How to pick a boat shipping company if you’re a private party.
Selecting the right company to ship your boat is a fairly straight forward thing is pretty easy. There are a few basic things to go through that you should know about trucking companies in general. Also with boat shipping companies there are a few things that you want to pay attention to like how much do they have in cargo insurance. What kind of history do they have. What kind of safety rating do they have. How long they’ve been in business. All this information is pretty easy to find. You just have to know where to look. All of the links on this page open a new browser window so you can come back and go to the next topic. Don’t worry about getting lost. So let’s get started.
1. Post the load.
The first thing you want to do is post your boat shipment to our load board. This way boat shipping companies can see that you have a boat shipment available and give you a shipping quote. There are many boat shipping companies in our database and they watch it all day long, live and real-time. So it shouldn’t be too long until you start receiving different shipping quotes. If you are getting your quotes over the telephone make sure you write down each phone number even if they give you a high quote. You will learn why you need to do this a later in this process. Once you have shipping quotes from at least three boat shipping companies you can move on to the next step which is researching shippers.
2. Research the shipper.
In this step were going to find out how much cargo insurance each trucking company has on file with the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Association (FMCSA). We’ll also find out how long they’ve been in business, if they’ve ever been an accident, what their safety rating is and if there has been any comments placed in their file. Since searching a government database isn’t always so easy (especially this one) we’ve created a little tool to do it for us. We are the only company out of over a million companies that has a tool like this. We designed it and give it away for free. don’t worry there are no ads, it records no information and it’s a very small file. Once you downloaded it you can right-click on its icon, then click scan if it makes you feel more comfortable so you can see it’s a nice clean little file. We just moved it to the CNET servers for their protection as it is stored on a encrypted secure server free. It’s called the SaferTool because it queries the SAFER database which is maintained by the federal government.
One you have the tool you will see it is just what we said it is. Cool, light and 100% free. Open it and type in the boat shipping company you are interested in name. If there is more than one company with the same name ask them for their MC (Motor Carrier) number. Then click on the listing. Now you can see all of their basic company details as pulled live in real time from the federal database. Click on the “show details” button and you can see exactly what cargo they are apportioned to haul. General freight should be checked as well as “large objects”. You can view more information from their profile page navigation links like comments that have been placed in their file (if any) and insurance amounts on file as well as how long they have been in business and if they have had any accidents or not. This should give you and indication of whether you want to do business with them or not. As mentioned above we suggested that you save the telephone number of all of the boat shipping companies that give you a quote as your opinion might change after the research you have just done on them.
Now you should check them out with a search engine. We suggest Bing or Google. Type in their company name and after it try typing in the word “complaint” or “problem” or just the word “didn’t” and see what you get. If they pass this test as well then you have eliminated any reasonable doubt about this company. If the transport quote was a good solid number then you can proceed.
3. Negotiating fair payment terms?
When dealing with private parties most boat shipping companies are going to want to be paid first. Especially if your move is over $10,000. So, there is a way around this that is fair and works out for everyone involved since you meet each other half way. Also, you should know this is a industry standard procedure. Half payment is made once the boat is confirmed loaded onto the trailer. This shows good faith by both parties. The other half is usually agreed to be paid in full upon delivery. Once you reach this point the boat shipping company will send you a “rate confirmation” to sign and return. (usually via fax). Make sure you read and understand clearly every word of what you are signing. If something seems is wrong with the wording for any reason call them and discuss it. If they agree to edit it, make sure they send you a new copy with their initials and date next to the revision if the revision was done by hand. As far as your initial payment goes if you negotiated a 50/50 payment term which is the most lenient terms we advise there is only one rule:
- Never send any company money before your product has been loaded onto a trailer for ANY reason what-so-ever – especially if you’re a private party.
As long as you follow this payment practice you have nothing to worry about as far as payment is concerned. You simply pay for what you get, as you go.
At this point you will need to create a bill of lading to give to the driver when the boat shipping company loads your boat onto the truck. Everything you need to know with pointers on how to create one is right there. Make sure you keep a copy for your records.
You need to learn some things about claims and the process before we go any further. You are now involved in either interstate or intrastate transportation of goods. This is strongly governed by laws. You are required to pay your freight bill no matter what. If the truck was involved in an accident and your boat was damaged in transport and the boat shipping company delivers it to the agreed upon destination (on time or not) the boat shipping company is entitled to payment as agreed upon via the rate confirmation. The funds have to be released to the carrier under the terms agreed upon. If you need to file a claim it’s totally separate. IF FOR ANY REASON YOU INTEND ON FILING A CLAIM MAKE SURE TO CLEARLY STATE THE NATURE TO THE CLAIM ON THE LADING BILL AT DELIVERY BEFORE SIGNING THEM. IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS YOUR CLAIM HAVE LOST ABOUT 50% OF ITS VALIDITY. So, make sure you do not unintentionally violate any state or federal laws by withholding money. Trucking companies know it is illegal to hold their funds and if you agreed to pay upon delivery and do not the police arrest you in any town in any state if you refuse to pay on a freight bill on a shipment that crossed over a state line during transit. I would venture to say we may be the only website that openly states this but it is reality and you need be aware of it. Refusing to pay a freight bill is a criminalized offense. This was done some time in the 1970’s during the “keep on truckin” convoy years. In most cases it’s not handled this way as it involves billing but a COD agreement like this with representatives from both parties on the spot would be a quick first hand way to learn. You would get the “go directly to jail” card, 100% guaranteed.
“This page is packed with information that every person who ever intends on shipping a boat needs to know. We hope that we can make your boat shipping experience a good one by giving you all of the information you need to know. We look forward to not only serving you now, but also in the future as well”!