From massive cities to little towns, the United States has over 84,000 different municipalities. This, naturally, is a challenge for car transporters, as there are a lot of different places they can go for freight. As a result, rural auto shipping prices and services can be tricky to find at an affordable rate.
The reason why is simple: auto shippers go to where the loads are, and there aren’t a lot of loads coming from or going to rural areas.
This isn’t surprising. Most people live in urban areas, whether it’s a true urban center or the outskirts of one. So cities like Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, and Chicago all see lots of transportation traffic because there are lots of people there. This results in a few things that you should know about when you’re trying to book rural auto shipping services.
What is a rural area?
Simply put, a rural area is any area with few homes, lots of open land, and few people. The word “rural” is often associated with farming communities, as they sit far enough away from major cities to be away from the congestion and the hustle and bustle. The lifestyle of rural areas is much different than urban areas. It is slower-paced and more methodical, with less of the rush that comes with urban living. As such, many people prefer rural living over urban living for exactly that reason.
Rural areas are often characterized by lack of easy access. Whereas big cities have to be connected to major highways in order to be easily accessible, rural areas don’t see that kind of traffic. As a result, they tend to be further away from major highways, and take longer to get to and from.
This lack of easy access tends to make it more difficult for carriers to justify including them in their routes. Read on to learn what specific factors carriers keep in mind when booking loads to learn why rural shipments can be more difficult for them to complete.
Rural auto shipping services vs. urban vs. suburban
In the United States, there are three main areas one can live in: rural areas, urban areas, and suburban areas. Let’s take them one at a time.
Rural auto shipping
As mentioned, rural areas have few people and less ease of access. This means carriers have to spend more of their time and money to get to and from those areas. This typically results in higher prices for rural auto shipping services as compared to urban and suburban shipments.
When shipping to or from a rural area, keep that in mind. If you’re shipping on a budget, or you’re pressed for time, you have alternatives you can discuss with your shipper. Most likely, moving your pickup or delivery location out of the rural area and closer to a major interstate or major metro area can help keep costs and wait times lower.
Suburban auto shipping
Suburbs are pretty much what they sound like – sub-urban areas. They’re often found on the outskirts of major cities and can make up the bulk of a metropolitan area’s population. Suburban areas aren’t nearly as difficult to move freight in and out of, though there are some things you still need to keep in mind.
Suburbs tend to be more difficult for carriers to get around due to cul-de-sacs, twisty roads, and thinner roads. Auto transport trucks are often 80ft long and need lots of space to maneuver around. As there is no one standard for how suburbs are built or laid out, this means that some suburban areas are easier for carriers to get in and out of than others. This can make it more difficult to plan your shipment, though it doesn’t often affect the price.
In fact, suburbs often sit around the same price as their urban counterparts, depending on how far away from the interstate your suburb is. You can discuss this with your representative, but it’s almost always cheaper and easier to ship to or from a suburb than a rural area.
Urban auto shipping
Urban auto shipping is, by far, the easiest and cheapest way to ship your car. Moving from one major city to another is what carriers want to do; it’s where their customers are, it’s where the best loads are, and it’s the easiest for the drivers in terms of planning and actual driving.
They’re also cheaper in terms of the costs that drivers have to pay, notably for fuel. Highway driving saves on fuel economy, whereas rural and suburban shipping eats fuel like nobody’s business. This also helps to save customers money, as there are fewer demands on the carrier’s wallet with urban shipments.
Most shipments to and from urban areas don’t go into downtown areas; instead, areas that have plenty of space for trucks to maneuver are moved. Many can still move vehicles door-to-door, but, like suburban shipping, narrow streets can make it difficult for carriers to get directly to your home for pickup and delivery. Sometimes, meeting them in a large parking lot at a mall or an outlet store is required.
Planning for your rural auto shipping
When you’re actually making plans to ship your vehicle to or from a rural area, there are a few things you can do to make it a bit easier on yourself.
Give yourself time
On the whole, rural shipping takes longer to complete than urban shipments. Fewer carriers are available on rural routes; of those, only a select few will actually be interested in your shipment. This means that it’ll usually take more money to entice carriers to go to your rural location. This is often where the increase in costs comes from; carriers have to spend extra time and fuel to get to rural areas. To compensate for that, they need to be paid more.
Be flexible in your plans
With rural shipments, it’s hard enough to find a carrier; it’s even harder to work it into a customer’s schedule, especially if it’s restrictive. Lifting restrictions and making yourself available for pickup or delivery at any time will help tremendously with getting your shipment moved faster. Oftentimes, carriers look at rural loads when they’ve exhausted available urban and suburban ones. But, depending on the route, this may not happen for a while. If it does, they’ll often want to get it as soon as possible (in terms of picking up in a rural area). Being flexible allows your shipper to dispatch your vehicle for pickup at the drop of a hat and move your vehicle faster than otherwise.
Be ready to meet your carrier somewhere
At the end of the day, rural shipments are harder to get moved. It’s just the way the industry works. It’s far from impossible, of course, but the additional time and money needed to move them can frustrate customers. By giving yourself plenty of time and being flexible, you can help solve some of those initial issues. But another way to do it is to be willing to meet your carrier somewhere closer to an urban or suburban area, or off a major highway. Doing so can speed up how long it takes to get your vehicle picked up, and can even help your price stay lower.
Let ASQ help you get your rural shipment started
If you’re interested in rural auto shipping services, let us here at Automobile Shipping Quotes help you get started.
You can take a few minutes and read some reviews of top-rated auto transporters that all provide rural shipping services. We’ve spent hours upon hours researching each and every company we’ve reviewed, looking at customer reviews, publically-available documents, BBB reviews, and more. Unlike other review websites, we’ve done our homework to ensure that we provide you with reviews of only the best shippers in the business.
In those reviews you will find the services they provide, who might benefit from their services best, and contact information. Using that information, you can then contact those companies to get a quote to ship your vehicle. It’s always free and all it takes is a phone call. You can ask them questions about their prices and services, get a quote, book your shipment, and much more.
So, no matter where you’re shipping from and to, we here at ASQ can help you get it started.