Auto shipping companies make it easier than ever to move vehicles long distances. This is a great service for people who are moving, college students who are moving, or consumers buying and selling cars online. Whatever the reason, auto transport has become a popular industry. If you find yourself in need of auto shipment, you probably begin your search online. While it may be easy to find a host of auto shipping companies, you might not fully understand the process. Auto shipment brokers work with carriers to make the auto shipping process work. That said, there is a lot of confusion regarding the difference between brokers and carriers. Here we will break down the differences between brokers and carriers and why these differences matter.
What are Brokers?
When you search online for an auto shipment company, the sites you are directed to are typically brokers. Brokers play a very important role in the auto shipping process, as they are the ones that facilitate, coordinate, and negotiate the transaction between the customer and the carrier. They offer a platform for communication between customers and carriers and they are able to provide the most accurate quotes based on real-time market conditions. Somewhat like a middleman, they exist because it would be difficult for customers to negotiate directly with the carrier. Likewise, it would be difficult for carriers to maximize shipments without a broker.
What is a Carrier?
Carriers are the companies that employ the drivers who actually transport the vehicles. Many of these carriers are single owned operators, meaning it is just one person who owns and operates the truck. This means there are hundreds of carriers out there, but many of them only work on designated routes. The brokers are able to find a carrier that operates within the customer’s route, as this allows the carrier to work more efficiently to make the most money. The carriers receive their shipments via brokers and the price is determined through a combination of evaluating the cost of the route as well as consulting national dispatch boards.
The Differences Between Brokers and Carriers
The brokers find the most efficient carrier at the best price by choosing from a network of carriers while the carrier physically transports the vehicles. The two rely heavily on each other in order to make the process work. Many carriers rely on brokers for customers while brokers rely on carriers to actually ship the vehicles. Brokers also have the ability to arrange a shipment anywhere in the country, but carriers are limited to their own routes. Brokers are also accustomed to working directly with customers while carriers generally just move the shipments. Neither carriers nor brokers can guarantee a delivery date due to the reality of unexpected delays such as weather, traffic, road closures, or maintenance issues. Both carriers and brokers must be registered with the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Michael starting working in car shipping over 20 years ago, in 2002; back in the days when fax machines ruled the roost, being the first name listed in the yellow pages was King and google wasn’t yet a verb. Sometimes he foolishly thinks he’s seen every situation imaginable when it comes to shipping a car, but about once a year he’s proven wrong.
Frequently Asked Questions
Honest Answers to Your Car Shipping Questions
Yes, we always ask for your specific pickup and delivery addresses, if the carrier can get right to the addresses you provide, they will. If the addresses that you give us are not safely accessible for a Multi-car carrier, however, you will need to make arrangements with the driver to meet at a nearby location where the carrier can safely get in and out.
People do it all the time (rarely for free) but the official answer is no.
Not what you wanted to hear, we know, but that is the honest answer.
We are not licensed to broker the shipment of household goods and, likewise, no car carrier that operates in the USA is licensed to transport them from state to state either. Despite what you might be being told by other car shipping companies you may speak with.
Remember, at the end of the day we're all salespeople, and the true answer to this question is not a great selling point.
You will hear a lot of companies tell you that you can put up to 100 pounds of items in the trunk, but that is not entirely true. That fact is that items of that amount are fairly common and the department of transportation is probably not going to split hairs and fine the trucker over items of that amount, provided they are not over their weight limit. They could fine them, however, if they see a vehicle stuffed full of personal items so the car carrier will most likely try to negotiate something with you to cover themselves against any costs they could incur. It's not something we can build into your contract though.
We have a short and helpful video on this topic in our user videos.
Only in rare cases and car carriers will usually charge a premium to make it happen.
All dates given by car carriers are typically estimates and projections.
For this reason (and to keep your cost down) we ask that you build in some flexibility and give us the earliest possible date you would be WILLING to release the vehicle, even though it may not be your preferred date.
We'll put you in direct contact with your car carrier and the driver will also typically call you the afternoon or evening before your pick up and delivery (they won't just show up unannounced, and if they do we want to hear about it). However, car carriers are out on the road battling traffic, weather and any number of other factors that can and do throw them off of their pickup and delivery projections from time to time.
If the projected dates we give you come and you are unable to make contact with your carrier, please call our office immediately so that we may help resolve the situation.
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will average 7 to 10 days. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.
Even better, we do not even ask for payment until we have you confirmed for pickup by a safe, reliable, fully insured, direct car carrier. If for any reason you do not ship your car with the carrier that we arrange for you, there is no fee.
The fees paid directly to the carrier however, (in most cases, their fees are not paid until your vehicle is delivered) are not directly controlled by us, so any requests for a refund of the carrier's portion would need to be addressed with the carrier directly.
Of course! And you are always backed by our Damage Free Guarantee policy.
Part of what you pay us for is to verify that the car carrier that we put you on is covered by the proper amount of insurance and that everything is up to date.
There is never any additional cost to you for this coverage, and their insurance is always primary.