What to Look for in an Interstate Car Transport Company

Transporting a vehicle interstate is much easier than you might thing.

Here at Car Transport Services we make the process of finding interstate car transport simple and quick, but we realise you might have a few questions regarding how vehicle transport actually works.

We created this (and many other articles about car transport) to help.

Why Even Use a Carrier?

Whether you are moving a car across the country because you’ve found a great deal on a vehicle interstate, moving for work or you’re exhibiting your prestige or classic car, your motivation on the use of vehicle transport will be the same.

Your first inclination might be to drive you car and there are numerous reasons to avoid this and why vehicle transport services are safer; for both you and the car.

You avoid placing wear and tear on your vehicle by using a transport company because, let’s face it, you’re not putting “kilometres on the clock”.

If you’re driving the car, a road trip could be seen as exciting, however the added kilometres can result in sooner-than-expected service and repair bills and who really wants that?

How to Research Vehicle Transport Companies

Searching on the Web has certainly made things easier and you can even ask Google or Siri for the say “the cost of moving a vehicle from Perth to Sydney” or “the best car transport companies in Australia

Start by requesting quotes car transport online and see how easy the companies are to interact with at this early stage of your enquiries.

Don’t be too concerned with giving away your email address in exchange for a quote. In Australia we have a very good Privacy Legislation that works in your favour and prevents companies from “spammy” practices.

What you’d be looking for is transparent pricing policies, communication styles and the ability of the companies to provide you with the information you’re looking for to make an informed decision.

If you’ve never had a vehicle transported in the past, give yourself plenty of time to become familiar with how different companies operate, what they offer and what they don’t.

For example, some companies will offer personal goods transport while others don’t. Similarly, some companies offer insurance while others offer what they refer to as a “warranty”.

Car Transport Companies are Here to Provide a Service to You!

You need to feel confident that the company you end up dealing with are going to look after you and your vehicle.

“Cheap” often means “cheap” and if a budget price is what you’re looking for then also recognise that a premium or prestige service is unlikely to come with that.

After you’ve received quotes from a variety of companies and eliminated those that you’re not interested in dealing with, evaluate those remaining by calling them up.

Here are some question you might want to ask:

  • Do you provide door-to-door service?
  • Is your quote for open of enclosed transport?
  • What sort of insurance do you offer?
  • Am I able to track my car during its travel?
  • What are my options in regards to timing of my pickup and delivery?
  • What additional charges could there be?
  • What makes you the ideal company to use? (When compared to the other options you’re investigating)

Note: Be sure to record the name of the person you’re speaking with. It can become very useful if you have more questions down the track and you want to speak with that person again.

If you’re not completely “sold” on the company or encounter someone with a less than excellent attitude, drop them to the bottom of the list because it is likely that you’re experiencing a “cultural virus” rather than a bad egg.

Do Not Select a Car Transport Company on Price Alone

Car transport operators have a business to run and, like with all businesses, there are costs.

If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Car transport is an expensive business operating on very slim margins when compared to other industries.

From salaries and equipment leasing to depot and infrastructure costs, it cost many tens of thousands of dollars per week just to keep a small operation “alive”.

Sure, in some cases, the cost of transporting a car can be ridiculously expensive (and there are reasons for that) but at the same time, by using a transport company rather than driving it, you’re likely to be saving on:

  • Food;
  • Fuel;
  • Tolls;
  • Accommodation;
  • Wear and tear on the vehicle; and
  • Other unforeseen expenses

When you actually compare the price of car transport to the expense of a road trip, car transport is often the less expensive option.

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Customer Success Story

Why Car Transport Services Exists Today!

When I had to move my car from Melbourne to Perth, the journey of finding the right transportation service felt almost as daunting as the 3,400 km drive itself. Through trial and error, a bit of luck, and a few missteps, I learned a great deal about how to select the best service for such a task. Here’s my experience, and I hope it can guide you smoothly through your own process.

Start with Research

The first thing I learned was the importance of research. Initially, I made the rookie mistake of choosing the first service that popped up in my Google search results. Big mistake. The company had hidden fees I hadn’t anticipated, and the service was far from satisfactory. What I learned was to dig deeper. Read reviews on multiple platforms, ask for recommendations from friends or family who’ve undertaken similar moves, and don’t skip on checking the forums where real customers discuss their experiences.

Check for Licensing and Insurance

One good decision I made was ensuring the company was licensed and insured. Insurance is important. Transporting a vehicle across such a long distance has its risks, and you want to ensure that your car is covered in case of any mishaps. Verify the transporter's accreditation with transport authorities and ensure they have valid insurance that covers your vehicle during the transit. This gave me peace of mind, knowing my car was in safe hands.

Compare Quotes

Getting multiple quotes was another area where I initially faltered. I assumed all prices would be roughly the same and didn’t bother shopping around. However, after a pricey quote from the first company, I decided to get several more. The price differences were significant, and some companies offered more comprehensive services at lower costs. Always compare quotes from at least three to five companies. This not only gives you a better idea of the price range but also allows you to negotiate better terms.

Understand the Service Types

I wasn’t aware initially, but there are different types of car transport services: door-to-door, terminal-to-terminal, open carrier, and enclosed carrier. Each has its pros and cons. I chose an open carrier for its cost-effectiveness, but in retrospect, considering the long journey across Australia, an enclosed carrier would have been better to protect my car from the elements. Understanding these options beforehand helps in making a more informed decision based on your needs and budget.

Communication is Key

One of the best decisions I made was selecting a company that had excellent communication practices. They provided updates at every major juncture of the journey, which eased my anxiety. Ensure that the company you choose has a point of contact who is reachable and willing to update you throughout the process. This is vital for peace of mind and to ensure that any issues are quickly addressed.

Timing and Flexibility

I learned the hard way that flexibility is key when transporting a car such a long distance. The initial service I chose promised a delivery within a week, but it ended up taking more than two weeks, which disrupted my plans significantly. Ask about the expected delivery times and check if the company can offer guarantees or compensation if they exceed the estimated delivery times.

Avoid Rush Decisions

A bad decision I made was rushing into booking without fully understanding the terms and conditions. This led to unexpected charges for additional services I wasn’t aware I had agreed to. Take your time to read the fine print or have someone else review it. Make sure you understand every aspect of the service contract.

What I Wish I Knew

If I knew then what I know now, I would have placed more emphasis on checking customer feedback about their post-service experience, especially regarding how companies handle damage claims and disputes. Knowing a company's track record in these areas can save you from potential headaches if something goes wrong.

Open vs Enclosed Car Transport

Open car carrier with new vehicles

Open Car Transport

Open car transport involves shipping vehicles in an open-air trailer, exposing them to weather and road conditions.

This method is cost-effective and widely available, making it a popular choice for transporting vehicles quickly and economically.

The main benefits include lower costs due to multiple vehicles being transported simultaneously and quicker delivery times. However, the downside is the potential risk of damage from environmental elements and road debris.

moving cars in an enclosed car carrier

Enclosed Car Transport

Enclosed car transport uses fully enclosed trailers to provide maximum protection for vehicles against weather, theft, and damage during transit.

This method is preferable for high-value, classic, or luxury vehicles requiring extra security. Enclosed transport is more expensive and less readily available but offers higher insurance coverage and peace of mind.

Specialised services include GPS tracking and expert handling, ensuring vehicles are delivered safely and discretely.

Find out more