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How Auto Transport Works (Podcast)

How Auto Transport Works (Podcast)

Mike Scenna, sales manager at Preowned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto transport and logistics company  in Massachusetts, discusses how auto transport works.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Mike Scenna, sales manager at Preowned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto transport and logistics company in Massachusetts. Our topic today is how auto transport works. Welcome, Mike.

Mike Scenna: Hey, John. How are you?

Reasons for Hiring an Auto Transport Company

John: Good, thanks. Mike, tell us some of the reasons why people might need an auto transport company.

Mike: Yeah, sure. The simple answer there is if you want to get your car from point A to point B without driving it. Some of the more common reasons that we ship would be we have a lot of seasonal folks, people who live in one part of the country for part of the year and another part of the country for another part of the year, and they’ll need their car wherever they are so they usually ship it back and forth. We ship a lot of cars for students attending colleges out of state. They need a car to get around while they’re there, but don’t necessarily want to drive it out there. If you have to move, of course, you have to get your belongings out there as well as your vehicle. What we’re finding a lot of now is people purchasing cars out of state. Inventory is something that’s a bit difficult to come by and people are starting to realize it’s a bit easier to ship a car than they may have thought it was in the past.

John: Do they do that with a private sale or are those car dealerships in other states that they’re buying them from, or both?

Mike: Yeah, either or. People finding it online themselves or dealers recommending out of state purchasing, helping people find cars and also letting them in on the fact that it’s not that hard to have a car shipped.

Logistics of Car Shipping

John: Okay. What are some of the logistics involved in … Obviously you have to pick up cars from maybe different places where people live and then you’re delivering cars to potentially lots of different places as well. What are some of the logistics involved on your end as a company and how you deal with multiple people and multiple places and destinations where they’re picking cars up and dropping them off?

Mike: Yeah, sure. This is a question I get asked a lot and I always find it funny by how surprised people are with how simple it is. Really, it’s as easy as you provide us with some basic information, addresses, phone numbers, vehicle information. We set a time, a window for the car to be picked up. We notify you when the driver is on the way and plans on being there. You perform a condition report with the driver, the vehicle gets picked up. From there, you can track your shipment, you can call us or we could set you up with our online portal. Then we notify you when it comes time to deliver the car.

John: Do you work it out with the drivers that maybe they have a certain area that they work in so that they’re picking up a bunch of different cars kind of at the same time that are all in the same area and then they’re driving to a … Are all of those cars going to different places along his route, or how does that all work out?

Mike: Yeah. There are all kinds of options, anything from a door-to-door service, where we’re going to have the driver show up as close to the house as they can get, find maybe a big parking lot or a safe spot to pick up the car, and same thing on the delivery end. We also have terminals around the country, places that we work with specifically to drop cars off. Bundling them together makes it more efficient for the driver to pick it up and that efficiency also leads to savings for the customer as well. And it’s a bit easier dropping the car off. You show up at a place, drop the car off and you’re all set. You don’t have to worry about waiting around for the driver, that’s kind of checked off the list for the day.

Advantages of Choosing an Auto Transport Company

John: You said that auto transport in general is an alternative to driving the car yourself. What are some of the advantages of choosing an auto transport company instead of just hopping in the car and just driving it to wherever I’m going?

Mike: Yeah, sure. All kinds of advantages there. Of course, there’s time. It’s going to take a lot longer to drive a car across the country than it is to just have it shipped, hop on a plane and fly to your destination. Of course, it’s a lot safer. Not driving across the country is safer than driving across the country. Wear and tear on the vehicles, you’re going to put a lot of miles on the vehicle. If you can avoid doing that, that’s great for your car. Finally, we usually find that it’s cheaper to ship the car. If you add up some of the costs, fuel, lodging, time you have to take off work, those things add up quickly, and you can find that it’s probably more expensive to ship the car than it is to drive it yourself.

John: Okay, interesting. Yeah, maybe it’s some of those things people don’t think about right off the top of their heads. Like you said, lodging, if it’s going to be a three-day trip, then you’re going to have to spend a couple of nights in a hotel and maybe even, like you said, take off a couple of days of work and what is that going to cost you? So yes, a lot of those things that maybe people don’t think about up front.

Mike: Right, yeah. Food, tolls, those actually add up pretty quickly as well.

Guidelines for Car Shipping

John: Are there any rules about transporting my car? For example, if I’m moving, can I just load my car up with all of my stuff from my house and my boxes and things like that and then have you move my car and move all my stuff at the same time?

Mike: Yeah, so not a ton of rules, but that is one of them. There is a limit on the items that you can put in the car. Safety is very important and we ask that people keep under a hundred pounds in the vehicle and all items below the window lines. There’s a weight limit on the truck that we have to meet and we also need to keep visibility for loading and unloading the vehicle off the truck.

John: Right, that makes sense, yeah. Are the cars insured when they’re transported, and what happens if there happens to be an accident or any kind of damage to my car while it’s being transported?

Mike: Yeah. With us, absolutely. The vehicle is covered 100% during the entire shipping process. If anything happens, we cover it completely.

Steps to Ship Your Car

John: What’s the first step? Say I am a person who is going from Boston down to Florida for the winter and then I’m going to want to come back again in the spring, what’s the first step that I should take in terms of setting up my auto transport.

Mike: Yeah, first step, I think it’s great to just pick up the phone. Give us a call, talk to someone, someone who can let you know how the process works, answer any questions you might have. Research, I tell people all the time it’s great to do research on this. It’s not something that people typically know a lot about without experiencing it. There unfortunately are a lot of bad companies out there. I check reviews, ask a lot of questions, money back, if that’s involved, insurance on the car, safety of the shipment.

John: Then what are the next things that I can expect? I’ve done my research, I think you guys are great, I set up picking up my car or I can drop it off to you guys. Then what happens after that?

Mike: After that, we handle everything from there. We’ll reach out to you once we’ve assigned a truck, let you know what the window for the pickup will be. We’ll let you know where to be and when. If you’re not dropping off at a terminal, we’ll help coordinate the safest place for the car to be picked up, walk you through performing the condition report. Once we’ve finished with the pickup, we’ll let you know about several tracking options we have. You can call us, we have our portal we can set you up with where you can check online. When it’s time for delivery, we do the same thing. We let you know where to be and when, and help you through that process as well.

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

Mike: Awesome. Thanks, John.

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