Looking for the Best Car Transportation Service? Check Out These Tips

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If you’re wondering “what should I look for in a car transport company?” This post is for you. Finding the best car shipping company is crucial if you want the best car transportation service for your car. 

Let’s face it, second only to your home, your car is probably the most valuable and precious asset you own and if you ever need to move it, you’ll be looking for one of the best auto transport companies to do it. 

There are plenty of companies that offer reliable car transport, but it’s not a decision you should take lightly. It requires a careful amount of research. 

The usual way for people to find auto transport companies is with the help of good old Google. And while there’s nothing wrong with this approach, you will need to do some further checks, rather than going with car transport companies at the top of the list.

The tips in this post will help you narrow the list down to a few auto transport companies, and give you some advice on what to check. 

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Factors to consider when determining what is the most reliable car shipping company

Good indicators of a company’s reliability are cost and reputation. So let’s look at these first before checking out some of the other factors to consider. 

The cost of shipping a car

There are many different car transport companies to choose from. They come in all shapes and sizes and the cost of shipping your car will also vary, depending on the car transport company. 

It’s only natural to want to save as much as you can when shipping your car, but don’t be tempted to base your choice on price alone. 

You should always ask for quotes from several different auto transport companies before deciding which one to use. Comparing prices is a smart thing to do, plus it will highlight any suspiciously low estimates. 

Generally, costs tend to be similar across a handful of companies, so one that stands out as being super cheap should raise a red flag. It pays to be careful because you don’t want to get caught out by an auto transport scam

Car transport services vary in price, but there are some common factors all of them use to calculate the cost of shipping a car.

If you want to know how much it will cost to ship your car with SGT Auto Transport, get an instant quote today. 

The following factors all have an effect on the cost of shipping a car. 

Type and size of your car

The weight and dimensions of a vehicle determine how many a carrier can ship simultaneously. The carrier wants to maximize each shipment they make, so it costs less to ship smaller vehicles because they can fit more onto a trailer.   

Condition of your vehicle

You usually have to pay a little more if your car isn’t running. This is because the carrier may need to use specialist equipment which costs extra.

How quickly do you want to ship your car?

If you book your car shipping as far in advance as possible, it gives the auto transport company plenty of time to find the best deal. However, if you leave your arrangements until the last minute, it may cost you up to 30% extra for an express auto transport service.

Time of year

The summer months are more popular for car shipping. As a result, demand for the service increases the price. Other factors that can increase the price are holidays and unfavorable weather. 

The first few weeks of winter and the first few weeks of spring are also more expensive because this is when snowbirds head south for the winter or north to spend the summer months at home. 

Type of auto transport service you require

The two most common services are open car transport and enclosed auto transport. Enclosed auto transport is around 30% to 40% more expensive than open car transport. This is because carriers transport the vehicles in a fully enclosed trailer which tends to be smaller than the trailer used for open car transport. Enclosed auto transport is usually recommended for classic, custom, luxury, high-end, antique, vintage, and modified cars and those with low ground clearance. 

Open car transport is the industry standard. Cars are transported in a trailer that is open on all sides. This does expose the vehicles to the elements and traffic grime, but it’s still an extremely safe and secure way to transport a car. 

How far you need to ship your car

This is the most obvious factor because, of course, the cost will be higher the further you need to go. Where your vehicle is picked up and delivered also makes a difference. Remote areas are more expensive than urban locations.  

Customer reviews and feedback should be taken into account

A company’s reputation is a crucial thing to check out when you’re looking for a reliable car transport company. There are several places you can look, for example:

  • Google’s search engine: Google is the best place to start. Type in the name of the auto transport company and add ‘reviews’ at the end. 
  • Facebook: Social media channels are a great place to find out more about a company. A reputable auto transport company is bound to have its own page, and this is often where customers comment and interact. Facebook also has a feature called Recommendations. Consumers who interact with a business have the option of recommending it. 
  • Ask for references: Never be afraid to ask a company for references. They should have some customer reviews you can look at. But make sure you check out those who wanted or used the same or a similar service to the one you want to book. 
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB): The BBB has a vast database of reports relating to various aspects of a company, including complaints and how the company resolved those complaints. Complaints aren’t necessarily a bad thing. What matters most is how a company resolves any customer issues. 
  • Ask around for recommendations: Do you know a friend or family member who has used an auto transport service? Perhaps they could recommend the company they used. 
  • Transportreviews.com: This online review website is always worth a visit if you want to know how well a company looks after its customers. You’ll find some tips below on how to use a review site efficiently. 
  • Trustpilot: Trustpilot is a similar consumer review website where you’ll find reviews of thousands of businesses worldwide, including auto transport companies in the US.
  • Yelp: Yelp reviews are a valuable source of information. Visit the site, and you’ll find more than 200,000 reviews of 4,100 auto transport companies of all shapes and sizes.
  • uShip: uShip is a company that connects customers with customer-reviewed transportation service providers. They range from independent owner-operators to the largest freight carriers and brokers. You’ll find reviews and history for each carrier.  

Tips on using a review site

When you visit an auto transport review site, you’ll be able to sort the reviews in different ways. You might, for example, be looking for a reliable auto transport company that operates in a particular area or one that operates nationwide. 

Reliable car transport providers generally get a star rating, and you usually have the option of seeing three-star, four-star, or five-star reviews. Another way of ranking auto transport services is the overall number of positive or negative reviews.

