Main Factors That Affect Car Moving Prices


More and more people throughout the United States are starting to use car moving services for a variety of reasons. In order to understand the auto shipping process, it is important to carefully go over what type of shipping services you will need. Once you understand the process, you can use this process in your advantage when it comes to car moving services. The first step you have to take is to find the right car moving company. A great car moving company, like TCI LOGISTICS, will have experts that will help you and guide you throughout the entire process. The next step you will need to take is decide which auto transport services you will need to use. Different reasons will require different attention, so here are a few car moving services that an excellent vehicle shipping company, like TCI LOGISTICS, will have available at all times:

Car Transport Across the Country

One of the most common vehicle transport services is auto transport cross the country. Shipping across the country will require extra attention with very specific details that can change your entire experience. Therefore, choosing a great company is essential because they will go over those details carefully and see what the best action will be. Your “car shipping across the country” experience will be affected by a few different factors:

How can you get the best price possible when ship a car across the country?

Main Factors That Affect The Car Moving Prices

Well, the answer isn’t simple because it depends on many different things that can change almost weekly. The main idea behind the transporting prices are:

  • Location - Bigger cities are always better locations when it comes to the moving process. “Direct routes,” as often they are called, are routes that start in a big city and end in a big city. For example, Los Angeles to New York or Boston to San Francisco. Those routes are always in your favor, even when prices are high. If you live in a smaller town, it might be a good idea to talk to your agent, and see if they can help you set up a pick up near a bigger city. It might not be the most convenient, but it will save you money as it makes the process much easier.
  • Timing - It is a long process that requires flexibility on both the customer and company. If a customer is flexible with their timing and has a few days to wait, then there is a chance the company can lower the price and wait for the right option that fits the budget.
  • The vehicle itself - Depending on the size of the vehicle that needs to be moved across the country, the price might be different. For example, a regular size sedan (Civic, Camry, Corolla, etc) will cost less to move across the country than a regular size SUV (RAV4, Equinox, CR-V, etc). Bigger autos will cost more to move across the country. The bigger the vehicle, the higher the price. Keep in mind that if you have a second vehicle, your auto transport company will recommend shipping them together in order to save on the price. Multiple vehicles will always be discounted.

Auto shipping across the country misconceptions:

  • The first misconception is that some customers think that because they are moving across the country, they can pack their vehicles with their personal items. The department of transportation does not allow cars to be packed during the movement. Some drivers allow up to 100 lbs (mostly in the trunk/ cargo area) to be inside the vehicle during the shipping process. Other drivers do not allow anything to be inside, so make sure to ask questions to the companies and make sure they understand your situation well.
  • The second misconception is timing - some customers think drivers will get to their destination in three days - because that is how long it takes to drive there. There are a couple of things wrong with that logic. First, drivers are heavily regulated by the department of transportation. Which means they are only allowed to drive a certain amount of hours everyday. If they run out of hours, they can no longer drive for the day. The second reason is other customers. The reason vehicle shipping across the country is so cheap compared to the amount of miles driven is because drivers have on average seven or eight other vehicles in the trailer that need to be moved across the country, too. Just like with your vehicle, the driver needs to take everyone’s schedule into consideration. Sometimes they get delayed. The average time for delivery coast to coast is between seven and 10 days.

Misconception - Timing


  • Another misconception is pricing - some customers believe that shipping an auto across the country is cheaper if the customer is flexible with location and timing. While that is true as mentioned above, some customers focus on the wrong side of flexibility. For example, while a very small amount of companies do have lots, most companies do not, so bringing a vehicle to a lot or a different location isn’t much of an option. Another example is when customers are flexible with their delivery dates, but need the car picked up as soon as possible. In most cases, when cars are picked up as soon as possible, they will be delivered as soon as possible. Drivers will not leave your car in a lot for the second trip around. They often change their routes. Therefore, if your vehicles needs to be picked up as soon as possible, the price will remain the same. Delivery timing will not affect the price.

Those examples are some but not all of the factors that can affect price and the experience. When you choose an experienced company, they will ask the right questions in order to fully assist you with your shipping services needs. Shipping across the country can be stressful, but if you give all your details to your agent, the process becomes easier and smoother.


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Car Shipping Cost Estimator


Car Shipping Cost Estimator

A car shipping cost estimator usually does not give you a binding offer. The estimating tool aggregates mostly historical data and preset values to figure out what your vehicle shipping cost might be. You should use it only as preliminary guidance, rather than as a final bid.

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How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car?

How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Car?

If you are shipping a vehicle coast-to-coast, logically the cost would be higher than the cost of shipping the same vehicle just a few hundred miles away. Longer distances usually cause a higher car shipping price, but eventually a lower cost of shipping a car per mile.

