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Transport from S. California to RI

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  • Transport from S. California to RI

    Hi All,
    I am trying to get a good price to ship a 78 VW bus from Mission Viejo California to Bristol RI. The transporter I was planning to use gave me a price of $1,500 three weeks ago and when I tried to book today moved it to $1,800. I usually use InterCity with enclosed trailer for my cars. In this case, I am looking for open trailer but just don't want any random trucking company taking it. Trying to stay away from U-Ship and the like. Suggestions?


  • #2
    I have shipped many many many cars over the years.... too many. I have used all of the various shipping options. The problem with this industry is that there is almost zero accountability to the customer, and there is no loyalty/commitment to customers because generally, very few people ship a car more than once so thereís not much chance of repeat business.

    If youíre willing to pay top-dollar (letís say, $2k+), youíll get the treatment that you deserve.

    If you are going to pay any less, youíre probably just going to get stuck with whichever trucking company a broker can find for you. Some of them are individual dudes who own one tractor pulling their one trailer, theyíre just trying to get by, etc etc.

    If you donít already know, when you call a broker (or go on Uship to post your transport job), your job gets put up in a bulletin board for the individual truckers and companies to look at.... if they have a truck expected to be near the pickup location around your preferred pickup date, and theyíre willing to consider your price/budget (at a dollars per mile consideration), they will probably call your broker and ask for more detail on the job.

    The cheaper shippers would prefer to ship Camryís and Civicís, because those customers are generally less discriminating. Guys like us that are enthusiasts are the biggest pain-in-the-ass customers. If youíre like me, you want the car strapped down over the wheels, not chained via the body or suspension, for example. And you want the car near the middle of the truck, maybe on bottom depending on whatís above it... etc etc. But the fact is, itís almost impossible to verify that they will comply with your requests, and the cars get moved on and off the trailer a whole bunch of times during the trip, so itís rarely in the same spot for long.

    When it comes to damage claims, you have to have all your ducks in a row. Photos/video footage, a very descriptive and clear inspection report on pickup, etc. Then when the claim goes in, the trucking company might offer you $500 hush money, and after that they will tell you to talk to their insurance company. Then you get the same kind of treatment that you would expect.... theyíre not trying to please you, they just want you to go away, and thereís no one overseeing the process to hold their feet to the fire. Basically, you get screwed, unless the damage is really big and therefore the stakes are high.

    The boutique shippers do a great job and are very careful. But they cost $$$.

    Uship seems like a great idea, but when you post your transport job on the site, youíll get brokers bidding on it. Then the brokers will find someone via the standard process I just described. So itís no better. Uship has very little authority. I had a broker put in a lowball bid on my job, and then two weeks later still could not find a trucking company to pick it up. They of course tried to coerce me into agreeing to pay more, but I could afford to play hardball at the time, so I did. I told them ďNo, you bid on this job at your own discretion, the pricing was yours, and you now have a contract with me, so you have to meet the conditions of that contract.Ē They could not manage to find anyone to do the job for their quoted price, so I eventually went to Uship about it. Uship took more than a week to finally agree to refund me, and then it took something like 4 business days for the refund to actually arrive. Uship is only good if you get in touch with the actual person who will be transporting your vehicle, and those guys are generally the small fries in this game, so you have to be careful there too. One of those guys transported a car for me.... he showed up in his small family SUV with a Uhaul car trailer, and my car in the back. When I arrived at the meeting point to pick up the car, he and his kids were all in my car, driving it around the parking lot one last time with the roof down before I collected it from him............

    Bottom line, shipping cars sucks. If you can manage it, then buy a plane ticket, fly in and get a Penske truck and trailer to tow the car home with, and make the drive.

    Sorry to be a black cloud, but itís better to know what youíre getting into ahead of time. Good luck!


    • #3
      PS - Donít let them pick up or drop off your car at night. Donít let them write on your inspection report that youíre in a hurry so you donít have time to wait for the inspection (and therefore, waive it). Donít pay them until you are 100% ready to accept whatever shape the car is in when it arrives. Donít pay the broker more than a small deposit before they pick up the car, and ideally, donít pay them ANYTHING until the car is picked up. Take TONS of photos. Film the driver, film the truck and trailer, make sure you film the license plates and the DOT licensing info on the trucks door, make sure you film them loading and unloading... make sure they SEE you filming them. Anything you can do to cover your ass and protect your vehicle.