If you’re planning a big move, you’re probably interested in finding cheap car shipping rates. Auto transport costs vary based on many factors, but there are strategies that can help you get the best price. We’ll show you what affects car shipping rates and provide tips on lowering your vehicle shipment costs.
The Car Shipping Process
When you submit an auto transport request to a broker, car shipping companies bid on the job. If you’re not using a shipping broker, you’ll submit a request directly to an auto transport company. Once you decide on a company for your shipment, your assigned transport driver will tell you the range of dates they expect to pick your car up.
On the pickup date, you and the driver will thoroughly inspect your vehicle for damage before your car begins its journey. After it reaches its destination, you’ll inspect your vehicle again and sign a bill of lading.
Car Shipping Options
There are two primary methods for shipping your vehicle: open transport and enclosed transport.
- Open transport: Open car transport is the cheapest and most common car shipping method. Your vehicle is loaded onto an open-air trailer with several other cars. Open car shipping typically moves about 10 vehicles at a time.
- Enclosed transport: Sending your vehicle in an enclosed carrier is the more expensive option. Enclosed auto transport offers protection against road debris and bad weather conditions. This is the best option for luxury vehicles, classic cars, and other high-end vehicles.
You also have choices to make when it comes to pickup and drop-off locations. Again, you have two basic options with most auto shipping companies:
- Door-to-door transport: Your vehicle is picked up and dropped off as close to your address as possible with door-to-door shipping. Most customers find door-to-door service more convenient.
- Terminal-to-terminal transport: If you have flexibility in terms of pickup and delivery locations, terminal-to-terminal shipping is a good way to save money. With this option, your car is sent from one terminal to another, making things easier for the car carrier.
When you choose Sherpa Auto Transport, you’ll be using door-to-door transport, which is the most convenient option.
Factors that Affect Car Shipping Costs
A lot goes into determining car shipping cost. Along with the size and type of vehicle you need to ship, market conditions have a significant impact on what you pay. Competition among carriers also plays a key role in setting the price of your car shipment. Here are some other factors that impact car shipping costs:
- Shipping distance: You’ll get a better rate per mile with long-distance car transport, but the overall cost will be higher.
- Time of year: January and the summer tend to see the highest prices because there’s more demand for moving and car shipping services.
- Transport type: Open vehicle transport is the cheapest way to go. There aren’t as many enclosed trailers available, and they can’t accommodate as many cars as open carriers.
- Vehicle condition: Inoperable vehicles cost more to ship because loading and unloading them takes extra effort.
- Fuel costs: The higher the cost of fuel, the more you’ll pay for shipping.
Any extra features, such as expedited service and additional insurance coverage, will add to the price you pay.
Typical Auto Transport Costs
Although car shipping prices can be difficult to predict, Sherpa provides rate ranges to show what you might pay per mile. These estimates are for operable vehicles shipped on open trailers. Keep in mind that prices can be influenced by any of the factors above, so your price could differ.
|Shipment Mileage||Price per Mile|
|0 to 500 miles||$1.32 to $2.75|
|501 to 1,000 miles||$0.88 to $1.55|
|1,001 to 1,500 miles||$0.70 to $1.23|
|1,501 to 2,000 miles||$0.60 to $1|
|2,001 to 2,500 miles||$0.53 to $0.84|
|2,500+ miles||$0.48 to $0.74|
Popular Auto Transport Routes
Seeing the price ranges of popular transport routes can help you visualize your potential shipping cost as well. Just like above, these ranges are influenced by shipment details and market conditions, so your actual price could be different.
|Route||Price per Mile|
|New York City to Los Angeles||$0.56 to $0.72|
|New York City to Miami||$0.98 to $1.20|
|Los Angeles to Miami||$0.48 to $0.66|
|Los Angeles to New York City||$0.48 to $0.71|
|Miami to New York City||$0.65 to $1.20|
|Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles||$0.49 to $0.69|
|Chicago to Los Angeles||$0.61 to $0.88|
|New York City to Houston||$0.80 to $1|
|Los Angeles to Atlanta||$0.48 to $0.74|
|Chicago to Phoenix||$0.68 to $0.92|
Remember that shipping an inoperable vehicle or choosing enclosed auto transport or expedited service will cost more than the rates shown here.
How to Reduce Auto Shipping Costs
There are a few ways to lock in cheap car shipping rates. Along with comparing free quotes from car shippers, use the following strategies to ensure a budget-friendly car shipping experience:
- Book early: Giving plenty of lead time for carriers will work in your favor. It’s best to book your shipment at least two weeks in advance.
- Choose open transport: Open shipping will get you the lowest rates. However, if you’re relocating a high-value vehicle or a car with low ground clearance, an enclosed transport carrier is probably best.
- Empty your vehicle: Car shipping companies aren’t responsible for personal items left in a vehicle, and you don’t want the extra weight anyway.
- Be flexible: The more flexible you are with drop-off and pickup dates, the better options you’ll have. In addition, flexibility in your pickup and delivery locations can help you save money on your transport.
Why You Should Choose Sherpa Auto Transport
Sherpa Auto Transport is a great option for a hassle-free vehicle shipping experience. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives us an A+ rating, which means we’re diligent about handling customer feedback. Our customers also rate us well, giving us a near-perfect 4.9 out of 5 stars in the review section of our BBB page.
The quote we give you for your shipment is locked in so that you can have peace of mind during the shipping process. If the rate you’re quoted isn’t enough to get a carrier for your shipment, we’ll pay up to $300 of the price difference.
Clean Car Guarantee
If your car arrives dirty, we’ll reimburse you up to $20 for your car wash. After getting your car washed, just send your receipt and your bill of lading to us, and we’ll reimburse you.
The Best Network of Carriers
We only work with the best carriers in the auto transport industry. Our vetting process considers accident reports, maintenance records, and other key data points. This ensures your vehicle is transported by a reliable shipper with plenty of positive customer reviews.