Ask These Questions Before You Hire A Car Shipping Company
It is possible to believe that all shipping companies are legally licensed and operate in good faith. Unfortunately, this is not true. Many customers are scammed by shipping companies because they do not do their research.
All communications with carriers must be two-way. To make informed decisions, you need to learn more than what a freight shipping firm might tell you in their pitch.
You must ask at least one question before you talk to a carrier.
Are they licensed?
A carrier that isn't licensed can't be held responsible for lost or damaged cargo. It is impossible to establish if the carrier follows all regulations and uses good business practices.
One of the most important things you can do is ask a company to provide its U.S. Department of Transportation registration number.
Don't be concerned about the reaction of the shipper. Reputable carriers will not be bothered and will happily present proof of registration as well as a copy their license. This makes shippers more trustworthy and is more likely to take you onboard as a customer.
If a carrier refuses or gives you the runaround they may be trying to hide something.
You should also ask other crucial questions
Ask about No-Obligation Rates
Some moving car transport companies do not offer free quotes. Some might also try to get you to sign a contract before they provide a quote.
This is good news if you are looking to hire a car carrier. Many reputable companies will offer free quotes to potential customers. You can pass on a carrier if they aren't open about the delivery cost or don't want you to get a quote unless your company signs a contract.
Many of the worst auto transport companies won't answer transport questions or give free car transportation quotes.
Ask About Insurance
You don't have to be a professional when shipping your car. There are many things that can go wrong during transportation. Your cargo may sustain damage due to driver error, bad equipment, or incompetent driving.
Don't forget to inquire about shippers' insurance. To ensure that they are operating legally, ask them for a copy their insurance. Without proof of insurance, no carrier can handle deliveries.
You should also inquire about the coverage of your carrier.
Shipping companies are required to have insurance. However, it might not be sufficient to cover severe damage or total loss. You might consider switching to other shippers or obtaining additional coverage if the carrier does not have sufficient liability insurance to cover your expensive vehicle.
Ask about the Pickup and Delivery Process
Different carriers may offer different service packages. Some might pick up your vehicle from your driveway, while others may come to your home. Some drivers may ask you to drive your car to their warehouse or to meet the driver at a particular location.
The same applies to delivery. Some carriers may drop your car off at the requested location and then be on their way. Some people will need a personal pickup.
These are the most important questions you should ask shipping companies, depending on your needs and budget.
Ask about Transportation Methods
There are many options for cross-country car transportation jobs. Although it is easy to ship cars in an open trailer, you may be exposed to road debris, weather extremes, and other hazards.
You can also ship your car in an enclosed trailer. This is safer especially when shipping a vehicle over long distances, in bad weather, or transporting a vintage or luxury car.
You might consider soft-sided enclosed transport. Although it won't provide the same protection, it will protect your vehicle from road debris and rain.
One of the most important questions you can ask shipping companies is "What transportation methods do I offer?" This will let you know if the carrier is able to meet your needs.
Ask about transporting non-operating cars
Imagine that you are trying to ship a car that won't start. Maybe your car isn't equipped with wheels, brakes, steering, or any other features.
The carrier must have the necessary equipment to transport your car onto a trailer if it doesn't work. If you are looking for car transport to hire, do not hesitate to ask questions about the equipment and their proficiency in using it.
Ask about Communication Channels
Freight carriers should ask about communication channels. This is one of the most important questions. You should know the exact location of your car when you ship it internationally or domestically.
Modern tracking technology makes it simple to view real-time GPS data and track how your delivery is progressing. However, not all carriers offer these services.
Transport companies must inform you of the status of your car's delivery and location. You must be informed of any delays or issues encountered during transit.
You might consider an alternative shipper if a company does not offer these services.
Ask about Covered Routes
You don't necessarily need a shipping company to deliver a single item, but you can ask them more questions about their delivery routes.
While any shipper can transport your car from A to B, that doesn't necessarily mean all shippers use the same routes. You can't rely on a carrier to deliver your car on the same route every time.
