Mike Scenna, sales manager at Pre-owned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto transport logistics company, discusses car shipping and how to arrange it.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Mike Scenna, sales manager at Pre-owned Auto Logistics, the car shipping and auto transport and logistics company in Massachusetts. Our topic today is how to arrange car shipping. Welcome Mike.
Mike Scenna: Hi John. Thanks for having me.
John: Sure. Mike, today we want to talk a little bit about some of the factors involved in arranging my car shipment into what goes into that. The first question is, how far in advance should I plan my car shipment and give you guys a call to make sure that I’m getting the car picked up at the right time?
Importance of Planning Auto Shipping
Mike: This is a great question. It’s definitely important to start thinking about your car shipment ahead of time. It’s not something you want to do last minute and just call up and say, “Hey, I need a car shipped tomorrow.” It’s going to be a little bit more difficult to get accomplished what you’re looking for in that case. I’d say a good timeframe, depending on the type of shipment, where in the country it’s going to, where it’s coming from, would be about a month. It’s almost overkill. It’s good to get on the books and be able to have a company like us start working on that shipment, what your best options are, how we’re going to move that car, how are we going to get it done at the best rate for you. Calling ahead of time and giving a company more time to work on the shipment is going to help accomplish what you’re looking for and also giving you the best rate, if they’re able to have more time to plan that out.
Choosing an Auto Transport Company
John: Okay. How do I pick an auto transport company? There’s a lot of them out there. What are some of the factors involved in choosing the right company?
Mike: You start by asking yourself what’s important to you. When you ship a car, you have to consider, what’s going through your mind is, how much is this going to cost? Obviously people, we want to get a good deal on this service and pay a reasonable amount of money. You also have to consider the security of the car. That is going to be something that’s important to a lot of individuals, to make sure that the transport is done properly and your car gets to where it’s supposed to be safely and not damaged. When you’re asking yourself these things, it’s good to go online and review companies. There’s lots of information out there on companies, how to choose companies, what questions to ask.
That’s another important thing. There are also a lot of companies out there. While it’s very convenient to go on a website, get an instant quote, hit a button and book your transport and it’s done, that’s great. That’s simple. But I always tell people it’s really good to get on the phone and ask questions, because this is something people don’t do often or may be doing for the first time ever. So if you’re doing something like this for the first time ever, this isn’t a small task, moving your car a great distance. You should really get on the phone with some companies and ask questions and get an understanding of who you’re working with, who’s going to be moving your car and if they’re able to get it done in a way that suits you. The time frame is right. The insurance information is right, and you’re getting all of your boxes checked off.
Getting a Quote
John: Right. Then how do I go ahead and actually get a car shipping quote, so that I can see how much this is going to cost for me?
Mike: Getting a quote is very easy. You can go online. There are websites such as our own that you can fill out a quote form and you get a quote through email. Or you can get on the phone and call companies, I think is the best way to do it. You’re going to get a more accurate quote when speaking to someone. You and I have talked in the past about all of the things that go into shipping a car, and we’ve done other podcasts on how the rate is determined and the breakdown of what goes into that. It’s a lot. So you’re going to get the best quote by speaking to someone and having them fully understand your move. There are a lot of companies out there that give you an instant quote online. That quote is really more of a guess.
I’ve heard from people we’ve talked to, a lot of people moved a lot of cars for folks, who’ve gotten a quote, an instant quote, from a company who starts working on the shipment. Then they get a call a week later saying that they didn’t realize you needed the car by this time or that the car had these extra features on it that made it heavier. So now they’re going to need more money. So it might seem great, you fill out the quote, you get it back instantly and they promise you a good timeframe. But if you’re not taking the time on the front end to do this right and give the correct information, it ends up costing you more money and time on the backend because you didn’t give the company a full understanding of your shipment.
John: Right. That’s why calling you and talking to a real person really can help because there’s a lot more factors, like you said, than just punch in the city that I’m starting from in the city that I’m going to. There’s a lot more to it.
Mike: Right, exactly. It’s important to understand those things in order to get you an accurate quote.
John: What’s the next step then? I’ve got a quote. I know the company that I want to work with and I’m ready to move forward. What’s next?
