Best Cheap Car Shipping Services

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Finding the best cheap car shipping options

Updated: 07/17/2022

Finding cheap car shipping company might take some time. Especially when gas prices are sky high and market is going through different ups and downs. Nevertheless there are a couple of things you can do to save on car shipping and make sure you don’t spend a fortune to move your vehicle to another state.

In this article we’ll try to break down the most important things that you have to remember during the vetting and shipping process. We’ll discover great cheap shipping companies and discuss the car shipping process to make it easy and affordable to you. But keep in minds – cheap doesn’t always equals good. Sometimes it’s better to pay $100-$200 more to hire the best car transport company with good standing insurance.

Why do people ship their cars when it seems obvious driving yourself might be the best cheap option?

The answer is fairly obvious too – some vehicles might be not in driving condition, sometimes it’s better to use specialised service and keep working (because days off can be very expensive for some people). But the most important thing – car shipping services can save you time for the things you love – your family, time for yourself, etc. Things that you will not be able to buy for any money in the world.

The cheapest car shipping companies

First things first – most probably you will end up working with the broker company, not with the carrier directly. That’s just how things work in car shipping industry (and in freight in general). Brokers have their service fee (called deposits). The price for car shipping consists of these two parts: broker fee (deposit) and carrier pay. You will have to pay the deposit prior to your vehicle being picked up, and the remaining balance directly to the driver on delivery location.

Is it possible to skip the broker company and use carrier directly?

The answer is – most probably no. The thing is that carriers don’t deal with quote requests, they only work with completed orders. They use specialised load boads (like CentralDispatch) to book loads directly from brokers. All marketing is done by broker companies, they create websites, generate requests, talk with customers, book orders and then sub-contract orders to actual carriers.

Some companies can have broker/carrier licensed, but in car shipping it’s not that common.

Here is a great example of cheap car shipping companies you can hire for your car shipping needs:

Company name

Licensed?

USDOT number

Phone

Ship a Car Direct

Licensed

2241272

(866) 221-1664

AmeriFreight Car Shipping

Licensed

2238770

(770) 486-1010

Ultimate Transport 123

Licensed

2247479

(888) 885-9123

Mercury Auto Transport

Licensed

2242305

(800) 553-1828

Montway Auto Transport

Licensed

2239816

(888) 998-8552

Auto Shipping Group Inc.

Licensed

2239008

(888) 588-1269

AutoStar Transport Express

Licensed

2239014

(888) 802-8250

How to choose the best car shipping company?

The answer is simple - do your research. Check all information about the company, ask questions and make an educated decision.

Check online reviews before placing your order!

It's imperative to do you due diligence and check all information about the company you are willing to hire. Google will help you :)

How to get cheap car shipping quotes?

To ship your car you will be asked a couple of questions. Specifically you’ll need to indicate all information about your car (year, make, model), pickup and delivery location, 1st available pickup date and type of the trailer you’d like to use (open or enclosed).

The bigger your vehicle is the higher shipping rate would be. The price to ship SUV will be 25% higher than for the sedan. Pick up truck might cost 35-40% more. You should indicate whether your vehicle has any modification after stock, it might effect the price also.

Inoperable vehicle are perfectly ok to transport also – but don’t forget to indicate that your car is not in driving condition. Most probably the carrier will need to have winch on his trailer to load and unload your car. Inoperable cars shipping can cost $100-$150 more than standard. Your vehicle needs to have the ability to roll, brake and steer, otherwise drivers might refuse to load it or they will require special assistance while loading and unloading (typically with forklift).

Pickup and delivery locations should be easy to access for big rig. If the street is too narrow and can damage cars on the trailer the driver might ask to meet him on the nearest parking lot or public storage.

To save on car shipping make your request at least two weeks prior to your preferred shipping date. Expedited shipping can cost $200-$250 more.

One thing you have to be very aware of – bait and switch practises, used by some companies to lure you into contract and then raise the price. This is most common scam practise among many car shipping companies. The company will offer to sign a low quote contract and then raise the price prior to pickup with some lame excuse – usually “our driver broker down, but we have another” or “our driver is not willing to go for your car only, he is willing to do that for $$$ extra”.

