Archive for December, 2009

Happy Holidays

We wanted to send out a special blog wishing everyone a Happy Holidays.  It has been a great year for us in 2009, we have had a lot of growth and wanted to thank all of our customers for their auto transport business.  Like many people we had a slow down this year but thanks to our customers who rely on our efficient transporting we were able to grow despite all the tough economic times.  We are continuing to make efforts in order to increase our customer service and reduce our costs and we are looking forward to 2010.  Once again, hope you all are having a Happy Holidays.   All the staff of American Auto Movers wishes everyone the very best.

Driving or Shipping

There are several points to factor in when you are considering to either drive your car, or have it shipped by a professional auto transport company.  If you are going to consider immediate cost, probably 90% of the time it will be cheaper to drive the car yourself.  However, there are several factors to consider with car shipping when you are looking at everything.  First would be that if your vehicle is transported there will be no additional miles on the car and therefore no wear and tear.  Second will be the headache of the drive, especially if it is cross country.  We have received calls from people who thought it would be fun and half way stopped and just had a truck pick it up and flew the rest of the way home.  Finally, you know up front exactly what the total cost will be.  You don’t have to factor in hotels and food into the equation.  You will know total cost door-to-door will be “x.”

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Terminal-to-terminal

There are two main categories in the car shipping business with regards to the services available.  There is door-to-door and terminal to terminal.  A terminal is a hub, very similar to that of an airline.  Carriers use these terminals as locations to pull all the vehicles into one central location for a convenience and in some cases, unload/reload their trailer.  This gives the transporters the option to allow smaller trucks to deliver/pickup their cars.  In cities like Los Angeles and New York it is far more convenient for a smaller truck to get around the city because of traffic and size of the carriers.  It is no more or less safe to have your car transported door-to-door or terminal to terminal.  Assuming your carrier is reliable it should not make a huge difference on the overall timeframe either.  Of course, because the car transporter needs to do less work your price will be cheaper for you to use the terminal service, but you then need to get rides to pickup and deliver your vehicle.

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Bill of lading

The Bill of Lading, typically referred to as the BOL, is what auto shippers use as an inspection sheet of the car for pickup/delivery.  The BOL is also what the customer signs authorizing our driver to transport the vehicle.  A typical BOL will have three pieces of paper, one for the driver, one for the customer on pickup and one for the customer on delivery.  After the driver does the initial inspection of the vehicle the pickup customer will get a copy and on delivery after the shipment has been paid for, the driver will write paid on the BOL and give a copy to the customer.  Most BOLs contain the same general info.  One thing that is pretty common is that the car is free of all contents no part of the vehicle.  Another statement that is usually on a BOL is that the driver isn’t responsible for damage caused by acts of nature, like hail, or road debris such as a rock from the road.  If those are concerns to you, you may want to consider enclosed auto transport.

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Exporting cars

The two most common methods used when exporting a car are roll-on / roll-off and enclosed containers.  As of recent, the demand for auto shipping to export cars has been on the rise compared to recent years in the past.  To give you an idea of what a roll-on/roll-off ship is like, imagine a huge floating parking garage but much tighter parking spots and streets.  The cars are driven into the ship and strapped down to the ground and when the ship arrive to the port they are driven right off.  After clearing customs, the cars are ready to be delivered.  Often this is a more economical choice compared to containerized auto transport. In that method the cars are driven into a 20 or 40 foot container and strapped down inside the container at a loading facility.  The containers are then driven to the port and loaded via crane onto the cargo ship.  This same process is then done in order to get the vehicle off the ship.  You can see why it typically is more expensive considering the additional steps needed in order to accept and deliver the automobile.

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