Why is Auto Transport so Expensive?
The auto transport industry is expensive for a lot of people looking to ship a car. Unlike things like UPS or FedEx, you’re not shipping a small package; you’re shipping an entire vehicle, sometimes more than one, and this requires the use of large auto transport trucks – 60,000 pound vehicles, on average – that haul up to ten cars at a time. These vehicles are not cheap to drive or maintain, and they require drivers to have a CDL – commercial driver’s license – which requires extensive training behind the wheel of the vehicle, as well as training in the operation and maintenance of such a large vehicle, as well as training in loading, securing, and unloading the vehicles that they transport. None of this is cheap for the operator, but that’s all startup cost; when it comes right down to it, auto transport is expensive because driving is expensive.
Think about it. With gasoline prices hovering anywhere from $3.50-$4.00 per gallon, and diesel fuel (the fuel that every auto transport truck runs on) even more expensive, driving around with ten cars on the back of a diesel truck gets expensive quick. This is the main reason why auto transport is expensive, and why most auto transport companies make you pay through the nose for their services. As most auto transporters are independent owner-operators, they’re responsible for paying for their own fuel and don’t get paid by the hour; they get paid by the job. Therefore, auto shippers have to be able to cover the cost of the fuel that they buy. But wait, there’s more – they also have to pay for lodging, at least those that don’t have beds in their truck (and few of them do, unlike long-haul truckers in other industries). This means that they have to spend money on hotel fare, and food, and basically the day-to-day necessities that many of us take for granted. They live on the road, more often than not, and each job they do nets them only so much money; many auto shippers live on the edge because of how much they spend.
This is partly why they rely on brokers to find them loads. Brokers help auto transporters keep costs down by helping them keep their trucks filled. If an auto transport driver is hauling around an empty truck, they aren’t making money, and that’s bad for them. So, they rely on brokers – that you’ll get a quote from if you fill out our free form – to help mitigate that and keep their trucks filled. Then they have to inflate the prices slightly so that they make a bit of profit, because shipping anything for cost doesn’t help them from a business perspective. So next time that you get your quote and want a good auto transport company, don’t go with the lowest one; not only are you not helping your auto transport company out, but they’ll be less inclined to do a good job for you, because when was the last time you drove across the country for someone else for absolutely free?