If you're shipping a car to Florida this winter, this one piece of advice could save your sanity. "Snowbird Season" is by far the most maddening time in the world of Car Transport (mainly for customers).
Our advice is plain and simple (but I will elaborate on it below):
Do NOT place your order until the week before you want your vehicle shipped.
I know - that sounds crazy, right?
I can imagine what's going on in your head right now. - "How can that be?" "Won't I get a cheaper rate?" "I've got A LOT to planning to do and I want this off my plate!" "This guy from Ship a Car Direct is nuts!"
Bear with me, because I'm going to get a bit 'technical' first, but I'll explain why later.
It's imperative that you understand this - Car Transport is an Open Market system.
What that means is - the cost to ship a car is a result of the current conditions of any particular move. Yes, that always includes the price of gas, but in this case it has more to do with the sheer VOLUME of cars that have to be shipped within a VERY SMALL WINDOW of time on a LIMITED number of Car Carriers.
Basically, it's back to Economics 101 - the law of supply and demand. (I just heard half of you fall asleep)
In the case of "Snowbird Season", it means there are more cars that need to be shipped to Florida during the months of December & January than there are spaces on trucks to haul them. (i.e. demand for truck space - HIGH, supply of truck space - LOW)
This creates a premium for car carrier's spots, and car carriers can therefore start to charge whatever "The Market" will pay for those spaces on their truck.
SO - what does this have to do with waiting to book your order the week before?
Well, there is no such thing as 'being in line' for those spots on those car carriers, nor is it at all similar to booking a 'reservation' on the carrier the way you would on an airline. (In fact, while we’re here, you have to get over comparing car transport to airlines altogether – where booking early saves you money – that doesn’t exist in car transport AT ALL, let alone when you ship a car to Florida) When push comes to shove, if everyone is offering $X to ship their car to Florida and you appear on the scene offering $X + $100, guess who the truck driver trying to run a profitable business during a tough economy is going to view as the front of the line?
That’s why, when you call us about shipping a car to Florida (or FROM Florida in the spring) and you are still a few weeks away from your move, we will always tell you something along the lines of “Well, THIS is what it costs currently, and THIS is what it was last year at the time you are looking to ship, but what we will need to do is look at the competition (i.e. similar cars within 25 miles of you that are going to your same destination at the same time) and make sure that we are priced in line (or just slightly better) than they are."
Now, quickly (to wrap up), there are plenty of car shipping companies out there that will gloss over this aspect of the industry and let you book far in advance at a rate that will be too low in a few weeks - and you may even spend the next few weeks blissfully thinking that all is well - but when your move date rolls around and you are one of the vehicles only offering $100 less than $X, then I can assure you that when your car is still waiting and you are only hearing excuses and requests for more money from the company you chose, you are going to go BERSERK!
So, keep your wits about you, stay calm, know that there really is 'no such thing as a free lunch' & that the move may not be a cheap as you'd hoped, BUT get your car priced right when it's time to move and you'll be the one in the drivers seat (literally) while your fellow 'Snowbirds' are still waiting for their cars to be picked up.
(and, of course, you're always welcome to use our Free Quote Calculator to get some rough ideas of what the costs may be.)