No matter what you’re in the process of doing, most of us always search for cheap alternative ways to get things done. After all, if tasks can be done for cheaper, then why pay a hefty amount for it to be done, right? But, the problem arises when you have tasks to do that are expensive, no matter where you look.
Shipping your car is one of those tasks. If you’re looking for auto transport companies to move it for you, you’re sure to come across a hefty bill. But, while you pay a hefty amount, you also get top-notch, stress-free services. So where do you make the compromise?
Before we get into that, let’s first take a look at the first question that might have popped into your mind if you’ve just started out with research.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car?
You’ll soon realize that what your friend paid for the same type of auto transport might be miles away from the quote you receive. You’re not being deceived though! Prices in the auto transport industry are highly susceptible to change because of a number of factors, and remember that they’re the highest during peak season. To give you an idea of these in brief, they include:
- Time of the year
- Size, condition and make of the car
- Distance of the transit
- Route taken
- Type of service (open or enclosed transport)
- Additional Insurance coverage
When it comes to costs, you can expect to spend anywhere between $700 to $1,300 on shipping a car. Remember though that on an average, if your transit will fall between 500 to 1000 miles, then you’ll usually have to pay $1 per mile. But, if you have to ship for a longer distance that goes beyond 1,500 miles, this cost comes down to 60 cents per mile!
Whatever the average costs, don’t forget that it all primarily depends on what the time of the year is and how you decide to actually ship your car, be it via a shipping company or via rail. But, booking shipping companies to ship your car can poke a hole through your pockets. So, let’s address the question that we’re all here for.
What’s The Cheapest Way To Ship My Car?
There are multiple avenues that you can use to budget and get your car shipping for cheaper. Let’s look at some of these alternatives.
1. Do It Yourself
Obvious right? Even then, we all know how cost-effective it can prove to be to drive cross country rather than paying a third party to do it for us. Even though the process might seem tedious, it’s the best route you can take if you’ve already stretched your pockets thin. Driving also has its own costs though, which include gas, lodging for you, goods and additional vehicle maintenance costs that might add up on the way.
If you’re picking a car up from somewhere and you drove to that place in another car; you’ll need a dolly or a flatbed car trailer to get the car back home. If you consider the costs, try to budget for anywhere between $500 to $1,200 for the endeavor, and don’t forget that in this case, the longer you travel, the more you’ll have to pay!
Tip: If you decide to drive your car yourself and you have some time on your hands, make the most of the journey by taking a road trip! America’s landscapes are magnificent and you’re spending on food and gas anyway, so might as well get some good pictures for Facebook too!
2. Ship By Rail
If your car has to be shipped cross country and you don’t really have the time to drive it yourself, shipping it via rail might be your best bet. Prices to ship via rail also largely depend on factors like the distance and service you choose to go with. With rail shipping, you can even get your car picked and dropped off which is also called door-to-door shipping. While this might cost a few additional bucks, it’s well worth the price.
See also: How to Transport Car Cross Country
There’s another plus to shipping your car by rail – you get enclosed transport. In the auto shipping industry, enclosed transport can get expensive, but it also does the work of keeping your car safe from external irritants and damage. When you choose to ship via rail, your car is protected from these factors and it reaches the destination on time as well!
When it comes to costs, the more the distance, the more it’ll cost you. You might be aware by now that Amtrak has its own auto train where you sit in the passenger coach while your car gets loaded onto the train. Here, you’re expected to pay for your own ticket and the car which can cost around $480 in total! Cheap right? The price can increase or decrease depending on the type of passenger ticket you choose, for example, coach class costs $89, whereas first class costs $280.
Things to keep in mind while shipping by rail:
- With Amtrak, it is necessary that you stay close to the hubs where the cars are loaded to be able to ship the car through their auto train. These are Lorton, VA and Sanford, FL, so, if you live far away, there’s no point in driving to these hubs to ship your car.
- If you choose door-to-door transport as an option through any other rail service, you must remember that when these cars are docked at depots, they can be vandalized, which is unlikely but plausible.
- Booking to ship your car via rail can also take the opposite direction where your car might take too much time to reach you. Wondering why? The reason is simple – most car dealerships transport these cars in batches, so finding a date to ship and drop off that suits you and the people at the dealership can become tricky.
3. Hire A Driver
Another option you could consider to get your car to its location without emptying your pockets is hiring a driver also called a Driveaway service. While you might think of this as a risky business, after all, cars are expensive and you don’t want someone running off with it, we assure you that it’s a safe option.
Many companies offer drivers to drive your car cross country who pickup and drop off your car safely and efficiently. Not only do reputed companies require that their drivers be screened and provide adequate references. So, with those mechanisms in place, you know that the driver is reliable and you can relax and hand your car over.
