Choosing Car Moving Company
Car Moving, also known as Car/Vehicle Relocation, Car/Auto Shipping or Car/Auto Transporting – is a multi-billion dollar business in the USA with thousands of service providers coast-to-coast. Unfortunately this business domain has a historically unfavorable reputation and is a subject of never ending complaints from fellow countrymen.
The goal of our step-by-step guide below is to help you to choose a trusted, dependable car relocation company that is best for you. Learn how to recognize and eliminate scam, what to ask and how to negotiate an offer. Know how to compare competing auto movers and how to make your final choice. Don’t gamble – get prepared and ship your vehicle in a safely and timely manner.
Research Car Moving Companies First.
Use a proxy web site which you trust and get side-by-side quotes from 10 – 15 car shipping companies directly. Research these companies thoroughly. Check their consumer reports and business reviews on the web:
- transportreviews.com complaintnow.com/Auto-Transportation-Complaints
Once you get a list of 10-15 pre-selected candidates check their BBB (Better Business Bureau) or D & B (Dun & Bradstreet) rating. Don’t go below an A grade unless you know what you are doing – otherwise you might have potential problems with these companies down the road.
Shop For the Best Quality – Not For the Lowest Price.
Don’t pick a company just because they offer you the lowest price. Many auto movers bid initially low to get you committed and then will increase their invoice price dramatically. Other group of companies – auto shipping brokers – often bid low just to earn your business and then hopelessly try to match their low bid to real car moving company to transport your car. This often doesn’t work. Some auto brokers still will be able to “find” a cheap mover for your car but that mover will likely be uninsured and not licensed (this is what makes them cheap after all). So if you feel that the offer is too good to be true – it likely is.
From that prospective mid-priced companies are typically the most trustworthy and hence – deserve the closest attention in your search.
Make Sure That a Company Of Your Choice Is Licensed, Bonded And Insured.
US DOT (US Department of Transportation) requires all auto moving companies be licensed, insured and bonded. If you work with auto brokers make sure that your eventual car transporting company meets all the above mentioned requirements. Make sure to check the mover’s web site – they have to have their USDOT licenses posted on their home page. Companies with AFTA Plan Authorized Agent car shipping insurance badge deserve additional credits and trust. AFTA is a gap insurance which helps to cover what is not covered otherwise. Accidents happen, your car might be damaged or even totaled during relocation – don’t gamble with it, let insurance pay for car damage or car loss.
Decide For Yourself If You Need Open Or Enclosed Carrier.
Enclosed carriers provide better safety for your car but they are about 50% more expensive than conventional open carriers. Most cars get safely transported in open carriers nowadays. So if you are not moving any new, over-expensive vehicle or a classic car with a sentimental value for you then companies with open carrier fleet should work well.
Ask If They Use Auto Terminals.
Vehicle relocation companies which use terminals need to gather a full load of cars going from one location to another. It may take several weeks before they could gather enough load to fill a full truck. Avoid these companies if you need a prompt shipping. However, if time isn’t a main concern for you – terminal companies will provide a much cheaper solution for your car relocation needs.
Ask for Written Contract before Signing Anything.
Any assurances made by the auto mover verbally are worthless. Ask for a written copy of your contract and carefully read it end-to-end before signing the deal. Pay special attention to the fine print – never forget that the devil is hidden in the details. Understand your options and plan accordingly.
Check for Cancellation Fees.
Make sure that your car mover has acceptable cancellation policies – your moving plans may suddenly change and you don’t want to be harshly penalized for things which are not under your control.