Mike: Booking is as simple as, with our company, you’re talking to someone to get that quote and you’re dealing with them and giving them information. You’ve probably had a few phone calls. You’re ready to book. You’re going to be working with that same person. They’re going to take all of the necessary information for the shipment. You have addresses on both ends, points of contact. We like to make sure we get your point of contact, maybe a backup point of contact, in case we’re not able to get in touch with you. We want to have as much information as possible to make sure everything goes smooth. You have your order booked. You get a confirmation number and we stay in contact with you throughout that whole process, let you know exactly what you need to do, where you need to be and when we expect the truck to be at the pickup, at the destination. We’re always there to answer any questions you have along the way. If anything pops up, you want an update, you can always call your rep and get that answered.
Preparation for Auto Transporting
John: Is there anything that I have to do to prepare my car to be shipped?
Mike: Yeah. It’s important to make sure that you have your car ready to be shipped and it’s in the proper condition to head out. That’s a benefit of getting on the phone with someone who’s going to help walk you through that. You and I have discussed in the past how weight is a factor when shipping. It’s important not to put any items in the car. You don’t want too much in there for several reasons. Weight is going to come into play. Also it’s really two different types of insurance, as far as moving items versus a vehicle. This is a moving company versus an auto shipping company. I can tell you right now that there are no companies out there that cover items in the car. So it’s important to know that you don’t want to put anything valuable in the car because it’s not covered. Not that you have problems with that often with theft and things like that, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s good to know that if something happens to the stuff you have in the car, you’re not going to be covered for that. Then finally would be gas. We always ask people that they try to keep gas on the lower side, maybe down close to a quarter of a tank if you can.
John: Obviously there needs to be some gas in the car for it to be loaded on and off of the truck, but that doesn’t use much gas at all. You want to keep the weight down, that’s why.
Mike: Right. You want to keep the weight down. Like you said, there’s not too much gas needed. It’s on the truck, maybe off the truck, once or twice in order to accommodate dropping different cars off in different places. Then yeah, off the truck at the destination. So it doesn’t take too much gas.
Auto Transport Pickup Procedure
John: Talk a little bit more about the pickup procedure itself. Once I’ve arranged it and I know when you guys are going to come and pick up my car, how does that all work?
Mike: Yeah, sure. When it’s time for the pickup, it’s best to be present for the pickup if you can, because it’s important to go over the condition of your vehicle with the driver. Together, you and the driver walk around the vehicle and note any existing damage. You really want to have a good idea of the condition of the car prior to shipping, to make sure you receive it in that same condition. I tell people that aside from the driver’s condition report that they’re performing that you’ll sign off on, it’s great to take pictures. Everyone has a camera on their phone now. Just as you’re walking around, pull out your phone and snap some pictures around the car. Your car is in perfect condition, has no damage, it’s good to have those pictures to show that so that if something were to happen, you have a photo. You could show that this is not how the car was when I handed it over to the driver.
Receiving the Car at the Destination
John: What about on the other end of the trip? How do I receive my car at my destination?
Mike: The opposite of the condition report on that end, now you’re going over the condition report that was performed with the driver. You’re looking at their records and the condition in your photos. You want to do a really good job at looking through the car when you receive it, which can be tough. It’s good to work with the right company who can remind you to do this. I see a lot of people in a rush more than they’d like to be. You tend to maybe grab the keys, thank you, this is great, and drive off in the car. It’s very important to take the extra couple of minutes to go through the car, look underneath, walk around the car. Because you want to point that out at that time. If anything did happen to the car, it’s best to address it right then and there. It’d be terrible if you drove off with it, and two days later you realize something that you didn’t notice before in the car. Now you’re not sure if that happened during transport or in a parking lot in those two or three days that you’ve had the car.
John: Any final thoughts on arranging car shipping? Overall, it seems like it’s a pretty simple process.
Mike: As I always say, ask a lot of questions. Get as much information as you can. Make sure you’re looking at reviews, choosing the right company and going through all the steps in the right way. If you’re working with the right person, shipping a car should be a stress free and easy process.
John: All right. That’s really great information, Mike. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Mike: Of course. Thanks for having me, John.
John: For more information or to request a quote for your auto shipping needs, visit the website at preownedautologistics.com or call (877) 542-1955.