Smart Motorist » What to Look For in a Car Transportation Company?

What to Look For in a Car Transportation Company?

Want to transport your vehicle, but have no idea where to start when looking for a transportation company? 

You’re not alone. With so many options to choose from and bad companies that you can get mixed up with, it’s paramount that you hand over your precious vehicle to a trusted company. 

Without knowing what to look for, you may end up in a nightmare situation that you’ll regret.

Before you make any actions, find out below what makes a good car transportation company. 

Let’s get started.

What to Look for in a Good Car Transportation Company?

1. Customer Focused

Your car is not a simple package that gets thrown into the back of a van, it’s something that’s potentially worth six figures (or even more) and requires care and attention. Businesses are like people, a good impression goes a long way. 

If you start the phone call off and you’re taken aback by a salesperson who only cares about closing the deal and not actually listening to you, then it’s best you take your business elsewhere.

A good way to judge a company is how they treat you right off the bat during the phone call. If they sound like they’re willing to go the extra mile for you, then it’s a good start. It doesn’t mean that they’re the best company in the world, but it’s a good foot forward. 

If you feel like you’re being rushed into making a decision, politely decline the offer and look for a better offer elsewhere.

2. Transparent Pricing

Everyone’s heard this story before, you sign off on a deal, and then you’re surprised with tacked on “services” that you weren’t aware of before you put down your John Hancock. Many auto transportation companies are going to try to pull a fast one on you, so it’s imperative that you get full disclosure of the entire cost of transporting your vehicle.

If a company is not willing to be transparent and is being wish-washy about what the final total will be, it’s best that you take your business elsewhere. Ask for full documentation of every charge, and then you’ll agree to the deal. Otherwise, you may be taken advantage of (or worse, be taken for a ride for weeks on end wondering where your car is).

3. Multiple Transportation Options

Multiple Transportation Options

A reputable transportation company will be well-versed in not just car shipping, but ATV, RV, plane, boat (and any other vehicle you can imagine as long as it fits on a trailer). Knowing that they offer many services, this means that they operate in a way that can accommodate any service you need.

If you have a luxury vehicle, you may want to look into a luxury vehicle transportation company that understands how to safely move exotics in one piece. You don’t want a transportation company that appears to only provide one service.

4. Well Reviewed

A well reviewed transportation company will give you the peace of mind you’re looking for. While not every person will be happy when providing a service business (as things do go wrong), if they have hundreds (if not thousands) of positive reviews, it’s not likely they are able to fake the ratings.

The danger in hiring a company with a low amount of reviews it that they’re able to be purchased. The argument could be made that a larger business could purchase reviews in the thousands, but if they are well reviewed across all platforms like Facebook, Google Reviews and Yelp, then you’re headed in the right direction.

Reviews don’t mean everything, though. If you encounter a well reviewed transport company but feel that something is off or you are getting backed into a deal, then use your best judgment and take your business to a company that is respectful. 

5. Able to Meet Timelines

Delays can happen, but you do want a transport company that is able to provide you with a date in which your vehicle arrives at the destination. If the company you’re thinking about working with doesn’t give you a definite window, that’s a warning sign that you should avoid working with them.

Understand that due to weather, traffic and potential crashes, it’s possible your car doesn’t make it on time. If you need your car for a specific date, then you should transport your car in advanced and ask your transportation company to keep your vehicle in storage until you arrive.

6. Willing to Meet in Real Life

Are you nearby the office of your transportation company? Swing by and meet them in person. You’ll be able to check out what type of demeanor they give off, and if they feel trust worthy to you. Your vehicle is worth many thousands after all, and you wouldn’t want to hand it over to someone you wouldn’t trust to look after your pets!

7. Check Complaints

Check Complaints

While it is true that most people only review if there was an issue, it’s good to know the reasoning why they decided to leave a bad review. Check if they had issues with price jacking or if they had any issues with logistics.

You may even encounter stories where no one came to pick up the vehicle, leaving them with limited options on short notice. Every company is going to rack up bad reviews over time, but if you see the same repeating pattern over and over, it’s best to avoid said company.

8. Verify Their Operating Authority 

Not just anyone can start transporting vehicles. You’ll first need to become a freight broker with the FMCSA (the federal motor carrier safety administration). It can cost upwards of $75,000 to do so, and if you’re operating across state lines, you’ll need to spend even more.

Check the MC number registered with the FMCSA to ensure the company you’re working with is licensed and is capable of transporting your vehicle without breaking any laws.

9. Verify Insurance

The lower you spend when transporting the car, the lower your vehicle will be insured for. If you’re transporting a luxury vehicle, you’ll want to insure the entirety of your car so you won’t be taking any chances regardless of whom you decide to do business with.

Ask your transportation company how much you’ll be insured for, and then remember to get the bill of lading when you hand over your vehicle. The bill of lading is used if there is a claim, and you want to verify that you’re actually going to be insured. 

You can always decide to purchase more insurance if you want to insure the entirety of your vehicle. Beware of cheap transportation options as they may insure your vehicle for the bare minimum which will leave you without reparations.

How Much To Spend on Car Transportation?

How much it costs to ship your vehicle will depend on many factors. If you’re shipping it to two states over compared to shipping it overseas will vary drastically in pricing. You may also incur more charges during peak season or when fuel is more expensive.

Consider that it would cost around $700-800 to ship a vehicle from New Jersey to Florida while if you wanted to ship it across the country, it will cost upwards of $1300. Remember that if your car isn’t working or if it’s an SUV/RV, the cost will be much more.

If you want to ship your vehicle overseas, it can cost between $1500 and $7500 (or more) depending on the location. Now, if you want to ship a car on a plane domestically, then it can cost around $2000 to $4000 and far more if you want to ship it overseas. 

The two main factors that will alter your quote are gas prices and location. If gas is on the rise around the country, then it would come to no surprise that the bill will be a little bit more. The same goes for distance, the longer the drive, the more you’re going to have to pay for it(even with the best car transport companies).

Be aware that the lower you spend, the more quality issues you’ll encounter. While it may seem favorable to you to save a few hundred, it may end up costing you a fortune down the line if your vehicle is given to a shady company. 


While it may be daunting finding a suitable vehicle transportation service for your beloved automobile, be assured that with due diligence, you can find a suitable provider that will respect your car as much as you do.

Be aware though that good reviews don’t always mean good service, and bad reviews don’t always mean bad service. It’s going to be better to get on the phone, or meet in person, to funny understand who you’re working with.  

Leave a Comment