Local vs National Auto Transport Companies: Differences and Advantages

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When searching for an auto transport company to move your car, your results will probably include companies with hubs across the nation along with a handful of local auto transport companies. Working with a local business might seem appealing at first, but before you book, consider the pros and cons when moving your vehicle.

If you’re moving your car across state lines, you’ll need to look for a company with long-distance, large-scale transport experience. Below we’ll explore the differences between local and national auto transport companies to help you make an informed choice.

The auto transport industry, in brief

Shipping cars and trucks is a big business. It should come as no surprise that there are thousands of auto transport companies vying for your business, locally and nationally. Some of these companies work with a network of thousands of truckers

Like in any industry, not every company in the auto transport world is trustworthy or reputable. Some may over-promise and under-deliver, or simply leave customer service out of the equation. One benefit of working with a larger company is that it’s easier to verify their reputation. Customer reviews and organizations like the Better Business Bureau make it easy to evaluate a large company’s reliability, customer satisfaction and ability to accommodate special requests.

Local auto transport companies

Local auto transport companies are often owner-operators of their own trucking business. They will usually select their routes and make deliveries to nearby locations.

Because these companies operate on a smaller scale than national transporters, their costs can be lower. However, there may be drawbacks when it comes to their availability, insurance, customer service and the distances they are willing or able to travel. 

If you’re shipping an oversized or modified vehicle, it will likely need specific equipment like an enclosed trailer or lift gate to ship it safely. Small transport companies don’t always have the right equipment for these jobs so they may not be able to meet your needs. Furthermore, because of their limited number of trucks and drivers, securing a local transporter on a tight timeline can be difficult.

Local car shipping companies can be trustworthy and provide safe, satisfactory car shipping services. Due to their smaller budget and staff, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll get comprehensive insurance or round-the-clock customer service. Just remember that they’re best suited for short-distance shipments with a flexible timeline.

Local auto transport pros and cons:



Costs can be lower than larger companies

Don’t always have the equipment or expertise for specialized vehicles

Quick pickup and deliveries to local destinations

May not offer comprehensive insurance coverage

Comprehensive knowledge of nearby areas, local regulations

Not always able to make long-distance deliveries

Feels good to shop local

Less personnel means fewer available drivers and customer service representatives

National auto transport companies

Operating nationwide grants auto transport companies access to a vast network of carriers across the country. With greater resources and infrastructure, customers can expect more widespread service and access to professionals with the equipment to transport all types of vehicles. 

The larger scale of these businesses comes with additional perks like dedicated customer service, comprehensive insurance coverage and minimal wait times for vehicle pickup and dropoff. Here are some key advantages that national auto transport companies can offer:

  1. Customer support: Large auto transport companies maintain round-the-clock staff availability. Whether you need a quote, information or updates on your vehicle’s journey, there’s always a representative ready to assist you.
  2. Faster service: With haulers stationed in major cities across the country, national auto transporters can guarantee pickup dates and potentially quicker delivery times for your vehicle.
  3. More pickup and drop-off locations:  Nationwide companies provide flexibility in selecting convenient locations for both ends of your journey. You may choose to drop off or pick up your vehicle at a terminal, meet the driver at a convenient, agreed-upon location or take advantage of door-to-door services where available.
  4. More options and services: A large, nationwide transporter will have carriers with all kinds of skills and equipment in their network. You’ll be matched with a carrier that specializes in your specific vehicle type, whether it’s a state-of-the-art luxury vehicle, classic car, EV, motorcycle or modified Jeep.
  5. Comprehensive insurance coverage: Companies servicing all 50 states typically maintain comprehensive insurance coverage, meeting stringent requirements across various jurisdictions and ensuring peace of mind for customers.
  6. Expanded route options: More routes translate to increased affordability for customers. By optimizing routes to minimize fuel costs, traffic delays and detours, nationwide companies can offer competitive pricing, ultimately benefiting the consumer.
  7. Cost efficiency: Operating with fully loaded car carriers allows nationwide companies to offer competitive prices without compromising service quality. By maximizing their load capacity, they can reduce per-vehicle costs.

Things to consider when choosing an auto transporter

Cost: While it’s tempting to hunt for bargains, remember the adage “you get what you pay for.” Deals that seem too good to be true often are. Before you select a transporter, get quotes from multiple companies. Consider your vehicle size, trip distance and timeline as these factors will all affect car shipping costs.

Company policies: Familiarize yourself with a company’s booking procedures and policies before committing. Clarify how your ship date is determined, whether you’re allowed to leave items in your vehicle during transport and what steps are involved upon delivery. 

Carrier options: Nationwide auto transport companies offer various carrier options, including open and enclosed carriers. While open carrier shipping is standard and cost-effective, enclosed carriers provide added protection for valuable or delicate vehicles.

Reputation: Reviews offer valuable insights into a company’s reliability and service quality. Consider companies with positive online feedback or recommendations from trusted sources. Google Reviews and the Better Business Bureau are a good place to start when researching a company’s reputation. 

Specialty services: Some auto transport companies specialize in transporting specific vehicle types, such as classic cars, luxury vehicles or inoperable vehicles. If your vehicle requires specialized handling or you’re looking for white-glove service, opt for a company with a proven track record in these services.

Get more tips to find the best trucking companies near you

State-to-state car shipping made easy

Click the links below for more information on shipping your car to another state—from tips to prepare for your shipment to guides on navigating the local DMV. 

7 Tips on How to Ship Your Car to Another State
These simple tips are a great place to start if you’re beginning to research auto transport. 

Shipping Your Car to Another State: Everything You Need to Know
For a deeper dive into the subject, continue reading with this comprehensive guide. In this blog, you’ll find everything from details on the various auto transport methods, a breakdown of the car shipping process and more expert advice on how to enjoy a stress-free car shipping experience. 

Avoid the DMV Headache When Shipping Your Car to a New State
Don’t show up to your new state unprepared. Find out what to expect upon delivery and how to register with the local DMV.

Work with the experts in nationwide auto transport

Since 2007, Montway has shipped over one million vehicles for customers across the nation. Montway’s network of 30,000+ carriers has the equipment and expertise to transport all vehicle types, from cars, trucks and motorcycles to ATVs, oversized trucks and other specialty vehicles. 

Get started today with a free instant quote and easy online booking. Dedicated Montway agents are available 365 days a year to answer questions about the auto transport process and offer assistance every step of the way.

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