If you’re just getting started on shipping your car, you’re probably going to be shopping around for car shipping quotes. At least we hope you are as we always encourage people to do their research and get different quotes so they have more confidence in what they’re doing when they’re ready to book a transport order.
What you might not realize, however, is that this is a cut-throat industry. You thought car salesmen were aggressive. You’ve seen nothing yet! Sales reps for car shipping companies are the worst!
I’m going to give you four critical mistakes to avoid as you shop around for car shipping quotes. Avoiding these mistakes will save you a lot of time, hassle, and headache!
The following tips assume you’ll be getting your car shipping quotes from auto transport websites. If you’re calling companies for quotes, these tips are still relevant but will be applied differently.
1. Using your real telephone number
Most auto transport companies will require you to provide a telephone number on their quote forms before they will reveal their quote. They may give you the quote instantly when you submit the form, or they may call or text you their price.
Regardless, you can bet your phone will blow up with calls and texts, and they won’t stop for about 2-3 days. Think I’m kidding? Just try it, but don’t say I didn’t try warning you.
We often hear from new customers how they got quotes from other car shipping websites and then they got bombarded with endless calls and texts. We’ve tried it ourselves and it was nuts. There has to be some kind of law against that kind of harassment, but I digress.
The point is, if an auto transport company requires a phone number in order to get a quote, try using a dummy phone number first. Most websites aren’t sophisticated enough to know if a phone number is valid so you can just enter something like 1234567890.
The only potential problem is if they only give the quote via phone or text and you enter a dummy phone number, you obviously won’t get the quote. If that’s the case, you’ll just have to prepare for the onslaught.
Side Note: We never require a phone number to get an instant quote from us. In fact, we don’t even have a field for you to enter one!
2. Using your real email address
Most websites will require an email address whether the phone number is optional or not. If these companies can’t call or text you, they at least want to flood your inbox with sales pitches and follow ups.
I recommend using a throw away email account. I suspect most people reading this have a dedicated email account for just this sort of thing. If not, you should seriously consider getting one. You can have as many free Gmail accounts as you want. Get one and use it for this purpose and for all those other websites that require an email address for their various offers, coupons, etc.
Otherwise, you’ll have to use your personal email address. Fortunately, it’s a bit easier to tolerate a flood of emails vs. calls and texts. You can choose when to read your emails, but you can’t really control when your phone rings with a call or a text.
If you have to use your personal email address just be ready for a flood of emails, but remember you can easily delete and block them.
Side Note: We never require an email address to get an instant quote from us! In fact, we don’t even have a field for you to enter one!
3. Assuming the price is the price
As you shop around, you’re going to get all kinds of different prices. Be especially careful with any quote you get that sounds too good to be true. For example, if you get four quotes and three of them are between $750-$1000 and one of them is for $400, be very leery of the $400 quote.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon in this industry for a car shipping company to give you a really low price just to snag your business. Then once you’re committed to them they’ll eventually come to you asking for more money to get your transport completed.
Before you commit to any auto shipping company, you want to make sure you understand their pricing. Don’t assume the price the website gives you is the price.
Some transports involve challenging vehicles or challenging pick up and delivery locations. These types of transports are always susceptible to price increases. A broker might estimate the transport will cost $X when you book your order, but then after working on your transport they discover it’s actually going to cost more to get the job done so they need to ask you for more money.
There isn’t anything unusual about this. That’s just how this business works on those difficult transports. The important thing is, you want to know how the company handles their pricing (and potential price increases). Do they cap how much they’ll increase the price? If a price increase is needed will they let you cancel with a full refund if you’ve paid a deposit? When will they let you know when a price increase will be needed? These are the types of questions you want to ask.
Our instant quoting system is pretty darn accurate but it’s not 100% accurate. No instant quoting system is. Every once in a blue moon we need to adjust the price our instant quoting system provides a customer.
As hard as we try, even our price isn’t always our price. However, we are very honest and upfront about our instant quotes and how our pricing works (and how we handle potential price adjustments).
4. Assuming pick up and delivery dates are accurate
Most websites are going to give you an estimate of how long it will take to get your vehicle picked up and delivered. These are just estimates so don’t assume what you read is what you get (or even close to it) – especially if you have a large vehicle or have a difficult pick up or delivery location.
If the website says your vehicle will be picked up by X date and delivered by X date, you want to make sure that’s really the case! And if it isn’t, then what are the actual pick up dates and delivery dates? Are they guaranteed or do they just have high confidence in them? Will you get any kind of advance warning if those dates need to be changed? Do you get a partial or full refund if they are missed?
When you get an instant quote from us, we provide a real time estimate on the pick up and delivery times for your transport. After you book an order with us, one of our dispatchers reviews your transport to confirm the estimated pick up and delivery times. If the dispatcher doesn’t think he can meet those estimates for whatever reason, he will let you know immediately so you can plan accordingly. And if the revised pick up and delivery dates don’t work for you then you can cancel and get a full refund of your 10% deposit – no pressure or questions asked!
Fortunately, our instant quoting system is very good at providing accurate pick up and delivery times. They rarely need to be adjusted so what you see is what you usually get. But again, a dispatcher always reviews them at the very beginning of the process and lets you know if there are going to be any issues.
One final important note about this before I wrap this up, it’s impossible for a company to guarantee a specific pick up date and deliver date prior to getting a transport assigned to a driver. Tread carefully with any company that provides any kind of guarantees before they even start working on your order.
Once a transport has been assigned to a driver, however, then for sure you can expect specific pick up and delivery dates but even then the dates can move. Unexpected delays can happen due to bad weather, construction, traffic, the driver’s truck breaks down, etc.
What we do to alleviate any unnecessary stress to our customers is we communicate constantly from the beginning to the end of their transports. Our customers are never in the dark and always know the status of their transports. Our customers are notified immediately when we have a driver assigned so they know when the pick up and delivery will take place.
We also provide a 24-hour notice on pick and on delivery, and then the driver calls when he’s 1-2 hours out on pick up and delivery. And if there are any unexpected delays along the way, our customers are notified immediately.
Whichever company you decide to work with, you’ll want to know exactly how they communicate throughout the transport process and how they handle pick up and delivery dates – especially if there are delays.
If you avoid these four mistakes, shopping around for a car shipping quote will be a piece of cake. The main thing to remember is to be cautious about using your real telephone number or your personal email address.
Once you have some quotes and you’re ready to dig a little deeper with a given company, be sure to vet them out. Is the price really the price? Are the pick up and delivery dates accurate? Once you have those answers you’ll be good to go!