Whether you are relocating, selling, or buying a car, hiring an auto transport provider to move your vehicle to its ultimate destination will probably be the wisest of options. The standard procedure of finding the right auto transport provider involves firing up a search engine, finding reputable companies near you, checking for reviews online, and contacting them. With the numerous options on the market, some vehicle owners may be wondering how to narrow down their list of prospective candidates to the best auto transport company.
To ensure you partner with a reputable auto transportation service who prioritizes high-quality customer service, you’ll need to refer to this compiled list of questions. By asking your prospective auto transport provider these questions before hiring, you can adequately screen and weed out less qualified shipping providers.
Are you an auto transport company, broker, or carrier?
It’s vital to ask this question first as a means of communicating your specific shipping needs. Carriers own delivery containers and trucks that are mandated with transporting cars. Carriers prioritize shipments, while brokers trace carriers, arrange shipments, and prioritize client needs. Auto transport providers provide comprehensive car shipping services from the initial point-of-contact. As part of their job description, these representatives will create quotes for clients, pick-up the vehicle, and deliver it to its final destination.
If you have a specific preference for brokers over carriers, this question can rule out any providers that don’t meet your criteria. If time is of the essence, don’t waste time interviewing carriers if you’re dead-set on a broker.
Are you licensed?
Licensing reassures a client that they’re dealing with a trustworthy company. Inquire if the company has valid and up-to-date licensing papers that confirm they’re authorized to move cars from one place to another. Valid licensure also indicates that your prospective auto transport provider values professionalism.
What kind of services do you offer?
Apart from understanding how the auto transport provider ships your vehicles, you might want to dig deeper into details about specific services offered. For instance, some companies provide enclosed trailer shipping options alongside open-air trailer shipping at different rates. Others will provide multi-auto shipping and single-vehicle shipping options. Familiarize yourself with your options once you’ve chosen a dealer.
Are you insured?
When you hire an auto transportation company, you’re giving your trust to a company to deliver your vehicle safely to its intended destination. What safety measures have the company put in place to ensure your vehicle is safe during the transition? Here’s where insurance comes in. Does the company you chose value its customer’s peace of mind? Before shipment, contact your shipping provider to verify that their baseline insurance coverage is valid and comprehensive. If not, pay to upgrade the level of insurance coverage.
What kind of paperwork must I fill out before shipping my vehicle?
While this requirement may vary from company to company, they may ask you to sign contract papers, submit your photo ID, and provide your insurance and registration papers before assigning you a driver. For security purposes, the company needs some proof of ownership of the vehicle to ship your car safely.
What are your rates?
Auto transport rates vary depending on a few factors, such as distance covered to ship the car, type of service preferred, size and weight of the vehicle, and extra insurance charges. Depending on your needs and preferences, most companies will be happy to give you a free quote you can use to compare affordability.
Don’t act impulsively and hire the first shipping provider you contact. Compare quotes from various companies to make the most cost-efficient decision. Pinning shipping providers against one another can also help you spot hidden charges that aren’t standard with auto transportation.
How do I pay for the services?
Most reputable auto transport providers will either ask for some down payment or will request the full amount once the carrier delivers the vehicle to its final destination. If the provider asks for full payment upfront, that’s a clear red flag, which should urge you to look elsewhere. Most companies accept cash and credit cards.
How long will it take for you to deliver my vehicle?
Given your deadlines, level of urgency, budgets, and schedule, the company should give you several delivery options. The faster the shipping speed, the higher you expect the total cost to be. The company representative should walk you through all possibilities and estimated durations of the delivery process.
A poorly-reviewed shipping provider will blindside its customers with delays, while an experienced auto transport company will communicate with their client from start to finish. Generally speaking, these estimated delivery times will depend on factors such as distance and availability of transport vehicles, such as trailers. For instance, coast-to-coast trips might take up to two weeks to complete, while shorter distances take fewer days.
Do I need to prepare my car for shipping?
Typically, most auto transport companies require clients to prepare their vehicles in particular ways before shipping. These preparation steps make shipping easier, prevent surcharges for surplus weight, and reduce the chances of property loss and damage during the shipping process.
To prepare your vehicle for shipping, you’ll need to clean your car thoroughly, fuel the car to no more than a quarter of a tank of gas, and remove all personal items from the vehicle.
Asking these questions discussed above will give you a better understanding of the providers’ core values, customer satisfaction policies, and their commitments to transparency. Take the time to revise these questions in preparation for your appointment with the auto transport provider. With a complete line of questioning, you can put yourself at ease before your car arrives at your final destination.