Getting a Good Deal On a Motorcycle Shipment:
With the ease of purchasing a motorcycle on the internet today, you may find yourself searching for a way move a motorcycle from miles away. Or maybe you want to enjoy the Sturgis Rally on your bike without riding a thousand miles or more to get there and need a the best motorcycle shipping costs. Either way, hiring the services of a company that can transport motorcycles quickly and afford-ably is a great option. How do I ship my motorcycle?
When you need to ship a motorcycle, keep in mind, “Getting a good deal” does not mean paying the least amount for the service. Cheaper definitely doesn’t mean better when it comes to moving something as valuable as your motorcycle. Prices may vary greatly from one carrier to another and so can their level of service. If your motorcycle is delayed or damaged, it could end up costing you many times the amount you saved by choosing the lowest priced motorcycle shippers.
1) Use only licensed and insured transporters.
Motorcycle transport companies are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also identified as the Federal Highway Administration, to be licensed there under. Any transporter should be able to provide a copy of their operating authority. The best motorcycle shipping companies will post them on their website. If the carrier cannot provide proof of their operating authority there is a good chance the business you are dealing with may not be reputable.
2) Choose a company that specializes in motorcycle hauling.
Many companies offering motorcycle shipping services claim that they are expert motorcycle movers, but does their history prove it? Is the company really an auto transporter who tries to handle motorcycle transporting services as well? Does the company claim to be Harley Shipping experts but neglect all other models? Harley Davidson motorcycle shipping is just a small part of the services that motorcycle shipping companies should offer. BMW motorcycle shipping is also a bit more challenging due to the unique design of the bikes. Motorcycles are inherently fragile and the moving of motorcycles should be done by trained personnel who understand how to handle high-value bikes.
3) Select a motorcycle mover that has the proper equipment to handle your motorcycle move.
Many companies can give you a quote on a motorcycle shipment, but are they going to use motorcycle-specific methods of securing your bike in order to keep it safe? Some companies will strap your bike using standard E-track straps and freight handling methods. Good companies will use motorcycle-specific tie-downs and strap it securely to the floor of the trailer. Great companies secure the bike with at least four motorcycle tie-downs to a special pallet or skid that helps protect it from damage. Ask the companies to explain in detail how your bike will be secured and transported. Dedicated motorcycle movers will provide pictures of their equipment so you can see how it works.
Will your motorcycle be transported in an enclosed air-ride truck?
Some companies provide only “open” truck/trailer transport instead of enclosed motorcycle transport. Exposure to wind and other elements can scratch, ding and even crack your motorcycles delicate finish. Trucks without air-ride suspension can provide a rough ride for your bike and result in damage to your shocks, tires and other fragile items. Be sure that the carrier you choose cares enough to use only air-ride trailers to help protect your investment.
Are the trucks equipped with the proper loading equipment?
To safely ship motorcycle an extra large lift gate mounted on the rear of the truck is needed for loading. There are some companies claiming to be motorcycle transporters that do not invest in these expensive lift gates. Proper loading and unloading a motorcycle is not accomplished without a good lift gate. Improper loading can damage the underside your bike as many sub-par companies try to use lower cost ramps to load and unload your bike. The larger the cycle, the tougher the job is to complete without the right equipment, so keep this in mind especially if you own a high-value large motorcycle.
Will your motorcycle be safely secured?
Your kickstand may work well in the driveway, but on a long motorcycle haul it takes at least four strong tie downs and protective ties to do the job correctly and keep your cycle from moving around during transport and getting damaged. A good motorcycle hauling company will use motorcycle specific straps. A great motorcycle transport company will attach your bike to a pallet with solid strapping locations and train their drivers on the proper placement.
Does the company have enough trucks to cover the territory?
Transit time is directly linked to the availability of the trucks that move your bike. It is a best practice to choose a motorcycle transport company that has enough trucks nationwide to help provide quick service to all areas. There are some good smaller companies with less trucks, that do a good job of getting your bike delivered at a reasonable rate, but quite often these movers can take in excess of 8 weeks to get your bike moved.
