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Auto Transport Tips: Know Your Carriers

direct carrier auto transport quotesAuto transportation is an imperfect industry – more of an art than a science, really. This is mainly due to the fact that there are so many car shipping companies out there, each one competing for some slice of the pie that you bring when you start looking for a transportation company. Basically, there are two types: Brokers and Carriers. Brokers are easy to find – they’re all over the internet, and if you fill out our free online quote form you’ll actually get 6-8 free quotes from reliable and reputable auto transportation brokers. Brokers are the companies you hire to wade through all those thousands of carriers and find one for you – that’s literally their job, to facilitate communication between you and a driver and make sure that everything runs smooth. But what they don’t tell you is that it’s up to you to choose your carrier, and while they can give advice on it, knowing ultimately what carrier you should use is kind of hard if you have no idea what the differences between them are. That’s why we’re here: we’re going to break down the basics about the different carriers in the industry and give you good links to each for more information.

Open auto transport carrier
An open carrier is the most common type of truck on the road today (in the car shipping industry, anyway). Capable of hauling up to ten vehicles at once, open shippers minimize their costs and help customers save money by shipping in bulk and lining up new jobs a week or two out. These are typically the cheapest of methods, and as such roughly 90% of all vehicles transported overland are shipped via an open auto transport truck. Open shippers also have a higher rate of damaged vehicles than other types, mainly because they drive so much and the vehicles they ship are exposed to the elements and the environmental hazards of an open freeway. However, damage during open transport occurs in roughly 3.8% of vehicles transported per year, which shows an increase in safety over the past five years.

Enclosed auto shipping carrier
Enclosed transportation services are used primarily to haul high-end, luxurious vehicles for individual shippers that don’t want to see anything untoward happen to their vehicle. Enclosed transportation is more subjective; it costs more, takes longer to ship and to find, but it all but guarantees that your vehicle will arrive without a scratch on it. Enclosed shipping is more expensive because it protects vehicles from the hazards present with open transportation services, but since so few people actually ship enclosed (numbers vary, but it’s anywhere from 8-12% of auto transportation customers), there aren’t a lot of transportation companies operating enclosed trucks. Competition among those companies is more fierce, making prices skyrocket by 50-75% or more in some cases. Talk to your representative for more information about their stable of enclosed auto shippers.

Flatbed auto transporters
I’ve been debating taking this out of our rotation of carriers to know about, but at the end of the day they do come in handy for some people, so we’ll include them on this list. Flatbed transportation accounts for about 1-3% of all vehicles transported in a given year, mainly because they only haul certain types of vehicles. Flatbed shippers handle the automobiles that open and enclosed shippers can’t, namely oversize vans and pickup trucks, vehicles that cannot be rolled on or off a carrier, and oversize equipment (like bulldozers and the like). Flatbed shipping is generally not a method that you can request; your shipping company will let you know if it’s required. It’s the most expensive version, namely because of the size of the vehicles that they usually ship. Keep that in mind.

Knowing what carrier is best for your specific needs isn’t always easy, so if you still have questions or concerns, give us a call or fill out our free online quote form. If you fill out our free form, you’ll get multiple free quotes from reputable and reliable auto transportation companies who can answer your questions about as well as I could and also get you some free auto transport quotes for your troubles. Auto shipping is a pretty fluid industry, all things considered, and the more you know, the easier your shipment will be in the long run. Call 800-930-7417 for free quotes or to get some of your questions answered.

Dave Armstrong
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