load to black ice. These prices tend to go up unless you’re willing to wait, just like how the metro routes go up in the summer unless you’re willing to wait.
There’s a lot that goes into shipping a vehicle, and at the end of the day the best thing that you can possibly do to help yourself is to get some auto transportation quotes and talk to a representative who can really let you know what the situation out there in the auto transport industry is right now. With so many different companies running on literally thousands of different possible routes, when you’re shipping, what you’re shipping and where you’re shipping from and to all play into the price that you will pay. We recommend that you fill out our free online quote request form and get 6-8 free quotes from reputable and reliable auto transportation companies, with professional representatives that can answer questions, get you free quotes and help you get your vehicle shipped from and to anywhere in the country.