You’ve accepted a great new job on the opposite coast and are gearing up for the big move. Although a road trip sounds enticing, you’re really excited and want to get there as soon as possible so you can start getting settled in.
Many people aren’t familiar with the idea or process of shipping a vehicle. Googling companies is a great place to start, but before you hand over the keys, here are 5 things to do when shipping a car:
1. Research the auto shipping companies.
Avoid any websites that offer to give you multiple quotes from different companies. These seem like a time saver, but it can flood your inbox with numerous emails of companies looking to give you a quote. Along with that, your information will be sold to other companies. If you decide to discuss a quote with a company, make sure to do some research on them first. A good place to check out their reputation is customer review sources like the Better Business Bureau. See what other customers have said about them, but make sure the source you’re using is a reputable source as well (some review sites will allow companies to pay for good reviews). After checking up on the company, make sure to ask questions when you talk to them on the phone about the company itself. One good question to ask is whether they offer any guarantees.
2. Learn about the shipping process.
As mentioned above, many people aren’t familiar with how to ship a car. It’s important for you to understand what to expect so you can be better prepared. A company that specializes in automotive shipping, such as, Executive Auto Shippers makes sure you understand the process from start to finish, including any questions you may have. If there’s ever a term or process that doesn’t make sense, don’t be afraid to ask the question. The truly good companies will take the time to help you learn. One of the biggest misunderstands with auto shipping is comprehending the timeline. When a representative gives you a number of days for transport, it starts from when your car is picked up. Being aware of the transit time can help you plan better as well. Here’s some insight as to the average transit time: Shipments that are over 1900 miles usually take 7-10 days, 1400-1900 miles take 5-7 days, 1000-1400 miles take 3-5 days, and under 1000 miles takes 1-3 days. Another misunderstanding is thinking that your car can be picked up the next day. Although it’s not impossible, it’s not like any other shipment you could make. Unlike shipping a package, carriers may not be in your area frequently, and even if they are, they may have their spots filled or may not be going to where your car needs to go. Next day isn’t guaranteed either, especially depending on your pick up location. Most auto shipping pick-ups take about 3 to 5 days to schedule, but it also depends on how common the route is.
3. Have good communication.
The more information you can provide your representative with, the more accurate your shipment will be. Make sure to note any details that could affect the transport, such as body kits or modifications. Don’t forget anything that may not be working properly either–especially if it’s just something you’ve worked around such as a bad parking brake. Plans and schedules change–that’s understandable. Make sure you communicate any changes with the original scheduled plan to BOTH the carrier and your representative. Just as they will do their best to keep you informed during transport, it’s important for them to be informed so they can make your transport as smooth as possible. Also make sure the contact information you give is the best possible way to get a hold of you. Flexibility can also make a shipment easier to schedule. For example, is it more important to have your vehicle until the last possible moment before pick up or will you need it as soon as possible at delivery? Both aren’t easily accomplished, so make sure to know where your flexibility is. We also recommend asking a friend, neighbor, or someone you can trust (like your realtor) to help on either end if the schedule will be hard for you to work with. Just make sure to provide their information as well.
4. Have your vehicle ready for pick up.
By having your vehicle ready before the driver arrives, you help to ensure the move is as smooth as possible. Your driver will be appreciative, too! A great example is doing a quick car wash. This will help for the accuracy of the inspection to your vehicle. Here’s a couple of other things to keep in mind: one thing you probably wouldn’t think of is your fuel level. Having your tank around a quarter full or less will help with the weight of the vehicle. This is especially important if you’re shipping overseas because it’s considered hazardous material, and therefore can’t be full to ship. Another aspect to consider is packing items in your vehicle. The basic industry standard for packing is that your items must weigh less than 100lb, and that the items are stored in the trunk of a car or cargo area of a truck or SUV. You don’t want to have items that are breakable or valuable, because the jostling of the carrier could cause damage. Even though packing is allowed, these items aren’t inventoried or covered under the carrier’s insurance.
5. Be involved in the vehicle inspection.
Make sure as the driver is doing their walk around that you walk with them. This way when the driver makes a note, you can see what they are referring to. If you aren’t sure of something they’ve noted, make sure to ask questions. It’s important that you are both on the same page. Also realize that the driver may catch something you’d never noticed–in order to have an accurate assessment of your vehicle, we tell our drivers to be thorough in their inspections. Also, keep the inspection sheet in a safe place. If there are any issues on condition at delivery, you don’t want it to be their word against yours. By having the original documentation you’ll know for sure the condition of the car when it was picked up. We recommend checking your vehicle after delivery as well. The driver should also do a walk around when delivered, so make sure you do the same.
Shipping your car doesn’t need to be difficult. Hiring professional auto shippers can make your auto transport one of the easier aspects of a move. Remember to do your research, know the process, communicate well, have your vehicle ready, and be involved. Remember to do your research, know the process, communicate well, have your vehicle ready, and be involved.
Written by Kristi Kenyon, Executive Auto Shippers