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Carriers & Brokers
To begin with, there needs to be a clear understanding what the difference between a carrier and a broker exactly is. On a consumer level, there really isn’t much of a difference and it’s as simple as both being able to pick up and deliver your vehicle as needed. But upon further inspection, there are slight differences.


As it normally goes, there is two sides to every coin and you’ve come to the perfect place to compare and evaluate the processes that take place on both sides of the auto transportation industry, for both the consumer and the company.




Auto Transport Direct Carriers

By definition a direct carrier is a company that has an Owner/Operator license as well as their own trucks and drivers. At one point, in the not-too-distance past, carriers were the only type of auto transportation companies around.
Although carriers are the trailblazers of the auto transport industry, it soon became a realization that the demand for car shipping services would certainly exceed the capacity of which direct carriers were able to fill. Which leads us to the next and most recent – brokers.

Auto Transport Brokers

An auto broker is defined as a third party, rather than a direct carrier, that offers, sells, coordinates, arranges for and negotiates auto transportation jobs and services with a motor carrier for compensation. In essence, a broker is able to meet the needs of consumers that a direct carrier may not be able to. This is made possible by the following advantages: saving money, saving time, customized shipments and peace of mind.

  • ”Money
  • ”Time
  • ”Customized
  • ”Assurance”
Often times, direct carriers are in a position where they are in limited in space to load new shipments onto their trucks which in turn can mean that the consumer is literally buying a spot – and that can cost more than that of a broker who is usually partnered with multiple carriers. Rather than being narrowed down to one carrier, brokers open the door for different options and that essentially makes the cost more flexible.
Due to brokers not owning their tucks, they are more flexible in being able to meet deadlines. Because carriers are usually limited by the amount of space left on their trucks, a broker is affiliated with numerous owner operators which increases the likeliness of being able to ship cars quickly and conveniently.
Now that we know brokers are more flexible than carriers, this also means that brokers are more capable of being able to meet specific needs. This can include things such as different trailer types, different shipment methods, door-to-door delivery, specific time frames, and repeat shipments.
Although brokers do not own their trucks, they still accept full responsibility for your vehicle and your shipment. This means that you will receive a copy of all documentation as well as a contract confirming the entire agreement. You will also be able to contact the broker as well as your very own dispatch agent at any time, without a hassle.
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So How Does It All Work?
Most likely you will receive a quote one of two ways: online with a free quote generating system or directly over the phone with a live agent. You may be wondering what the difference is and that’s a good question.

Online quotes should only ever been taken as an approximation. Most online quote forms only gather basic information, enough to give you a general idea based on the distance between the point of origin and destination, and not taking into consideration specifics that may alter the price.
An over-the-phone quote is always going to be more precise because you will need to provide exact details about your vehicle, your time frame and your route which will help the agent give you a better understanding of how it will work based on your needs and wants.
Every auto transport job is different. This means that your quote will be customized around your specific needs including the year, make and model of your vehicle, the dates in which you need the vehicle picked up and delivered and the distance in which it is traveling.

You’re comfortable with the quote and your agent has answered all of your questions, now it’s time to get the ball rolling! Your agent will ask you for specifics which include:

The exact address, city, state and zip code of where the vehicle will be picked up
The first name, last name and cell phone number of all parties that will be available at the time of pick-up and delivery. These parties will be required to sign off on the Bill of Lading at each end.
Your quote will be divided into two payments. A deposit is required up front and the remaining balance is due at the time of delivery to the driver. Once you have provided your agent with the exact details needed, you will be required to make the deposit payment over the phone with a debit or credit card. You will be emailed a copy of the contract as well as the receipt of the payment confirmation.

Your agent will give you an approximate time frame in which your vehicle should be assigned to a driver based on the quote you received. Your agent will remain in touch with you every 48 hours to give you an update on the status of your order. If the agent receives any offers from potential drivers (which can include a different price or time frame) they are required to run those options by you. You are able to accept or decline any of these offers. Keep in mind, that if you are having your vehicle expedited (pick-up within 24-48 hours) then your quote will accommodate your needs and your vehicle will be assigned to a driver immediately. Once you have accepted a driver, your agent will provide you with the name of the carrier company that will be handling the physical transportation process, the name of the driver, the driver’s phone number, a copy of the insurance coverage as well as the exact dates that the driver will pick up and drop off your vehicle. You will only be assigned a driver that is completely bonded and licensed through the United States Department of Transportation.
A Bill of Lading is a complete legal document between the shipper and the contacts of origin and destination. This document details the type of vehicle, the condition it is in and the date and time it is picked up and delivered. This will be required to be signed before the vehicle is loaded onto the trailer as well as once it is unloaded. The purpose of this document is ensure that vehicle arrives in the exact condition that it was picked up in. If it does not, the Bill of Lading then assists the owner of the vehicle in filing a claim with the carrier’s insurance company. Filing a claim is something that your dispatch agent from the brokerage will be able to assist you with if necessary. During the actual transit, you will be able to track your vehicle in route at any time by calling your driver personally or his dispatch office at any time.