a man standing in front of a mercedes

How to Get a Car Shipped Across Country on Short Notice


In the world of auto transport, things tend to run according to a specific time frame. There are things that can affect this overall, but when it comes to shipping a car cross country you can expect it to take a certain amount of time. 

However, we don’t live in an ideal world and sometimes we need things done in a hurry. For those times when you’re moving a car cross country on short notice, you can opt for express auto shipping.

What is express car shipping?

When you want to ship a car across country it takes a certain amount of time. The standard timeframe is as follows:

DistanceAverage transit time (calendar days)
0-200 miles1-2 days
200-600 miles2-4 days
600-1000 miles3-5 days
1000-1500 miles4-6 days
1500-2000 miles5-7 days
2000-2400 miles6-8 days
2000+ miles7-9 days


Express auto transport is an auto transport service that’s designed for people who want their car delivered as quickly as possible and at the last minute. Express auto transport can be arranged and the whole service is expedited. The pick-up time will be 1-2 days. This is perfect in a number of different situations. Here are just a few examples:

  • You’ve just been notified you need to move for work urgently and you need to take your car with you
  • You’ve bought a car online and need it shipped as soon as possible
  • You run a car dealership and have a particularly demanding client who wants the delivery speeded up
  • You need your car in a hurry and you don’t have access to another vehicle
  • You’ve found out there’s a classic/custom car show you really must attend and you’ve only got a couple of days to get your car there

In the auto transport world, carriers tend to move several vehicles at the same time because this is the most efficient way to do it. However, it tends not to be the fastest when it comes to car shipping across country. The fewer cars a carrier has to transport, the quicker the service. 

There is an exception to this rule and that’s for shipping cars between major cities. In such situations, it’s easy to find a carrier to pick up at short notice. In major metropolitan areas, more trucks are available for particular routes.  

What are the benefits of using express car shipping?

If you’re shipping a car across country at short notice, there are several benefits if you decide to use express shipping. In the case of SGT Auto Transport, you can expect the following:

Short waiting times

Your car will be given top priority when it comes to the pick-up date. The industry standard is between 1 and 5 days, but with express car shipping, this timeline is cut to between 1 and 2 business days. 

Simple shipping process

Express car shipping is a very easy service to arrange. If you want to know how much it costs you can use our handy online quote calculator. 

Get a quote

If you like the price, you simply make your booking. We do everything else for you, although you will have to pay the bill of course. We’ll look at the shipping process in more detail later on in this post.  

Regular updates during transportation

We like our customers to be confident in our service so we provide regular updates for your peace of mind. You can schedule updates on the progress of your vehicle by email, phone, or live chat. It’s also possible to stay in touch with the auto transport carrier and the driver responsible for transporting your car. 

Option to ship personal items

Shipping personal items is not something all auto transport companies allow. But the car moving companies we work with allow you to ship one box or suitcase, as long as it’s in the trunk of your car. There is no additional cost, but the suitcase and its contents must weigh no more than 100lbs. 

You should also bear in mind that there are restrictions in what you can ship in the trunk of your car. The carrier also has the right to check you’ve not packed any unlawful items.  

Door-to-door service

SGT Auto Transport offers a door-to-door service which means you don’t have to stress about driving your car to a terminal where it can be picked up. Car shipping can be arranged to and from a location of your choice. 

You might decide that location is right outside your front door, your office, a local storage facility, or a parking lot down the street. As long as there are no parking restrictions and there’s room for a truck and trailer to drive along the street, there’s not a problem. 

Discounts available

Many auto transport companies offer a range of discounts. Here at SGT Auto Transport, we offer discounts for snowbirds, students, and of course, military members. All of these may be entitled to claim a discount on car shipping across country. 

How much to get a car shipped across country quickly?

It’s difficult to give an exact price for shipping a car cross country because everyone’s needs are different. Many factors also come into play when calculating the final cost of shipping a car. If you choose to ship your car on short notice, the same variables come into play but they are even more significant. The factors that can impact the cost of shipping a vehicle are as follows:

  • Pick-up and delivery locations: If these are in remote locations, it will cost more than metropolitan locations.
  • Distance traveled: The further a carrier has to travel to transport your car, the higher the cost.
  • Year, make, and model of your car: It will be much cheaper to ship a standard sedan than an SUV, for example.
  • Type of transport service: You have many options when it comes to choosing how to get a car shipped across country. Your options may include open car transport, enclosed auto transport, fast car transport, guaranteed pick-up, student, snowbirds, and military car shipping
  • Is your car running?: if your car is inoperable, the carrier will need to use specialist equipment which will add to the cost.
  • Time of the year: Seasonal variations can make a big difference to the cost of moving a car cross country.
  • Supply and demand: Some shipping routes are more popular than others and these tend to cost less.  

