Auto Shipping Glossary: Backhaul
You’d be surprised at how popular “backhauling” is in the auto transport industry. Simply put, when a carrier backhauls freight it means that they are picking up a load in one location, transporting it to another location where they will drop it off, and, after that, pickup another vehicle at that location to transport it back to the starting location.
In other words, driver pickups up vehicle #1 at Location A, takes it to Location B, where he then unloads vehicle #1, picks up vehicle #2 and loads it then transports it back from Location B to Location A. This is what is known as “backhaul” since carriers are going back the way they came, just hauling different freight.
Not all auto transport carriers provide backhaul services – it really depends on the routes they frequent and the demand for their services at the time of your shipment.
Auto shippers have to plan their routes out ahead of time in order to stay on schedule and keep their trucks fueled and loaded, so freight that needs to be backhauled to a previous location needs to fit into the budget and the schedule, and that’s not always easy.
Carriers that are shipping backhaul freight will usually put it on the low end of the totem pole – that is, they’re going to pick your first vehicle up, drop it off where it needs to and pick up the vehicle that’s going to be going back, but the vehicle they’re backhauling will likely be delivered near the end of their run.
It’s kind of hard to detail exactly how auto shippers handle backhauling vehicles because they all have different policies. Some carriers only run on a few select routes – this gives them familiarity with the route which leads to lower prices and faster transit times, and these are the carriers most likely to take backhaul orders.
Still others will construct their routes based on customer demand, which often changes from week to week, which usually means they run a variety of routes that they may not know as well, but service more customers in the process. These carriers are less likely to ship backhaul orders, but most will if the price is right.
Patience is your best bet when shipping a vehicle back along a route a carrier just took, because if a carrier isn’t willing to go back the way they came your shipper will have to find another carrier to run that route. Even if your original carrier is willing to go back and ship another vehicle along that same route, it’s going to cost you about the same as the initial car, and maybe a bit more depending on one of the numerous variables that can affect your price.
Your auto transport representative can explain more about backhauling as well, and we recommend that you speak with a live person about the process if you still are unsure about how backhauling works and the variables in pricing and time tables associated with the practice.
There are several ways you can get in contact with someone to discuss your shipment in more detail, and we recommend filling out our free online quote request form to start. If you do, you’ll get a free quote to ship your vehicle right away. You can also contact us any time to get a quote right over the phone. Just call us at 800-930-7417 to speak to an agent. They can answer questions, give you a quote, book a shipment, and more.