What is Auto Transport and Why is it Important?

Auto Transport: What is it and Why is it Essential?

Auto transport, otherwise known as car or vehicle shipping, is a service that helps people (dealers, relocating individuals) move vehicles from a pickup point to a destination point in a car transporter’s truck.

How does it work?

Vehicle shipping begins with the individual who needs their vehicle moved reaching out to car transport companies to get a price quote for their specific vehicle move. Individuals can either contact automotive transportation companies directly or go through a broker. Either way, getting multiple custom price quotes is advisable so that the individual can get a good idea of a fair price. 

Once the individual has selected a company to go with, they can proceed with booking their vehicle shipment. They will provide the transport company with information like the make and model of their vehicle, the type of transport they would like, the date or range of dates when they would like their vehicle to arrive, and the pickup point, and the drop-off point for their vehicle. From there, the auto transport company will ensure a transporter gets the customer’s vehicle as close as possible to its destination point within the timeframe specified.  

Types of transport

There are two main types of vehicle transport, open and enclosed transport.

Open transport, per its name, exposes the vehicle to the weather in an open flatbed or tow trailer. Open transport is the most common type of transport and is suitable for a wide variety of vehicles, depending on the comfort of the owner. 

Enclosed transport is less common and more expensive than open transport. With enclosed transport, the vehicle will be transported in a closed trailer or container to protect against weather conditions and roadside debris. Enclosed transport may be best for luxury vehicles, classic models, or new cars due to its added level of protection. However, it can be used for any car if the vehicle owner so desires.

Within these transport categories, there are a variety of transport equipment options available such as containers, multi-level trailers, single-level trailers, and tow trailers. Tow trailers and containers hold a max of only two cars. However, tow trailers are less expensive because they are an open-transport option, as opposed to containers being enclosed transport. Single-level and multi-level trailers are also open transport options that can accommodate larger numbers of cars. Multi-level trailers hold double the number of cars than single-level trailers. Individuals can also sometimes request driver delivery. This involves hiring a driver to drive their vehicle to its destination to cut down on personal driving time.

Why is auto transport important?

Auto transport is a key and often overlooked aspect of the automotive industry. Yet, when considering the automotive market, automotive logistics and transport is a process that drives the system and allows it to remain profitable for the involved parties.

Think about it. Auto transport is the final step in getting vehicles off of car dealer’s lots so that new models can come in. Auto transport is also how auto haulers ensure their livelihoods and how retail consumers can receive their desired vehicles, no matter the geographic location. 

Sometimes an individual’s dream car may not be in the dealership lot they visit or even in the same state. Auto transport makes it possible for consumers to have the car of their dreams despite geographic obstacles. Buying a car in another state can even save individuals money (even with transport costs factored in) if the car market in the state where the vehicle is located is cheaper than in the individual’s state of residency.

Especially now, during COVID times, auto transport has become all the more essential. Car buying and selling have increasingly shifted to digital due to pushes to make our lives safer and more COVID protocol compliant. An example would be the rising popularity of companies like Carvana, especially during the pandemic.

The future of auto transport

Many people today feel safer when day to day procedures are contactless. With Autosled, automotive transport is completely digital to keep all parties involved safe. Want to take the hassle out of vehicle transport? Looking to avoid broker fees? Autosled is free and easy to use for dealers, transporters, and individual consumers. We offer both an app and a desktop interface for our user’s convenience.

Automotive transport may very well be the future of the automotive industry. Understanding how to transport vehicles seamlessly can only serve to benefit everyone from brokers to consumers to dealers and transporters.

How to Ship a Car for Cheap

Tips on Shipping Your Vehicle for Less

Getting your vehicle from point A to point B can be an ordeal. Looking to find a cheap, but also a reliable transport option? Read on to learn all the factors that go into how to ship a car without breaking the bank.

Vehicle transport prices fluctuate widely and are unique to every individual shipment. The average cost to ship a car across the country ranges from $700 to $900. However, the actual cost will depend on a variety of factors such as the distance between the pickup and destination points, the time of year you are shipping, the type of shipping, the size of the vehicle, and the vehicle make and model.

Compare Prices and Get Multiple Quotes

One of the best ways to ensure you get a low price on your vehicle shipment is to do your research and get individual quotes from a variety of companies. Requesting quotes from 3 to 5 companies should be sufficient to give you an idea of what a fair price would look like for your specific vehicle transportation. 

Be wary of companies with super high or super low prices. Rock bottom prices may indicate low-quality transport or could simply be too good to be true. On the other hand, disproportionately expensive prices may signal that the company overcharges unsuspecting consumers. 

The price that is initially quoted is not always the final price. Make sure before you book that there are no hidden fees or upcharges on the horizon. 

Book Early

Often, starting the process of booking your shipment around 2 weeks before you need your vehicle shipped will work in your favor. If you need your car shipped ASAP, you may be forced to settle for a higher price out of necessity. The more time you have before you need your vehicle transported, the more time you are giving yourself to find the best possible deal. Planning ahead may even save you hundreds of dollars in comparison to a rushed transport booking.

Use Open Transport

Although not ideal for every vehicle, open transport is a great shipping option to ensure you save money. Open transport refers to automotive shipping where vehicles are shipped on semi-trailers. It is the most widely offered and common type of vehicle transport. Plus, it is often hundreds of dollars cheaper than enclosed transport (where vehicles are shipped in smaller quantities in an enclosed truck.) 

Open transport is well suited for used cars and standard models but can be used for any type of vehicle according to its owner’s comfort. Unless you have a luxury or classic vehicle that you feel requires additional protection, open transport will serve you well and reduce the transportation price tag. 

Ship During Off-Season

Peak vehicle shipping season falls in the summer months of June through August. Sometimes peak season even continues through October. College students are heading back to school, families are relocating, and the weather is warm. Due to high demand during these times, prices are much higher. The same can be said for the weeks surrounding major holidays like Christmas. 

When it comes to quiet, off-season months, January through March are your best bets. February, in particular, is a great month for low demand and low transport prices. If you have the flexibility to schedule your shipment during an off-season month, your wallet will thank you.

Be Flexible with Pickup and Dropoff Locations

The lure of door-to-door shipping is strong. However, if you are looking for the cheapest transport option, driving a little bit out of your way will drive down your vehicle transportation cost.

If your pickup or dropoff locations are remote or difficult to access, you will have to pay a premium to ship your car there. However, if you are willing to drive to more convenient locations for your transporter (locations off of major highways or centrally located in cities) you can save a great deal of money.

You also may want to consider terminal to terminal carrier options. Many carriers have terminal yards across the U.S. where vehicles can be shipped and temporarily stored. These terminal to terminal dropoff shipments are much less expensive than door-to-door shipping would be. 

Be Flexible with the Delivery Timeframe

When you have a tight schedule for vehicle delivery, you will almost always have to pay a higher price. The best way to save money on your shipment is to allow yourself plenty of time before you need your vehicle delivered. If you are willing to wait a few extra days to get your car, you can save a lot of money.

Eliminate the Broker

Finally, being your own broker, as opposed to hiring an auto transport broker cuts down on fees. This entails contacting transport companies yourself to get multiple quotes or using marketplaces like Autosled to self-dispatch your vehicle/s. In addition to compiling quotes, you will also have to research the companies to ensure they are licensed, insured, and reputable. It will also be your responsibility to coordinate pickup with dropoff locations.

All these steps can be a headache, but being your own broker will save you money if you are willing to put in the additional work. Luckily, Autosled’s app and our desktop interface makes being your own broker, getting quick price quotes, and staying in contact with your transporter easy. Contact Autosled today to learn more about our service and how to ship your car today.