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Car Shipping for College Move-Ins (Podcast)

Car Shipping for College Move-Ins (Podcast)

Mike Scenna from Preowned Auto Logistics sits down with John Maher to talk about shipping vehicles for college move-ins. He explains the process of shipping vehicles to college campuses. He talks about the advantages of shipping over driving to campus, and he provides tips on when to book shipping.

John Maher: Hey, I’m John Maher, and I’m here today with Mike Scenna, sales manager at Preowned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto transport and logistics company in Massachusetts. Today, our topic is car shipping for college move-ins. Welcome, Mike.

Mike Scenna: Hey, John. Thanks for having me.

When Should College Students Book Car Shipping?

John: Sure. So Mike, the end of the summer is a time for college students to start moving into school, and some college students might have their own car if they’re lucky, and how far in advance should they be booking that auto shipping?

Mike: Yeah, sure. So fortunately for something like school, you really have a well-known timeline. You know exactly when you’re going back to school and it’s the same each year, so that gives you plenty of time to reach out. It’s really never too early to reach out. I have parents call me for student car shipping. Sometimes they set both of them up so that we’re talking over a year out, they’ll call me in the spring and say, “We’re going to ship the car home in August, and back again next spring.”

So they’ll set both shipments up well in advance. So it’s never too early to book shipping, but I always tell people, “Give yourself at least six weeks. You don’t want to do it too last minute. And it helps to have your move on the books well ahead of time to make sure that everything goes the way that you’re hoping for it to go.”

Book Shipping Before the Busy Season in August

John: Right. So most kids are probably moving into college at the end of August, say, something like that. So maybe you even want to think about, yeah, by around July 4th weekend or so you should definitely be calling a car shipping company.

Mike: Yep. And car shipping, depending on where you’re going, can get busy that time of year. The end of August going into September, you have college students moving, it’s a common time for corporate relocation. People when they move between jobs tend to do it in between the school year. So over the summer, towards the end of the summer. And then you have seasonal residents going from north to south, so it can get very busy. And if you can reach out ahead of time, it helps quite a bit.

Why Should College Students Ship Their Vehicles to Campus Instead of Driving?

John: So whenever I think of college kids moving into college, I’m always picturing, and maybe it’s just because it’s what you see in the movies, you see a car full of suitcases, and maybe even a chair strapped to the roof or something like that. What are some of the reasons why a college student might want to have their car shipped instead of just packing it full of all of their stuff and driving to their school?

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. That’s funny. Good point, like you said, when you watch the movies, you kind of see that packed up car and maybe a parent dropping them off at school, but yeah, the reality that you don’t see is that option for car shipping. It doesn’t really come up that much. And there are a lot of great reasons to do the shipping instead of driving.

The biggest one is really safety, and most of the college moves we do, we’re talking more to the parents of the students rather than the students themselves. It might seem really fun and exciting to a younger person to hop in their car and drive it across the country, maybe with a few friends to school, but it can be dangerous.

You’re driving hundreds, maybe thousands of miles. You’re going places that you’re extremely unfamiliar with combined with being an inexperienced driver. It might not be the safest option. It’s a little bit easier to get on a plane. You hop on the plane, you get in your seat, you land at the airport where you’re going, and you hop out and get a ride to school. And it’s just one of those things that you might be young and ambitious and feel like jumping in the car and doing it, but you’re going to be hit with a lot of elements that you weren’t expecting when driving long distances like that.

Risks and Logistics of Long-Distance Drives

John: When I was younger, I did an internship for college and I drove somewhere that took really two or three days to drive there. And one of the issues that I encountered that I didn’t really think about before that was, what do I do with all of the stuff in my car when I’m stopping overnight at a hotel or a motel or something like that? Some of the places that I stayed at, maybe they weren’t the worst places, but I was on the cheap and it wasn’t at some fancy place, and I didn’t want to just have my car full of everything that I owned sitting out there in the parking lot where it could get broken into and stolen or whatever.

So I ended up, at least one of the nights, moving most of the stuff or the expensive stuff out of the car and moving it into the hotel room, and then packing it back from the hotel room into the car the next day. So I don’t know, do you find that too, that people maybe don’t think about some things like that if they’re doing a multi-day move and they’re packing their car full of stuff? You can’t just leave your car out on the street full of all your belongings.

Mike: Right. No, excellent point. And we go through that all the time with people. I had a similar experience as you, younger and moving across the country. I remember one of the things I had in my car was my acoustic guitar.

John: Right.

Mike: And I didn’t realize until I stopped, I’m like, “Well, that doesn’t look good.” You could see through the window. That kind of raises a flag and says, “There might be valuable items in this car.” So honestly, whether driving or shipping, we’re always advising people against too many items in the car. And the reason you just said, it draws unwanted attention to the vehicle. It’s unfortunate that things happen and break-ins happen and things can be stolen, so if you can avoid bringing any extra attention that could cause that to yourself, that’s good to do.

So yeah, you really want to be careful. And then if you’re bringing that kind of attention to your vehicle, that could be bringing potential harm to you personally as well if someone is attempting to take something from the car and you catch that and you confront them, that might not go over so well. So it’s just a situation that you ultimately want to avoid if you can.

Arranging Car Delivery on College Campuses

John: What are some of the considerations that people should think about when they are doing a car shipping to college, but they need to receive that car? Is the truck able to drive right onto the campus and deliver that car to them, or do they need to arrange for picking it up somewhere else, and how do they get there? What are some of those sort of logistical considerations?

Mike: Sure. Same kind of logistics that really go into all car shipping, and all good points. You really want to think about the space on the pickup end and destination end. These are big trucks. They run at 84 feet long, 13-and-a-half feet tall, so they need a lot of space getting in and out of places. And here, we’re more than happy to help. We’ve gotten on the phone with the colleges and asked about the best places for the cars to be unloaded.

We ask about things, places the car can be unloaded and people that can receive the keys, they can hold the car for the student. So it’s just a lot of questions. Every college is different, and most to all of them are very willing to help and do anything they can to accommodate their students and make sure that these things go as smoothly as possible.

John: Right. So a college might have a specific parking lot that they tell you to go to, and then they say, “Yeah, you can drop off the car there and you can give the keys to the attendant at the booth,” or something like that. And then the student can pick it up from them with their student ID or something along those lines.

Mike: Yep. Any of the ones that deal with a higher percentage of out-of-state students, there’s usually someone or some department you can get in touch with that is familiar with the process and has a good plan and way of delivering the car.

Contact Preowned Auto Logistics to Ship a Car to College

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Mike. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Mike: Yeah. Of course. Thanks, John.

John: And for more information or to request a quote for your auto shipping needs, visit their website at or call (877) 542-1955.