How much does it cost to ship a car?
The cost to ship a car depends on several factors.
Distance does matter, but it is not the only factor. Ultimately, a current market cost lays in the middle of the price scale, between the highest and the lowest rates quoted.
The car shipping cost is calculated based on factors such as distance, location, vehicle make and model and type of transport.
Supply and demand fluctuation is also a major factor that contributes to price hikes or drops.
We work with national dispatch boards tracking market conditions constantly. This is how we quote adequate, manual price directly reflecting current market conditions.
- VEHICLE MAKE & MODEL
- The size of the vehicle matters. Smaller cars are cheaper to ship, while bigger, heavier vehicles are more expensive. Auto transport carriers have a weight limit that they must observe, when accepting vehicles. Thus, the make and model of your vehicle, as well as any modifications done to it, and whether there will be any personal items loaded inside, all matter for the total weight of the vehicle and hence of the carrier.
- TRANSPORT TYPE
- The type of carrier you choose will affect your rate as well. Open auto transport is the standard shipping method in the industry. It is used for all vehicle types and it is the less expensive option because the availability of open carriers is much higher. Enclosed auto transport is more expensive and often used for sports, luxury or classic automobiles.
- The distance always affects the price to ship a car. The longer the distance the less it costs per mile, but that is never the decisive factor in the cost of shipping a vehicle. Shorter distances still consume gas and require the same amount of work, but in the end it is fewer miles traveled, which increases the price per mile. This means that shorter distances often cost as much as shipping a car across the country.
- LOCATION / POPULATION
- The pick-up and delivery locations also affect the price. Auto transport to and from rural areas is a more complex and economically challenging process. Fewer auto haulers are willing to go to remote towns and villages to pick-up or deliver a single vehicle only. This often means higher prices and longer wait for pick-up, or delivery. The majority of the truck drivers prefer to travel to major metro areas where they can more easily load their auto carriers.
- VEHICLE CONDITION
- Whether your car is running or not will affect your final rate. To ship a non-running vehicle we need a truck that can winch it onto the trailer. This requires more work, more time and additional equipment that not every truck has. Moreover, it requires more skills from the truck driver. A special truck, and special skill set means a higher rate. In some cases, we may even need a forklift to load a fully inoperable vehicle, which additionally increases the price.
- SUPPLY & DEMAND
- When supply is higher than demand, prices drop, but when demand is higher prices go up. In auto logistics, when demand is high the truck space is limited and this means the prices increase. That is why a quote is good for one week only because demand changes on almost every route. Supply and demand fluctuations often happen daily, and even hourly. Thus, manually tracking the auto dispatch boards is crucial. A price that you receive today is usually not the same in a week or two, let alone in a month or two. Understanding supply and demand is very important in the auto transport industry. We want you to understand how it works, so you can ask the right questions and have peace of mind when shipping a vehicle.
Additional cost to ship a car factors to consider:
- Do you need an expedited service? If the answer is yes, keep in mind that expedited auto transport service costs more. If you need your vehicle picked-up or delivered on an exact date, or by an exact date, expect to pay a premium.
- Do you need door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal? Door-to-door auto transport is the standard shipping method of Corsia Logistics. Terminal to terminal is an option as well, and contrary to popular opinion, it often costs more due to storage fees and proximity of the terminal.
- Do you need a top load for your vehicle? Top load means loading a vehicle on the top deck of the vehicle transport trailer. This ensures against possible leaks from other vehicles, from flying road debris, and it is generally safer.
What do I need to know about car shipping quotes?
All quotes are not created equal, neither are all auto transport companies. When you search online you will come across three major entities involved in the auto transport business:
- broker/carrier auto shipping companies
- lead generation websites
- auction websites
Often prices will vary between all three entities. Some companies will give you very high prices, while others will quote you unrealistically low rate. You may wonder how such differences are possible. They are possible because who gives you the quote matters. The prices given by lead generator websites and auction websites are usually low-ball prices. Broker and carrier companies can give you the most realistic market price.
- Broker / carrier company
The most realistic rate comes from a reputable auto transport broker or a carrier company. This is the engine of the industry – the people who work daily with national dispatch boards and see how prices change. This is what keeps the prices competitive and the industry in balance. Small and medium size broker companies do not allow monopolization of the market by large corporations.
