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Car Shipping for College Students (Podcast)


Car Shipping for College Students (Podcast)

Car Shipping for College Students

Mike Scenna of PAL talks about car shipping for college students, including pickup and dropoff on campus, and why having your car delivered to college, rather than driving it, is actually safer and more cost-effective.

John Maher:      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 students. Welcome Mike.

Mike Scenna:    Hey John. Thanks for having me.

Do a Lot of College Students Ship Their Cars?

John:     Sure. Mike, how often do you guys do car shipping for college students? Do a lot of college students take their cars and drive them off to school rather than have a parent drive them?

Mike:    Yeah, so we do quite a bit of auto shipping for college students. And the answer is yes, depending on the school that they’re at, there are usually rules on when they’re allowed to have the car there. So a lot of schools don’t allow freshmen a car on campus. So they’ll have to go that first year with just walking around and using whatever transportation is there. But usually after that freshman year, they’re allowed to bring a car, which is helpful for getting around to classes and maybe involves internships and things like that and they’ll need a car there.

So because of that, we find it’s a really big market for us. Come every August and May, we see ourselves shipping lots of cars for college students. We have a lot of same students that we work with for three years, for sophomore, junior and senior year, we send the car to the school for them and then back home when they go home for the summer. And we get a lot of new students every year, usually recommendations from other students or through marketing or just word of mouth. And we’ll pick up a lot of new students through mostly concerned parents who are looking to help their children get the vehicle to the school, but are maybe not so thrilled about the idea of them driving it there.

Why Ship a Car to College Instead of Driving?

John:     Yeah, so that brings up my next question, which was why would a college student want to ship their car to school rather than load it up with all of their stuff and drive themselves?

Mike:    Yeah. So you and I have talked quite a bit in the past about the safety of shipping a car versus driving it. And for college students, this is more relevant than ever because they’re new drivers. They haven’t been on the road very long and, depending on where they’re from, and where they’re going to school, they could be looking at a trip of a couple thousand miles. So, not only is it the inexperience of driving, right, so they’re more likely to run into problems on the road just because they haven’t been driving that long; it’s also new territory and they’re traveling down a lot of roads that they’ve never seen before, in different States. So there are different laws on the roads that they might not be used to.

So, for this reason, it could be a big trip for someone at that age, which is why a lot of those times we’re on the phone with the parents, right? You have a lot of students who they’re graduating high school and they’re ready to get their independence. They might be excited for something like this, but then the parents get involved and it’s like, “I don’t think so. You’re not driving the car. This isn’t happening.”

John:     Right, and I’d imagine that the parents don’t want to take the time off of work or, like you said, if it’s 2000 miles, they don’t want to be driving the kid either. If it’s halfway across the country or something like that, they can’t take a week off of work just to bring their kid back and forth to school.

Mike:    Well, yeah, I’ve talked to people who’ve done that before and then have come to shipping. It’s a very similar reaction where they’re like, “Oh, it’s not going to be safe. I’m going to come with you.” And then they were like, “I didn’t realize how much time it took to pack the car. I took a couple of days off work. I ended up having to double that because the trip took a lot longer than I thought. And it was a lot more money than I thought.” And then they were very grateful, “We’re happy to find a company like you, this is great. We can put the car on the truck, send it down, and the kid can get on the plane and get to school within a couple of hours.”

The Cost of Shipping a Car to College

John:     So, college students, I think they’re typically on a budget; maybe they don’t have a lot of money to do something, or they don’t think that they have the money to do something like a car shipment. Is shipping a car worth the expense to a college student? And do you have any student discounts available or anything to help kind of defray those costs?

Mike:    Yeah. So I would say it’s definitely cost effective as we were just talking about. There’s a lot of things that come into play that people don’t think about. The costs add up very quickly when it comes to…if you are driving with a parent, now you’re looking at hotel for two, food for two, gas adds up, that time off work for the parents. They’re losing money there. It adds up quick and it could be a lot more money to drive. So you are usually working on a budget, right? I mean, college is expensive. Students tend to not be making so much money at that time. So it’s important to save money. So if you break down the cost, it’s a lot cheaper to ship the car. And that can help a lot.

As far as a formal discount for students goes, we don’t really have anything in place like that, but I can say we do offer very competitive pricing for students, we appreciate the situation that they’re in and what point in life that they’re in and we try to offer the best price that we can in order to help at a time where they’re looking to save some money.

John:     Right. Is that the same in terms of, I know you said that you had some students that come back year after year to move their cars, is there any repeat customer discount or anything like that?

Mike:    Yeah. We stay competitive with our repeat customers as well. So again, no formal discount, but I can tell you between costs in the industry, just inflation in general, the prices in shipping go up quite often. And usually college students will lock in a rate. So if we catch you your freshman or sophomore year and offer you a rate and prices go up before your senior year, we’re usually going to keep you at that rate that you started shipping with.

Do Colleges Allow Car Drop-Offs on Campus?

John:     Oh, that’s a good point. Yeah. What about picking up and dropping off on a college campus? Are there any logistical issues with that? Do colleges allow a car carrier to come driving onto their campus and drop off a car or how does that work out?

Mike:    Yeah, so it really depends on the school and the setup of the location. So we’re really big on safety here. So first and foremost, regardless of the regulations of the school, we’re not going to have our drivers go into any places that aren’t very safe for drop-offs. So not a lot of traffic around, plenty of room for the truck to maneuver, no low-hanging trees that could damage any of the cars on the truck. So as long as the campus meets those requirements and allows the truck on, they usually go right on to meet the student. But we don’t have a lot of problems. Usually college campuses are really big and wide open. The majority of the time, the truck is able to drive right onto the campus, which is good for a student because again, they don’t have to venture out too far in an area that could be new to them and obviously difficult to travel because they don’t have a car yet.

If need be, to meet somewhere off the campus that’s a little safer, we’ll have the driver do that. And they are very accommodating to help the students as well, whether it’s providing directions or leaving the truck in a safe space and driving the car to the student and just getting a ride back to the truck. We’ll get creative here and do anything that we can to make this go as easy as we can for the students shipping the car.

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

Mike:    Yeah, thank you, John.

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