4) Choose a company that can take your order today
This sounds simple enough right? Why spend your time waiting for companies to send you quotes, or look for a truck that might be available to haul your bike. Find a company who can book your order into their system and tell you which truck will be coming out to pick up your motorcycle. Most companies will be able to tell you the cost within 24 hours. Good companies will be able to tell you the cost immediately. Great companies will be able to tell you the cost and take your order over the phone. The best companies will be able to do all of the above and take your order 24 hours a day using an online solution.
5) Pick a company with good customer service.
This will save you time, and we all know that “Time is Money”. Good customer service can be evaluated many ways, but lets look at the basics.
Can I reach someone in the customer service department?
Try calling your prospective company several times before you book your order to see if you can get live help immediately. Some companies have staff on hand to take your order, but when it comes to needing assistance with tracking information or other customer service needs, you may get directed to their voice mail.
Can I track my order quickly?
Great companies will offer tracking on their website to let you know the status of your shipment with a few clicks of the mouse. Good companies will offer you this information after you phone them. Some companies will direct you to a voice mail and a then call you back at their convenience.
What are my options for placing the order?
Mistakes cause headaches. Being able to type your order online not only saves time, but it helps ensure that addresses and phone numbers are accurately documented. Choose a motorcycle transport company that has invested in this convenience, online order booking options are available from the best companies.
If I have a claim for damage, will I get assistance?
Damage claims are rare and unfortunate experiences, but they can be made easier if you have chosen a company with professional procedures to deal with such an incident. When searching for a company in which to trust your bike, be sure to ask them if there is a dedicated claims department to handle any issues if the need should arise. Many companies do not offer insurance. Good companies will offer it for an additional cost. Great companies will include insurance with a small deductible. The best motorcycle shipping companies will give you insurance at no cost, with a zero deductible and when the event arises they will put you in direct communication with a claims specialist.
6) Find a motorcycle moving company that offers insurance coverage no deductible.
The best companies will offer a ZERO deductible. Great companies will include coverage at no additional cost, Good ones for an additional charge and poor ones will say “We have never damaged a motorcycle before, why do you need coverage?” There is one additional task that the best companies will do for you, they will complete an inspection report on your bike when they pick it up and upon delivery so you will have documented the condition in case there are any questions.
7) Pick a transporter that can give you a solid quote for transporting motorcycles.
If you thought your original quote was a good deal but variables exist that could affect the price in the end then it may not be such a good deal. Many companies will give you a price but add on the cost of residential delivery, fuel surcharge, lift gate fees, and even remote area surcharges which can dramatically increase your final cost. Get a solid quote, one that includes everything up front, and make sure the company explains any extra charges before the motorcycle transporting begins.
When you ask the question “How much does motorcycle shipping cost”, you should get a quick answer. Some companies will quote you without documentation. Good companies will provide quotes by email upon request. Great companies give you easy access to their rates. The best companies post the rates on their website and let you choose the pick up and drop off location for instantly accurate quotes.
The best companies even offer discounts to club members or military personnel. Ask for discounted motorcycle shipping rate if you belong to a club or civil service organization.
There’s truth in that old cliché, you get what you pay for but it doesn’t mean that you get more if you pay more! The best motorcycle transporters usually don’t have the absolute lowest price or the highest price, but one somewhere in the middle.
8) Use a motorcycle shipping company that has a professional, user-friendly website
If they truly provide quality motorcycle transport services they will advertise their motorcycle moving prices and provide resources using the latest technology. If a company doesn’t have their own site, and works primarily through a third party like Uship, beware.
9) Be available by phone when your motorcycle transport company calls.
Why is this important to you and getting a good deal? When you ask how to ship my motorcycle, remember motorcycle hauling companies are just as busy as you, and when they call to speak with you about your shipment, it is important to be available. If the company has to leave a message or call you again, it will only cause a delay in your shipment. Yes, a delay in their schedule which equals a delay in your schedule. Your time is valuable and good deal is one that leaves you as a satisfied customer. You most likely won’t feel satisfied when the delivery of your motorcycle gets delayed. The best motorcycle transporters want your bike delivered quickly just as much as you.
If you are knowledgeable about the shipping process and choosing a reliable motorcycle transport company to haul your cycle, the end result will be a Good Deal.
Clint Lawrence, Founder of Motorcycleshippers, is an avid motorcycle enthusiast, industry consultant and board member for a major logistics provider. [email protected]