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Another service that is often requested is a

Car Shipping to Another State

That might sound like the same as a transportation across the country, but it can be a little different depending on your needs. The main idea is the same as shipping across the country. Bigger cities will lower the price, your timing is essential, and the size of the vehicle is also important. The main differences between moving to another state and to across the country are the following:

  • Timing - since the distance for a transporting to another state is smaller than the distance for a shipping across the country, customers need to be more flexible with their timing. Since distances are smaller, the time drivers will need to move autos is also smaller. Customers need to be flexible because quite often drivers are early with their deliveries. A transportation to a nearby state will require planning ahead of time because often drivers are on the go and ready to keep going. Shipping to another state is a quicker service so quick thinking is sometimes needed. The right company will make sure all the details are correct and the process is smooth.
  • Location - when transporting to another state services are needed, there is a bigger chance that the customer will not live in a big city. Smaller cities are great to live in, but often are higher in price to deliver a vehicle to. Just like shipping across the country, the agent you choose, will recommend a nearby city that can make the entire transporting process easier. However, smaller cities aren’t always bad. If the company is experienced, and the city is along a main route, the company might be able to get you a good deal, if they know what to look for when looking for a driver. 

A couple of misconceptions about car moving to another state are:

  • Pricing - Since distances are shorter, many people assume that an auto transport to another state is cheaper than a shipping cross the country. While that is mostly true, it can also be untrue. Short routes with a high driver demand, can be the same price, sometimes even higher, than a coast to coast move. Locations that are far from big cities, or not along main routes, can also bring the price up. Price is not based on distance. There are many factors that go into pricing, so before you decide to ship a vehicle to another state or from another state just because it’s closer, check with your shipping agent, and get the best quote.
  • Timing - because shorter routes are not as popular to drivers, shipping to another state requires extra flexibility. Just because a route is short, it doesn’t mean that drivers will get there as quickly as possible. They need vehicles to fill in their trailers, Contrary to popular belief, drivers do not run empty. They are organized and have a schedule. Drivers won’t just have an empty space. Consult with your shipping agent in order to get accurate timing on shorter routes.


Transporting to another state still requires close attention to details, and companies need to make sure all the details are accounted for. A missing detail can be crucial when transporting a vehicle to another state, so make sure to communicate with your auto transport service provider.

One last step before ship a car to another state or across the country is getting a quote. The costs for shipping will vary depending on different factors. 

Where to start?

Professional car movers will have professional websites available to the public at any time. Those websites should include information about shipping and the services they provide. Another crucial tool they should have is a auto transport quote calculator. A shipping cost calculator will give you an idea of what it will cost to move a vehicle across the country or to a different state. Those calculators will ask you more than just “destination” and “vehicle type,” those quote calculators will ask for additional information such as vehicle information, vehicle status (running/ not running), when you need to ship, as well as locations. The process to get a quote isn’t so black and white, those professional shippers, like TCI LOGISTICS, will provide customers with an instant online cost, but it doesn’t stop there. An agent should reach out to you to go over details to make sure the shipping quote that you received is an accurate quote. Customers need to understand that those quote calculators aren’t always perfect. It is hard to come up with the most accurate price, when a computer is doing the quotes, so I encourage you to always reach out to the auto transport company and get the most accurate cost possible.

Factors that affect car shipping quote the most:

  • Location - location is the number one factor when it comes to giving an offer. Costs fluctuate quite often, but being near a bigger city is always helpful. Keep in mind that bigger cities also have their disadvantages when it comes to offers. A big city, but with tight spaces, can increase the cost. For example, an auto shipping out of San Francisco might cost more than from Los Angeles. That has to do with location (San Francisco is much tighter for drivers), and the next point - demand.
  • The demand for a driver will increase or decrease the price depending on the time of the year. For example when the demand for drivers is high in Los Angeles, drivers have more cars to choose from, hence shipping costs go up. On the other hand, when the demand for drivers is smaller (there aren’t many vehicles that need to get shipped) in a big city, then the cost is less. For example, if there aren’t many vehicles to choose from in Dallas, the offer from Dallas will be lower.
  • Season - Depending on the season and the location a vehicle is transporting to and from, the cost can be different. Generally, the cost is higher in the summer (higher demand, more options for drivers) for transporting across the country and/ or to another state. While in the winter, those shipping prices are smaller. However, that is not always the case. Closer to fall, customers start relocating from colder states to warmer states so auto shipping to Florida, for example, cost a lot more than those autos leaving Florida. The demand is so high going south that car moving costs going north are a lot less. The opposite happens in early Spring when people are leaving Florida back north to their homes.

Knowing the ins and outs of the shipping process and knowing the services can help you know when to move a car or where to move a car from. It is important to do a fair amount of research to make sure you select the right transporting company for your needs!

See "Car Shipping Calculator: How to Estimate Costs Right"

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