Door-to-Door Transport vs. Terminal-to-Terminal Auto Transport

by | May 17, 2020 | Transport Tips

Door-to-door transport and terminal-to-terminal auto transport are the two delivery options available when you have a vehicle shipped. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each and we’ll tell you which type of delivery is most prevalent among car carriers today.

What is Door-to-Door Transport?

In the simplest of terms, it involves having your vehicle picked up at the “door” of the pick up address, and then delivered to the “door” of the delivery address.

The pick up address and delivery address can be a home, business, or commercial address. The vehicle is literally being picked up and delivered “door-to-door,” the same way a package is delivered in the mail.

Some situations may prevent door-to-door service. Residential zoning laws, weight restrictions, narrow streets, and low hanging trees may prohibit big trucks from entering neighborhoods. Likewise, if you live on a hillside or mountainous area, the car hauler may not be able to maneuver his truck all the way to your doorstep safely. A good rule of thumb is if you see tractor trailers regularly in your neighborhood, then pick up or delivery to your door shouldn’t be a problem.

In those instances where we can’t provide door-to-door service, the pick up and/or delivery will take place at a safe, convenient and mutually-agreed upon location. Our dispatch team works closely with our customers to determine the best pick up and delivery locations if we can’t get our trucks right to their door. Typical meeting locations are parking lots of nearby churches, schools, or big box stores.

auto transport
J&S Transportation is a door-to-door auto transporter!

The Pros and Cons of Door-to-Door Car Transport

The main advantage of door-to-door delivery, especially for cross country car shipping, is the convenience. Your vehicle is being picked up and delivered at your specified locations. And even if your vehicle can’t get picked up or delivered right to your door for the reasons outlined above, it will be picked up and delivered nearby – typically within a mile or two of your original locations.

Door-to-door car transport also allows for convenient pick up and delivery times for the vehicle hauling customer. It’s very common for carriers to pick up or deliver cars outside of traditional business hours – i.e. early morning, late evening or even at night, and weekends. Of course if a customer doesn’t want their vehicle to be picked up or delivered outside of traditional business hours we do our best to accommodate them. The primary point is that door-to-door shipping provides the most flexible shipping method to work around peoples’ schedules.

The other advantage of door-to-door transport is your vehicle is picked up and delivered immediately with you being there. When you do terminal-to-terminal shipping, as we’ll discuss in a minute, your vehicle may be sitting around in a terminal yard until the car hauler, or you, can get there.

The only disadvantage to door-to-door shipping is the cost. It usually costs a little more than terminal-to-terminal transport but not so much more that it’s cost prohibitive. In fact, door-to-door car shipping is offered by nearly all auto transport companies. It is the most common car hauling method. The majority of the shipping quotes you get from auto transport brokers and carriers will, by default, be for door-to-door transport so the “extra cost” is already factored into the quote you receive.

What is Terminal-to-Terminal Auto Transport?

Some car carriers have terminal yards. These are typically fenced in, fully secured areas where vehicles can be picked up from and delivered to. Carriers with terminal yards will ship their customers’ vehicles from one of their terminal yards to another. This is terminal-to-terminal transport.

The Pros and Cons of Terminal-to-Terminal Car Transport

The primary advantage to this shipping method is that it is usually cheaper than door-to-door shipping, but the savings will vary depending on your pick up and delivery locations. Door-to-door shipping may be substantially higher than terminal-to-terminal shipping if your vehicle is being picked up or delivered in remote areas. If the pick up and delivery locations are along interstates or in larger cities, the price difference may not be that much at all.

The other advantage is that in some rare cases it can be convenient if the estimated pick up and delivery days and times for door-to-door shipping don’t work for you. With door-to-door shipping it requires you to be there at the time of pick up or delivery. With terminal-to-terminal transport, you can just drop your car off or pick it up at the terminal yard when it’s convenient for you.

Of course, that potential convenience only makes sense if a terminal yard is close by and doesn’t charge terminal storage fees, which leads to the disadvantages of terminal-to-terminal shipping.

If the pick up and delivery locations are in remote areas, a terminal yard may be several hundred miles away. This will add travel time and costs to get your vehicle shipped so keep that in mind.

Many terminal yards charge terminal fees so you have to factor those into the overall cost of your transport as well. Granted, terminal yards usually don’t charge fees if your vehicle will be picked up or delivered within a couple days or so. And when they do charge fees, they are usually nominal (i.e. $10-$15/day). Nonetheless, those fees can add up so be aware of them if you’re working with a terminal-to-terminal carrier.

The other disadvantage of terminal-to-terminal transport is terminal yards usually have traditional business hours. If you’re planning on dropping off your vehicle or picking it up in the evening or weekend those options may not be available. Be sure to ask what the operating hours are for the terminal yards you’ll be dealing with.

J&S Transportation: A Door-to-Door Transport Carrier (and Broker)

J&S Transportation is an auto transport carrier and licensed broker that only provides door-to-door transport. We have our own fleet of trucks but if we can get your vehicle delivered quicker, we will broker your transport to one of our trusted partner carriers.

Whether your vehicle is shipped on one of our trucks or we have to broker your order to a trusted carrier in our network, your vehicle will be shipped door-to-door for your convenience.

We have shipped over half a million vehicles door-to-door for the past 20+ years. We have the experience to ensure your car gets delivered promptly and safely right to your door!

Read our testimonials and be sure to check out our online reviews at, Google, and the BBB to see what our customers say about us. Then request an instant quote to see how much it will cost to have your vehicle shipped door-to-door!