Auto Shipping Glossary: Common, Contract and Private Carriers
In the auto transport industry, there are thousands of different carriers on the road, but not all of them haul freight for every customer. Between all the open, enclosed and flatbed haulers out there on the road today, most of them are common carriers, but some are contract-only and others are private shippers that only haul for select people or businesses.
While most customers – likely including yourself – will use a common carrier found by a reliable and trustworthy auto transport representative, it’s still a good idea to understand what different carriers do what and why they haul what they do. Let’s start with the common carrier.
A common carrier is a for-hire truck that anyone can hire for the right price. These are the carriers that auto transport companies use to book freight for day-to-day customers, as mentioned in the paragraph above. They are the most numerous and most of them haul freight on open transport trucks, as they tend to be the most cost-effective to drive.
Common carriers are often the cheapest and fastest method of shipping a vehicle, as there are more common carriers on the road than any other type and the industry in which they work is a competitive one indeed. All common carriers will be fully license, bonded and insured.
Contract carriers are those that are under contract with one company and hauls loads only for that company. This is usually how shipping companies that are technically brokers advertise that they are carriers as well – they have contracts with specific carriers, often a multitude of them.
This is becoming less and less common in today’s car shipping industry on account of the fact that common carriers can find more loads for better prices that ultimately make them more money. Contract carriers still exist, though since they only work with one company only the largest brokers tend to use these types of carriers.
The first two types of carriers offer their services to the public – customers such as yourself can hire both types of carriers, generally through a brokerage service as that tends to find them quickly and it’s rather cost-effective. But the third type of carrier is the private carrier, and they don’t offer their services to the public.
You likely won’t ever ship a car with a private carrier – they tend to work with major corporations and businesses that haul a lot of cars to and from different parts of the country. Usually it’s vehicle manufacturers that use their own transport trucks to move cars from the production facility to the showroom, but there are likely other companies in other sectors that have their own trucks as well.
To get a free quote to ship your vehicle, take a minute to fill out our free quote form. You’ll get a free, accurate quote to ship your vehicle right away. You can also contact us at 800-930-7417 any time to speak to an agent. They can answer questions, give you a free quote to ship your car, book your shipment, and more.