Industry Wide

Top 10 Questions For Shipping A Car using a Shipping Company

shipping a car to another state

Shipping a Car is easy as 1, 2, 3 …

These days people are using online tools to ship vehicles. Often times you’re moving to another state or buying online from places like eBay. Hiring a company to transport a vehicle from A to B is much easier compared to driving the vehicle yourself. With this, certain questions start to come up. Lets take a look at some of those now.

1) Is the company licensed?

The Department of Transportation is where the auto transport service provider will need to register. This means that you should be able to see the shipping company ‘DOT’ number. There is also the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website where you can check their Motor Carrier number. For shipping abroad you would want to check out the Federal Maritime Commission. It can be checked here -

2) What does the transport offer for services?

When first talking to the shipping company ask them what services they offer. It might be that they have restrictions on the type or size of vehicle that they are willing to transport. Also, ask about enclosed or open. Enclosed Trailers keep cars out of the elements, but is more expensive. Open Trailers are the most common mode of transportation.

3) What is the cost?

This is not the same for everyone. Costs may vary depending on the company. It might be good to get quotes from a few companies for comparison and make sure that you understand exactly what’s included. This helps you understand any extra charges that you didn’t know about. Companies in general should be willing to provide you with a free estimate. With every price you might want to ask if the price can be negotiated since you may or may not have more then one vehicle to ship.

4) What about insurance?

Your personal vehicle insurance will probably not cover the transport. Ask the shipping company about their insurance and make sure that you will be covered. It would be good to know at what level your vehicle will be protected while being shipped. See if it is possible to adjust if the insurance does not seem to be enough.

5) What documents do you need to provide?

Check with your transport company to find out exactly what papers they will need.

6) How would you get your car ready to be transported?

You need to make sure that the car is empty of belongings. Shipping companies are not allowed to have household items in the car during transport. Also, Department of Transport requires keys to be provided to the transporter while being transported. It is recommended that you have a quarter tank of gas so that you can avoid any extra charges for weight.

7) How much time will it take to ship?

Shipping will vary depending on the company, how the vehicle is being shipped and distance. There are times when it is difficult to guarantee a delivery date. In general, coast to coast can take 1-2 weeks while shorter distances a few days.

8) What about payment arrangements?

This depends on the shipping company. Some will want the money up front in full. Some will take a deposit and the rest payed when delivered. It will be important to ask about what method is being used and if they prefer check or credit card. It is never a good idea to pay for services, in full, before services are rendered.

9) What actions does the company take to make sure my car is protected?

The company, upon picking up the car, with conduct an inspection and often times take pictures. You both will agree on the condition of the car. When the car is delivered a similar inspection of the vehicle will be conducted.

10) What will happen if the vehicle is damaged in any way?

At delivery you will want to take pictures of the damage, if any, and inspect the car. This would be a good time to use your smart phone or camera to get those pictures. This should be documented and signed by the driver. With this information you will be able to make a claim through the service provider.

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Are You Ready for the New Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations?

New Hours of Service (HOS) regulations were put into place by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in July of this year. Many in the auto transport industry believe that while these regulations might have been implemented with good intentions, the negative will more than offset the positive. Like the old saying goes, “If these wheels are not rolling, we are not making any money.”

The new HOS regulations were designed specifically to reduce the number of hours a driver is allowed to log over the course of a 7-day period. Specifically, the regulations affect any commercial drivers who have reached 70 hours of driving within a given week because the new regulations only allow commercial drivers to resume driving if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. They also require that a driver take a 30-minute break during the first 8 hours of a shift.

According to the Auto Haulers Association of America (AHAA), these mandated reset periods and forced downtime are starting to impact the drivers’ bottom lines. Members claim that by taking drivers off the road, the HOS regulations are reducing the number of hours they can work, as well as limiting the flexibility of transport schedules. It is also important to note that the FMCSA claims that the new rules should only impact the most extreme schedules. They also estimated that more than 85% of the truck-driving workforce will see little to no changes. In fact, FMCSA expects the changes to help the industry as a whole by saving hundreds of millions of dollars on fewer truck crashes and improved driver health.

While safety is especially important to the auto transport industry, concerns that rates for transport will go up due to tighter regulations continue to threaten drivers, brokers, and carriers who will have to work even harder just to break even or make a profit. It is important for everyone impacted to understand these new regulations and plan for their businesses accordingly. To find out more information on this subject, check out the following links:

Combating “Promise Fatigue”

When materials are used beyond their reasonable capacity too many times, engineers describe the deterioration that results as “fatigue”.

