How to Ensure Your Auto Shipment Goes Smoothly

Parked semi truck with double decker transporting 6 cars

Most auto shipment companies want to do a good job. Especially if they work with your company designated Relo Management Company and want to keep their contract. However there are industry standards with shipping cars that require direct communication and flexibility. The more flexible you are in working with your driver and auto shipment company, the better your shipment experience will be.

Here are 8 tips to ensure you have a great experience with your auto shipment.

  1. Be nice to your driver whenever possible. They are your best line of communication for pickup and drop off. With auto shipments you often talk directly with the person driving your car across the country. It’s common to not have cell phone service, or be able to take calls while traveling across the country.
  2. Take photos of your car before and during loading. Preferably from each angle.
  3. Pay close attention to paperwork. Bill of lading paperwork requires damages marked at origin, and destination. Damages absolutely have to be noted on paperwork at the time of delivery. If it’s dark, if the weather is bad, write that on the paperwork and check your car immediately the next morning.
  4. You need someone 18 or older that you trust to handle your paperwork if you can’t make it. It’s important that they are good communicators, and have attention to detail. If you’re coming or going from Seattle, our in person Relocation Director can help! We’ve seen people fly across the country to oversee car pickups, or miss important meetings. It’s not worth the stress when help is available. 
  5. Don’t have your car delivered to the auto carrier facility if avoidable. It requires an extra tow for delivery, and extra fees that add up quickly. If your car makes it to Seattle before you do, consider delivering to our PNW Relocations Tukwila parking, only a couple of miles from Seatac Airport. We can even pick you up in the airport with your own vehicle and skip the rental car completely.
  6. Avoid tow trucks if you can. Like any shipment, the more times it’s handled, the more likely there will be damage. For example some streets don’t allow semi trucks, so it’s common for drivers to ask you to meet them somewhere. This is a pain, but it will protect your car, avoid a tow truck, and keep your relocation costs down.*
  7. You have 24 hours to report damages and they must be noted by you on delivery paperwork. We recommend emailing your companies Relocation Consultant / Counselor and the Auto Shipment Coordinator as soon as your car is delivered. Keep in mind your car will arrive dirty, and things that could happen from driving that distance on a road, like rock chips, will not be covered.
  8. Auto shipments require a 3 day spread for pickup, and an even larger window for delivery. It’s important to understand this is industry standard for auto shipments. This means you or your designated paperwork signer must be available during those spreads. Luckily if your car is coming to or leaving Seattle, we can help!

*Relocations are taxable income as of 2018. Your relocation policy should offer tax assistance or gross up as industry standard. If it doesn’t, keep in mind that taxes can be substantial. You’ll want to speak to a tax professional with in depth questions since taxes are different for each person.