One of the best parts of hiring a driver to take your car to its destination is that your car’s mileage will increase, which is always a good thing. While you will be responsible for paying for the gas and maybe the food, average costs don’t go very high. You can also store personal items in your car which you aren’t allowed to do when you ship your car via a shipping company.
4. Use Open Transport
If the alternatives we’ve provided aren’t for you, then it’s best to book a shipping company to transport your car. While we go on about how expensive shipping your car through an auto transport company can be, by choosing open transport, you can actually save hundreds of dollars if not more.
Let’s break this down for you. When you ship your car through enclosed transport, even though your car stays safe from damages, not many can be loaded into these enclosed containers at a time. On the other hand, open transport proves to be more cost-effective than enclosed transport because 3 to 8 cars are loaded onto an open carrier at a time. Since both space and time get utilized to the optimum level, it goes without saying that shipping companies charge you less for this service.
To put the cost part into perspective, you might have to pay $610 on an average for your car to travel 150 miles in an enclosed carrier. But, with open transport, this cost falls dramatically to just $380. Exciting right?
But, even with this knowledge, there are so many companies in the country that offer open transport at competitive prices. So, how do you choose one that offers high-quality services while also turning out to be cheaper than most others? Not to fret though, because we’re here to save the day and we’ve got some money saving tips for you!
Scout For Multiple Quotes
Auto shipping companies provide quotes once you tell them the details of your car shipping needs. And like we mentioned before, these quotes are dependent on various factors. Even if the prices will be competitive, there are still some differences in the quotes different companies give, so try to get as many as you can from the auto shipping companies you call.
You can also get instant quotes via mail and instant calculators that many auto shipping companies have on their websites. Remember though that on numerous occasions, the estimates that online instant calculators give and what you receive as a final quote in the mail have been drastically different. So, it’s best to enquire via call so that you can also verify and confirm any doubts you have.
Do Everything In Advance
This statement applies to every area of our lives and when it comes to reducing costs, getting things organized and done in advance can save a good amount of cash. While it’s key that you start your research fast and start getting quotes, there’s another thing you need to be quick with – making reservations.
While prices keep fluctuating, the earlier you book the better it is for auto shipping companies to give you the date and time you want to move on. Not only does preparing in advance help with this, but auto shipping carriers won’t offer lower bids for longer than two weeks. During these two weeks, some carriers might bid much lower than you’d expect, which is a perk that will disappear with time.
Look For Discounts And Unique Money Saving Services
While you might wonder about the credibility of companies that give large discounts, that’s not something you need to worry about in the auto shipping industry. Many companies in the industry have a wide variety of discounts depending on the type of client and the time of the year. While discounts for students and those in active military are frequent, you will find companies that offer discounts for others too.
Take AmeriFreight for example, a reputable auto shipping company that is known for its unique discounts and price matching policy. For example, if you book within 48 hours of receiving a quote, you can avail of its early bird offer and get a discount of at least $39! They also have special discounts for first responders and those of you who want to ship more than one vehicle among many others.
Bargain Auto Transport is another such auto shipping company that helps you save money. While it doesn’t have unique discounts, its system ensures that you make the most out of your buck. Let us explain, Bargain Auto Transport lets you as a client make a listing on their website after consultation with an agent about the price point. Once you choose a quote and a listing is made, carriers are chosen who agree to this price point. Not only does this save you money, but it also saves you the hassle of running background checks on these carriers who are all vetted by the company.
How Do I Prepare My Car For Shipping?
Before you ship your car, do the following things:
- Keep all your documents I order. This includes the necessary licenses and your vehicle insurance.
- Remove personal items if your shipping company does not allow them to be present in the car during transit.
- Remove any accessories that were bought after you purchased the car.
- Make a note of the condition of your car before you hand it over to a driver or an auto shipping company. This step is usually undertaken by them too, but in case they don’t, it’s your responsibility to do so.
- Take care of the necessary maintenance before your car is picked up. This step is crucial if you’re handing your car to a driveaway service, since you don’t want the driver to deal with car problems while he drives.
- Check that your engine, steering wheel and the door and window on the driver’s side of the car are functioning.
- If you’re shipping your car via an auto transport company, fill a quarter of your tank with gas unless you’re told not to do so.
Be it shipping your car via rail or driving it cross country yourself, what you choose is dependent on your own needs. So while the prospect of saving money can be appealing, in an attempt to do so, don’t compromise on factors that are important to you. We suggest you carefully look through the options we’ve provided to ship your car cheaply and make an informed decision based on your auto shipping needs.