1. GET INFORMED ABOUT HOW THE INDUSTRY WORKS
A company that is forthright about the way the industry operates is most likely a company you can trust with your business. The 3-Step, “Book-PickUp-Deliver” marketing narrative employed by most transport companies does not adequately convey the shipping process to a prospective customer. This results in expectations that are rarely met and leaves the customer feeling deceived or cheated.
2. SHOP BY REPUTATION NOT ONLY BY PRICE
Due to the fact that most Shippers are not fully informed about how the industry operates, many are lured in with the lowest bid. Although not always the case, the lower bid is the least likely to get your vehicle picked up by a Carrier. Some bids are so unrealistically low that no Carrier will ever accept the load. It is best to weigh the price against the reputation of the company to better gauge the credibility of the quote you received. Comparing multiple quotes is also highly recommended. Beware of ‘Guaranteed Prices’. Companies guaranteeing prices will usually add a larger markup to provide a buffer for inevitable market volatility.
3. DO NOT BOOK WITH MULTIPLE COMPANIES
Some customers think they are increasing the probability of their vehicle being loaded on time by booking with multiple companies. Unfortunately, due to the way the shipping industry operates, this approach only serves to perpetuate further delays and price increases. This is due to the fact that most transport companies use the same national load board. If multiple companies are attempting to transport the same vehicle, this initiates a bidding war to persuade Carriers to accept their load. As Carriers are most often persuaded by the price on offer, this results in the customer paying unnecessarily excessive amounts to get their vehicle shipped. Carriers will also delay accepting this load to allow the bidding-war time to reach a more desirable price.
It is best to choose one credible broker, stay in communication and trust in the process. Should you wish to move to another broker, first cancel your order with the first before signing on with the second.
4. CHECK CUSTOMER EXPERIENCES ONLINE
As the Shipping Industry is volatile and operates quite differently to other services, negative online reviews from ill-informed or frustrated customers are possible even for reputable companies. Fake reviews posted by competitors are also, unfortunately, commonplace. It is best to focus the larger portion of your attention on how a company responds to the review. This will allow you to better evaluate the review in context and to assess the character of the company through its responses.
5. READ EVERY EMAIL & DOCUMENT BEFORE SIGNING ON
While making up your mind on which Auto Transport company to book, we recommend spending time navigating websites to ensure you feel well enough informed about the process. A website with little to no industry related information could mean the company itself is questionable.
Once you decide to book with a company, make sure to read all documentation carefully in order that your expectations are in alignment with the service being provided. Should you have any queries, we recommend you reach out to their customer services department to have your all questions addressed prior to signing on.
6. BE WARY OF PAYING A DEPOSIT PRIOR TO A CARRIER BEING AVAILABLE
Most reputable companies will require no up-front payment to make a booking. Those requiring deposits should request payment only once a Carrier becomes available. It is prudent to enquire about the refund policy prior to processing the deposit so that you are aware of how this is regulated and have it in writing.
7. ALL TRANSPORT COMPANIES USE THE NATIONAL LOAD-BOARD.
All transport companies will use the national load-board to a lesser or greater degree. It is here where Carriers across the nation are able to review each Shipper’s requirements and to contact the managing Broker with an offer. Brokers will also use their relationships with trusted Carriers within their network to make arrangements for their customers.
8. PREPARE YOUR VEHICLE FOR TRANSPORT
It’s highly recommended that you photograph your vehicle to record its condition prior to shipping. Any leaks or issues with the vehicle must be fixed, or disclosed to the Carrier, prior to pick-up.
All personal, removable and valuable items should be removed from the vehicle. Although you are able to transport 100 lbs of personal belongings free of charge, within the trunk of your vehicle, it is important that you are aware that these items are not covered by the insurance held by the Carrier.
9. MAKE SURE A CARRIER DOES A FULL INSPECTION ON PICK-UP AND DELIVERY
A Carrier will write-up an inspection report at pick-up and again at delivery. They will footnote any existing damage in these reports. Keep these documents safe and on hand.
10. MAKE SURE YOU PERSONALLY INSPECT THE CAR AT DELIVERY
Personally ensure there are no additional dents, scratches or breakages. Any damage claims must be inserted into the condition report (Bill of Lading) and be signed by the Carrier. Only sign the report once you are satisfied that the condition of your car is fully recorded within the document.