Tips for Shipping a Car During Peak Season
Here are our best tips for making the most of your next big move or vehicle shipment, during peak season or any other time of the year:
Get Quotes From Multiple Companies
This goes for both auto transport and moving. Remember that some movers and car shipping brokers will match prices from competitors.
We recommend getting quotes from at least three movers before hiring a company. For local moves, an estimator can conduct an in-person inspection to give you the most accurate quote. If you’re making a long-distance move, you’ll need to tell the estimator what items will be moving and an approximate total weight.
We suggest gathering car shipping quotes online as the first step in your vehicle transport journey. You’ll likely need the following information to receive an accurate free quote:
- Vehicle make, model and age
- Condition of vehicle and whether it is operable
- Pick-up date and delivery timeframe
- Pick-up and delivery locations
- Your contact information
You’ll also need to indicate your preferred transport type. This means choosing between an open-air carrier or the added protection — and expense — of an enclosed trailer. You’ll also need to select either door-to-door transport, which involves pick-up and delivery as close to specific addresses as possible, or terminal-to-terminal shipping. Using centralized shipping terminals for your auto transport is the more affordable option, but it requires some extra driving on your part.
Book in Advance
This is another tip that works equally well for moving and car shipping.
During peak moving season, you’ll want to lock down your preferred moving company as soon as possible. Booking a mover in advance is also the best way to ensure you get a move date that works for you.
We asked Sean Donnelly, content producer at House Method, about the importance of booking a moving company in advance. “The most important thing clients should do to ensure a smooth move is begin their preparations early,” says Donnelly, who has professional and personal expertise in the moving industry.
“Researching — and downsizing, if necessary — should begin around eight weeks before the planned move date. Packing should begin between six to eight weeks before the move. Aim to have a move booked, with the moving contract signed, at least a month in advance.”
If you book your auto shipment two weeks in advance, you give car carriers more time to bid on your job. This makes it easier for your shipping broker to find the best price. “Planning ahead of time and not rushing the process has a significant impact on the price,” says Sam Ismailzada, CEO of auto shipping company AmeriFreight.
“As it is true with most things, it will cost way more if a customer has to ship a vehicle within a set time frame with not much of a lead time. Typically, about one to two weeks of lead time is more than enough in most cases.” – AmeriFreight CEO Sam Ismailzada
Ask About Discounts
Especially during the peak moving and car shipping season, it’s a good idea to inquire about discounts a company might offer. You might be able to find lower prices if you’re a federal employee, college student, or if you’ve served in the military. Some auto transport industry companies also offer discounted rates for paying in cash or making the full payment up front.
If you’re an AAA member, you could be eligible for a host of discounts on car and truck rental, junk removal, and storage facilities.
The Cheapest Choice Isn’t Always the Best Option
Although low rates are definitely desirable, they shouldn’t come at the expense of high-quality service. Be sure any auto transport company or mover you consider has a documented track record of safety and good customer service. Don’t forget to ask about insurance policies before you entrust your move or vehicle shipment to any company.
“Take the time and research the company you pick to ship your car,” Ismailzada recommends. “Do not go for the cheapest option or a company who only tells you what you want to hear. Go with a company who transparently explains the whole process and tells you what you can do, what you cannot do and the why behind it.”