Carriers vs Brokers or, Why can’t I just book the trucker directly?
If you are like many first-time shippers, you may be surprised to learn the person who quotes your auto transport is not going to be driving the truck. He or she is in an office with a phone headset, and nowhere near a truck. In fact, everyone responding to your quote request is a broker who uses that quote to contract a carrier. Not everyone will tell you that. Some brokers are perfectly content to let you make assumptions about the industry. And some are aggressively telling you whatever you want to hear.
It may seem more convenient and cost effective for you to just deal with the guy with the truck. The truth is, the truckers are busy driving the trucks. They don’t have time to take phone calls, to haggle, to explain the process – they have to drive and keep driving. As soon as they finish one run, the have to turn around and hit the road again. There aren’t office hours for truckers.
All truckers find their loads through broker listings on the industry hub: Central Dispatch. That is where all of the waiting jobs are listed, and where truckers can pick and choose the routes – and the pay – they want. Frankly, they respond to the easiest, best paying jobs. They will lock down a good contract immediately. Jobs that have lots of time restrictions, are located in rural areas, or are for super-sized vehicles or offer low pay don’t get contracted. Or, if they do get contracted, it’s to a desperate carrier.
That’s why you want a reputable broker handling the contract. A good broker will recommend a realistic, market price to confirm a good carrier. A good broker will check the carriers documentation to make sure their license and insurance are up to date. And a good broker has a history with carriers, knowing which ones have responsible track records and which are loosey-goosey with safety. A good broker is available during office hours to answer your questions, to provide you with industry information and realistic expectations.
Of course you will have access directly to your driver later in the process, but carriers do not offer estimates directly or prepare customers for pre-transport. That is a reality that has evolved logistically for both the good of the driver and the good of the customer. Your broker is there for a reason, and that relationship is industry standard.
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.
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