Getting Your New Ride Home
It's a big country, and chances are good that the ride you buy online isn't going to be local. This means you need to get it home from wherever it currently is. If you buy from a dealer, they generally have some recommendations in regard to transport. If you're buying from a private party, then you're on your own. Unless the car is local, your main choices are the following:
1.Drive to the car and bring it home on a trailer
2. Fly to where the car is and drive it home
3. Hire a professional transport company to bring the car to you
The option you choose will depend on how far away your new purchase is, your budget, and the condition of the car you bought. The further away it is, the less feasible it is to do it yourself. Hiring a trucking company may seem expensive at first, but once you figure the expenses to go get it and the time it would take, the price ends up being quite reasonable. A typical 2,000-mile roundtrip to get a car yourself will cost you around $600 in fuel alone. Add in a hotel stay, meals, and your time, and it's an expensive date.
When hiring a transport company, you'll need to decide if you want an enclosed or open trailer. Enclosed is the most expensive, but it also provides the most protection for your new ride. If it's clean when it leaves, it'll arrive to you in the same condition. Open transport can cost 50 percent of what an enclosed one would run you, but your car is open to the elements during its trip. What you choose depends on how protected you want your car. Open trailers typically chain down the vehicles, while an enclosed trailer uses soft straps. This is especially important on cars that are already nice. Both types of carriers will also have an additional charge if the vehicle doesn't run and has to be pushed or pulled onto the trailer.
Once you decide on open or closed, you'll need to find the right company, and there are many to choose from. You want someone who's been doing this for a while and is fully insured and bonded. Have them prove their insurance and ask them for referrals from other customers. Most of the larger companies have Web sites where you can check out their rigs and get an idea of how they do business. According to Dave Wilson, president of Intercity Lines, you should be wary of brokers. As Dave told us, "There are so many brokers in this business. If something bad happens, you are left stuck in the middle. If they ask for a deposit, then you're dealing with a broker, and there's no telling who they will hire to transport your property."
If your car is damaged in transit, a broker has almost no liability, and you're left to deal with the carrier he hired. It can become a mess. According to Dave, you want to deal direct with a company that owns their own trucks. He also says that unless you are transporting between countries, insurance is more important than being bonded. Dave recommends that the carrier have at least a million dollars in coverage for a larger trailer. This way you will be covered if the unthinkable happens. Intercity has been doing this for 25 years, and all its trucks are GPS-tracked so you know right where you shipment is. Several companies offer this service, and it's nice to always know where your new pride and joy is on its journey.
There are several other things to look at when choosing a transport company. Does the company return your calls quickly? Do you get a human voice when you call? Have they been in business a long time? The answers to these questions will let you know if you'll be getting good service overall. No matter how you get your ride home, don't forget to factor the costs into what you're paying for the car. You don't want to come up short of funds, because that would be a real buzzkill. -Steven Rupp
A Few Good Web sites For Finding Your Dream Car