The main difference between the two is money. Obviously shorter shipments are going to be cheaper but, the shorter distance you are shipping a car the more the price per mile goes up. If you’ve ever used a tow truck you know that towing a car 10 miles can cost $150 or more, that’s $15 per mile! Long distance shipments generally cost around $.50 per mile. This happens because the equipment short distance haulers use typically can’t carry as many cars. Long distance carriers are almost always capable of hauling 6 cars or more.
Shorter shipments are obviously going to be much quicker as well. Smaller trailers and shorter routes create much less variables for drivers to deal with so drivers are more predictable, meaning a rigid schedule has a much better chance of being fulfilled on a short trip than on a long one. Often they follow the same schedule every week, pick up from their home town on Monday, drive to the destination and drop off cars and pick up cars for the way back on Wednesday, get home Friday and drop their return load off. Knowing this can certainly help you plan but keep in mind this does not mean they will books weeks or even a week in advance. Your shipment may not get booked until the very last minute, drivers call the same day they want to pick up, a day in advance if you are lucky. Going to rural areas is also a diminished problem with short routes. The smaller trucks will not need as many cars going to a certain area to justify going there and fuel is much less expensive so these carriers are much more willing to go out of their way to help you out.
Most auto transport shipments will fall into the long distance category. The cost does not justify the means for most people needing to move a car 150 miles away. Often these people opt to drive the car to its destination instead. Whatever the reason that you are shipping have lots of patience, especially on a short route. Do not panic if you don’t have a carrier figured out right away.