Kicking Your Relocation Into Gear? 7 Tips for Scheduling an Auto Shipment

Rohan Mathew

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If you’re planning to relocate to a far-off destination, you probably have a lot of to-do list items on your mind. You’ll need to pack, change your healthcare providers, and forward all your mail. Then, there’s your car to consider.

Shipping a car across the country isn’t always a straightforward process, and it can feel overwhelming if you’re new to the concept. Understanding how to schedule an auto shipment is the first step to vehicle transport success. Here are seven tips to help put you on the books for your auto transport. 

Be picky when choosing an auto transport provider

You should choose an auto transport provider that’s registered, which means they should have a Department of Transportation (DOT) number and an MC number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA). 

The auto transport company you pick should also have experience and the customer testimonies to prove it. On top of that, any reliable auto transporter should be bonded and insured, offer multiple payment options, and provide bespoke services should you need them. 

Guardian Auto Transport is just one example of a company that provides all those things. You want a reliable, experienced company that can provide the type of transport you need, whether open auto transport or expedited delivery. These traits will give you peace of mind while your car is in transit. 

Understand the pickup window

Most transport providers provide a pickup window rather than an exact date. That means you’ll give the company a range of three to five days in which your car is available for pickup. 

You’ll then meet the driver at an assigned and convenient pickup location. Your driver will take your car from there to your relocation destination. 

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Location plays a significant role

Speed of shipping will depend on the location you’re moving to and from. 

Think of it this way. Suppose you’re moving from a central metropolitan area, like San Francisco, to another major city like Washington D.C. There are probably many other people shipping their vehicles along the same route in that case. So, finding transport on the dates you want will be relatively easy. 

However, if you’re moving from San Francisco to a much smaller, less populated town, like many Americans did in 2020, securing the exact pickup and delivery dates you need might be more tricky. 

Though many Americans may be moving from big cities to smaller towns, they’re not all moving to the same place. So, shipping your car outside a metropolitan area will probably take longer, and dates will be harder to lock down. That’s why you want an auto transport provider that keeps in touch throughout the process.

Lots of factors affect pickup and delivery dates

Even if you’re moving from one major city to another, pickup and delivery dates aren’t always easy to pin down. That’s because several factors can affect shipping, such as traffic, weather, and loading issues. 

Unless you’re shipping a classic car that will likely ride in its own truck, you’re probably going to ship your vehicle in open transport. That means the truck has several other vehicles to pick up and drop off on the way to you, and if any of those cars have issues, it can slow the whole process.

Some seasons are busier than others

It’s important to understand that some seasons are more popular for moving and, therefore, vehicle transport than others. 

Late spring through summer can get very busy for auto transport companies, so you’ll want to book your car shipment early if possible. Aim to book six weeks before you plan to move. 

After September and through May, you’re probably okay to book a little closer to your move, but you’ll still want to aim for at least three weeks out. 

Coordinate your shipment with your move

Make sure you plan your move in full before planning your car shipment. You’ll need to be present when the transport company picks up your car and when they deliver it. 

You can arrange for a family member or trusted friend to pick up or drop off your car in some situations, but you should let the auto transport company know about this arrangement in advance. You should also note that your friend will have to sign off on the car on your behalf. 

Being flexible keeps things stress-free

Moves have a reputation for being stressful, but they don’t have to be. If you can stay a little flexible with pickup and delivery dates, shipping your car to a new state won’t be such a tense experience. 

If your move is coming up quickly (such as within the next two to three weeks), call the transport company right away and explain your situation. Your service provider may be able to work with you by providing expedited service.

Final thoughts

A long-distance move is undoubtedly life-changing, but shipping your car doesn’t have to be a terrible experience. By picking the right provider and understanding the ins and outs of the process, you can prevent a lot of possible mishaps. 

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