Your motorcycle isn’t an accessory. Biking is a way of life for you, and your motorcycle is a key part of your lifestyle. It’s your pride and joy, which means you want to ensure it’s protected if you ever have to ship it over long distances.
That’s what makes motorbike delivery so worrying for people who haven’t done it before.
You don’t know what the process involves or how to prepare your bike for shipping. You also don’t know what your options are or how to find a carrier that’s suitable for the job.
That’s where this article comes in.
Here, we cover the main elements of motorbike delivery so you understand what the service is and how to use it. With this guide, you can ensure you work with the best motorcycle shipping company for your needs.
What Is Motorcycle Delivery?
As the name implies, motorcycle delivery is the process of shipping motorcycles from one part of the country to another. Generally speaking, the process involves loading your bike onto a vehicle, via which it is hauled to a designated destination. However, several variables apply to shipping a bike that change how it’s delivered, the cost, and how much protection the bike has on the journey.
Open Transport vs. Enclosed
Most carriers offer a choice between open and enclosed transport when shipping motorcycles.
Choosing the open option means your bike isn’t crated before it’s transported. Instead, it’s usually loaded onto a flat trailer and tied down using ropes or cables. A vehicle then tows the trailer to the bike’s destination. Open transport is more cost-effective than enclosed transport. However, it leaves your bike exposed to the elements during transit, which can lead to unwanted wear and tear. This type of transport works best for short journeys. But it’s not a good choice for nationwide motorcycle shipping or when you’re shipping a valuable bike.
Enclosed transport involves loading your bike into a crate, which is either towed or loaded onto a large vehicle. Opting for the enclosed option means you give your bike protection against the weather, as well as guarding it against chips and scratches that can occur due to contact with road debris. This is the best option in most cases, even with the added cost.
Terminal Shipping vs. Door-to-Door Motorcycle Shipping
Carriers also offer the choice between depot shipping and door-to-door motorcycle shipping .
As the name implies, motorcycle shipping door-to-door means the carrier picks your bike up at your chosen location and drops it off at a location of your choosing. This is usually a premium service because it requires the carrier to prioritize your bike while offering you a more personalized service. As such, you’ll pay more for door-to-door shipping.
Terminal shipping requires you to transport the bike to a location designed by the carrier. They’ll then load the bike and transport it, usually alongside other bikes, to a terminal close to your desired location. You then have to pick the bike up to take it where it needs to go. While this option requires more work on your part, it’s the cheaper of the two. However, it’s not a suitable option if you’re transporting a non-operational bike.
Insurance and Licenses
You need to know that you’re getting a reliable motorcycle shipping service before you commit your money to a company. The best way to know this is to check that the carrier and its drivers have all of the relevant licenses and insurances.
Carriers should have insurance to cover issues like accidental damage and problems that occur during transit. Look for carriers that hire drivers with motorcycle courier insurance. If the driver doesn’t have that insurance, you’re not protected if something goes wrong with the delivery. If the driver can’t get motorcycle courier insurance, that means the insurance company believes they’re too risky to ensure. Again, that’s a bad sign.
In addition to insurance, the courier also needs to have a relevant commercial driver’s license for the type of vehicle used to transport your bike. Check with your carrier about the type of vehicles they use and ask for confirmation that the driver has the relevant license.
The Cost of Motorbike Delivery
Motorcycle shipping rates vary widely depending on several factors. These include the following:
- Whether you opt for open or enclosed transport
- Shipping door-to-door or via terminals
- The distance required
- The time of year
- Your location
- Any additional fees the carrier levies
For example, shipping a bike door-to-door via an enclosed transport during the middle of summer costs more than doing it terminal-to-terminal using an open transport in the fall. In the former’s case, you’re paying for more personalized service during a period of high demand, meaning you pay more.
As for average costs, you can likely expect to spend between $400 and $700 per thousand miles, depending on the carrier. Additional fees may apply for toll fees or if your bike is picked up from or delivered to a rural location. It’s also worth noting that most carriers charge fees if you miss a delivery slot and if your bike needs to be stored because you missed the delivery.
The Steps of the Typical Motorbike Delivery Process
With the basics of motorbike delivery explained, let’s dig a little deeper into the process. The following are the steps you’re likely to follow when shipping a bike.
Step No. 1 – Choose Your Delivery Options
Do you want an enclosed trailer or are you happy to go with an open transport? Do you want the bike shipped door-to-door or will you drop it off and pick it up from the carrier’s terminals? Your first step is to answer these key questions so you’re ready to start the next step.
Step No. 2 – Get Some Quotes
When you know what type of service you want, it’s time to get some motorcycle transport quotes. Online services, such as price checking websites and online delivery brokers, can help here. They’ll provide you with a list of quotes from their approved providers. Alternatively, you can create a shortlist of providers and contact each individually to get a quote. Whichever route you chose, you must collect several quotes so you can determine whether a carrier is charging more than others for the service you require.
