Inside Look on Door-To-Door Delivery Versus Terminal-To-Terminal Transport

auto terminal

When shipping your vehicle with a professional company, there are two methods of transport most often used. These methods are door-to-door delivery and terminal-to-terminal transport. Both will get your vehicle where they need to go and offer many different options for trailer transport. Professional transport companies charge different prices for these services, calling and receiving an accurate quote can help you decide which is right for you.

What is door-to-door auto transport delivery?

Door-to-door delivery is precisely what it sounds like. The transport picks up your vehicle at your origin point and delivers it to your destination point. Most of these transports carry the vehicle the entire journey, with no transfers.

Door-to-door delivery is not the cheapest option when transporting a vehicle. This option is the most convenient in terms of having your vehicle shipped. The driver will meet you at your “door” or the desired location and pick up the vehicle. At that time, you will do the inspection on the vehicle with the driver or representative of the transport company.

Although convenient, it may not be something that can be accommodated with your circumstances. When talking to a car transport company, you will want to give them all the information about your origin and destination points.

Reasons Door-To-Door Might Not Be Available

Unfortunately, door-to-door delivery may not be an option in your given circumstances. Auto transport vehicles, especially those that haul more than one vehicle cannot drive all the places a smaller vehicle can. Some of the origin or destination points may be impossible for a transport driver to navigate safely with that kind of cargo.

When this is the case, terminal-to-terminal transport is often recommended. A hybrid of the door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal shipping methods can also be formed if the situation warrants it.

What is terminal-to-terminal transport?

Terminal-to-terminal transport is offered by professional transport companies that often transport large volumes of cars. These transporters will pick your vehicle up at a designated terminal in which you drop them off. You will then pick it up at the closest terminal to your new destination.

Terminal-to-terminal transport is often a cheaper option when you are looking to ship your vehicle near a large city. Professional transport companies will often schedule transport to a terminal when they have enough vehicles to fill a trailer. Terminal transport is a cost-effective solution for both you and the transport company. The more vehicles on transport, the better the cost per mile.

Is it possible to use a door-to-terminal shipping combination?

Sometimes a door-to-door shipment just doesn’t work. In these situations, it may be required that a terminal is introduced into the equation. Some customers may not live close enough to a terminal to make a terminal pick-up efficient, or they are moving somewhere with the same situation. Either way, sometimes the hybrid of the two major shipping types have to be made.

For longer transports, like across the country, the timing doesn’t always line up between a customer and the driver. The driver will get in touch with you at various times during the transport. If they are ahead of schedule or behind schedule due to traffic or other unforeseen circumstances, you may not be able to meet for door delivery. In these circumstances planning and having a terminal delivery may be the better option.

In any circumstance, door or terminal, a professional transport company is going to help you make the best transport decision on behalf of yourself and the driver delivering the vehicle. Ship Vehicles understands that life is full of circumstances beyond our control, we like to help our customers, and our drivers find the best transport solution possible.

How is my car transported?

Both types of shipping can be done with all three of our trailer options. These options include multiple car open-air transport, flatbed truck, and enclosed transport. The type of trailer you choose will vary based on vehicle and personal preference.

All three methods will have different pros and cons to them. Let’s go through the different trailer options so that you can decide which one is right for you.

Multiple Car Transport

Most multiple car transport trailers that haul more than three vehicles are going to be open-air transport. Open-air transport trailers are the ones that you see at places like car dealerships. There are generally two rows of vehicles on the trailer hauled by a semi-truck.

Open-air transport is a more economical method for transporting multiple vehicles at the same time. However, these vehicles will be exposed to the elements as well as debris from the road. If your car is susceptible to situations like this, it may be worth looking into a different trailer option.

Multiple car transport trailers work best with terminal-to-terminal transport. The vehicles on the shipment will all be going to the same terminal, so there is no extra delay once the departure happens.

Enclosed Transport

The enclosed method of transport is often utilized by customers who want to keep their vehicles out of the elements. Fewer vehicles are transported in an enclosed trailer, so it is not quite as cost-effective as an open-air method. Most enclosed transports come with the white glove option, which is an all-inclusive transport method.

All sides of the vehicle are protected in an enclosed transport trailer. You won’t have to worry that the elements or road debris are messing with your paint job. A lot of the vehicles that use enclosed transport are vehicles that are valuable or are considered priceless. Classic and antique cars are often a priceless investment you have made, replacing them might be impossible. To protect them during transport, the highest safety measures of enclosed transport are often recommended.