How to ship a car cross country at short notice?

Quick and safe car shipping at short notice takes just three steps:

Get a quote and book your order

You can get a quote for your express car shipping service using our online quote calculator. It’ll take just two minutes of your time. You have to provide the following details:

  • Pick-up city and state
  • Delivery city and state
  • Vehicle year
  • Make and model
  • Condition of your car
  • Transport type
  • First available shipping date

If you’d rather speak to a real person, you can start a Live Chat, email, or call and speak directly with one of our professional car shipping advisors. 

The price you’re given is fully inclusive of taxes and insurance. You won’t be surprised by any hidden fees and you’re under no obligation to take the process further by making a booking. 

If you’re not 100% happy with the quote, get in touch immediately, and we’ll do our very best to meet your expectations. 

When you’re ready, you can make your booking. Simply click on the link in your quote to complete the booking or use Live Chat, email, or pick up the phone and confirm your booking and to arrange your pick-up. 

Your booking will be confirmed and then we’ll search and find the most suitable express auto transport carrier. We have an extensive network of vetted providers to choose from. Your booking will be confirmed by telephone. You’ll be informed of the carrier that has been assigned to your booking. We’ll also confirm your pick-up date and let you know what’s going to happen next. 

At this point in the process, if you’ve opted for a Discounted Cash Price, a small partial payment is taken from your credit or debit card. You pay the remaining balance when your vehicle is delivered. You can pay in cash, money order, or with a cashier’s check. If you’ve chosen the Regular Price, the price is paid in full so that the carrier can reserve your place on the express vehicle trailer.    

We pick up your car

You will be contacted a few hours before your scheduled pick-up time. The carrier will want to confirm the details of your pick-up. In addition, the driver will want to check that the location is safe and legal for a large commercial vehicle.

Don’t worry if it’s not possible because alternative arrangements can be made. You might have a parking lot neary or a wider street that can accommodate a large transportation truck. The driver also wants to check that you’ll be available to release the vehicle. If you’re otherwise engaged, you can appoint a third party to act on your behalf. It might be a neighbor, friend, or relative. The only stipulation is that they have to be 18 years old or above. 

When the carrier arrives to pick-up your vehicle, they will inspect it. You have to be present and inspect your car at the same time. Any existing damage will be recorded in the Bill of Lading. You and the driver sign this important document and your car is ready for loading. Keep your copy of the Bill of Lading safe because you’ll need it when your car is delivered. 

Your car will be loaded onto the express car shipping trailer and the driver will be on their way. Don’t worry. It won't be long before you see it again and you can keep yourself updated on its journey by contacting the driver. We also provide regular updates by Live Chat, email, or over the phone.   

You receive your car

When the carrier is nearing the drop off location they’ll get in touch to make sure you’re available. You’ll get a few hours notice, but if you’re not going to be available you can nominate a neighbor, friend, or relative to accept the delivery on your behalf. The only stipulation is that they must be over 18 years of age.

When your car is delivered, take the time to inspect it carefully, just to make sure everything is in order. If you’re happy, sign the Bill of Lading to accept delivery of your car. If you choose the Discounted Cash Price, now is when you make your final payment. 

What documents are needed when shipping a car across country on short notice?

You don’t have to worry about how to get a car shipped across country at short notice because it’s a very simple process. Put your trust in the hands of a reputable auto transport management company like SGT Auto Transport and all you’ve got to worry about is being available to release your car on a pre-arranged pick-up date.

You’ll need to give the carrier the keys to your car, and you must also sign the Bill of Lading. This is a document that acts as a receipt for your car. In addition, it is an inspection report. 

When the carrier arrives to pick up your vehicle you’ll inspect your car together and make a note of any existing damage such as chips, scratches, dents, and dings, on the Bill of Lading. You check that you agree with the information, sign it, and keep a copy for reference.

If you’re ready to make the arrangements for your express car shipping service, there’s no time like the present to get the ball rolling. Use our instant online calculator to find out the price. If you prefer, our shipping advisors are available at the end of the phone (call (864) 546-5038) or by using Live Chat.

Get a quote banner