Moving more than a few hours away seems like a daunting task, and anything that you can farm out to professionals seems like it should only help make the move easier. However, that’s not always the case. Auto transport, for example, seems like a good idea at first, but then as you look at the costs and start looking for cheaper companies, more disadvantages become apparent – and many of those are linked to the fact that you’re looking at cheap companies.
You Get What You Pay For
Don’t get the wrong idea – having a professional company transport your car for you can be very helpful. But this is definitely a field in which you get what you pay for, and that means a cheap company is not always the best company.
Does It Really Save You Money?
One motivation for shipping a car is to save money. The logic behind this is that driving your car, say across country, has a lot of hidden costs: gas, wear and tear, stops for food, motel costs, and so on. Supposedly, a plane ticket and a rental car for a couple of days plus the shipping cost would be cheaper, especially if the shipping itself is very cheap.
But that’s not always the case. Airline ticket prices are unpredictable. Fuel costs can be very cheap depending on where you’re driving. And if there will be two or more people who can drive in the car, you might not need to stop at a motel at all. Bringing your own food is also an option, as long as you’re not violating any cross-state agricultural bans.
It’s also a possibility that the combined costs of driving yourself are so expensive due to price surges that using an expensive car shipping company could be a better deal, too.
Plus, a rental car can add up! Not only do you have the cost of renting, but you have extra insurance costs if you want to cover damage immediately instead of waiting for your regular insurance company to pay out. Another risk is that the cheap transport company won’t be very prompt, forcing you to delay your departure — that’s a possible motel night there if you’re moving out of your home, and good luck getting that plane ticket changed — or forcing you to keep the rental car in the new location for longer.
This addresses only using a cheap company that can’t keep to a schedule for the sole purpose of saving money. There are other motivations for shipping a car, such as simply not wanting to drive yourself for that long. If that’s your motivation, then comparative costs might not be an issue for you.
Do You Know Anything About the Quality of the Company?
Saying that a cheap transport company could be late is not just idle speculation. You have to be sure you’re using a company that offers high-quality service, and a company that has such low costs might be skimping on that service. The might not be that careful loading and unloading your car, so you end up with more damage. The company could be a scam — remember the saying about things being too good to be true. There might not be any customer service worth mentioning, and that can be a problem when these people have your car for several days.
An expensive shipping company is, of course, not guaranteed to be the best, but one that charges fees that are more in line with other car-shipping companies in the area is more likely to offer better service.
Can You Handle the Car Being out of Your Sight?
Knowing that you may have sent your car off with a company that might not provide the best service, can you handle not having your car in your sight? The psychological effects of waiting and hoping your car comes back in one piece might not be worth the savings you’d get from going with a cheap auto transport company.
Is This Really Going to Make Your Move Easier?
With the increased risks of damage and late pickup or delivery, plus all the associated costs dealing with those, is going with a cheap company really going to make your move easier? Again, this is not about auto transport itself but about using a company charging super low prices and all the possible pitfalls that come with it. Maybe it would be worth the extra cost of using a company that charges more if it meant that the company really was going to make your move easier.
How Much Is an Airport Security Line Worth?
If you ship your car and fly to your new destination, you’re going to have to deal with airport security and possibly long lines. Many people are fine with going through all that because flying is definitely faster than driving long distances. But you should think about whether the potential issues brought up by using a cheap auto transport company are enough so that you’re still fine with the idea of dealing with airport lines, especially if you have a lot of stuff with you.
It really comes down to your comfort level with all of the different aspects of the situation. If you know you have a good company looking after your car, and that all will go well, the entire experience of moving and using a transport company will be quite different than if you were constantly worrying about your car and whether you were going to be stuck without one for a while.
There are good auto transport companies out there, and being able to skip a multi-day drive can be a relief. But the cost of the services can be a bellwether of issues that you don’t want to deal with. If you still want to use an auto transport company, get several quotes and stick with those that seem to be in the same range. Those companies are more likely to be charging what they need to in order to operate properly in your area.