Love your RV? You’re not alone. Nearly 40 million Americans use recreational vehicles, trailers or campers annually. Your RV is a home away from home, which explains why shipping it with a transport company can be stressful.
Rest assured, there are shipping companies that will take very good care of transporting your RV or camper. It’s all a matter of making sure you do your homework before choosing one. The tips that follow will help you choose a professional and experienced RV transport company, one that will make all the difference for you.
Tip 1: Do Your Homework
Transport companies are very different. Some have your best interest in mind while others only care about the size of your wallet. The best way to sift the wheat from the chaff? Two words: Due Diligence.
If you’re like most RV owners, price is an object. Still, it’s important to know that the transport companies boasting the best price are often the same ones with less than stellar service and a questionable reputation.
Due diligence includes:
- Investigating the shipping company’s credentials
- Reading customer reviews on third-party sites (Google reviews or Transport Review, for example)
- Understanding the shipper’s insurance policy (You’re entitled to see their current insurance certificate. If they balk at your request, it’s a red flag.)
- Knowing if they’ve transported RVs, campers or trailer before (You can ask for references to happy customers that you can contact)
While this might seem time-consuming, it’s often information that’s readily available. Doing your homework will save you from one of the worst headaches in your life.
Tip 2: Understand the Science of Pricing
When it comes to shipping your RV, two main factors determine price: the weight of your RV and the distance you need it to travel.
If you’re searching for the cheapest RV shipper and using price as your only determining factor, we have bad news for you. This strategy rarely works in your favor. Many RV transport companies (both carriers and brokers, we’ll get to that in tip #3!) offer you extremely low prices, just to get your deposit. Once you have over the cash, the nightmare starts. They’ll avoid your calls, knowing that they’re unable to find a truck driver willing to make the trip for such a low price.
We’ve seen way too many RV owners in this predicament. Our advice? If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. The quotes you get should be in the same ballpark, based on the size and weight of your trailer, camper or RV and the distance it has to travel.
Often times, trying to save a few hundred dollars will ultimately cost you much more down the road.
Tip 3: Customize Your Approach
Shipping your home away from home isn’t easy, especially when you’re doing it for the first time. There are two types of transport companies, brokers and carriers.
A carrier is a transport company that owns their own trucks and employs drivers. They are limited in what they can offer when it comes to routes and pricing. A broker is a transport company that has relationships with different carriers throughout the country.
When you work with a broker you have the advantage of a concierge approach. Transport brokers handle all of the logistics of setting up your move. They’ll work to find the best price and do all the due diligence necessary to ensure a smooth transaction.
With an experienced, professional broker by your side, the shipping process will be much less intensive and stressful than if you were to go it alone.
Tip 4: Your Role In Decreasing Shipment Price
Worried about cost? One of the best ways to get a good price is to plan in advance. As you can imagine, the logistics of shipping vehicles cross-country, or even around the world, are staggering. You can prevent costly charges by planning your transport well in advance of your trip.
Other ways you can decrease cost include:
- Being flexible: If your timeline isn’t set in stone, ask your transport company if shipping on other days and times will give you better prices.
- Meeting the driver: A driver will charge more for pick up in an obscure area than they would for pick up in a frequently traveled location. You can minimize cost by meeting the driver at a central location.
- Understanding that bad weather and acts of God can, and often do, happen: While not directly associated with cost-effectiveness, your ability to be flexible with your timeline will help your transport company price the trip right. Any number of things can impact price and cause legitimate delay to your trip including blizzards, wildfires, highway closures and more. Knowing these things and do happen and planning in advance will help you in the long run.
Tip 5: Prepare Your RV for Shipment
Getting your RV ready for transport well in advance of pickup ensures your RV will arrive safe and sound.
A few examples of how to prepare your RV for shipping include:
- Take care of any maintenance or service issues before you ship
- Disconnect electric and gas and remove any hazardous materials from your RV
- Remove anything of value from your RV (as the old adage goes: Better safe than sorry!)
- Minimize the cargo in your RV as extra weight will greatly increase your transport price
- Secure any items that you can’t take off the RV to avoid damage during transport
Although we listed this tip last, it’s a crucial step in the process. Don’t leave this to the last minute or worse, attempt to do it when the driver arrives.
We know you’re passionate about your RV and the freedom it affords you. Don’t leave the details of transporting it to chance. At Beacon Shipping Logistics, we work tirelessly to ensure you get the best service and the most economical and realistic price. Contact us today for a free quote.