In today’s tech-enabled world full of opportunities, it’s easier than ever to find a car shipping company. But this doesn’t mean that you should choose the first company that pops up in your search results. The danger of becoming a victim to a car shipping scam or is still real. This is why it is important to be vigilant and aware of what to look for when you are planning to hire a company to transport your vehicle.
So how can you be sure the auto transport company you choose is right for you and will take good care of your car? To help you minimize the risk of making a bad decision, we have created a list of recommended steps to take when you look for a car shipping company.
Step one: Take your time
Shipping a car is a big investment; therefore, you would want to avoid making rash decisions.To ensure your car arrives when you need it, you will need to plan ahead – sometimes a few weeks in advance. If you get the preliminary research done ahead of time, you have a pretty good chance of reserving a spot with a reputable company at an affordable price. Of course, there are situations when you do not have much time for research and need to make a decision quick. In this case, you will need to trust your hunches and remember that a last-minute search will most likely result in higher prices and unavailability of some services.
Step two: Research, research, research
We cannot stress this enough. Ask your friends, family members, or neighbors for references of quality car transport companies they have hired in the past. Use Google Search to look for best car shipping companies, read online customer reviews (you can always consult TransportReview and TrustPilot). There is a good number of auto shipping companies that will go beyond and above to make sure your vehicle is delivered safe and sound to its final destination, and there are companies that leave much to be desired when it gets to customer satisfaction and quality of service. Check your potential car shipper’s reputation online and if you still have doubts, do not hesitate to contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to request a shipping company’s information and accident history.
Step three: Request quotes
Once you have narrowed your search down to a few companies, request quotes. The estimate is free, but the quote itself will depend on a number of factors: distance traveled, type and make of your vehicle, running conditions, time of transportation, etc. Once you have received quotes from different auto shippers, you will see that prices for the same route vary between different companies. This is when you will have to pay attention and ask questions.
Step four: Get in touch with the company – ask questions!
Make initial contact with potential auto shippers. Pick up the phone and make a call, use this opportunity to ask questions, let car shipping agents walk you through the process of transporting a car. This way, not only will you be able to get the information you need, but also get an idea of how far the company is willing to go to help their potential and existing customers.
When you leave messages or send e-mails that require a response, pay attention to how fast your potential car shipper gets back to you. Although you should not expect an answer right away, most companies usually respond within 24-48 hours depending on the nature of your question. But if the company fails to get in touch with you or they get back to you after a relatively long time, your best option would be to move on to the next candidate.
Step five: Compare
When you choose a car shipping company, do not just go with the one that offers the cheapest price. Why? As we have already mentioned before, it is easy to become a victim of a car shipping scam, especially when shipping for the first time. There are plenty of companies out there that take advantage of anyone who does not do their homework. Most of them offer very low, enticing prices to lure unsuspecting customers. Incredibly low quotes that look like a great deal in the beginning, can open the door to a whole lot of problems: late delivery, damage to your vehicle with no one willing to accept responsibility, or even complete failure to ship the car in the first place.
Step six: Make your final choice
After the research is done, reviews are read, phone calls are made, and quotes are received and compared, you are ready – make your choice.
But there’s more…
Do not think that the moment you choose the company, your job is done. Of course, the company you hire will take care of the rest, but there are a few extra things you can do in order to make the process easier and prevent any unpleasant surprises.
Here are some tips you can also benefit from:
Empty your car
It doesn’t matter if you have insurance that provides coverage for personal items left in your car, it is always best to remove your personal belongings from the interior of your vehicle, including the trunk. Very often items left in the car will add to the weight of the vehicle which will affect the price of service. So keep that in mind! Also, make sure not to leave any valuables or important documents in your car.
Become your own inspector
Any reliable and trustworthy company will inspect the car at the pickup and delivery location, but nevertheless, you should also inspect your car thoroughly before and after shipping.
You will be required to sign before- and after- inspection report, so make sure to check for and document any pre-existing damage.
Read the contract
I know what you may be thinking: Ain’t nobody got time for that! Well, you should make time and carefully read the agreement you are about to sign to familiarize yourself with the terms and make sure there will be no hidden fees or other unpleasant surprises. You can also ask someone you trust to read it with you so that you don’t miss any important information.
Ask about GPS tracking
Ask if the auto transporter you hire offers GPS tracking. Many companies do that to allow customers to track the exact location of their vehicle in real time.
Avoid paying the full amount upfront
It is always advisable not to pay the full amount of shipping cost until you make sure that the service you received satisfies you. This way you will also protect yourself from car shipping scams.
Did you find that review you read on TrustPilot helpful? Did that customer’s feedback on Google Reviews help you make a right decision? Well, it might be your turn now to return the favor and help someone find a reliable auto shipper. Whether it is a positive or negative, it is still a feedback, and it is going to help more people than you think. But If a company went over and beyond your expectations, take some time to create a feedback, make it public. People that made car shipping happen for you will also be grateful to read your review, and it is going to motivate them to improve their services even further.
Read our reviews online to see why customers love us. Our approach is simple – affordable rates and personalized attention. Have questions? Call us and our experienced agents will be happy to tell you everything you need to know about car shipping. Thank you!