A man with a trailer shipping out of state vehicles to new owners.

How to Save Cash When Buying and Shipping Out-of-State Vehicles

How to Save Cash When Buying and Shipping Out-of-State Vehicles

David Stone
Updated November 24, 2021 by David Stone

Table of Contents

    A man with a trailer shipping out of state vehicles to new owners.


    Out-of-state auto shipping can be more expensive than you think. Here’s what you need to know to get the best price. 

    When shopping for a car, there will always be situations where the best deal is in a different city or even in another state. However, this scenario brings about an entirely new set of issues, because you’ll have to figure out how to get your new vehicle home. 

    Your first instinct might be to drive or fly to the car’s location because that allows you to move it back to your city on your own. Doing so will take a lot of time, though, so coming up with an alternative solution might be your best bet. 

    Buyers are increasingly shipping out-of-state vehicles because of how convenient the process is for them. The gist is that a shipping vendor will grab your car from the seller, put it on a truck, and bring it to you. 

    Of course, there is a surcharge for this service, but it’s often worth it for the time savings. Plus, driving cross-country is expensive, too, and can be risky.

    Here’s a look at some ways you can save money when buying and shipping a vehicle purchased from another state.

    Key takeaways

    • Buying an out-of-state vehicle opens up new opportunities
    • There could be logistical hurdles to overcome
    • Car shipping services can assist
    • Mercury Auto Transport can streamline the entire process


    How to save money when buying an out-of-state vehicle

    Online car-buying makes it easier than ever to locate your dream car, no matter where in the country it resides. You can quickly search through vehicles for sale in any state and identify the ones that might be worth an offer. 

    As you search, you should know that Florida generally has the most affordable cars in the country, while California has the most expensive. But, of course, these prices will vary significantly based on the vehicle you’re interested in buying because specific car popularity, and therefore cost, varies by region.

    Saving money on your purchase might also involve some negotiations. Begin a conversation with the seller early to see if there’s any room for movement on the asking price. You’ll also want to explain that you’re an out-of-state buyer who might have to ship the car to ensure there isn’t any hesitancy later when finalizing the deal.

    You should also be aware of the sales tax situation, as you’ll still pay tax in the state where you register the car. As a result, there aren’t any savings available when buying in a no sales tax state like Oregon, Montana, Delaware, New Hampshire, or Alaska.

    In the end, you can handle your out-of-state car buying experience much like any other vehicle purchase, especially if you’re well-versed in the auto transport industry. 

    Determining the cost of your car transport

    It’s important to factor in shipping costs before making your purchase to ensure buying an out-of-state car makes financial sense. Although you might pay a bit more upfront for a local vehicle, it could end up costing you less because you won’t have to pay for shipping. 

    The cost of shipping a vehicle depends on various factors, including your location, the car’s location, the total distance it travels, and the vehicle’s size. In addition, options like open or enclosed transport, the time of year, and how quickly you want the car to arrive will also influence the price. 

    Ways to reduce your shipping costs

    There are a few actions you can take to reduce your shipping costs, creating an altogether more affordable experience as you purchase an out-of-state vehicle. 

    First, carefully select your transportation method. Choosing an open transport option will save some money because more trucks are available and each carrier can fit multiple vehicles. Enclosed transport will cost you more, but it is safer for the car. The choice is up to you but going with open transport is an easy way to lower your costs. 

    Next, think about the season in which you’re transporting the vehicle. Summer is the busiest time of year for auto transport carriers, so they’ll charge a premium during the warmest months. You can save some money by shipping in the winter, but, of course, that might not be possible if the seller wants to complete the deal immediately. 

    Finally, you can save some cash by retaining flexibility. This method will depend on the seller, but your carrier might reduce your rates if you create a wider pickup and delivery window. You can also pay for expedited shipping if you want your new car in a hurry. 

    Finding the right carrier

    Comparing quotes from various carriers before selecting one is the single best way to save money on car shipping. An auto transport broker service will present you with multiple offers based on your parameters, ensuring you find one that meets your needs at a price you can handle. 

    Mercury Auto Transport is a car shipping broker that can put you in touch with FMCSA licensed and insured carriers. We guarantee price, door-to-door service, and bumper-to-bumper insurance from the second you accept an offer, providing peace of mind through the car buying and shipping processes. Contact us today to receive your free vehicle transportation quote.


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    Absolutely fantastic. Guys were far better than I could have hoped for. THE NEXT DAY... NOT A SCRATCH OR DING.... STRAIGHT TO MY DOOR.
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    Called Eric La Gra from Mercury Transport he was able to get my truck shipped immediately got me a transporter who did a fantastic job.
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    First, we post your vehicle through our network, including all National Dispatch Boards for Auto Transport. This is where all licensed auto transport carriers can see your vehicle is available for shipping.


    We present offers from FMCSA Licensed and Insured Carriers. When you accept an offer, we send your service agreement that guarantees the price, door-to-door service and 100% bumper to bumper insurance. There are never any hidden fees or charges, guaranteed.


    Not until you approve your carrier and final logistics is your deposit due. Your deposit is included in your quote and goes toward the total price. The remaining balance is due at time of delivery. Nothing gets done without your approval.


    Your driver will contact you prior to your pickup and delivery dates to schedule a time for loading and unloading. Once your vehicle reaches its destination, you do a final inspection of your vehicle and pay the driver the remaining balance. You and the driver both sign the Bill of Lading and each keep a copy.