Transporting your car from one city or state to another can be a stressful process. Whether you’re moving your second vehicle to your new home or receiving a classic car you bought through an online auction, you want to make sure you contact only the best car transport companies on the market. Being unaware of the dos and don’ts of transporting your car can bring a lot of undue heartache and distress, especially when dealing with unscrupulous service providers. Here are some tips to keep in mind while sourcing your car transport needs.
- Identify Your Needs
If you just want to transport your vehicle in the shortest amount of time possible or if you simply want the job done right regardless of time constraints, identify the company that can best meet that need. Whatever you do, however, don’t make your decision solely based on a free price estimate. Many times, brokers will tell you what you want to hear in terms of price ranges in order to seal the deal, but beware that a drastically low price can be a sign of a scam. The best car transport companies don’t mislead you in any way.
- Consider What Type of Company You Need
Informing yourself of the types of car transport companies that are out there can help guide your search for the right provider. For example, do you know the difference between a car transport carrier and a car transport broker? The first refers to a company that actually owns the trailers that transport vehicles from point A to point B. The second is a company that acts as an intermediary between you and the actual shipper. It already has a list of providers it works with and can save you the trouble of having to call each carrier to find one that can fulfill an order according to your location and time specifications.
Be wary, however, of car transport carriers that give you free quotes and claim to offer nationwide services from any point to another. Typically, carriers do not have a network of employees and trucks large enough to provide interstate car transportation services across the country.
- Do Your Research
Ask friends and family for references of quality car transport companies they’ve worked with in the past. Search online for the best car transport companies, and do research on the names that appear. You can verify if a company has a track record of quality service by consulting www.transportreviews.com and www.transportreports.com. Also, you can look up the company on the Better Business Bureau site (www.bbb.org) to find its ratings. Lastly, you can obtain a company’s MC number—which all carriers and brokers need to operate across states—and search for it on the FMCSA website. Part of the Department of Transportation, this government body can give you information on the safety and insurance conditions the company is required to meet.
Whatever your final choice, make sure that the company is not only licensed—which means it has an MC number—, but also insured and bonded. Although brokers do not require cargo and liability insurance to operate, carriers do. So, if you’re hiring a broker, it should only work with insured carriers that can cover any damage that your car may incur in the process of being transported. In the case of hiring a broker, “bonded” means that it has fulfilled the FMCSA’s requirement of possessing a surety bond, which guarantees the carrier that it will be paid for the job it has completed.
- Be Cautious With Payment Details
The best car transport companies do not charge you a deposit. In order to save yourself from a potential scam or paying for a service that is not completely satisfactory, be sure not to pay the full contracted amount up front. Rather, pay only after you’re sure that your car is physically on a trailer and on its way to the destination. Don’t trust companies that ask you to wire transfer money up front. These are likely scams and should be avoided.
- Read Before You Sign Anything
As with any important transaction, read the fine print before you sign any document. The best car transport companies always outline their terms and conditions clearly in their contract. Don’t give anyone an order without a signed contract. You may regret it down the road if you are not aware of how they will process your move.