A Guide For Winter Car Shipping Services
The auto transport business is seasonal, just like football and flowers. It doesn't necessarily mean it ends in the fall but resumes in spring. No, it is a year-round business. However, when we refer to the industry as seasonal, that means it has peak and non-peak periods. These on-and-off periods tend to be seasonal in nature.
Summer is, for example, the busiest season in the industry. There are more people shipping their cars, so there's more freight. Winter is exactly the opposite: it's the slowest season of the year.
This can have a significant impact on many aspects of the industry, including availability and accessibility as well as prices. It is important to understand the differences between winter and summer shipping, and how you can prepare accordingly. We've put together a quick guide to help you understand winter car shipping.
A guide to winter car shipping
As we mentioned, the car transport industry is experiencing a lot more change as winter turns to summer. First, there is less freight, which means that there are fewer people shipping cars. This is generally good news for prices as carriers are forced to take what they can. Prices drop during winter, and then rise in spring and summer.
It is important to realize how large a difference there is between summer and winter seasons. Let's take an example: At the peak of the 2019 summer shipping seasons, over 55,000 vehicles were on the largest load board in the industry. There are only about 25.000 vehicles on the industry's largest load board as of this writing (which is still being published in fall). There are good chances that this number will drop further.
What does this all mean? It means that auto transport services might take a little longer to locate on less-popular routes but are cheaper on most routes and more expensive on high-volume routes.
This is a very simple breakdown. Let's look at each one separately, shall we?
Low-priority routes are less-popular routes that have almost no vehicles. These routes could be New Mexico to Oklahoma or North Dakota and Utah. These routes are not very popular all year, and even less during winter months. These routes are often abandoned by carriers when there is less cars on the load board.
Many routes have plenty of vehicles all year, with the highs being in summer and lows during winter. They almost always have enough vehicles to keep the pace of things going. These routes also tend to experience the greatest price drops. Consider Washington to Arizona or Georgia to Texas.
The largest states tend to have the highest volume routes. Here is where the fun begins. High-volume routes are very common in summer. Many of these routes see fewer vehicles and have lower prices in winter. Some routes, such as the Northeast to Florida route, see large volume increases. This route is also known as a snowbird route. It receives large amounts of freight during winter. You can learn more about snowbird shipping at our site.
However, high-volume routes tend not to decrease in volume and prices tend not to rise during winter.
Understanding the transition seasons
We all know it doesn't go from summer to winter. There are many seasons in between. These so-called transition seasons are important because they are...well, transitional.
Let's begin with spring. We start to see more routes emerge after the winter vehicle shipping season. This is because more people ship vehicles and the loads on the load board begin to rise. This attracts carriers who aren't working the winter, so a lot more freight is grabbed up quickly. This is also when we see more freight on less-popular routes. This is a relative thing - although there isn't much freight on these routes, it is better than none.
Spring sees more freight moving out of snowbound regions like New England and Great Lakes. Snow is not a seasonal factor during winter. Storms come and go, and snow eventually melts. To avoid being stuck in snowbound cars and trapped in areas they can't move, many carriers will try to avoid the northern regions during winter. Because snow is more common in spring, more carriers can enter areas that are known for it. These things also tend to move a little faster.
The reverse of what happens in fall is also true. The risk of snow means that northern routes see fewer transporters as the industry slows down. These routes tend to see lower prices, but there is also less freight available. It is also important to understand why people migrate. New Englanders almost exclusively travel to Florida in winter while those in the Great Lakes go to Arizona in summer. It would be a surprise how many cars you can find from Chicago to Phoenix during winter!
These people tend to make routes down more expensive but other routes are much cheaper. This is it!
Get ready for winter shipping
Now that you have all the information you need, what can you make it more useful?
There are many things you can do with it. First, you can decide whether you really need to ship a car. You can also determine a budget and a timeframe and decide the best time to ship your vehicle . Some routes are best shipped in winter, while others are not.
This isn't always possible. Customers can't wait for weeks or months to get the next time slot or the seasons to change. They must ship immediately or they will not be able to do so. They have to accept whatever shipping rate they are charged for the route they choose.
There are many things you can do to help. For one, shipping from a larger city is more difficult if you live in the north. Northern states are colder and snowier and rural shipping can be hard to find. You can save time and money by moving from the boonies into a major city.
Terminal shipping is also an option, but they are becoming harder to find. Your representative should be able for you to discuss potential terminals in your region. Terminals are a great benefit for winter carriers since they don't need to drive around the area to load their truck. It can help save time during winter when they are limited to driving due to the icy conditions.
While it is important to budget for your shipment, you should also ensure that your vehicle runs smoothly in winter. Check that your fluids don't freeze and that your engine runs smoothly. These are great tips for shipping all year round, but especially in winter.
Questions frequently asked about winter transportation
Why does it cost less to ship during the winter months?
Because there isn’t as much demand auto shipping services, it is cheaper. Because brokers are more able to negotiate lower prices, the demand for auto shipping services decreases. There may be only two cars on your route but ten regular operators. They must compete.
It's why it can be more expensive to transport more vehicles along a route. This is also why snowbird shipping from New England to Florida tends to be more expensive. It is possible to have more than 200 snowbirds traveling along a route, so carriers will only take the ones that are available.
They cannot do it on routes with just a few people.
How much time do snow delays take?
It all depends on how much snow is there. It depends on the snow. Most often, however, delays only last as long as it takes for the roads to clear. This can sometimes take just a few hours. Even in heavy snow areas, pick-up or delivery should not be delayed.
Some areas, such as the Dakotas and more rural areas of New England's Great Lakes and New England may not receive snow clearance as fast. If a carrier is unable or unwilling to travel through these conditions, it can lead to further delays. Ice makes it even worse.
Talk to your driver to determine the duration of any delivery or pickup delays. You can also contact your representative.
Are there additional winter insurance plans?
No, not often. They don't have the obligation. They usually cover any damage regardless of the reason. It doesn't matter if the cause is an accident on a sunny day or losing control due to black ice; a carrier's insurance will still cover it.
Do I need to include anti-winter accessories with my vehicle?
They don't need to be used, but they are a good idea. Some items, such as windshield scrapers and deicing products, can make pickup or delivery more smooth but they are not necessary. Ask your representative.
Let us know if you are interested in shipping your vehicle. Call us anytime to get a free quote online.