Step No. 3 – Book the Delivery
Once you’ve chosen your carrier, book as quickly as you can so you reserve a spot on their calendar. The longer you wait to book, the higher the likelihood that your preferred motorbike delivery slot gets taken by somebody else.
Step No. 4 – Prepare Your Motorbike for Shipping
Preparation is key to ensuring that your bike is protected and you don’t face unexpected issues with your carrier. This starts with documentation. Take photos of your bike, taking care to get into every nook and cranny. Document any pre-existing dings or scratches and ensure every picture you take has a timestamp attached to it. If the carrier damages your bike in transit, these pictures are evidence of the condition the bike should have been delivered in.
Next, you should prepare the bike itself for delivery. Generally speaking, you don’t need to drain the gas tank or disconnect the battery. However, do so if your carrier instructs you to. Remove any personal items from your saddlebags and under-seat storage compartment. Also, ensure no loose items are hanging from the bike, such as your helmet.
Once all personal and loose items are removed, wait until the day before the carrier arrives. Then, give the bike a thorough cleaning. Your carrier may conduct an inspection with you before delivery commences. A clean bike is easier to inspect because there won’t be any muck to obscure existing dings and scratches.
Step No. 5 – Consider Getting Further Insurance
Getting insurance on the delivery is not essential, especially if your carrier has appropriate insurance. However, you may want to do it if you want some extra protection, such as if you’re transporting a vintage or valuable bike.
Step No. 6 – Ship and Receive
With the documenting and preparation processes completed, you’re ready to ship the bike. Either take it to the carrier’s terminal or place it somewhere that’s easy for your carrier to access if you’re going with the door-to-door option. After that, it’s a case of waiting until the bike arrives at its destination, where you or your bike’s recipient will pick it up.
As a final note – don’t forget your keys when picking the bike up.
Most carriers don’t require your keys when shipping the bike. They can wheel your bike onto their transport without them. Turning up to a delivery location without your keys can create a delay that you may get charged for. Or, it will force you to leave the bike at the delivery location until you can get the keys. If you’re shipping the bike to another person, send the keys separately via a trustworthy delivery service.
How to Pick a Good Motorbike Delivery Service
You know what carriers do when shipping motorcycles and you understand how to prepare your bike for the process. The last piece of the puzzle is figuring out which carrier to go with. You have local and nationwide motorcycle transport options, meaning you have an array of choices. These quick tips help you select the right carrier for your job.
Tip No. 1 – Check Motorcycle Shipping Reviews
Every motorbike delivery company emphasizes the positives of their service on their website while hiding the negatives. As such, you can’t rely on a carrier’s website alone to get an unbiased opinion about their service quality.
You need to look for motorcycle shippers reviews online.
Social media platforms are often good places to do this. If the carrier has a Facebook page, check it to see what existing customers are saying about the service they receive. If you see overwhelmingly positive reviews, you’ve likely found a good carrier. You can also determine how much a carrier cares about customer service by checking its responses to queries and complaints on these platforms. If the carrier takes an active approach to fixing issues, they’ll probably take better care of your bike than a carrier that doesn’t respond to disgruntled customers.
You can also check the company’s Google Business Profile for more reviews. See if you can find them listed on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) as well. The BBB assigns letter grades from A+ down to businesses based on customer reviews. If you see a high grade coupled with good reviews, the carrier is usually a good choice.
Tip No. 2 – Understand What You’re Paying For
Knowing as much as possible about each service a delivery company provides ensures you pay a fair price. Quiz your carrier on the differences between their open and enclosed transportation methods. If they’re reluctant to tell you how different delivery methods affect your price, that’s a sign that they’re not transparent and may try to charge you more than you should be paying.
Tip No. 3 – Quality Trumps Price
While the prices offered by different carriers vary, they won’t usually be too far apart. As such, choosing the cheapest carrier is not always your best option. Quality of service is more important than the price you pay.
For example, you may face a choice between two carriers. Company A charges $100 less for the delivery than Company B. However, Company B has far more positive reviews online, as well as a more professional online presence. In this case, it’s likely a better idea to pay the extra $100 to go with Company B. After all, $100 won’t seem like much if Company A delivers your bike with damage that costs more than $100 to fix.
It’s Time to Book Your Motorbike Delivery
Understanding how the motorbike delivery process works means you don’t have to grapple with the uncertainty that can lead to you making bad decisions. The information in this article helps you determine which type of delivery service is best for you, how that service is likely to work, and what you can do to find an appropriate carrier.
Now, it’s time to book your delivery.
Whether you need motorcycle shipping cross-country , interstate, or simply need to ship your bike when moving home in your current state, Cheap Motorcycle Shipping (CMS) can help. Founded by a motorcycle enthusiast after he had a bad experience with a delivery service, CMS aims to make shipping motorcycles a safe, affordable, and hassle-free process. If you’re ready to ship your bike, get your quote from us today.