More and more people are purchasing their cars online. This can be attributed to a number of factors, including lower prices, a wider range of models available and the number of rare and restored vintage automobiles available. According to some sources, more than 75% of vehicles sold through eBay Motors were shipped to another state. To help facilitate this industry, numerous auto-shipping companies have been formed, offering buyers the best way to get their new vehicles back home.
One of the traditional drawbacks to buying vehicles online has been the disparity between purchasing a vehicle and arranging for transport. For instance, most consumers have long been forced to thumb through the phone book for auto transport options. However, the increasing need for online options has been recognized.
How it Works
In order to reduce operational and fuel costs, vehicle transporters must ensure that the car carrier is full before they will send it out. To help ensure this, transport companies use brokers, much like stockbrokers or any other professionals that act as facilitators. However, consumers are not relegated to working only with brokers. Many shipping companies have discovered that they are able to deal directly with the public through an online interface.
Using a broker may be more beneficial for consumers, though. Because brokers deal in bulk, know the ins and outs of the industry and have experience with transport companies, they can often find better deals than a consumer would find on their own.
Additionally, many transport companies still place greater emphasis on phone customers, or those who walk into their actual location than those who send an email query. This is another reason that dealing with a broker or broker website can be beneficial.
The Details Involved
The details involved in auto shipping can be very surprising to many consumers. Because the industry relies on a series of transportation hubs, a vehicle may be transported to a different city, where it must await yet another carrier to be full, in order to make the last leg of the trip. Think of this similarly to the way in which airlines operate, with layovers in cities that may or may not be in a direct line with the actual destination.
For this reason, many auto shippers require at least a two-week delivery window, though some require quite a bit longer. Three weeks is not unheard of in the industry.
Additionally, consumers are highly advised to choose a company that offers satellite tracking for their vehicles. This provides an additional layer of protection and information, engendering more peace of mind about the process.
More Options for Various Needs
For consumers not satisfied with working through brokers, or contacting an auto shipper directly, there are other options. Perhaps the most innovative is the "auto shipping clearing house." This online method works in a similar fashion to online auction sites.
For instance, a consumer places their shipping needs on a website, including vehicle type, destination, shipment requirements and delivery date required. Once posted, various auto shippers can bid on the job. The winner gets the consumer's business and the consumer gets the best deal possible. This can be a very empowering experience for many consumers, allowing the consumer to be matched with the best company for their specific needs.
Helpful Hints and Tips
Follow these tips to help save time and money, as well as helping to improve the shipping experience.
- Make sure that you compare different shipping companies. There are many different options available and they are not even close to being the same. Use online resources to help you determine the best choice of companies by comparing consumer feedback, BBB ratings and much more.
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association is a federal consortium that allows consumers to find information about a shipping company's vital information.
- Consider the locations involved in your shipment. Rather than shipping from an urban area to a rural area, consider picking up your vehicle at a major hub. This can help you save money.
- Consider the time of year during which you ship your vehicle. Winter is the slow season and may offer better deals, while regional areas may have separate peak and slow seasons.
- Be patient, car shipping can be a lengthy process.
- Be willing to choose terminal-to-terminal shipping if you really want to save some major money.
- Make sure that your car carrier offers the right insurance coverage for your needs. You can find this information through your carrier, simply by asking directly to see their insurance information.
- Remember that larger cars will engender a higher price. Space is at a premium on a car carrier; you'll pay more to ship that SUV than you would for a Volkswagen Beetle.
- If you require an enclosed trailer, be prepared to pay a substantial amount more for that protection. Most enclosed trailers knock up the price by more than 60%.