Five Tips to Improve Your Car Shipping Experience
The car shipping experience is one that most people don’t undergo. It’s not surprising – most of us have never had to ship a car before. But for anyone new to it, the act of transporting a vehicle can come with some surprises. Whether those surprises come from the way pickup and delivery dates work, to how payments work, or something else, being surprised when transporting a car is never fun. More importantly, it can lead to a negative car shipping experience, which is something we strive to avoid.
That’s why we’ve decided to give out this handy guide to improving your own auto transport experience. Here are five tips on how to improve your experience when transporting a vehicle.
#1: Understand the car shipping experience
It’s important to understand just how shipping a car works. We have plenty of literature on the process, from start to finish, that you can read. For instance, take a look at our Auto Transport from Start to Finish for a good overview.
If you don’t have time to click the link, we’ll summarize. To start, you find a car transport company (like us), and you hire them to transport your vehicle. Once you book your order, your chosen company will work to find you a carrier that will transport your car within the time frame that you require.
Once a carrier is assigned, the transport company will charge you their deposit or down payment, and the rest you will pay to the driver at delivery. At pickup, you and the driver that was assigned to transport your vehicle will do an inspection and sign the Bill of Lading. Once your car is at delivery, you do a second inspection, sign the Bill of Lading again and pay the driver. Congratulations, you’re finished!
Understanding how it works is crucial to having a quality car shipping experience and makes the following tips a lot easier to understand and implement.
#2: Plan ahead
Now that you know how the process works, it’s time to start discussing how to approach the transportation of your vehicle. The first step is to plan accordingly. Of course, it can be challenging to prepare for something like transporting a car. But your car shipping experience will be better if you take a little bit of time and work out your schedule ahead of time.
Figuring out when you need to ship and how much you can spend to get it done are two crucial steps that you need to address immediately. We recommend that you book your transportation for at least a few days ahead. So if you’re looking to have your vehicle picked up on Thursday or Friday, book your shipment Monday at the earliest.
This advice can change depending on numerous factors. Summertime tends to be busier, so more lead time is necessary there as it can take time to find a carrier for you. Winter months tend to see expedited shipments move more quickly, as there is less freight on the road. When there is less freight on the load boards, prices go down, as there is less competition for loads among carriers.
Regardless, you should give yourself time to get everything done. Being forced to rush your shipment can result in higher prices and also delays that could impact your schedule.
Remember, this isn’t like ordering a pizza. It takes time and planning to execute the transportation of your vehicle successfully, so do what you can to help your shipper.
#3: Don’t skimp on the reviews!
We live in a culture that relies heavily on customer reviews. Though this hasn’t changed, the method that we use to determine quality certainly has. In the olden days, we would see reviews in newspapers or magazines, though the most reliable was word of mouth. Now, though, we have the internet to tell us just how good or bad a company is, and this goes double for car shippers.
With the way the auto shipping industry is, finding the right company for your needs is essential. Every shipping company is different. They have different preferred carriers, and they have different prices, they offer various services. All of these things will impact your shipment, which makes it all the more vital that you find a company that has a solid reputation.
The industry is much better than it used to be in terms of company quality. With the rise of internet-based review systems, bad companies fall by the wayside while good companies skyrocket. Chances are you’ll find multiple quality companies just with a simple google search.
We recommend that you contact a few different shippers and get quotes from them. From there, look at their reviews! There are several different websites you can use, including Yelp, Google, and the industry-standard Transport Reviews. These are quality websites that customers trust, and you can trust them, too. Find a company with lots of good reviews, and that looks like they take care of our customers. You can read reviews of our services on all of those sites mentioned above.
#4: Be thorough, be thoughtful
This tip is perhaps the most important one, at least when it comes to day-to-day interactions with your chosen shipping company. Knowing what vehicle you are shipping, the condition it is in, and any modifications to it are of vital importance.
Here’s a good example. We had a customer that was shipping a large pickup truck. They told us that it was a stock pickup truck – straight from the dealership, so no modifications. However, the vehicle was far different than advertised. With a lift of several inches, tires more massive than stock, and an extended cab and longer bed than initially quoted, the driver could not load the vehicle and had to pass.
All of that information would have led us to quote the vehicle differently. Instead, because the customer misrepresented their truck, we had to cancel the dispatch with the carrier, requote the customer, and repost it. From start to finish, that customer’s shipment took days longer than it should have and cost them more money than it should have.
We’re not accusing the customer of deliberately being misleading. Sometimes it’s impossible to know the exact condition of the vehicle, especially if it was purchased online. But it’s important to do your research and make sure that the information you give to your shipping company is as accurate as it can be. If the vehicle is not stock, tell us the modifications. If it doesn’t run, let us know.
Ultimately, we want to ship your vehicle with as few issues as possible. The more thorough you are, the better we can accomplish that particular goal.
#5: Be flexible
Auto transport is fluid, and your car shipping experience will be as well. Therefore, it’s essential to be flexible in terms of your availability.
When we dispatch a vehicle to a carrier company, the pickup and delivery dates are always estimated. In this regard, estimated dates typically carry a 24-hour caveat. Carriers have to contend with numerous issues while out on the road, including traffic, construction, inclement weather, and much and more.
Because of this, your transporter won’t always be able to show up precisely on the date that is specified. While most vehicles are picked up on the day specified, extenuating circumstances can force carriers to arrive a day early – or a day late.
It is important to be flexible when it comes to dates and times. If Friday is the day your vehicle will be picked up, make sure that you are available throughout the day. You don’t have to wait silently by the phone, of course. It merely means that you need to be available for when the carrier does call so you can meet them for pickup or delivery in a timely manner.
Flexibility doesn’t necessarily apply to the price you pay, though. We will never ask you for more money when you book your order with us. There is a caveat there, of course. Conditions on the road can sometimes cause a sudden jump in price along your route, but this is very rare, and we will communicate with you if that does indeed happen.
Regardless, flexibility is a crucial component of a good car shipping experience. If you have questions, feel free to call our number any time and speak to a representative.
Get a quality car shipping experience with American
If you’re looking for a top-notch auto transporter, consider using us. We are a five-star rated company on Yelp, Google, and Transport Reviews. We work hard to ensure the success of every customer’s shipment. You can get a free quote to transport your vehicle right here on our website. You can also contact one of our agents at any time to get a quote over the phone. So don’t fret – get it done right the first time with American Auto Shipping.
Since 2007 Dave has written all the content and blogs for American Auto Shipping and during this time added the duties of customer support and transport logistics.
He currently resides in Washington with his three kids and their mom and cat. A fan of Marvel movies and good stories, when not shipping cars Dave can be found working on his novel, enjoying a good book or playing some tournament HALO.
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