Auto Transport Tips: Shipping by the Season
The auto transport industry is a seasonal one, with demand waxing and waning depending on the time of year. Though the industry is still somewhat niche, it’s growing rapidly thanks to falling costs for auto transportation services, though it’s still not cheap by any means.
If you ship a lot of vehicles or if you have some time to plan everything and are trying to find the best time to ship, you should be aware of how the seasons will affect your shipment – even if you’re stuck shipping when you have to, and not when you want to, it’s still a good idea to understand how the changing seasons and the weather that accompanies each will affect you when it comes time to transport your vehicle.
The summer is the most popular time of the year – with kids out of school, parents are free to move and make plans without having to disrupt their child’s education. There’s a lot more to it than just school, of course; the sun is out, it’s an optimistic time, the days are long, and people just figure summer is the best time to move (and it totally is, by the way).
Summer shipping tends to be cheaper along many routes due to increased demand; on more popular routes, though, prices can actually increase as there is more demand for shipping than there are shippers available; this results in logjams and “cherry-picking,” where carriers can choose the highest-paying loads first because there’s more cars to ship than there are shippers.
Winter is just the opposite; on many smaller routes, prices go up as demand goes down, but demand on popular routes tends to keep prices lower since there are fewer customers shipping in the winter months, and loads can be harder to find.
Spring and summer tend to act as transition times. Early spring is usually slow like the winter, but it tends to pick up around March and into April. Spring can be a good time to ship a vehicle, though prices are still in flux at that time, so you may see higher prices from some companies than others.
Spring is a good time to ship as well because more carriers are getting back on the road after taking the winter off – it’s not incredibly common, but it’s not that uncommon either, all things considered. Fall is the same way, but reversed; as summer turns to fall, carriers are still trying to find loads and take advantage of the waning summer rush, but the closer you get to December and, of course, the official change to winter, carriers start adjusting their routes accordingly.
Late fall, winter and early spring can see routes frozen due to the variance in temperatures and seasonal conditions. Snow is prevalent in the northern states starting in late October in some areas (it depends, of course) and lasts well into early March.
This freeze can kill routes for carriers and cause them to alter their established routes in order to avoid hazardous driving conditions. Snow and ice can cause major problems for auto transporters, so during the fall and winter they tend to adjust their routes to the south, as it’s warmer and there’s less chance of snow in most southern areas. This causes prices in the northern areas to rise during the winter.
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If you’re interested in getting some prices to ship a vehicle or want to talk to a direct shipping company, fill out our free online auto transport quote request form. When you do, you’ll get a free quote to ship your vehicle right away. We work with only top-rated carriers so you can rest easy knowing you’ll be in good hands with us. If you want a quote over the phone, have further questions, or would like to make a reservation to ship, give us a call at 800-930-7417 to talk to a live agent about it today.