First off, in order to ship a bike you need to determine the dates you are looking to transport, whether it is for recreational purposes, a rally , a show case or simply transporting from one place to another, you need to determine the dates you need it gone or the dates you need it delivered; as well your flexibility. This was agents can better assist you and help arrange your schedule accordingly also to the driver's schedule. Something you must keep in mind is that depending on the routes and the time of the year, delays may occur such is northern routes during winter, therefore it is important to have a plan B just in case.
After you have determined your dates, decide whether you will ship via enclosed or open carrier. This decision will affect greatly on your price and safety of the bike. Although is 100% recommended to ship motorcycles via enclosed and some carriers even refuse to take these vehicles via open carriers, it is ultimately your decision. Prices to ship a motorcycle via enclosed carrier are not as expensive as shipping a car via enclosed, however they might be a few dollars more than the open carrier possibility.
Once dates and type of carrier are determined, start to prepare your bike. Make sure you inquire about transportation policies with the company you have chosen to dealt with as every company has different rules, some may allow to take thing within the saddle bags of your bike, some may not even allow to take saddle bags or any other ad-on to the bike., some companies also require to empty the gas tank to 3/4 full to remove extra weight. Check with your agent to make sure your bike is ready for transit.
Your bike is ready to go and your agent has confirmed your driver, only now will you pay a deposit to secure your spot. Do not pay in advance any amount of money, or even provide your payment information until you have a confirmed driver. This is how a reliable company works. There is no need to pay in advance for something that is not confirmed yet. Deposits are usually non-refundable, and if you get hit by a dishonest agent and unreliable company, you will lose your money and still have no transportation. Therefore, deposits are only done once driver is confirmed and the remainder of the balance is to be paid to the driver upon delivery, unless you schedule your payment differently, however it needs to be previously arranged to avoid any delays and troubles once your bike has already been picked up.