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Jan 16, 2024

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. 

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