What is involved in the auto transport process? We understand that transporting a vehicle can seem foreign and overwhelming. Below is a step-by-step guide on how our company operates so you know what you can expect during the transport process.
1. We Send You a Transportation Quote. With the information that you provide us (where you are transporting your vehicle from/to, year and make/model of your vehicle, desired pick-up/delivery date, etc.), we compare verified prices of what vehicles like yours have transported for in the recent past on your route so we can provide you with the most accurate estimated transport quote.
2. We Take Your Order. Besides the information that you provided for your quote, we will get any other important requirements regarding your transportation before we start to look for a carrier. We believe that the more you and carrier know regarding your transport the better your dispatch and transport will be. If your quote is over 5 days old, it is good to look again at what recent vehicles have transported for on your route to make sure that we offer a competitive offer for a carrier to want to transport your vehicle.
3. Your Order is Posted. We post your order on a website called Central Dispatch, which acts as a marketplace to connect licensed & bonded transport brokers and carriers. EVERY auto transport broker and EVERY carrier in the industry use this single website, and all members have to be a licensed/bonded broker or carrier to join.
4. We Find a Carrier. Once we post your order, carriers can see your route information on Central Dispatch and will contact us if they are interested in transporting your vehicle at the price listed. However, we take an extra step in this process that other companies do not. We have relationships with thousands of drivers throughout the U.S. that we have previously worked with, and we contact them directly. Rather than waiting for a driver to contact us, we contact drivers that we know and trust. This greatly reduces dispatch time to ensure we locate a driver as quickly as possible.
5. Your Order is Dispatched. Once we locate a carrier to ship your vehicle, we verify their insurance to make sure everything is up-to-date and after your approval we dispatch the order to them. No one will touch your vehicle without your approval. Because we are 100% customer review rated we only present carriers to you that are highly rated. It gives us more peace of mind about who will be transporting your vehicle. Once we contract with a carrier after your approval, we put you in direct contact with the carrier. At this point you can confirm pick-up/delivery times and know where your vehicle is during every step of the transportation process. Even though at this time you have direct contact with the carrier, we are still with you. You can call us at any time with any concerns or comments may you have.
6. The Driver Picks up Your Vehicle. The carrier should call you at least 24 hours before they want to pick up your vehicle to arrange a convenient time to pick up your vehicle. They should call again a couple hours before the actual pick-up time that you previously arranged to let you know when they will arrive. When the driver arrives at your pick up location, they will inspect your vehicle, note any existing damage and will present you (or the person you have designated) with the Bill of Lading form to sign.
7. Your Vehicle is Delivered to its Final Destination. The driver will contact you or the person you designated approximately 24 hours prior to delivering your vehicle to its final destination. They should call again within a couple of hours before arriving. The receiving party will inspect the vehicle, sign the Bill of Lading and pay any remaining funds due to the driver.
Is the price you quoted me guaranteed? No, it is impossible for any auto transport broker to guarantee a price, so please be wary of this if another company tells you otherwise. The quote we provide you is only our estimate of what we think it will take to ship your vehicle based on what vehicles have shipped for in the past. We try to make the quote as accurate as possible to ensure your vehicle gets transported, but market rates fluctuate. If your order is priced too low, carriers will not be interested in transporting your vehicle, and you could risk not getting your vehicle transported altogether. The price we agree upon will not change without your approval. If a carrier should request for more we will not dispatch your vehicle to them without your approval. You are in control.
What is included in the price I am quoted? The quote we provide you essentially includes all costs associated with shipping your vehicle. This consists of the broker fee (the ‘deposit’), the carrier fee (the driver), taxes and insurance.
When do I have to pay? Unlike most auto transport companies, we do not charge an upfront deposit for taking your order. You do not pay a dime until we actually locate a driver to transport your vehicle. When we locate a carrier to pick up your vehicle we contact you to approve the dispatch. When the dispatch is approved by you and the carrier accepts the contract that is when we require our fee. At that time, you will be charged the deposit, and the remaining balance will be due to the driver in cash or certified funds once your vehicle is delivered to the final destination.
Are my pick-up and delivery dates guaranteed? No, so do not be fooled by other transport brokers who may tell you otherwise. Any dates given are estimates. The actual pick-up/delivery dates could change due to weather conditions, unexpected traffic and a variety of other factors. For this reason, we ask you to give us a time window consisting of the earliest possible date you would be willing to release the vehicle and the latest possible date you could have the vehicle picked-up/delivered. We always inform the driver of your preferred dates, and they are usually able to accommodate them.
