IMPORTANT TIPS FOR HIRING A BOAT HAULER
To most people their decision is strictly based on price. Being informed is the best way to weigh your options and choose the correct boat hauler for you. Below is a lists of tips and advice to assist in informing potential customers on what to look for in choosing an individual to transport your boat.
- Verify that the company or driver is a legal hauler. What do we mean by this? You should check their DOT Motor Carrier Number and Insurance. To do this, go to https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov, and click on licenses and insurance. Then type in their MC# in the space provided. If they are a legitimate hauler, their file will have “active” beside their authority status and their insurance will be on file. If it says either “inactive” or “none” next to their authority status then they are completely illegal to be hauling anything no matter how they try to explain or excuse it away.
- If you’ve decided to try a Boat Transport Broker, then you should make sure that their broker authority is “active” and bond is on file. Most people would be shocked to find out how many Boat Transport Brokers are operating with either inactive or no authority at all. If they cannot keep their business and licenses up-to-date and legal then how would you expect them to hire a legitimate hauler to move your boat?
- If you plan on using an Online Bidding or Auction style website to request bids from different haulers then it is imperative that you verify the shipper’s authority and insurance prior to accepting any bids. These sites DO NOT check the status of their members, and will let anyone bid on these auctions. Just because someone is placing a bid on your boat move does not mean that they are a legal or capable transporter or have the correct equipment to do the trip. It is up to you to protect yourself by verifying their information. Make sure that the Motor Carrier Number matches the shipper’s name or DBA information. Some of these websites have increasingly become a target for criminals and the results have been devastating to the boat owners. Anyone can take another company’s MC# and type in next to their name to look legitimate.
- We recommend that you hire a company that accepts Credit Cards or various forms of payment besides cash. If a company only accepts cash as payment, then this should send up some huge warning flags. First, this is a good sign that they are not a legitimate, legal transporter. Secondly, they usually don’t want a shipper to have any leverage against them in the case that any claims or damage arise during the trip.
- Don’t get suckered by a low-ball quote. Prices in this industry have a tendency to fluctuate based on the season. The summer months are considered the prime season whereas the winter months are considered the slow season. To save yourself some money you might consider having your boat transported during the winter. Transport prices are generally based on the miles from origin to destination and the size and weight of the boat being transported. Really low prices should send up a lot of red flags that something is either wrong with the company or their equipment or perhaps they have inadvertently left something out. You get what you pay for and cheapest is usually not the best option. Proceed with caution and research the company and their references.
- Do not try to cut costs by avoiding ordering permits or hiring escorts when moving your over-dimensional boat. Any company that attempts to do this is an extreme liability to their clients. If the beam of the boat is greater than 8’6″ wide, or the boat on the trailer is greater than 13’6″ high (in most states) then it is considered an oversized load. All states require permits on oversized loads but each state is different on what their requirements are pertaining to when and how many escorts may be needed. Make sure that your boat will be hauled legally.
- Another option which a lot of shippers do is check into the boat transport company with the Better Business Bureau. Most reputable haulers are members with the BBB. If they are not listed with them, then ask the transporter to provide you with references from recent customers or marinas that they have moved a comparable boat for or to. Then contact them to verify the companies reference.