Cheapest Way to Ship a Car – How to Find the Option That Works for You
Shipping your vehicle is a major endeavor. A lot can go wrong if you don’t work with a dependable company which can skyrocket the costs. You want to avoid this, so you might start wondering: “What is the cheapest way to ship a car?”
Cheap vehicle transport is ideal, but how cheap is “too cheap?” We’ll discuss the price of this service and recommend the best way to ship a car if you’re on a budget.
What Is the Cost of Shipping a Car?
When looking for the cheapest car shipping provider, you first need to know the average price of their services. The costs vary but expect to pay between $600 and $1,000 for relocating a four-door sedan. On the other hand, moving a truck, SUV, or small van costs between $800-$1,200.
These are just estimates, of course, and not precise figures. While you can roughly calculate the price of transporting your vehicle, the only way to get an exact number is to consider various factors. Here’s what the cost of relocating your car depends on:
Type, Size, and Weight of Vehicle
The make and model of your car can influence the price of your relocation. For example, moving an exotic car doesn’t cost the same as shipping a regular vehicle. Luxury models require special services and better protection, meaning you’ll need to pay more for transportation.
Additionally, vehicle shipping providers can only transport so many cars at a time. The larger your ride is, the more you’ll need to pay to get it hauled to its destination. That’s why relocating a sedan is more affordable than transporting an SUV or van.
Time of the Year
Moving and auto transport companies have a few things in common. One of them is that they charge more for their service when demand is the highest. The busiest times are normally summer and spring. Consequently, relocating your vehicle is more expensive during this period.
Your preferred type of transport is also essential. Since moving your vehicle by truck is the most basic method, you’ll need to choose between open and enclosed carriers. Enclosed providers are generally more expensive than open trailers.
This is a no-brainer. The greater the distance your provider needs to cover, the costlier is their shipping service. The reason is simple – fuel charges, labor expenses, and tools add up quickly when a carrier travels hundreds or thousands of miles. If the pick-up and delivery locations are relatively close, you shouldn’t have to pay the top price.
Insurance and Type of Service
Most carriers offer insurance for their service that covers any damage during the loading, relocation, and unloading. That said, you may want to buy an additional policy. Just make sure it offers more extensive coverage. Otherwise, you’ll waste your money.
The final factor that affects the shipping cost is the service you need. Since you’re looking for the cheapest auto shipping, you should avoid door-to-door providers. Having your vehicle delivered to your address is costlier than working with terminal-based companies. Also, you may need to pay more if the carrier has padded trailers or additional forms of protection.
How to Find the Cheapest Way to Ship Car to Another State or Country
The key to saving money when hauling your vehicle is to do proper research. You need to dig deep into many companies and inquire about their services. Hiring the first team you come across is ill-advised, as you haven’t compared it to any other offer.
The following tips will help you find the cheapest transport:
Obtain Multiple Quotes
You shop around whenever you want to buy an expensive product or service. You should do the same when recruiting the cheapest car shipping company. Whether you contact a transport broker or carriers directly, you should obtain at least 3-4 quotes. This tells you how much you can expect to pay for your relocation, which is essential when shipping on a budget.
Arrange Flexible Locations and Times
If your pick-up or delivery location is far away from interstates or major cities, the shipment will cost more. Besides contacting the cheapest car haulers, you can also lower the price by being flexible. In other words, consider driving your vehicle to a convenient location, where the carrier will pick it up. You can save a lot of money by driving your car to the meeting point.
You should also be flexible in terms of dates. If you request a pick-up or delivery on a specific date, you may need to pay extra. Giving the company more leeway lets you save more money because there’s no pressure to meet a strict deadline. To that end, tell your provider they can relocate your favorite toy whenever it works best while following general timelines.
Choose Open Transport Carriers to Ship Car for Cheap
Most auto shipping companies transport vehicles on open trailers. They’re more available than enclosed units, making them less expensive. In some cases, the price of hauling your ride on open trailers is 50% lower than enclosed transportation. The latter is a better option if you want to maximize protection for your car, but open carriers are better if your finances are limited.
Schedule Your Service in the Offseason
June and August are the two busiest months in the vehicle shipping industry. Conversely, the fewest customers schedule their relocation between December and February. If you need the cheapest way to transport a car, you should do it in the slower months. You’ll enjoy lower rates, and your ride may reach its destination sooner due to fewer stops.
Hire a Terminal-to-Terminal Carrier
Some providers have terminals throughout the USA, where cars are shipped to and from. These companies are known as terminal-to-terminal carriers. The locations are generally near large cities and main interstates. The rates are typically lower than door-to-door services because they don’t transport the vehicle directly to you. Instead, they relocate the ride to a terminal, allowing you to pick it up at your convenience.
