Moving Experience: Hope’s Move With Montway Auto Transport

Seasoned cross-country mover Hope is no stranger to moving from state to state. In fact, she recently pulled off her fourth cross-country move in February 2024, relocating from Oakland, California, to her hometown in Waldorf, Maryland.

Hope, a real life U-Box and Montway customer

This wasn’t Hope’s first rodeo, so she carefully planned and budgeted for this move. Since Hope didn’t want to go through the ordeal of driving her car from California to Maryland (and we don’t blame her), she needed a solid car shipper to get her Hyundai Ioniq 5 from coast to coast.

After a lot of research, she decided on U-Haul U-Box for moving containers, Montway Auto Transport for car shipping, and Clutter for moving labor. We don’t normally recommend piecemeal moves like this, but it worked out great for Hope! It doesn’t hurt that moveBuddha readers consistently rate Montway as one of the best car shipping companies.

In exchange for a $500 moving stipend, Hope signed up for our Better Moves Project to share every detail of her experience with Montway. Learn how she found a car shipper and what she would do next time to simplify the car shipping process.

Move day takeaways for Montway customers

  • Communication: Montway’s driver frequently texted and called Hope with updates on her move.
  • Pricing accuracy and transparency: Montway quoted Hope $1,360 and charged her just $1,200.
  • Professionalism: Montway’s team handled Hope’s car with the utmost care. They were professional and communicative throughout the process.
  • Timeliness: Montway was late for Hope’s pickup, ultimately getting to her house at 1:30 a.m. She agreed to the pickup because she wanted to move the process along, but wasn’t happy about the midnight rush. Montway arrived a day earlier than expected and Hope, still in California, had to scramble to get family members to receive and pay for the car on her behalf.
  • Loss and damage: Hope’s Hyundai arrived in Maryland in perfect condition, albeit needing a quick car wash.
  • Would Hope use Montway again? Yes, Hope would use Montway again, but she cautions customers to remember they’re a broker, not a direct carrier. Your experience could vary, so pay close attention to your carrier assignment.
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Hope needed help moving from Oakland, California, to Waldorf, Maryland

Hope didn’t have a huge network of friends and family to load her stuff in Oakland, so she needed to hire some additional help to load and transport her stuff — and her car — back east.

Since she was between jobs, Hope needed to plan the most cost-effective move possible. Fortunately, Hope is already a pro at cross-country moves and, after a little bit of spreadsheet wizardry, managed to track prices and create the best moving plan for her budget.

Ultimately, she decided on a U-Haul U-Box to ship her belongings. Her friends were back in Maryland, so since she couldn’t bribe her pals with pizza, she hired Clutter to load her items in the U-Box in California.

There was just one piece of the puzzle left — a car shipping company.

Hope’s move at a glance

Move date February 24, 2024
Moved from Oakland, California
Moved to Waldorf, Maryland
Distance 2,840 miles
Move size Two-bedroom house (1,060 square feet)
Moving company Montway Auto Transport
Moving quote $1,360
Actual cost $1,200

Hope got quotes from four car-shipping companies

Hope used Montway for past moves but with mixed results. She wasn’t opposed to using Montway again, but still felt it was best to get a few car shipping quotes and weigh her options.

Hope needed the pricing to work in her favor, but she also wanted a car shipping company that could work with her moving timeline. She spent a month looking for a mover and, after making her selection, consulted moveBuddha to quickly pick a car shipping company.

Hope gathered four quotes to ensure she got a fair price for car shipping.

Company Estimated cost
Montway Auto Transport $1,360
SGT Auto Transport $1,100
Easy Auto Ship $1,300
Autos On The Go $1,500

Hope chose Montway because she was already familiar with them

Montway Auto Transport wasn’t the most affordable option, but she didn’t want just anybody handling her car.

Cost was a major factor in her decision, so Autos On The Go was out. The other quotes were in the same range, so she decided to go with the company she was already familiar with.

She had a mix of past experiences with Montway but still liked them overall and chose them for this shipment, too. Plus, they could work with her timeline, which made the decision even easier.

