how pick-up and drop-off locations affecting car shipping cost

How Your Car’s Pick-Up and Drop-Off Locations Affect Car Shipping Costs

How crucial is the pick-up and delivery location in determining car shipping costs?

When shipping a car, the pick-up and drop-off locations are crucial in determining the overall cost. Choosing a location that is easily accessible and close to major highways can help lower the cost of transportation. To save money, we recommend considering terminal-to-terminal shipping options instead of door-to-door.

Car shipping cost explained

Are you planning to ship your car but are concerned about the cost? The shipping cost is the fee to transport your vehicle from one location to another.

Car shipping can cost different amounts based on distance, vehicle type, and pick-up and drop-off locations. 

The locations chosen could have the most significant impact on your car shipping cost. 

This guide will discuss the impact of pick-up and drop-off locations on car shipping costs. It will also provide tips on how to optimize these locations to reduce the price. 

Understanding car shipping

To understand how pick-up and drop-off locations influence car shipping costs, we first need to grasp the basics of car shipping

Car shipping involves transporting a vehicle from one location to another. It’s useful for moving, buying/selling a car, sending a car to someone, or going on a long vacation.

Common methods of car shipping

Each method has pros and cons, and choosing the right one depends on your needs and budget. 

Find out which method is most suitable for you on:  Car Shipping Services

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Factors that affect car shipping costs

Several factors influence car shipping rates, including distance, time of year, size and weight of the vehicle, type of transport, and pick-up and drop-off locations.

One critical factor that can significantly impact your car shipping cost is the pick-up and drop-off locations. 

Most cars in the US are shipped on an 18-wheeler (semi-truck), and drivers prefer easily accessible areas, preferably close to a highway, where there’s more space for loading and unloading. 

Example: If you ask for a car picked up from downtown Chicago, the cost can go up by at least $250 compared to the same car from a suburban area in Chicagoland.

The role of distance in car shipping rates

Door-to-door car shipping involves picking up and delivering the car directly to your chosen location. This can include your home or office, as long as it is accessible by semi-trucks. It is a convenient and hassle-free option since the shipping company takes care of the entire process. 

This car shipping service is more expensive because the driver has to drive through residential areas, unlike terminal-to-terminal shipping. 

However, if you live in a location easily accessible by the truck driver and have little time to pick up your car, door-to-door shipping can be more convenient. It can save you time and the hassle of traveling to a terminal to pick up your vehicle.

Terminal-to-Terminal Car Shipping

This option involves picking up (and delivering) the car at designated terminals, usually closer to major highways. It could be a storage facility, warehouse, local towing company, etc., 

Terminal-to-terminal car shipping is cheaper than door-to-door shipping as drivers avoid small residential streets and traffic. 

However, it is essential to note that this option requires you to travel to a designated terminal to drop off your vehicle, so there may be better options if you have a more limited schedule.

Remote and Urban Locations Affecting Vehicle Transportation Costs

Regarding pick-up locations, whether it’s door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal shipping, remote or urban areas can affect cost. The closer the pick-up location is to a major highway, the lower the cost. Here are some examples of pick-up location scenarios and the cost implications:

  • A car picked up from a suburban location with easy highway access will cost less than one from the city center;
  • A car picked up from a rural location may cost more because the driver must travel further to reach it.

Example of pick-up location scenarios and cost implications

Let’s delve into the intricacies of one of the most frequented auto transportation routes: Chicago to Miami. The charts provided below illustrate how altering the pick-up location can impact the price.

Urban to Urban

Chicago to Miami

  • Pick-up Zip: 60610
  • Delivery Zip: 33132
  • Service: Door To Door
  • Type of Carrier: Open
  • Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Camry
  • Vehicle Condition: Running
$ $875

Suburban to Urban

Schaumburg, IL to Miami

  • Pick-up Zip: 60193
  • Delivery Zip: 33132
  • Service: Door To Door
  • Type of Carrier: Open
  • Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Camry
  • Vehicle Condition: Running
$ $825

Rural to Urban

Dixon, IL, 61021 to Miami

  • Pick-up Zip: 61021
  • Delivery Zip: 33132
  • Service: Door To Door
  • Type of Carrier: Open
  • Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Camry
  • Vehicle Condition: Running
$ $1265

Urban to Suburban

Chicago to Davie, FL

  • Pick-up Zip: 60610
  • Delivery Zip: 33314
  • Service: Door To Door
  • Type of Carrier: Open
  • Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Camry
  • Vehicle Condition: Running
$ $850

Suburban to Suburban

Schaumburg, IL to Davie, FL

  • Pick-up Zip: 60193
  • Delivery Zip: 33314
  • Service: Door To Door
  • Type of Carrier: Open
  • Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Camry
  • Vehicle Condition: Running
$ $825

Rural to Suburban

Dixon, IL to Davie, FL

  • Pick-up Zip: 61021
  • Delivery Zip: 33314
  • Service: Door To Door
  • Type of Carrier: Open
  • Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Camry
  • Vehicle Condition: Running
$ $1250

Urban to Rural

Chicago to Fort Meade, FL

  • Pick-up Zip: 60610
  • Delivery Zip: 33841
  • Service: Door To Door
  • Type of Carrier: Open
  • Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Camry
  • Vehicle Condition: Running
$ $1320

Suburban to Rural

Schaumburg, IL to Fort Meade, FL

  • Pick-up Zip: 60193
  • Delivery Zip: 33841
  • Service: Door To Door
  • Type of Carrier: Open
  • Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Camry
  • Vehicle Condition: Running
$ $1340

Rural to Rural

Dixon, IL to Fort Meade, FL

  • Pick-up Zip: 61021
  • Delivery Zip: 33841
  • Service: Door To Door
  • Type of Carrier: Open
  • Vehicle: 2020 Toyota Camry
  • Vehicle Condition: Running
$ $1650
  • The average cost of terminal-to-terminal car shipping is around $800, while door-to-door shipping can cost about $900;
  • Shipping a car from a rural area is more expensive, ranging from $1,250 to $1,650. On the other hand, the cost is lower for urban or suburban areas, typically around $825 to $875;
  • Shipping a car from a city costs 25% to 50% more than shipping from a countryside or suburban area.
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How to Optimize Pick-Up and Drop-Off Locations for Lower Cost

Optimizing pick-up and drop-off locations for lower costs is all about making it easier for the truck driver. 

Altogether avoiding busy roads, neighborhood streets with low-hanging trees, bridges, or sharp turns can contribute to smoother and faster transportation. 

Tips and strategies for choosing the best pick-up and drop-off locations:

  • Choose easily accessible locations near major highways for straightforward pickup and delivery;
  • Be open to different pick-up and drop-off times and days, as shipping during less busy times could be cheaper;
  • Be ready to drive a few miles from your location to meet the driver and pick up your car. 

Example: If you are willing to drive 5 – 10 miles from home to meet the driver, you can negotiate a better rate (around $25 – $50 discount).

  • Have someone available as a backup for pickup and delivery in case you are unavailable.

Conclusion / Our Take

Pick-up and drop-off locations significantly influence car shipping costs, and drivers prefer easily accessible areas. Avoiding busy roads, neighborhood streets with low-hanging trees, bridges nearby, and sharp turns can ensure smoother and faster vehicle delivery. By remaining flexible about location, you can lower transportation costs and take advantage of cheaper options.

Following these tips can optimize your car shipment, save money, and ensure a successful and stress-free transportation experience.

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