Shipping Cars Between Dealerships? How Auto Transport Companies Help

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George Arkin
George Arkin is an experienced writer focusing on online car auctions and the full car transportation process.
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As the owner of a car dealership, you understand that the industry remains in a constant state of change. From sales trends to buyer habits and marketing strategies, you must constantly analyze the market to stay on top of the latest trends and insights.

Of course, car dealerships have all been impacted by the global pandemic, like so many other businesses in the United States. Some of these impacts have been negative while others positive.

Prior to the crisis many people were moving away from owning vehicles and turning to ride shares and public transportation to get around. But this trend has shifted as more people buy vehicles online, having them shipped by auto transport companies.

Keep reading as we take a look at how consumer behaviors have evolved over the past year and how professional auto transport companies are making cars more accessible to everyone.

Auto Transport Companies

As more consumers make the decision to purchase their own vehicle, they’re searching farther and wider than ever before to find the perfect ride. Gone are the days of purchasing a car from a local dealership. Now, people check online dealerships all over the nation for great deals.

Of course, the difference between a deal and a steal often comes down to other factors. In this case, how much vehicle transportation costs come out to.

That said, affordable car shipping is just one factor in the equation. Going with the cheapest service could put a consumer at risk of an unsatisfactory experience. Instead, customers must find the sweet spot between a great deal and a service that’s reliable ad experienced.

Fortunately, there are some ways that you and your customers can suss out the best auto transport service for your current needs.

Gather Multiple Quotes

Like any other product or service in life, you need to comparison shop before making a decision about the auto transport company that you wish to use. How do you do this when it comes to auto moving companies?

The best auto transport companies should provide free, no-obligation shipping quotes on their website. You’ll have to fill out some basic information to get a quote, including:

  • Car make and model
  • Running condition
  • Distance
  • Service type
  • Preferred shipping dates

Gathering at least two to three transport quotes will give you a better sense of what these companies are charging for relocation services. Remember that when you’re researching the fair market value for moving a car, the more flexible you are with dates, the better the price.

The Type of Service You Request

For those working with a narrow budget, the cheapest way to ship a car is on an open carrier with a terminal-to-terminal service. What do we mean by an open carrier?

These are the types of carriers you often see on the road transporting between eight and ten vehicles. They don’t shield cars from the elements or road hazards. So, there is a risk of small dents and chips to the paint.

But this risk is comparable to that of a daily driver on the freeway. Open carriers cots typically 3- to 60 percent less than an enclosed carrier. So, this service stands to save your dealership plenty of money.

If you choose to have a car shipped to a regional terminal or spot instead of your dealership, you can save additional money. Of course, as a dealership owner, the convenience of having a car delivered to your site makes paying a little more well worth it. This service is known as door-to-door.

Let’s talk for a moment about how you choose to have a car transported. Are there ever times when you should spend the extra money to go with an enclosed carrier?

Reserve enclosed carriers for the highest-end vehicles. These include exotics, antiques, and race cars. As you’ve already guessed, these cars costs hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. As a result, they require a specialized white glove service.

They also necessitate a greater amount of insurance than your average commuter. So, whether or not you go with an enclosed service ultimately depends on the actual value of the vehicle.

Shipping Cars Between Dealerships

Has a customer ever asked, “Can a dealership ship a car to another dealer?” If so, you’re not alone. This is a common question for individuals who find a car at one location and wish to have it brought into a more convenient one.

This question comes up often when you have a customer who doesn’t want something on your lot. A common practice, this permits one dealership to work with another to help a customer.

For example, if you have a customer who finds a vehicle they like online, and it’s headed to another dealership, you can make arrangements to receive the car and sell it. Known as a dealer trade, this happens all the time in the business.

Since customers will handle most if not all of the paperwork before the actual trade takes place, it’s also a handy way to bring extra revenues in to your dealership. That said, you’ll need to let your customer know this service isn’t free.

How much should you charge to facilitate a dealer trade? Most dealerships require between $500 and $1,000 for the service. That said, some dealerships don’t charge any money.

This latter situation usually occurs when the price go the vehicle in question provides wiggle room to handle the additional service. It remains in your best interest as a dealership to facilitate these trades because it translates into getting commissions more rapidly.

Again, you’ll want to find a reasonable shipping company to work with. Otherwise, the money you make on the transaction could get eaten up in relocation costs.

Other Ways to Save Money on Professional Auto Transport

When it comes to professional auto transport, we’ve already discussed a few strategies for economizing. They include opting for an open carrier and a terminal-to-terminal service. We also mentioned the importance of flexibility with shipping dates.

Just like booking plane travel, when you can work within a range of dates rather than one specific date, you’ll have the leeway necessary to receive the best deal. You’ll save the most money when you tell the carrier to fit the transport service at their convenience into their schedule.

While we understand this isn’t always possible when working with the public, keep it in mind. Again, the earlier you make shipping arrangements, the more likely you’ll be to get a good deal.

What’s another great tip for saving money on shipping? If possible, arrange to transport vehicles during the off season. This could literally save you hundreds of dollars on each service.

What’s the peak season for the auto relocation industry? Roughly, it falls from June to August when most people prefer to move.

As for the slow season, it runs from December through February. January’s shipping rate will prove substantially lower than that of July’s. So, if you can get a customer to plan ahead a bit, you can save both your dealership and them significant bucks.

You may also wish to consider working an auto transport broker. Brokers have access to hundreds of carriers nationwide. As a result, they also have access to the best deals around.

That said, the cheap the price, the slower the service. Again, remaining proactive and planning as far ahead as possible remains your best bet when it comes to professional auto transport.

How to Get a Car Shipped from a Dealership

As you can see, working with auto transport companies permits you to service the needs of your customers in many different ways. Not only can you sell vehicles to them online, but you can also facilitate car trades between dealerships.

In the process, you stand to gain a share of the profit, and you also bring more business to your dealership. Once customers have a better understanding of the superior services you provide, you’ll gain more traffic.

Of course, the process of car trades requires cultivating working relationships with other dealerships. So, take the time to network and build these relationships ahead of time. That way, the whole process will go more smoothly.

Grow your relationship with an auto transport company or broker, too. The more you rely on their services for your dealership, the better the discounts they’ll be able to offer you.

What’s more, when your dealership becomes a regulate part of their route they’ll be able to provide you with a faster service, which is a win-win for you and your customers. Are you ready to find out more about car moving companies? Check out our frequently asked questions (FAQs).

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