Montway offered enclosed shipping, but Hope was okay with shipping her Hyundai on an open trailer. She’s only shipped via open transport in the past and, while they left her car a little dusty, everything arrived in tip-top shape. When it came to deciding between open vs. enclosed car shipping, Hope went with open shipping because it was the most budget-friendly option.

Hope paid a deposit to Montway to reserve her pickup date of February 21. They told her to pay the remaining balance to the driver with either cash or through Zelle.

Leading up to the big move, Hope focused most of her energy on selling items on Facebook Marketplace and packing.

Moving day was delayed but pretty easy

Montway moving a car

Montway dispatched a carrier to pick up Hope’s car when she signed up. She received an email with her driver and carrier’s name and contact information. Hope sent the carrier a location map pin, coordinates, and address to show the driver where to park.

The driver called and texted Hope with updates before the pickup, but the driver ran super late on February 21. Instead of waiting to pick up Hope’s car the next day, they advised her that they would pick it up that day anyway. They picked up her car at 1:30 a.m. (yes, in the middle of the night).

Delays happen in the logistics industry, and car shipping is no different. Other customers were late loading their cars onto the driver’s open carrier, which is why Hope’s load time was pushed back so drastically.

Hope was less than thrilled, but she was eager to load and prepare the car for the move. Since Hope’s Hyundai is electric, she quickly showed the drivers how the vehicle worked before they hauled it to Maryland.

Delivery was early

Montway told Hope they would deliver the car on February 25, but the driver said it would more likely be February 23 or 24.

The car did arrive on February 24, which would normally have been great. Who doesn’t want their stuff to get in early?

Well, it created a dilemma for Hope, who was set to board her flight to Maryland the next day and wasn’t there to receive the car. She had to scramble to have family available to receive and pay for the car on her behalf, which was a little tricky. She acknowledged that most people would love an early delivery, but it stressed her out.

Otherwise, Montway’s carrier did a great job. They emailed her the bill of lading with photos of her car at pickup and drop-off — no damage in sight.

All in all, Hope paid $3,500 for U-Box, $1,200 for Montway, and $800 for Clutter, bringing the cost of her big move to just $5,500. That’s right — Montway actually charged her less than the quote of $1,360, which she appreciated.

Our take on the move

Montway car shipping

Hope’s Montway shipment had a few small hiccups, but all in all, Montway did a fantastic job with her move.

For her part, Hope was an educated, proactive customer. She gathered quotes even though she was pretty sure she would choose Montway. We always recommend gathering at least three car shipping quotes and doing your research, even if you feel confident about who you want to choose. Your first choice might not have your delivery dates available, so take the time to request multiple quotes, just in case.

Montway’s carrier showing up at 1:30 in the morning, on the other hand, was, well, less than perfect. Hope was a good sport about it, but know that it’s well within your rights to refuse to meet a shipper at that time. We love that Hope did what she could to streamline pickup and delivery, sending the driver a pin and exact coordinates to minimize confusion.

Car shipping is also much easier with flexible pickup and delivery dates. Hope couldn’t pick up her car early, causing her to scramble to find help. Things like this will happen, but try to be as available as possible in the event that shippers are ahead of schedule.

The verdict

Looking back on the move, Hope wouldn’t change much. She wasn’t a fan of Montway’s late-night pickup, but other than that, the move went off without a hitch.

In fact, she rated Montway Auto Transport a 5 out of 5 overall. She also would recommend Clutter, U-Box, and Montway to others, but with the caveat that Montway is a broker, so the experience will vary. Most car shipping companies are actually brokers, so we also recommend looking up your driver or carrier once you receive their information from the broker.

All in all, Hope feels she had a great move and got good value for the money with Montway, especially because the final price was cheaper than her quote.

Here’s how Hope rated Montway’s performance on a scale of 1 to 5:

  • Communication: 5
  • Timeliness: 4
  • Quote accuracy: 5
  • Overall experience: 5

Do you have an upcoming move? Share your moving story with the Better Moves Project to earn a $500 stipend. Sign up now.

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