How to Move My Car
This is a question that comes up all the time. The fact is, the auto transport business is extremely confusing to the average client just looking to move their car from Point A to Point B. Unless you are a car dealer, you probably will only move your car a few times during your life.
Below are some Pro-tips on how to move your car with the least amount of headache and hurt on your wallet.
First, let’s start off with a brief description of the car transport business.
The auto transport space is broken down into three (sometimes four) levels. First some terminology.
- You, the Client: looking to move your car
- Brokers: looks for clients and then connects those clients with their network of carriers (truck drivers). The Brokers job is to find the best quality transport at the best price, and coordinate with you and driver for the pick-up and delivery of your vehicle.
They are typically a vital contact in the whole process of getting your car moved.
- Carriers: truck drivers looking to pickup and deliver cars. Truckers typically do not have time to worry about finding clients. They rarely have a website, and often do not have email. They find their loads on the national dispatch board known as Central Dispatch.
They drive trucks. That is what they do.
- Dispatchers: the fourth level I mentioned above. They sit between Brokers and the Carriers. Sort of a mid-level broker if you will.
For our discussion here, we won’t talk about dispatchers.
Things you need to consider BEFORE looking for quotes:
- What type of transport do I need?
The options are Open transport or Enclosed transport. As the words imply, your vehicle will be moved on a truck where it will either be out in the open, or inside an enclosed trailer. Enclosed is obviously the most protected from the weather and rocks or debris hitting the vehicle from the road. But, enclosed transport is typically double the price.Is your car one of a kind? A collector’s item? Value higher than $50k? Then you probably should consider Enclosed transport.Otherwise, you will be fine with Open transport.
- Dates for pick-up and delivery
If you can wait for a week or more, this will give the broker time to find a carrier at the lowest price. If you need it within a one or two day window, you will pay a premium for that.
- Pick-up and Delivery locations
Do you live in the middle of nowhere? Carriers do not like to drive one way empty to pick-up a car in a remote location. That is called “dead heading” and will cost you double the price at least.The question you need to ask yourself is, “Can I meet the driver in a major city or on a major interstate so they do not have to go out of their way to get my car?” If the answer is yes, you will lower the cost of your move a lot.
- Does your car run and drive?
Obviously, if the car operates, the carrier can put it on the trailer with less work and at less cost.
- Are you willing to pay the driver COD in cash or money order on delivery?
If the answer is yes, you will pay less. If you like the convenience of paying for everything up front, then you will pay an additional service fee for that convenience.
- Is the car going to a Port?
If the answer is yes, you will often have to pay an additional fee as the driver must have a special identification known as a TWIC card to enter the port area. Overall it is more work to deliver a car to a port, and so this is passed on to you the client as additional charges.
- Does the carrier need to pick up the title, other documents, keys, etc.?
Another question that will be asked when looking for quotes.
Still with me?
So now that you have all your information together, you are ready to start looking for quotes.
I need a Quote!
That will start with an internet search via Google. Search for “auto transport companies”, and a long long list of websites will come up. It can be daunting to say the least, but have no fear, you are half way to getting your car moved.
Now in this list of search results, you will see a website called USHIP. They are the 800 pound gorilla in the space and make it easy for you to post your vehicle and get quotes from multiple auto transport companies (i.e. Brokers).
But that ease of use comes at a steep price of 24% or higher commission. In my opinion, save your money and stay away from USHIP. They are not transparent in what they do and have nothing to do with getting your car moved. They are simply selling contact info at a very very high price.
Back to your google search results.
Many of the sites in the list are portals that gather your information and send it to multiple Brokers for bidding. After submitting your information to a few websites, you will begin to receive phone calls or emails with quotes. It is really that easy.
- You should know, 99% of the time, those auto transport companies do not have trucks at their disposal. They are “Brokers” and will help connect you to their network of truck drivers around the country.
So, how do I know which Broker to go with?
By now, you should have at least a half dozen quotes. But, how do you know who to trust?
Number one: Start with asking for the MC number or USDOT#. From there you can go to the Department of Transportation website and look up their profile. View and verify they are insured and in good standing with DOT.
Number two: Don’t go with the lowest quote. From your list of quotes, you will see some at the top end, and you will see some at the bottom. Your best bet is to choose those companies that have quoted you prices that fall in the middle. Often times, Brokers will low ball a quote to get you signed up, and later call you back to say the prices are higher and you need to pay more. Unfortunately, it is a common practice.
So now I have a Broker. What next?
The Brokers job now is to start looking for your carrier. They will post your vehicle to Central Dispatch, the national truck driver dispatch board. They will also have a list of personal contacts they have developed over the years, that they can call directly.
A good broker will be in communication with you, letting you know if any progress has been made.
Depending on your agreement with the Broker, they should typically find a driver for your car in a few days. As mentioned above, if the pick-up or delivery of your vehicle is in the middle of nowhere, you might be looking at up to a month to find a driver, OR pay top $$.
If all goes well, and you have followed my pro-tips above, the Broker will be calling you in a few days with the drivers name, number, pick-up and delivery dates.
So by now you have the driver’s contact information and when they will be coming to pick up the car.
Be sure you or someone you trust is at both the pick up and delivery locations. You will need to do a full inspection of the vehicle prior to loading it on the trailer. That inspection includes both a written report as well as photos of all sides of the car.
At this point, the driver will load the car onto his trailer and start the journey to the delivery location. Depending on the distance, your car will arrive safe and sound. Cross country trips can take up to a week of travel time. Other routes, a few days.
On delivery, you or your agent will need to again do a complete inspection of the car and sign off on that. Should any issues arise, you should know that carriers are required by law to maintain a $100,000 insurance policy.
99.9% of the time your car will arrive without incident and you will soon forget this traumatic experience. 😉
I hope this article has helped you. Please let us know if you have any questions, and how we can help you get your car moved stress free.
Good luck with your move!