Posted on 02/16/22

21 Questions To Ask An Auto Transport Company Before Shipping With Them

21 Questions To Ask An Auto Transport Company Before Shipping With Them

Many people mistakenly rely on online reviews to find the best auto transport company. While reading reviews online is an important step in the process, it is only one. To ensure that you are hiring the right auto transport company, contact them and ask them questions.

1) How much does shipping usually cost?

An open trailer is a vehicle that can transport a car of regular size from New York to San Francisco. It costs approximately $1,400 to $1.600.

There are many factors to take into consideration. Consider the distance your vehicle will be shipped, the date you need it to arrive, the season, and the car you plan on shipping.

If you give any car shipping agency some basic information, they should be capable of calculating a fairly accurate quote.

2) What services are you offering?

Ask if they offer the shipping option you require. If you want your classic car shipped in an enclosed container to prevent scratches and road debris, they should be able to accommodate that request.

If they offer only open-air transport, chances are they're much smaller than you'd like to deal with.

3) Do you have references I could talk to?

Reputable car shipping companies should be able provide references. They are likely to have poor customer relations.

The same applies to a candidate for a job if they can't give job references or personal references. This is a red flag for potential employers.

4) How do you accept payment?

An honest and reliable auto transport company will not require full payment before the car is delivered. While most companies will accept full payment prior to delivery, it is not a requirement. However, many companies will require a deposit or partial payment before shipping the vehicle.

5) Are you a broker or a carrier?

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), warns against trusting companies that aren't specific about their status as a transporter or broker.

Brokers are often used in the car shipping industry. Brokers will take your order and select the best carrier to do the job efficiently and effectively, while only taking a small portion of the total cost. You might be wondering why brokers are necessary. It's simple: carriers don’t always have the time to find customers. A competitive broker can often help you get a great deal.

6) How long notice do you need for delivery?

Standard car shipping requires at least four to eight weeks' notice. You can order expedited or quicker services for an additional fee.

You should generally give your vehicle as much notice as you can before it is transported. This can help you save both time and money.

7) What is your USDOT or MC number?

You can access detailed information about a company by visiting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Website if you have a transporter's or broker's MC (motor carrier number) or USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation Number).

You can find the following information on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration site:

  • Unsafe driving information - You can find all the traffic violations committed by an auto transporter and receive an overall rating about their driving safety.
  • Vehicle maintenance You will find information regarding any vehicle violations committed by an auto transporter as well as an overall rating.
  • Driver fitness You will be able to read about any driver infractions, such as driving while a suspended license is on.
  • Crash indicator: This shows how many accidents an auto-transporter has had over the years.

8) can you send me a copy of ...?

Always request hard copies of any documentation you need during a transaction. By asking for hard copies of all documentation during your transaction, you can ensure that the terms of your shipment cannot be altered without your consent. This doesn't happen very often, but asking this question can help you eliminate the possibility.

You'll also need these documents if you or your carrier ever take legal action.

9) How does your customer service look?

This is a crucial question for valuing potential auto shipping companies. Avoid that company if they can't answer the question confidently and easily.

You should be able to provide details about your customer service, such as the phone number and hours that customer service is available. Also, how customer service can assist you in an emergency.

10) Where is your business located?

This will allow you to determine if the company you are talking to is legitimate or someone who operates from a home. It is best to stay clear of any "companies" that operate out of a person's home.

11) Do your services include door-to-door shipping?

People choose to transport their cars because it's so much easier than driving. Door-to-door shipping allows you to pick up your car and have it delivered to your home.

If they do not offer door-to-door shipping, you will have to transport your vehicle to a central hub. They are usually located a few hours away. You will likely need door-to-door delivery.

12) Is it possible to leave personal items in the car while shipping?

This is something that most companies won't allow. Some companies will allow you to ship small quantities of personal items, provided that the weight is below 75 pounds and that the item's size does not exceed the window limit.

13) How do rates get set up?

When choosing an auto transport company, it is important to know how they calculate their rates. It should include detailed calculations of fuel cost, mileage, driver time, etc. It is important to make sure they don't just spit out numbers.

14) What options do you have for me to speed up the delivery of my car if I ship with your company?

You should be able to choose an auto transport company that offers expedited shipping/delivery. While these options may be more expensive, they are worth the extra effort if you're in a hurry.

15) Is it necessary to be present for my car's pickup or delivery?

It is important to find out if you are required to pick up or deliver the car. Most car shipping companies will allow anyone with a valid, unexpired license to pick up and/or deliver your vehicle.

The person responsible for signing the paperwork, giving keys to the driver, and witnessing the inspections that the driver makes will receive the keys. They will also need to verify that the driver has accurately recorded the damage on the bill.

Although most companies do not require that you be present, it is a good idea to be there. You can rest assured that pickup and delivery went according to plan.

16) What are the steps I need to take to get my car ready for shipping

Before your car is picked up by an auto transport company, you will need to complete a few tasks. You will need to clean the exterior and remove any valuables or personal items from the car. Also, make sure that the gas tank is at least 25% full.

This question will be answered differently by each company. It's important to ask the right question and be ready for your pickup.

17) What documents should I have in order to ship my car?

It will vary depending on the auto transport company that you choose. Move Car will only require a valid, unexpired license.

If you have any liens against your car, you should inform your auto transporter before you book your shipment. This could result in additional documentation.

18) Do your shipping options include top loads or enclosed auto transport?

Even if you aren't planning on using these options, this is an important question to ask. If they don't offer enclosed auto transport, it could be a new company or an individual who only owns one truck and is trying to appear larger.

Although brokers often book single carrier shipments, this is because they are familiar with the business. They are able to identify who to trust and whom to avoid. Based on key metrics, they can determine if a shipment's logistics will be handled by an individual carrier.

You would be guessing if you didn't know anything. When it comes to safe and timely transportation of your vehicle, you don't want that.

It is highly recommended that you only book your shipment through a broker who has access to many shipping routes, drivers, and options. You should also ensure that they have at least a few years of experience.

19) How accurate were your quotations?

This is an extremely important question. We recommend that you get someone to ship your car if the representative you are talking to is unable to answer this question. You should get a confident response from them that they can give you accurate quotes and may only differ slightly from the final shipping price.

Be wary of anyone who says "100% accurate", as that's not possible in the world of car shipping. Car shipping quotes include a variety of variables that are not predictable so it is erroneous for anyone to say they can predict the final price.

This question will help you avoid being swindled by a bogus auto transport company that will offer you a lower quote than any other. Once your car is picked up, they will ask for an exorbitant sum of money to continue shipping under a faulty or trumped-up guise.

20) How many years have you been in the business?

This information is crucial, as we mentioned earlier. You don't know what your company will do if it hasn't been around for at least a few decades. They might be honest, professional, and skilled at shipping cars. Scammers can also be involved. They may take your money and demand more money for the shipment.

As we mentioned, make sure you check both company references and online reviews via sites such as Google.

21) Why is your company the best option to ship my vehicle?

For the representative you are talking to, this should be an easy task. This doesn't only apply to car shipping.

Imagine you asked this question to a catering or landscaping company. They either couldn't answer it or gave you an incoherent answer that didn’t address your question. It's unlikely that you'd choose them.


With all the questions and answers, it's going to be a lengthy conversation. You might also consider the possibility of using multiple auto transport companies to transport your car. Each company will need to answer all these questions.

It is a good idea to take notes during calls. This will allow you to sit down and review the responses.

Although it might take you a while to go through everything, it will be well worth the effort. It will be a more informed decision than a largely blind one. When it comes to safety and the cost of hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, we doubt that you'd want to make the latter.