To determine if you are looking for a long-term partner, ask questions about car delivery routes. A shipping company that uses the same route often as you do might charge less than a company that does not use that route as often.
Ask about the available timeframes
Sometimes, carriers have so many deliveries that they are unable to accommodate all of their customers. However, they may be able to accommodate your cargo at a later date or even closer to the one you planned.
It is always a good idea to find out when the carrier is busiest and when they have more time to accommodate you as a customer. This will help you decide if you should spend more time getting acquainted with the shipping company.
Ask about their experience and personnel
What is the most important difference between good and bad transport companies? The hiring process. Employing only experienced drivers and partners in logistics will make a freight carrier more reliable than hiring anyone.
Look for positive delivery records, years of experience, and highly qualified employees.
Good shippers will be open about their operations. The worst auto transport companies won't answer questions about transport or their staff.
Ask about additional services
Transport questions are not the only questions that should be asked. You can also find out about additional services that shippers offer to help you gauge their experience and proficiency.
You could, for example, ask about their procedures for helping customers clear customs and find lodgement after their vehicle arrives abroad.
Also, you can ask about their logistics and the number of partners they use to deliver their services.
You can learn as much information from freight carriers as you need to make an informed decision about putting your precious possession in the hands of someone else.
Ask about the handling of personal goods
Many vehicle owners would like to ship their cars with their personal belongings. This is a popular trend.
It can be cheaper to send personal items in a car that is also being shipped to save money on moving. That's what most people believe.
This is a service that few companies offer as a standard. Reputable moving car companies recommend that you do not leave your personal items inside the vehicle.
The insurance does not cover the car. Liability insurance covers a car seat that is damaged during transport. If you have three $5,000 suits in your car, and they get damaged, stained, or lost in transit, the insurance will not cover them.
Personal belongings not included in the vehicle are not considered cargo.
However, this doesn't necessarily mean that all carriers will offer this service as an extra to their packages. You may need to pay an additional fee and make sure all personal items are safely packed and stored in your car.
You should not ship anything unless you are certain.
Request a Quote
What is your charge per hour? Although it may seem like the most important, there are several reasons why it isn't higher on the list.
First, don't waste your time asking for quotes from companies you aren't interested in. You might feel compelled to ignore flaws or shortcomings if you are working with a limited budget and choose a carrier solely on price.
You won't be able to know the extent of a carrier's transport services if you don’t ask enough questions. To ensure that you don't need to pay delivery fees or commit to any type of transport, you should number your questions.
Another reason to put off pricing questions is that you don't need them. Without enough information, it is difficult to get estimates on potential delivery or transportation infrastructure issues.
Car carriers need to know what car you are shipping, how it will be delivered, and when. If you are unable to provide sufficient information about your specific situation and requirements, it is not worth asking for a delivery estimate.
Ask how the rate was calculated
You don't have to accept the free quote just because it was given. You don't have to be in a hurry so take your time and learn how the rate was calculated.
Some carriers won't give you a quote without a detailed formula that identifies all variables.
All carriers use the same variables, including distance, date, and cargo size and weight. Seasonality, pickup and delivery requirements are also common.
There could be special factors when it comes to luxury cars, vintage cars, shipping to a specific state, international shipments, transporting additional goods, multiple cars, and so on.
It is important to take into account fluctuating gas prices. You could delay shipping your car if it means a longer delivery time.
The faster you learn, the quicker you can make decisions
It is easy to assume all shippers offer the exact same services, but differ in their pricing structures. It doesn't work that way.
Different areas of expertise and equipment are available to carriers. They can also cover routes, international connections, logistic partners, processes, and other details.
Some carriers may not be the right fit for you. It is easier to choose the right carrier for your needs and get your car to its destination safely.
You should not settle for less than the best, no matter if you are looking for a partner or a one-off delivery.
These are just a few of the questions you should ask a transport company to gain more information and feel better about making a decision. If you are looking for an experienced shipper with a vast logistics network, do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist with your deliveries.