In the business of auto transport software too many promises have been made by too many providers over too many years and the result, for many in the business, is “promise fatigue”.

You’ve heard the promises too many times and no longer trust that there’s any “there” there.

We all know the market leader, which has been operating since 1999. How many clones of that software have been brought to the market in the past 10 years? How many have added anything of real value? How many have been nothing more than glorified load boards?

In fact, if you do a Google search on that oldest software in the market you’ll find a request from someone who actually is looking for a programmer to “clone” the old system. What good would that do anyone?

Recently there have been a couple of new entrants into the market with pretty impressive looking home pages and some pretty impressive sounding claims. In fact, the features claimed by one of those companies sound a lot like some of Auto Load Logic’s features.

But when you get past that product’s home page and look at the actual functions provided it becomes clear that the promises are empty. That offering just did not do what it said it would do. And it created an even greater degree of skepticism in the market.

So, we at Auto Load Logic know that we have to battle the problem of “promise fatigue”. We have to be patient with the companies that have been disillusioned by the broken promises of others.

We have to SHOW the market what we can do rather than just TELLING people what we offer.

That’s just a reality and that’s OK. Reality has to be faced.

Auto Load Logic DOES offer what we say it does.

The features are there. The functionality is there. The commitment to the customer is there. The commitment to continuous improvement is there. The clear and significant value proposition is there for every user group.

So take a look at Auto Load Logic. Call us to talk about it. Write us with your questions. Share your concerns.

We’re here and we’re for real!

Increased Vehicle Sales Puts Pressure on Transport Industry

The strength of mid-year vehicle sales figures has surprised many industry analysts. It now appears that full year domestic sales will approach 16 million units, a figure not seen since 2007. That would represent a gain of nearly 60% from the low point of 2009.

There is no question that the recovery in vehicle sales is a good thing for the US economy in general and for entire automotive industry segment. But what does it imply for vehicle transport specifically?

The sharp decline in vehicle sales in the 2008 to 2009 period created a ripple effect of destruction throughout the industry, causing a significant decline in overall vehicle transport capacity. We saw auto transporters go out of business, trailers get taken to the scrap yard, trailer manufacturers file for bankruptcy and drivers looking for work in other industry segments.

But the pendulum is swinging back. Manufacturing volume drives OEM transport demand and OEM transport demand has an outsized effect on the overall transport market. When a manufacturer wants service the transport industry responds.

Let’s take a look at what that response might require.

If this year’s total sales figure does approach 16 million, it will represent an increase of about 1.5 million vehicles over the past 2 years. Those new vehicles have to be moved from point of manufacture (or port of entry) to the point of initial sale. In other words, from a plant, port or railhead to the location of initial sale or use. And that movement is going to be by truck.

Here’s a simplistic but hopefully useful analysis of what that might require. Let’s assume that:

a) all of the transporters moving OEM vehicles use 10-car trailers,

b) all trailers move fully-loaded,

c) allowing for maintenance and other downtime, an OEM fleet trailer is moving 300 days per year, and

d) the average trip duration from loading to delivery to return is two days, including waiting time and other down-time.

Those assumptions would suggest that an OEM-contracted trailer makes 150 round trips per year carrying a full load of 10 vehicles. So, each trailer moves 1,500 vehicles per year.

[Obviously some vehicles are so large that a 10-car trailer can’t really carry 10 of them. And some round trips might be only a day rather than two. But we’re just looking for a reasonable approximation, here.]

If this actually is a reasonable approximation, an increase in OEM transport demand of 1.5 million units will require an increase of 1,000 OEM-dedicated trailers. And if the manufacturers need 1,000 more trailers, either 1,000 more trailers have to be built or the pressure of that increase in demand gets transferred to the non-OEM market.

I realize that this back-of-the-envelope approach ignores a lot of issues and that the assumptions are simplistic. But I don’t think that the basic point can be refuted.

As the OEM activity continues to out- perform expectations, the pressure is likely to be felt most acutely in the non-OEM transport market. That puts a premium on increased efficiency in that market. Those who can do the job faster, more efficiently and with lower risk will have the advantage.

That’s the advantage that Auto Load Logic provides!