Here are some more things to consider when visiting auto transport review websites:

  • How many reviews does the company have? The more reviews, the better and more accurate a picture you’ll get. If there are only a handful of reviews, it doesn’t paint a picture in quite the same way. 
  • Recent reviews have more value. For example, a glowing review left a few years ago might not match the way the company is today. One that was left just a few weeks or days ago, on the other hand, is likely to paint a more accurate picture of a company. 
  • Look for relevant reviews. Suppose you’re looking for a reliable car transport company that offers enclosed car transport. In that case, you need to look for reviews left by people shipping custom, antique, luxury, classic, or modified vehicles. If you’re more interested in express car shipping, look for reviews left by people who needed auto transport in a hurry. 
  • Be wary of extremes. When checking out reviews, you’ll find both ends of the spectrum. There will be overwhelmingly positive and horrendously negative comments. Most customer experiences, however, will fall somewhere in the middle. These are the reviews you need to give the most weight to. Also, be wary of companies that only have positive reviews. Even the most successful and most prominent companies have dissatisfied customers from time to time. How a company resolves any issues is just as crucial as a lengthy list of glowing reviews.  
  • Look out for specialized or technical language. Ordinary people tend not to use industry jargon when writing a review. If you come across any in the reviews you read, there’s a good chance a PR firm or a company representative has written the review. You’ll often find yourself reading reviews left by customers who’ve had similar experiences. They might also leave the same compliments. These are the reviews you should take seriously.    

So, what about the other factors to consider? Here are the most important ones.

Licensed and authorized

Before a carrier or broker can transport vehicles, they must be licensed by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). Ask any prospective companies for their DOT number. You can check its validity by visiting the Department of Transport FMCSA website. Check that the license is active and if it isn’t, consider another car shipping company.   

Years of experience

It’s not unusual for carriers and brokers to set up an auto transport business and then be gone within a couple of years. If a company offers a less-than-standard service, it won’t be in business for very long. 

A reputable car transport company, on the other hand, will be able to stand the test of time. Unfortunately, it’s also common practice for bad operators to set up a new company under a different name. Be very wary of companies that haven’t been in business for long. 

Shipping options available

Open car transport is the most common car shipping option, closely followed by enclosed auto transport. However, the variety of services a company offers can vary. For example, you might also find luxury car transport, military auto transport, motorcycle transport, and Hawaii car transport.

Other options might include:

  • Guaranteed pick-up: If you want your car shipped on an exact date, guaranteed car transport is one option. It can be arranged with a 24-hour window, which is perfect if your schedule is tight and you need to make pick-up arrangements that suit you. 
  • Express delivery is the auto transport to use if you need to get your vehicle shipped super quickly. This last-minute car transport service is available, and your vehicle is picked up in 1-2 business days. The auto shipping process is also speeded up as much as possible, from pick-up through to delivery.   

Insurance

It is a legal requirement for an auto transport company to provide cargo insurance. You should ensure the company you choose has valid insurance, so always ask for a copy of their cargo insurance policy. 

Also, check that the cost of insurance is included in your quote. You don’t want any nasty surprises and find out you’ve got to pay extra when the time comes to ship your car. 

Door-to-door transport

Terminal-to-terminal car shipping is an option, but this means you’re responsible for getting your vehicle to the terminal initially. You’ve then got to collect it from the terminal and get home after delivery. 

A far more convenient way to ship a car is with a door-to-door auto transport company like SGT Auto Transport. 

You can arrange for your car to be picked up as close to your home as is safe and legal to do so. 

Transparency

Always look for an auto transport provider that is honest, reliable, and transparent. They won’t be unwilling to tell you that there are no certainties in the auto transport industry and explain why. For example, a shipment can be delayed at any time, and while they might do everything they can to prevent delays, lousy weather still happens, and trucks still break down.

When you’ve decided on an auto transport company and made a booking, always read the small print in the contract before you sign on the dotted line. Check whether there’s any mention of expected delays and what the process is when it happens. It’s better if you’re not left waiting for weeks for the delivery of your car.  

Shipping personal items

One very useful option is being able to ship personal items in your car. It means you’ll be able to pack things you want to keep safe and reduce the risk of them being damaged when being loaded and unloaded from the mover’s truck. 

It’s also good if you’ve got a few items close at hand when you first arrive at your new home. Pack a clean set of clothes, some cups and plates, knives and forks, and personal hygiene items and can start settling in without having to wait for the movers to arrive with all your belongings.

Usually, there is a limit, for example, 100 pounds. You will also have to pack the items in a suitcase or box and lock it in the trunk.

We aim to be totally transparent with our customers, so we should point out that there is a minimal risk of theft and damage. However, you can minimize the risk by taking some precautions. For example, secure your belongings in the trunk, package fragile items correctly, and don’t ship items of high value.

Round the clock customer service

You’ll find it very reassuring if the auto transport company you choose always has someone available to talk to during the auto transport process. Look for a company that offers customer support around the clock. It’ll also be very helpful if there are several ways you can get in touch.

You never know when you might need to ask a question, clarify your shipment details, or check on your car’s progress during the shipping service.   

Cheapest is not necessarily the best

What we mean by this statement is that you shouldn’t base your decision solely on the price being offered. That’s not to say you should avoid a car transport company offering the cheapest rates either. What’s most important is that you do your research and shop around for the best car transportation service. 

If you want an experienced and reliable auto shipping company to transport your vehicle anywhere in the United States, including Hawaii, use our instant online quote calculator and determine how much it would cost to ship a car with us. You can also speak with our professional shipping advisors by calling (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat.

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