Is there a way to avoid bait and switch? Yes, you should use only trusted companies and check online reviews prior to placing your car. Reviews on Google or Yelp, BBB and Transportreviews can be a great help here – customers usually write feedback about companies that tend to use such practises. Avoid them like fire – such companies will only waste your time and ruin your shipping experience.

Cheapest car shipping companies on NY - CA route

We’ve requested quotes from companies that we were able to find online to ship a sedan from NY to CA.

All companies are claiming that their quotes include:

 

  • Tax
  • Tolls
  • Fuel
  • Door to Door Service
  • Full Coverage Insurance
  • No Hidden Fees or Charges

 

Here are the results: 

Company name

NY-CA rate

Nationwide Transport Services LLC

$1,704

Mercury Auto Transport

$1,530

Crystal Car Shipping

$1,350

Stars & Stripes Transportation

$1,570

Sonic Auto Transportation

$1,400

Cheap car shipping companies on TX-IL route

Typically you can find cheap car shipping companies on all major routes. Within a couple of days after order has been submitted your vehicle will be picked up by the driver, so there is no need to make requests two or three weeks in advance to the available date.

Things are not so great on routes, that requires delivery or pickup in locations like Montana or South Dakota. There are not so many drivers there because car shipping demand in these areas is not so big.

But let’s take a closer look at TX-IL route. We requested a couple of quotes from different companies to ship a sedan. Here are the rates:

Company name

Price

Sonic Auto Transportation

$535

Book American Dispatch

$820

MoverJet Logistics LLC

$550

M&M Vehicle Transport

$650

Mercury Auto Transport

$810

TM Shipping

$400

Is it cheaper to ship in Open trailer?

Yes, 90% of all car shipments are made using open trailer. It's not that safe as enclosed, but majority of car dealers use open trailer to save on car shipping and it's considered as safe.

Enclosed trailer can cost two times more!

While eclipsed trailer can offer more safety you have to pay for your peace of mind. The average rate for enclosed trailers is two times more than for the open one.

Cheap FL-NY car shipping companies

Florida – New York and back is one of the most popular routes for car shipping companies. During the “snowbirds season” amount of transportation requests skyrocket. Needles to say prices go up and instead of $500 drivers are asking for $900-$1000 per trip for 1 car.

Here is the information about cheap car shipping companies and their prices on FL-NY route during the summer season.

Company Name

Price for sedan

Mercury Auto Transport

$1120

Sonic Auto Transportation

$875

United Freeway Transportation

$799

Quantum Transport Solutions

$725

Fox Auto Transport

$1005

How to find the best cheap car shipping company?

Important information in selecting a cheap car shipping company:

1. All of the quotes you are receiving are from brokers, not trucking companies.
2. Brokers sub-contract your order to trucking companies.
3. Brokers are necessary to maintain market prices and to make sure drivers are properly insured.
4. Broker Fees vary from company to company.  This fee is what the broker makes, the remainder is what the driver is paid.
5. Truck drivers are going to take higher paying vehicles first.
6. Most broker companies do not charge a broker fee up front, they only charge their fee once they schedule a truck to pick up your vehicle.

Cheap car shipping FAQ

Q. Do you offer insurance while in transit?

A. All companies offer an insurance of $100,000 – $250,000 for your vehicle.

Q. My car is inoperable, can you ship it?

A. Not a problem. Just tell me what do you need; A winch/fork lifter and we can ship it

Q. What do I do in case of the damage?

A. We are providing you an insurance of $250,000 and at delivery time, you get a “bill of leading”. If in case, the car is damaged, then he will pay the damage charges. You have to sign the “bill of leading” before checking your vehicle condition.

Q. What is the difference between open and enclosed trailers? 

Open trailer: Since an open trailer just features the cargo bed without a roof or walls, it will be significantly lighter than any enclosed trailer.

Enclosed trailer: Enclosed Trailers are more aerodynamic, provide added protection and security when setting up at events and races, and have more storage space, giving them a major advantage on long distance trips.

Q. What are the payment terms? 
A. You have to make a deposit of $100 for the confirmation of a driver and we provide you with several options;
Cash app
Venmo
Zelle
And remaining you’ll pay at the delivery time.

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