Door-to-Door vs. Depot-to-Depot Vehicle Transport

Door-to-door and depot-to-depot vehicle transport are the two main transport methods available when you have a vehicle transported.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss briefly each of these transport methods and share the main advantages and disadvantages of each. You’ll also discover you which type of delivery is most prevalent among car carriers today.

What is Door-to-Door Vehicle Transport?

In the simplest of terms, it involves having your vehicle picked up at the “door” of the pick up address, and then delivered to the “door” of the delivery address.

The pick up address and delivery address can be a home, business, or commercial address. The vehicle is literally being picked up and delivered “door-to-door,” the same way a package is delivered in the mail.

Some situations may prevent door-to-door service. Residential zoning laws, weight restrictions, narrow streets, and low hanging trees may prohibit big trucks from entering neighborhoods.

Likewise, if you live on a hillside or mountainous area, the driver may not be able to manoeuvre his truck all the way to your doorstep safely. A good rule of thumb is if you see tractor trailers regularly in your neighbourhood, then pick up or delivery to your door shouldn’t be a problem.

In those instances where the carrier can’t provide door-to-door service, the pick up and/or delivery will take place at a safe, convenient and mutually-agreed upon location.

The carrier usually works with customers to determine the best pick up and delivery locations if the truck can’t to their door. Typical meeting locations might include parking lots of nearby churches, schools or even shopping centres.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Door-to-Door Car Transport

The main advantage of door-to-door delivery is the convenience. Your vehicle is being picked up and delivered at your specified locations. And even if your vehicle can’t get picked up or delivered right to your door for the reasons outlined above, it will be picked up and delivered nearby – typically within a mile or two of your original locations.

Door-to-door car transport also allows for convenient pick up and delivery times for the vehicle hauling customer. It is sometimes possible for carriers to pick up or deliver cars outside of traditional business hours – i.e. early morning, late evening or even at night, and weekends.

Simply put, door-to-door shipping provides the most flexible shipping method to work around peoples’ schedules.

The other advantage of door-to-door transport is your vehicle is picked up and delivered immediately with you being there. When you do terminal-to-terminal shipping, as we’ll discuss in a minute, your vehicle may be sitting around in a terminal yard until the car hauler, or you, can get there.

The only disadvantage to door-to-door shipping is the cost. It usually costs a little more than terminal-to-terminal transport but not so much more that it’s cost prohibitive. In fact, door-to-door car shipping is offered by nearly all auto transport companies. It is the most common car transport method.

The default quotes you get from carriers will generally be for depot-to-depot, open transport. It’s worth going through the booking process to check the actual price so you know what it’s really going to cost.

Online bookings will generally let you do this, configure your own transport options and get a final price before handing over your credit card details.

What is Depot-to-Depot Transport?

Some car carriers have storage yards. These are typically fenced in, fully secured areas where vehicles can be picked up from and delivered to.

Carriers with depots will ship their customers’ vehicles from one of their depots to another. You’re then responsible for getting the vehicle to and from their depots.

This is depot-to-depot transport.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Depot-to-Depot Car Transport

The primary advantage to this transport method is that it is usually cheaper than door-to-door transport, but the savings will vary depending on your pick up and delivery locations.

Door-to-door transport may be substantially higher than depot-to-depot if your vehicle is being picked up or delivered in remote areas. If the pick up and delivery locations are along interstate routes or in larger cities, the price difference may not be that much at all.

The other advantage is that in some rare cases it can be convenient if the estimated pick up and delivery days and times for door-to-door shipping don’t work for you.

With door-to-door transport it requires you to be there at the time of pick up or delivery. With depot-to-depot transport, you can just drop your car off or pick it up at the depot when it’s convenient for you.

Of course, that potential convenience only makes sense if a depot is close by and doesn’t charge depot storage fees.

If the pick up and delivery locations are in remote areas, a depot may be several kilometres miles away. This will add travel time and costs to get your vehicle transported so keep that in mind.

Some depots may charge storage fees so you have to factor those into the overall cost of your transport as well.

Sure, depots usually don’t charge fees if your vehicle will be picked up or delivered within a couple days or so but when they do charge fees, they are usually nominal (i.e. $10-$15/day).

Nonetheless, those fees can add up so be aware of them if you’re working with a depot-to-depot carrier.

The other disadvantage of depot-to-depot transport is terminal yards usually have traditional business hours.

If you’re planning on dropping off your vehicle or picking it up in the evening or weekend those options may not be available.

Be sure to ask what the operating hours are for the terminal yards you’ll be dealing with.

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