Majority of the orders in the auto transport industry are booked with brokers. The chances of you finding a car carrier who is in the same area as your car, has a spot open, and it is going in your desired direction are usually pretty slim. This is why the broker company is very important entity. As we mentioned, most car carriers are small owner operated companies you can not find online. But you can find brokers who work to find customers to fill carriers’ trailers.
A broker makes sure the carrier is licensed and insured, and checks their safety ratings across the board. A trustworthy broker company will work for you, the customer, to find the right carrier that travels your route and matches your requirements for a type of trailer, insurance liability and delivery time. They will provide a fair, current market price that will ship your vehicle in a timely and professional manner.
Most carriers do not manage the shipping process. A carrier is responsible to load, deliver and unload your vehicle. About 90 percent of the car carriers in the US are small, owner operated companies. This is why the prices you receive online are from auto transport broker companies. A broker is a registered, licensed and bonded entity that can lawfully manage your vehicle shipments. It is the agent that makes sure the small carrier companies’ cargo space is filled. Small broker companies is who can leverage the industry, and keep it in balance. Together with the small and mid-size carrier companies this is a very efficient logistics ecosystem that works in harmony to provide timely auto transport services.
- Lead generator website
This entity is not an auto transport company of any type – it does not have any licenses. This is an online business created to collect private information for other businesses. These lead generator websites are often found online, and customers frequently think they are auto transport companies. But de facto, they are neither a carrier nor a broker. After receiving the customer’s request they sell the information to several transport companies.
Then you receive several calls from companies competing for your business. It is often very unpleasant to receive 5 to 10 calls in a matter of hours. Moreover, these companies know they are competing against each other and they need to quote really low rates. This means that you will not receive a realistic price that will ship your car in a timely and professional manner.
- Auction websites
The third entity you will find online is auction websites or marketplaces. We advise our customers to avoid such platforms because this is where underbidding wars develop. A major such website is uShip where you can receive more than ten auto transport quotes. They start too high and go down to an unrealistically low rate. Such low rates are sometimes given by unregistered and unlicensed companies, scammers who do not have insurance. Most companies are not able to give a realistic rate because they need to compete live with large companies who simply can afford to quote low and even lose money only so they can push out the small, honest hard working guys.
Also, often due to fees imposed from the auction website, auto transport companies are forced to quote higher prices so they can make at least some profit. It is not only the companies’ fault, or the platform itself. The demand for low prices has always been a factor. And when people search for cheap they get cheap. On auction websites you get what you pay for.
How do I know I am getting a fair auto transport price?
A fair auto transport price is a correctly quoted rate. In some cases you will receive unrealistic price quotes – some too high, others too low. This is usually the case when you get quotes from lead generator websites or auctions. With some brokers and carriers this can also happen. Some companies quote low-ball prices and then call and ask for more money. They usually ask you to pay a deposit upfront and this means you cannot cancel when they fail to pick up your car in the specified time frame. On the other hand, some big companies exploit the market by quoting very high prices.
Usually the most competitive prices come from small and mid-size companies. An established, small company is in business to stay in business and they understand the importance of quoting realistic market prices and taking care of their customers.
A correctly quoted rate is current market price that guarantees timely and professionally delivery.
What is the difference between manual and automated quotes?
Auto transport prices depend on supply and demand fluctuations. Daily fluctuations in supply and demand affect auto transport prices. When a vehicle is priced correctly, according to current market conditions a carrier will take it right away. If not the car sits on the board and waits.
A logistics expert can quote a very accurate price based on current supply and demand situation, and that is why a manual quote is always better.
A car shipping calculator has preset parameters that determine the price. It never takes into consideration supply and demand fluctuations and this is what ultimately renders the price inaccurate.
How many days in advance should I book in order to save?
We recommend to our customers to book their service about two weeks in advance. Any time earlier than that does not guarantee a lower rate or a faster service. The auto transport industry is heavily influenced by supply and demand fluctuations, and prices often change daily. Sometimes, even same day bookings can get a lower price than orders made a week or a month in advance due to a sudden cancellation, for instance.