Auto Transport Companies: Brokers vs. Carriers

Auto Transport Companies
An Empty Auto Transport Truck

When searching online for different auto transport companies, it’s important to know which ones are going to be the best to ship with and which auto transport companies you’d be better off staying away from. While carriers are the companies that will physically transport your vehicle, auto transport brokers are the ones that you want to look for when searching online for transportation companies.

Brokers act as a liaison between you and the carrier, and they handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes paperwork and customer service calls that carriers just don’t have the time for. Auto transport companies that operate the transport trucks are too busy driving their loads across the country to sit in an office all day answering questions and dealing with all the nitty gritty details of the auto transport industry – so they rely on brokers.

Brokers, and auto transport companies acting in a similar role, are essential to the auto transport industry as a whole, as most carriers rely on the brokers to book more freight. It’s as simple as calling a few different brokerages and asking for freight, and most brokers handle hundreds of different customers at a time, meaning it’s easy for carriers to call brokers and book freight, and vice-versa.

It takes but a few minutes, usually, and when you compare that to the hours they would need to spend in an office (if they had one open), it’s easy to see why carriers rely on brokers and other car transport companies to find freight. It’s not a perfect system, but 99% of the time it works like it should.

Auto Transport Companies: What to Look Out For

When it comes to auto transport companies, not all brokerages are the same. While the auto transport industry is regulated by two different federal agencies, the NHTSA and the FMCSA, there are still companies out there that operate at a much lower ethical bottom line than most others.

We recommend screening any auto transport companies you are looking to book with prior to shipping your vehicle, as finding out how other customers fared when booking with the auto transport companies you’re looking to ship with. Websites like Transport Reviews and the BBB allow for free perusal of customer reviews, and we highly recommend utilizing their services.

Auto Transport Companies: Broker Deposit

Most auto transport brokers will charge you a deposit for their services. This is a standard practice among auto shipping companies and is unavoidable, but you can keep your costs down if you know what to look for. Auto shippers offering deposits below $150 should be avoided, as most of these companies are scams because no broker could run off of a $100 deposit. Auto transport companies typically charge between $125-$250, though $250 is typically the maximum and $200 is the average.

Typically the deposit price won’t change, though the price to the truck may if your vehicle is misrepresented or in an area of price flux due to circumstances beyond the auto transport companies’ control.

Auto transport quotes only last at most two weeks – it’s a constantly-changing industry in terms of prices, thanks to external factors such as fuel prices, conditions in the Middle East, inclement weather in certain regions, etc. Note that if your vehicle transport company asks for more money, it means they want to get your car shipped, because most car shipping companies won’t make a dime if it doesn’t.