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How Auto Transporters Ship Your Car

Updated on September 30, 2010

If you are planning to ship your car across country using an auto transport, it is a fairly easy and painless thing to do. Find a shipper online, get a quote and confirm it. Most shippers will not ask for money up front, some may ask for a deposit and this amount is then subtracted from the shipping price. Most transport companies are really just brokers.

  When you decide upon a company to move your vehicle, the company who is a "vehicle transport broker", will post your vehicle on what is called "the Board." The Board is where all the vehicles in the United States that need to be relocated are posted. Trucking agencies or carriers use this board to select what they will load up on their open or enclosed car carriers depending on the route that they are doing. Most routes have multiple vehicles to choose from in the excess of sometimes 200 different cars, therefore the trucking agencie(s) will select the cars that are posted at the highest amount first, obviously it is more money in their pockets. If you choose to use the lowest quote to relocate your vehicle, you are taking the chance of waiting a long time to have your car scheduled for pickup, and will most likely not be picked up at the rate that these low balling brokers is proposing.  A low rate is meant to lure you in to signing a contract that will lock you in with this broker. All other vehicles that are on the Board at a higher rate will be picked up before yours. You will have to ask your broker to increase the amount after being on the board for a period of time that you then might want to get things moving along as they are probably having to much difficulty in locating a carrier at that rate, or they will ask you for more money when you call them to find out why your vehicle has not been picked up and your dates have come and gone.

Most carriers move 6-8 cars on a 75 ft long rig. The carrier will contact you when he is within an hour of your home or drop off point. In the beginning, the driver will contact the party who sold the car and arrange for a pick up. During the PU, the driver inspects the car noting any defects. When the car is delivered, he will ask you to inspect it also and you will compare it against what was noted at PU. If there is damage, the carrier will pay for it BUT is not instant but a long process. If everything is fine, you will then pay the amount in cash, usually, noted in the quote. 

So, when you select a quote, the issue for you is "lower the better" in price, yet, the driver and all the other cars on The Board, may be much higher and that is the going rate. So, either you wait and wait for a driver to choose to do it at the lower rate or get the car faster using the higher rate. Also, certain routes are popular while others are not, all this impacts the price because the carrier simply does not want to take your car, but at least 5 or more on the rig ro be cost effective. If the route is not busy for moving cars, the price may be fine yet not enough cars are being moved along that route.


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