Are Cheap “Filling a Spot” Car Shipping Quotes a Real Thing?

“Can I ship my car cheaper by just filling a spot on someone else’s trailer?”

We hear that question all the time. And we wish we could say, “Sure!” But those cheap “filling a spot” shipping quotes you may see from other car transport companies from time to time just aren’t real. Here are the reasons why:

There’s a Truck Driver Shortage

The auto transport industry needs about 16,000 to 17,000 car carriers on the road every year to satisfy the demand of its customers — but not nearly that many trucks are available. The real issue? There aren’t enough truckers available to meet the demand. In fact, the industry is currently about 3,000 drivers short.

Most truckers are Baby Boomers, with an average age of 55, and they’re starting to retire. That’s not surprising, since all those hours on the road can lead to health problems, some of which become chronic over time, the more they keep driving.

Unfortunately, younger generations aren’t jumping to fill the gap. Driving a long-haul truck of any kind, including car carriers, requires drivers to spend weeks on the road away from home. They’re often sleep-deprived because of tight schedules, and spend days sleeping in the bunk over their cabs. Many younger people don’t seem to be interested in that kind of lifestyle.

As a result, drivers who are able to handle the complex job are in great demand, and sometimes car shipping companies just have to wait until they have someone they can put behind the wheel before a transport can get rolling.

Trucking Companies Book the Highest-Paying Freight First

It’s understandable why the tough lifestyle of being a trucker might lead to a certain level of job dissatisfaction, but you might expect that the pay would make up the difference. Unfortunately, truckers aren’t paid by the hour. Instead, they’re paid based on the flat rate the goods they’re shipping pay.   A car carrier may be hauling half a dozen cars, but think about all the space they take up. Driving a truck that’s filled with some other product is likely to pay better. In fact, you can see why truckers book the highest-value freight before cheaper freight.

In addition, the law limits the number of hours truckers can drive, for their own safety. As a result of all these factors, there simply aren’t enough drivers for all the cars waiting to be shipped — which means that “spot to be filled” just doesn’t exist.

So What Do Those Cheap Quotes Really Mean?

Have you been given a cheap quote to “fill a spot” from a car transport company? Take a second look for hidden fees or last-minute charges, and ask some probing questions to make sure the price you pay at the end of the journey isn’t far above the initial quote. (Remember, with reputable car shipping companies, you pay upon the delivery of your vehicle, not in advance.)    Some car shipping companies quote low to take your money up front, then never produce you a car transport,  so be careful of low quotes.    Never pay them a deposit.

If you’re looking for an accurate quote, give us a call. We’re always transparent with our pricing and our scheduling — and it’s time to book those wintertime shipping reservations now.