If you are unfamiliar to the auto transport industry, you are not alone. Luckily, there are folks who have gone before you and can confirm it can be done without issue!
One of the most common confessions we hear when we speak to new customers is that they have never shipped a car before but have read a bunch of horror stories on-line. But the truth is that thousands of cars are successfully shipped each week, from many different auto transport companies, - the success stories just don't tend to get posted.
Here is what one of our actual customers had to say about her experience:
Safe-Direct was our broker (organizes the shipment initially) and C&D Auto Transport was our carrier (truck who drove our car across the country):
These days, we all don't have a lot of change laying around so $795 to ship a car was a gamble to us and we're glad it paid off. Out of the dozens of quotes I received, Safe-Direct gave me one of the cheapest quotes. I read numerous reviews about auto transport brokers & carriers before choosing Safe-Direct (the broker).
At one point, I had high hopes for a website called U-Ship.com, but it was confusing and the quotes were much higher. Other reviewers of U-Ship noted that the website charged brokers/carriers too much, which made customer's final costs high. So I wouldn't use U-Ship, just pick up the phone and call Safe-Direct directly.
Anyways, I chose Safe-Direct because the emails from Jason were very clear and helpful. One of his emails included links to informational, short youtube clips about shipping a car from Safe-Direct's owner. I watched them all in a matter of minutes, and most of my questions were answered by the videos.
I called Jason's direct line and he was very helpful. I wanted the car to be picked up on the May 25th (hooray, it was picked up by the carrier on May 25th). But I didn't want it to be delivered to our destination until we arrived on June 4th (about ten days later). Both Jason and the carrier's dispatch assured me it shouldn't be a problem.
When our car was picked up by C&D, I overheard the driver saying that they were going to be at the destination on Wednesday, May 30th. So it was going to take just five short days to go from CA to FL. So as long as your car is picked up, it seems like they ship cars very fast.
We flew into FL late night on June 4th and rented a car for one day. The neighborhood where we were staying had small, windy roads and we didn't want to wait in some parking lot for the delivery so we decided to meet them instead. The next day we met C&D outside of their yard in Miami where our car was probably stored for a couple days. We handed over the cashiers check for $600 (the rest of the total balance; $200 ish was paid via credit card to Safe-Direct at the time of booking) and we got our car & key. The car turned on perfectly and has been driving just fine.
Here are some tips:
-Watch all the videos Safe-Direct sends you
-When Jason or whomever sends you a secured link in a quote email, make sure you fill it out immediately in order to get set up with a carrier.
-For the pickup, try a big parking lot if your neighborhood's roads are small. We chose what we thought was a big parking lot, but the turn into the lot was deemed difficult by the driver. So the carrier just stopped on Ocean blvd (not too busy of a 2 lane road) blocking one of the lanes and loaded the car from there. It was not much of a problem and they were finished loading within ten minutes.
-We had an air bed mattress and a small box in our trunk. The driver didn't open our trunk upon pick up and it was all there upon delivery.
-Try to have just a tiny amount of gas in the tank upon pickup. The lighter the car is, the better it is for the carrier.
-However, upon delivery make sure you map out a nearby gas station to fill up ahead of time.
-Keep in contact with the carrier company. Make sure you have several phone numbers for them. We spoke and texted with Yoe (she was like the dispatch for C&D - carrier company). We were always able to reach her on her cell. We updated her a few days before, the day before, and the day of our arrival and desired "delivery time."
-Unfortunately, you won't be able to have your car picked up and delivered at an airport, so plan on renting a car or arranging other transportation if you are flying and will be shipping your car.
-I was most unsure about C&D, the carrier, since they had a few negative reviews online. However, everything turned out fine. So try not to worry.
-Write a review when all is said and done 🙂
I would highly recommend both the Safe-Direct and C&D Auto Transportation companies based on my experience. They both delivered on their promises and we paid what we were quoted. Best wishes!
Thanks for the helpful feedback, Pamela! That should help calm some first-time fears. But if you still have questions, like Pamela said, "...just pick up the phone and call Safe-Direct...!"
Frequently Asked Questions
Honest Answers to Your Car Shipping Questions
Yes, we always ask for your specific pickup and delivery addresses, if the carrier can get right to the addresses you provide, they will. If the addresses that you give us are not safely accessible for a Multi-car carrier, however, you will need to make arrangements with the driver to meet at a nearby location where the carrier can safely get in and out.
People do it all the time (rarely for free) but the official answer is no.
Not what you wanted to hear, we know, but that is the honest answer.
We are not licensed to broker the shipment of household goods and, likewise, no car carrier that operates in the USA is licensed to transport them from state to state either. Despite what you might be being told by other car shipping companies you may speak with.
Remember, at the end of the day we're all salespeople, and the true answer to this question is not a great selling point.
You will hear a lot of companies tell you that you can put up to 100 pounds of items in the trunk, but that is not entirely true. That fact is that items of that amount are fairly common and the department of transportation is probably not going to split hairs and fine the trucker over items of that amount, provided they are not over their weight limit. They could fine them, however, if they see a vehicle stuffed full of personal items so the car carrier will most likely try to negotiate something with you to cover themselves against any costs they could incur. It's not something we can build into your contract though.
We have a short and helpful video on this topic in our user videos.
Only in rare cases and car carriers will usually charge a premium to make it happen.
All dates given by car carriers are typically estimates and projections.
For this reason (and to keep your cost down) we ask that you build in some flexibility and give us the earliest possible date you would be WILLING to release the vehicle, even though it may not be your preferred date.
We'll put you in direct contact with your car carrier and the driver will also typically call you the afternoon or evening before your pick up and delivery (they won't just show up unannounced, and if they do we want to hear about it). However, car carriers are out on the road battling traffic, weather and any number of other factors that can and do throw them off of their pickup and delivery projections from time to time.
If the projected dates we give you come and you are unable to make contact with your carrier, please call our office immediately so that we may help resolve the situation.
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will average 7 to 10 days. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.
Even better, we do not even ask for payment until we have you confirmed for pickup by a safe, reliable, fully insured, direct car carrier. If for any reason you do not ship your car with the carrier that we arrange for you, there is no fee.
The fees paid directly to the carrier however, (in most cases, their fees are not paid until your vehicle is delivered) are not directly controlled by us, so any requests for a refund of the carrier's portion would need to be addressed with the carrier directly.
Of course! And you are always backed by our Damage Free Guarantee policy.
Part of what you pay us for is to verify that the car carrier that we put you on is covered by the proper amount of insurance and that everything is up to date.
There is never any additional cost to you for this coverage, and their insurance is always primary.