Dealing With An Auto Transport Broker vs An Auto Carrier Directly

When car enthusiasts or people like yourself who are simply looking for an auto transport company, your main objective is to find a reputable company that will do quality work at a great price.

If you’ve been riding shotgun on a car shipping journey before, then you know that it takes a lot of effort to find your perfect company to ship your “baby”. Sometimes shipping your car can become a negative experience for you because of the lack of understanding of business and some clients may have unrealistic demands that In turn won’t be met.

So to help you better understand the key component of shipping a car, I have outlined-

The difference between auto transport brokers and auto carriers.

Let’s talk about auto transport brokers:

Auto Transport Brokers are a vital part of the industry primarily because of their ability to market which means reaching clients and because they have access to a vast network. To put it in perspective, a large portion of all freight shipped in US, you know that stuff in your house, your yard, your belly- even including your car, is booked through brokers. But like I said majority! Do they are here to stay!

Anyone that is searching for car shipping solutions are much more likely to find a broker directly than a carrier because brokers have the time and dinero {money} to target clients. So most of those ads you see? Are more than likely a broker! They fooled ya huh?

The biggest problems with auto transport brokers in the past was the lack of any formal regulation. But things have since changed and are on their way to even bigger changes. But we’re not talking future, we are talking about today! And today, it’s not 100% regulated.

See, auto transport brokers have relatively small overhead costs and really no restriction to enter into the business, or no required training. Not yet at least. Although there is training available, it’s not mandatory. If you have about $5k {sometimes less}!and good credit, you can start your own auto transport broker business. This causes ill-trained or inexperienced auto transport brokers to come in, buy leads and start pushing their services on clients, not knowing what the hell they’re doing.

Crazy right? What’s even crazier is the fact that there are thousands of auto transport brokers who are not only inexperienced, but who find themselves making promises to clients like you in which they can’t fulfill and not fulfilling their obligations to carriers they contract. What do I mean? They low ball you, then take your deposit and you’re screwed. In the case of the carrier, they promise to pay them after they collected your payment on full and then after the cars delivered, they refuse to pay the carrier. Disgusting? Screwed up? Unfair? Hell yeah! But it’s the reality of what happens in this industry.

Now don’t think that only bad brokers exist. This is not the case. There are hundreds of good to great brokers out there willing to treat you like a human being and make sure you’re happy within reason, but you just have to find them. There’s no stamp on their forehead that says, “Hi! I’m Jane and I’m a great broker.”

Okay so now you understand brokers, let’s talk about auto carriers:

Majority of auto carriers have one or two trucks in their fleet. They are the moms and pops of the car shipping industry. Although there are larger companies out there with a full staff, it’s usually mom and pops who you’ll encounter. Unless you go for the big guns! Reliable, Plycon, Intercity, etc…

Unlike brokers who have the time and money to market themselves, auto carriers often lack those same resources. They are more likely to run routes that are profitable for them. So where auto transport brokers are able to cover the entire country and Canada, these auto carriers will be less likely to be in the position to fulfill your needs as a client. Not that they wouldn’t want to, but they can’t. Unless of course you find a carrier that runs your route or pay the big boys, and usually it’s a waiting period and price increase.

Speaking of routes, most and I have to use the word most cause not all, but most Auto Carriers prefer to move along “set” routes because it allows them to get back home quickly and easily and be profitable at the same time. So how does that affect you?

As previously stated, from a client’s point of view, when using a carrier, you wouldn’t want to wait for the carrier to complete their trip before your car can move.

You and I both know that it’s just not practical. Auto carriers depend on their bottom line. They are in it to make money and keep their trucks rolling. You will never find a carrier that will purposely book a client that will not allow them to make money. With a higher overhead than an auto transport broker, a carrier will always look for cars that are paying the most, unless of course they’re desperate which is a whole topic for another argument. They want vehicles that’ll allow them to drive the least amount of miles for the most money. Smart business if you ask me. So you can imagine when booking with a carrier directly, why they’ll try to milk as much money out of you as you let them. How can you blame them?

Whereas although a Broker wants to make as much money as possible, well some of them- I think this gene passed me, they usually get you better rates.

Deciding between whether or not you should use an auto transport broker or deal with the carrier directly is a personal decision.

It’s not one to be taken lightly. In a world where brokers have been given a bad name, worst than some real estate agents, it’s no wonder a lot of car enthusiasts prefer to pay the extra money and book with a carrier directly. Although I can totally relate to this choice, I strongly feel there are great brokers out there that will get your vehicle moved safely, timely and with minimal stress on your part.

Again, you just got to find them.

Do you have an experience to share? Join in on the #unadulterated Conversations below.

If you found this information helpful and you know someone who might be looking to ship a car but have no idea whether to choose a carrier or broker, please share.

5 Responses

  1. I feel that going with a transport company is much better option rather than brokers as every individual wants that his vehicle is shipped in the safest possible manner and without any damage.

    1. It all boils down to a personal preference. But either way your vehicle can get damaged because a carrier is always going to transport it. The question is, if it does get damaged, will the carrier fix it without an issue?

      Having a broker is like having that extra person behind you. To help you through the issues if they do arise.

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. God, I HATE auto transport brokers. ‘Just dealt with a nightmare experience… I would’ve saved time, money and massive exasperation had I just rented a tow truck and transported the vehicle myself.

    NEVER AGAIN; and, I didn’t even accept the “lowball” offer! I went with one of the mid-range quotes and got completely SCREWED.

    1. I’m so sorry you had a horrible experience! It hurts my heart to hear someone had a bad experience. I think moving a car or moving in general is an exciting time. It just sucks when someone makes it crappy!

      Sending love your way!


  3. Very informative article Ashley!! There has been an increase in complaints recently about bad experiences with transport brokers. Brokers work on commission and so when contacting one to get a bid on shipment, you should understand that they can sometimes add their commission fees on top of the transporter’s quoted price. Not all transport brokers do this and many run good, clean and honest businesses.

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