The downside is that you may have a hard time finding a terminal-to-terminal carrier since there are few. Furthermore, the terminals might be too far away, so you might need to cover a vast distance to reach your pick-up or drop-off location. There might also be storage fees charged for leaving your vehicle in the company’s terminal for an extended period. Consider all these factors when looking for the cheapest auto transport.
Contact a Car Transport Broker
Vehicle transport brokers are the middle man between you and your carrier. They work with thousands of providers, so their network is much larger than yours. This can help them negotiate a better price.
Nonetheless, you’ll need to be extra careful when working with brokers. The quotes are sometimes too good to be true, so never take their word for it. Upon receiving an offer from your broker, verify that the quote is real by contacting the carrier.
You should also be wary of bargain deals. You’re transporting on a budget, but you shouldn’t always accept the cheapest offers. This is because the most affordable providers are sometimes less reputable than standard carriers.
Reach Out to Tow Truck Companies
If you can’t find the cheapest car shipping company, you might want to look for an alternative. Tow truck providers can be a great option, but only if you want to move your vehicle 200-300 miles from your location. Most companies don’t go farther than that.
This method is relatively affordable, but it costs more than standard services. Towing providers rarely cover more than 100 miles in one go because fuel consumption and other expenses are much higher in this case.
What About Towing the Vehicle Yourself?
Towing your car yourself is a cheap option, but it’s not as affordable as you might think. In fact, you may not save any money in some situations.
Suppose you bought a car in a different state. If so, you’d need to make the trip before you can take the vehicle home. This requires you to drive to another state or schedule an airfare service. Other costs include car maintenance, lodging, and food. On top of that, shipping a car on your own is time-consuming. You can avoid some of the stress of driving by traveling with another person who can share the driving, but the gas expenses might still be exorbitant.
Organizing such a move can also be a challenge with this method. If you’re driving to pick up your vehicle, you’ll need to rent a trailer or dolly to bring your car home. Finding a provider who will let you operate the unit on your own can take a lot of time and involve being properly insured. Moreover, not all rides can be towed with a dolly, such as large SUVs. Transporting them requires flatbed trailers or other high-capacity platforms.
Depending on the strategy, the cost of towing your car yourself varies. It can generally set you back more than $1,500 if the vehicle is over 1,000 miles away. Time loss is also significant.
Book Your Service Early
Working on a tight schedule doesn’t help you find cheap vehicle transport. Companies have less time for bidding, so you’re more likely to accept a high offer.
By contrast, starting your search early increases the odds of getting a low offer. For instance, one carrier may submit a $1,200 bid one day, whereas another one bids $1,000 the next day. The longer they compete against each other, the less likely you are to overpay your transport.
The advantages of scheduling early may only apply up to two weeks before your relocation. So, plan ahead, but there’s no rush to do so six months ahead of the move.
Transport Cars Cheap by Asking About Any Discounts
Most vehicle transportation companies provide a wide range of discounts. If you’re lucky, you can get 20% or 30% off your price to make the move more manageable. Check with several providers beforehand to determine if you’re eligible for these savings:
- Car fleets – Taxi companies and similar businesses have a fleet of cars. If you’re one of them, you might qualify for a discount for hauling your vehicles in bulk. However, the offer may not be advertised in brochures or online, so ask a representative about it.
- Student discounts – Some carriers offer lower prices during the fall and summer for students moving to and from their colleges.
- Military discounts – Military personnel frequently move and live in numerous locations worldwide. Many companies show their appreciation for their service with hefty discounts.
- Senior discounts – Senior citizens are eligible for numerous discounts since they live on tight budgets. Auto shipping companies allow them to transport their vehicles more easily with discounts.
- First-time customers and responders – A company might be willing to knock a few hundred dollars off your price if you’re working with them for the first time. They may do the same if you’re the first responder to their offer.
- Return clients – Most carriers appreciate customer loyalty. As a result, you may qualify for a discount if you ship your vehicle with them multiple times.
- Early bird discounts – Whenever you ask a company for a quote, don’t wait too long if it’s reasonable. Accepting it within 24/48 hours may give you a considerable discount.
- Multi-car shipments – As with car fleets, you can get a lower price if you’re transporting several vehicles in one go.
Contact a Professional for the Cheapest Way to Ship Car to Another State
Having your car transported by a licensed shipping company is the best way to ship your car for cheap. Driving the vehicle wastes gas, and there’s no telling how much damage you and your car can suffer if you get tired behind the steering wheel. Therefore, work with a dependable company, and your budget won’t be dented.
If you need a specific kind of vehicle relocation, such as luxury car shipping, get in touch with Exotic Car Transport today. We can move your prized possession safely while following the requested deadline. Get a quote on our website or give us a call at (888) 230-9877. We offer top-quality services for a reasonable price.