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Shipping Cars — How Does It Work?

The idea of shipping a car might feel a little counter intuitive, since a car itself is a method of transportation, but there are actually a wide range of situations that call for car shipping. If you feel that you’ve found yourself in one such situation, but you aren’t quite sure how to go about shipping your car, allow us to break it down for you.

Why Ship Your Car?

If you’re wondering whether anyone else has found themselves in your position and chosen to ship their car, the answer is almost certainly a resounding yes. Here are some of the most common reasons we see for car shipping:
  • Dealerships
You’ve no doubt passed semis on the interstate carrying trailers of cars stacked neatly on top of each other. Generally, this is because they’re new cars being transported to dealerships, and it’s one of the common reasons we perform car shipping.
  • Families Moving
Different forms of relocation account for a large part of the reason you might be considering shipping your car, especially if you’re moving with your entire family. Perhaps your spouse just got a new job in a city across the country, but it’s not realistic for you to pack up half of your family in two different cars and drive separately. That’s where we come in.
  • Buying and Selling Cars Online
From Craigslist to eBay and beyond, the Internet has opened up the world of car buying so your options are no longer limited to what’s outside your front door. Whether you searched for months to find the perfect car and it just so happened to be seven states away, or got an offer you couldn’t refuse from a buyer in another part of the country, shipping is the most efficient way to complete the transaction.
  • Military Relocation
Those serving our country don’t enjoy many of the same luxuries that the rest of us do. Namely, they might find out with just days’ notice that they’ll be transferring to a new base on the opposite side of the country (or even the world). Obviously, driving their own cars to a new destination or somewhere for safekeeping isn’t an option, so shipping them is the next best thing.
  • Car Shows
If you’re involved in the glamorous world of car shows, the last thing you want to do is rack up extra miles on your showpiece, and subject it to the potential of damage on the road. Instead, shipping your car to its next show ensures that it’ll arrive exactly as you remember it.

How Do You Get Started?

If you’ve settled on the fact that shipping your car is the best option for your situation, you’re probably wondering where you go from here. It’s a good idea to start by thinking about what’s important to you, and setting realistic expectations. For example, are you looking to save as much money as possible, or are you willing to pay a higher price for a more reputable company? Will you be shipping your car just a few states away, or is it a cross-country trip? Are you interested in door-to-door shipping, or are you willing to pick the car up from another point in order to keep costs down? Answering these questions before you begin reaching out to transport companies will give you a better idea of how to handle the process. Once you’re ready, compile a list of companies with which you’re interested in working, and begin asking for quotes.

How Can You Choose The Best Transport Company?

The problem with shipping cars is that many auto transport companies will offer an unrealistically low price only to slap on additional fees later in the process, or fail to perform the shipping as advertised. In turn, you want to be quite cautious when approaching a transport company. To start, look for a company that has a proven record of success. The easiest way to do this is to complete a little bit of online research, looking for reviews from past clients. A truly reputable company will likely have a reviews and testimonials section available for you to look at. You should also try to work with a company that offers a free quote. It costs very little for a transport company to compile a basic quote (much of this is simple math), and so a company that charges you for this service will likely charge you for other services unnecessarily, too. It’s never a bad idea to get multiple quotes—in fact, we encourage you to shop around before making your decision for two reasons. Getting a number of quotes will give you an idea of a reasonable price range, and it will allow you to see whether a certain company is charging exceptionally high or exceptionally low prices. Be wary of bids that veer far outside of the normal territory. Unless a company is offering some sort of space aged teleportation service, they shouldn’t be charging significantly more than any other transport company. Likewise, an abnormally low quote usually signifies a company that will charge more surprise fees at the end. Depending on whether or not door-to-door shipping is important for you, it might be a good idea to look for a company that offers an alternative shipping method at a lower price. For example, our customers have the option of picking up their cars from one of our depots for a lower price as opposed to having it shipped right to their door.

What Happens After You Book?

Once you’ve chosen the company you want to work with, the hard part is done. At least, so long as you’ve chosen a reputable company, it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out. You’ll need to set up a schedule with your transport company so you know when to drop off your car, and when you can expect it to arrive. Generally, these are things you’ll have discussed when you received a quote. When working with Cross Country Car Shipping, we can accommodate your schedule, so you can simply drop the car off at one of our terminals and pick it up at the destination, or opt for door-to-door shipping for a truly stress-free shipping process. In this case, we’ll pick up the car from you directly, then it’s out of your hair. Either way, there’s not much you need to do beyond making sure that your car gets into the hands of your transport company. Then you can just sit back, relax, and wait for it to arrive at its destination.

What Happens When Your Car Arrives?

Depending on why you’ve chosen to ship your car and which method of shipping you’ve selected, the pick up process can go a couple of different ways. If you’re shipping the car to someone else, you’ll want to make sure the company has their name so they can retrieve it from the depot. This is a simple detail to discuss with your transport company from the beginning. On the other hand, if you’re moving to a new home and chose door-to-door shipping, getting your car back will be as simple as loading it up: you’ll simply wait for it to arrive, then enjoy it once it gets there. When your family is stressed from the moving process already, this can be a serious weight off of your shoulders. Since there are so many different ways that the shipping process can go, make sure you work with a company who’s willing to walk you through the specifics of your shipping until you’re comfortable with all of the details. Make sure you keep all of the scheduling information in a file so the specifics don’t get lost in the shuffle and you can call on them whenever necessary.

How to Get A Quote

Now that you know how the process of shipping a car works, hopefully, you’re feeling more comfortable than ever with the idea of shipping your own. When it comes to Cross Country Car Shipping, getting a quote couldn’t be easier. Simply fill out our online form for a fast and free domestic quote, or give us a call at (888)-230-9834 to talk through the specifics of your car shipping needs. Wading through the world of auto transport can feel messy, but it doesn’t have to be. When you choose to work with Cross Country Car Shipping, you’ll receive high quality service at a price so affordable that you’ll wonder why you’ve never done this before.