Once we dispatch your vehicle, we put you in direct contact with the driver so that you can discuss the pick-up/delivery times and know where your vehicle is at every step of the process.
Is my vehicle insured? Yes. Part of the deposit you pay to our office is to verify the carrier/driver is covered by adequate insurance that is up-to-date. All of the carriers/drivers we contract are fully insured with a minimum of $75,000 of liability insurance.
Do you offer door-to-door service? Yes. This means that the carrier will pick up the vehicle and drop it off as close to your desired addresses as possible. Carriers need room to maneuver around, so if access to your home is restricted by narrow streets, tight turns, etc., the driver may contact you to request that you meet at an alternate destination close by.
What kind of carrier will transport my car? Most carriers are 6-10 car haulers similar to the ones you see along the road that deliver new cars to dealerships. Open carriers are subject to weather and road conditions whereas enclosed carriers are not. We recommend shipping via an enclosed carrier if you are shipping a custom/classic car, but the choice is always yours. Shipping via an enclosed carrier will incur an additional fee.
How long will it take to transport my car? Transit time obviously depends on where your vehicle is being shipping from and to. For instance, transit time from coast to coast may be 7-10 days, whereas transporting a vehicle from the Midwest to the west coast may take 3-5 days.
Can somebody other than me release/receive my vehicle? Yes. The carrier will contact whomever you like, whether it is you, a family member/friend, a car dealership, etc. Somebody just has to be present at both your pick-up and delivery location to sign the Bill of Lading.
What is the Bill of Lading Form? Once the you (or your designated person at the origin) and carrier driver inspects your vehicle at the origin, they will give you the Bill of Lading form to sign. This is a similar form that you fill out when you rent a car. You and the driver walk around the vehicle and make any notations of previous damage that is on the vehicle to insure that your vehicle arrives to the destination in the same condition as it left. This form contains the driver’s inspection notes as well as the releasing party’s contact information so the carrier can notify them of any updates, transport delays, etc. Familiarize yourself with this form, and be sure to read the conditions of the form carefully.
Once your vehicle is delivered to the destination, the carrier will present you (or your designated contact) with the original Bill of Lading form. It is extremely important that you or your designated contact inspect the vehicle and note any damage on the Bill of Lading. In order for the carrier’s insurance company to process a damage claim, any and all damage must be noted on the Bill of Lading and the form has to be signed by both parties. Just a note, even though vehicle damage rarely happens, most carriers like to have the choice to settle vehicle damage out of pocket to avoid it going to the insurance company. It is advised to first contact the carrier and if you don’t have any resolve then please contact us so we can contact the carrier for you.
Can I put personal items in my car? Most carrier will allow up to 75lbs in the trunk of a car but it is best to let us know so we can ask the carrier before the dispatch. The Department of Transportation can fine the carrier for transporting household goods or for being over its weight limit. Also the carrier insurance does not cover any lost or damaged household goods during transit so it is not advisable to have any valuable goods in your vehicle.
With that said, even though most carriers that will allow a few personal items to be placed in the trunk and items of that nature are fairly common, the carrier will not likely complain as long as the vehicle isn’t packed full. However, this all needs to be worked out with your carrier. The driver may ask you to remove your personal items and is not obligated to transport your vehicle if you refuse to do so. Please also be aware that the broker or the carrier is not responsible for any personal items lost or damaged in transit.
How should I prepare my vehicle for transport? Deactivate any anti-theft devices, and remove any personal items/household goods from the vehicle. Secure or remove any loose parts, wide mirrors, or custom items. Lower or remove the antenna, if possible. Make sure the radiator has adequate anti-freeze to protect your vehicle from cold weather. The battery should be secure, and the fluid levels should be low enough to accommodate expansion. Leave only about a ¼ – ½ tank of gas in the vehicle, as a full tank of gasoline can add costly weight to the transport truck.
Can I ship an inoperable vehicle? Yes, Excellent Auto Transport regularly ships inoperable vehicles. However, in order for us to do so, the vehicle must roll, brake and steer. An additional fee will be charged depending on the loading difficulty.
Any Other Questions? Call us today 760-733-3488.