Flatbed Trailer Transport

Most flatbed trailers are used for transport when you do not want your vehicle to be hauled with other vehicles. Most flatbed trailers can accommodate one car and another smaller vehicle like a motorcycle or dirtbike. If you find that you need expedited shipping service, the transport company will likely use this type of method to get your vehicle where it goes in as little time as possible.

Flatbed trailers are not going to be a cost-efficient solution to your vehicle transport needs. However, they are convenient when you need to get it somewhere fast. Not all transport companies have this type of trailer available for everyday vehicle transport, and you will need to find out if it is an option when obtaining a quote form a professional transport company.

flatbedHow do I prepare my vehicle for transport?

One of the most vital roles you play in the transport of your vehicle is the preparation of it before it gets picked up.  Before the transport company comes to retrieve your vehicle, you need to complete a list that will be provided by the company to keep your vehicle safe.

The transport company that you choose to transport your vehicle will provide you with a list of items that they require you to complete before they pick your vehicle up. The purpose of this list is to help ensure that your vehicle is safe. Your role in the transport process is an important one. If you follow the list provided, you are more likely to have a vehicle that remains safe throughout the entire transport process.

The most common preparation procedures include:

  • Check the battery and all of the connections to it. Make sure that these connections are in good working order.
  • Check your tire pressure. The proper tire pressure can help prevent damage to your tires.
  • Make sure all fluid levels are where they should be—especially the oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid.
  • There should be no more than a quarter of a tank of gas in your vehicle when it is loaded for transport. The little amount of fuel allows for loading and unloading onto the trailer, but not enough that it obscures the weight of the overall shipment.
  • Clean out your vehicle. The cleaning should include the interior and the exterior of the vehicle.
    • The interior of the vehicle should be free of any loose personal items. These items often include things like GPS units, garage door openers, parking permits, or other items that could become loose during transport and cause damage to the inside of your vehicle.
    • The exterior of your vehicle needs to be clear of dirt and debris. Doing this helps the inspection for the Bill of Lading go smoothly. In some circumstances, if your vehicle is covered in dirt, the transport company may not load it until it has been cleaned. For international transport, all foreign dirt has to be removed before border crossings.
  • Disable the alarm for the car or leave a list of detailed directions for turning it off in the event that it cannot be manually disabled. If a vehicle’s alarm engages during transport, and there is no instruction for turning it off, the driver has the authority to disable it using any means necessary without being held liable for the damage.
  • Fold in your mirrors. If your vehicle has retractable antennas, spoilers, luggage racks, bike racks, or any other outside feature that was added, it needs to be removed as well. These items change the dimensions of the vehicle and can make transport more difficult.
  • Document and photograph all of the little imperfections and existing damage that is on your vehicle. The information will also be listed on the Bill of Lading when you and the driver do the inspection.
  • If you have a convertible, it will be necessary for you to put the top up on it. If you are unable to do so, you need to consider using an enclosed trailer for transport.
  • Give the driver of the transport a set of keys. They will use this for the loading and unloading of your vehicle. If you do not have an extra set of keys, you will want to visit a local hardware store that copies vehicle keys or go to a dealership to have a set made.

What can I expect upon delivery?

Once your vehicle is delivered, you and the driver will perform another inspection of the vehicle. This inspection will also be listed on the Bill of Lading.

Once your vehicle arrives at the designated location, the inspection will need to be performed again. The inspection you perform this time will be to look for any new damage that may have occurred during transport. If you find damages, you need to take pictures of the damage from the same angles that you took the photographs of the vehicle when it was picked up.

The reason for this inspection is to help with any claims that may need to be filed. All new damage needs to be listed on the Bill of Lading and signed off on by you and the driver of the transport truck. Having the photographs of the before and after of your vehicle will assist the auto transport company in filing the claim with their insurance. These photographs are also your proof in case you need to turn it into your personal car insurance provider.

How do I decide what transport option to choose?

A professional auto transport company will be able to help you decide which option is right for you. Ship Vehicles can help you find out which solution is cost-effective and most beneficial to your auto shipping needs.

When you receive your quotes from multiple auto transport companies, you will need to make sure that you are being given all of the transport options available. Some auto transport companies are going to only present the options they want you to go with. Ship Vehicles takes pride in its effort to remain completely transparent with customers. After being in the auto transport industry for over 30 years, our business knows that you want to hear all of your options, not just the ones we think you want to hear. If you are looking for a transport company that can offer you a wide variety of options and keep your wallet in mind, contact Ship Vehicles.