Frequently Asked Questions
- How does the auto shipping process work?
Transport companies gather information from a customer looking to ship their car. That information is then posted on the national load board which is a network that is used by more than 5,000 carriers with over 30,000 trucks. The carriers then offer whether or not to take the job at the price posted. If the price posted is too low, then the carriers are less likely to pick it up quickly (or at all) since they will take the cars that are paying them more first. A higher posted price means more carriers will want to move the car more quickly since they can make more money from moving it. After screening each one we select the most qualified carrier and verify their license and insurance. The selected carrier is then assigned and dispatched to make the pick up. Once the vehicle has been loaded by the carrier the deposit will be charged with the rest of the cost of the shipment being paid COD (collect on delivery) to the driver at the destination.
It is important to remember that the price you ship your vehicle at can be adjusted to fit your situation. If you would rather save money, and time is not an issue, then a low price can be posted. If you are looking to move a car quickly, then a higher price is required to entice a carrier to pick it up before other vehicles. ZIP SHIP will advise you on the price that best fits your circumstances.
- Why do other companies ask me for a deposit before my car is picked up?
A lot of companies only look out for their own interests and not those of the customer. Charging a deposit before the vehicle has been loaded onto a truck is a way for them to keep a customer’s business, even if they are not performing their services adequately. That way they can get the customer to go with them for a ‘lowball’ price, even though they know that no carrier will pick it up for such low money. After some time passes they will make the customer pay more for the move, in order to be able to get a carrier to pick it up. Since the deposit has already been charged though, the customer is locked in with them for 20-30 days (remember to read the small print). If at the end of that timeframe, the vehicle has still not been moved the company will probably return the deposit. However, it may take longer still to actually receive it. It is definitely in the best interest of the customer to not be charged until the vehicle has been loaded onto a truck.
ZIP SHIP is not like other transport companies who charge you a deposit once a carrier has been dispatched to pick up your vehicle or even once they post your job on the national load board. We only charge you once it has been loaded onto a truck and is on its way to its destination.
- Will I get faster service if I place my order with more than one transport company?
No! If you want to actually get your car moved it is very important that you do not do this. If a carrier sees the same job posted on the national load board by different companies, they will not pick up the vehicle because they run the risk of another truck making the pick up first. No carrier is going to run the risk of having a truck drive hundreds of miles to pick up a vehicle that might not even be there. Do not even give a company permission to look for a carrier for you unless you are confident in using them as your transporter; in doing so, you then run the risk of this happening to you if you later go with someone else.
- Is my vehicle insured during the transportation process?
The Federal Department of Transportation requires that every carrier have cargo insurance. The driver will conduct a pre-load and post-load inspection with the customer to note any damage. The carrier is responsible for any damage that occurs during the transportation of the vehicle. If any damage is noted it is important for the customer to make sure the driver has signed off on both the pre and post-load inspections on the 'Bill of Lading' during the time the inspections occur. The insurance companies use these documents to determine when the damage occurred and whether or not the carrier is responsible.
- Why did I receive quotes from brokers that are $200 or more apart?
Different transport companies quote different prices for the same job because they are using different assumptions. Some are assuming that you are trying to save money and do not care how quickly your vehicle gets moved and then quotes you a low price (or they are trying to lowball you with the hopes of locking you in with the deposit and then upping the price later). Other companies are assuming that you want the vehicle moved as quickly as possible and therefore add a premium to the price to ensure a fast pickup by a carrier. And others just quote you in the middle range. For an accurate quote whoever you choose must first know your situation and what is most important to you: the customer. Give ZIP SHIP a call and tell us about your circumstances and we will give you an accurate quote.
- Why are the quotes that I receive from brokers and not actual auto carriers?
If you submitted your information to a website that is giving you multiple quotes then those quotes will be from brokers. The brokers obtain these ‘leads’ from these sites and contact you to coordinate your shipment. Some customers tend to believe that it is better to go with a company that owns its own carriers. In fact, it is usually a detriment to hire a carrier directly becuse of inefficient pricing and longer transport times stemming from the understanding that carriers would usually not have their trucks operating in the vast majority of the routes that are requested. Even if a broker has their own trucks (99% of them do not, and more than likely if they say they do, they are fibbing), they will still most likely need to broker out the job on your vehicle since it would be extremely rare that they would actually have a truck ready to go on your particular route.
- How far in advance do I need to schedule my shipment?
It is recommended that you schedule your pickup at least one week prior to your ideal pick up date. During the summer months it is recommended that you schedule about two weeks prior. However, arrangements can be made to pick up your vehicle much sooner depending on your situation and needs.
- Where will I drop-off and pick-up my car?
The driver will come to your home to pick up your car unless it is too difficult to maneuver such a large truck in your neighborhood. In that instance the driver will ask you to move the car to a nearby parking lot to make the pickup. The same applies for the drop off. If you have requested transport to be conducted terminal-to-terminal instead of door-to-door, then the pick up and drop off will be done at a nearby terminal at each location. A terminal is a large storage facility for vehicles to be dropped off at and picked up from.
- Do I need to be there for the pick up and for accepting delivery?
You or a trusted friend of yours (a ‘designated agent’) being present at both pick up and delivery is in your best interest in order to verify documentation and for conducting the pre-load and post-load inspections of the condition of your vehicle. If you are having the vehicle shipped to a terminal then you do not need to be there and will pick it up from the terminal after delivery.
- How do I check on the progress of my auto transport?
You will be given the direct contact information of the driver transporting your vehicle so all you have to do is give them a call and they will let you know where they are and can give you an accurate arrival time.
- Can I load my car up with personal items for the transport?
Technically, no. The carrier transporting your car is licensed by the Department of Transportation to transport cargo, not household goods. Any items loaded up in the car are considered household goods which the carrier is not licensed to transport and therefore are not covered by the carrier’s cargo insurance. Some carriers are lenient on this and may allow up to 100 lbs of storage within the vehicle.
- What payment methods are accepted?
The deposit will be paid by credit or debit card. Once the vehicle has been delivered the driver is to be paid (COD) by cash, cashier’s check, or money order. It is important to discuss with the driver which payment method options they accept before they arrive to drop off the vehicle. Most carriers do not have the ability to accept payment by debit/credit cards on their truck.
- Does my car have to be in working condition?
No. It can be shipped whether it is working or not, just make sure that the broker and/ or carrier know that it is not in working condition beforehand so special arrangements can be made.
- How long does car transport take?
Exact delivery dates cannot be guaranteed due to circumstances like weather, road conditions, and problems on particular routes. However, typical delivery times once the car has been picked up are as follows:
- North to South 3-5 days
- Midwest to either coast 4-6 days
- Coast to Coast 7-10 days