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A Guide to Ship a Car Using a Broker Vs a Carrier

 | 
December 11, 2023
UPDATED: 
December 11, 2023

When moving a long distance and deciding to take a car, most people will look for car shipping services instead of driving that far. The choice between carriers is one that takes careful thought and gathering information with online quotes, from reviews, and the Better Business Bureau. 

The details you get with a search will prove overwhelming, but if you pay attention to the list, transport brokers and carriers will be included in the results. These companies could appear similar to a novice with minimal knowledge of car shipping, but they are distinct from each other. 

In discerning the differences and deciding which would service your needs plus meet your budget most satisfactorily, it's important to look at each individually to gain insight into what the carriers handle and what the broker does. Find out how to choose the best car shipping service at https://m.jpost.com/special-content/guide-to-choosing-the-best-auto-transport-service-741743

What Is a Car Shipping Carrier 

A car shipping carrier is a service that houses a fleet of transport trucks, the drivers, and the car haulers. The service enlists the drivers to operate the transport trucks to haul the car owners' vehicles. The carrier is responsible for car shipping services. 

These are the direct contacts, the people who will show up to pick up the car and transport it to the new location. Carriers have a few references, including "auto transporters, auto haulers, car carriers." The service operates directly with the car owner using their own drivers and trucks. 

This means you have one distinct service to deal with when your car is in transit. A reputable, reliable service updates the car owner throughout the vehicle journey. If you need to make a claim, this will be the same service you'll deal with through the process. You can also hire a carrier through a broker company. 

What Is an Auto Transport Broker 

An auto transport broker takes orders for car owners' autos to be shipped. These booked orders are then "brokered" to car shipping carriers since these services own the necessary fleet and can ship with qualified drivers.  

The broker gets a commission from the carrier for supplying them with a lead. That's how brokers make their money. Auto transport brokers build an extensive carrier network they can access to find the most suitable service for car owners. 

These companies don't have a fleet of transport trucks leaving them unable to handle direct shipping. They are intermediaries for the car owner and the car shipping carrier. Their primary function is to vet the most suitable service for car owners based on particular needs and budgets.  

The broker will further coordinate and manage the shipping services for the car owners. If you were to search for an "auto transport company or car shipping company" when researching, the results would primarily be brokers in the industry. 

There is also a hybrid referenced as a "broker-carrier," a licensed broker with their own line of transport trucks. Read here for information on "double brokering." 

A Comparison Between Brokers vs Carriers 

Understanding the differences between auto transport brokers and car shipping carriers can help with decision-making. A few of the key differences to pay attention for include the following: 

  1. Insurance 
  2. Price 
  3. Customer experience 
  4. Availability 
  • The insurance 

Car shipping services are mandated to ship cars with basic insurance. It's difficult to know whether a carrier is following those guidelines unless you confirm these details, which takes doing your research.  

A reputable broker on the other hand saves some of this effort by validating each carrier's insurance, licensing and safety details for the car owner. 

  • The price 

The auto transport broker's prices are typically less than the car shipping carrier's. The broker has access to a network of carriers to offer car owners multiple quotes in a relatively fast period of time. 

When dealing with the carrier directly, a car owner will only receive one quote since they will deliver the vehicle.  

In looking at these two situations, you would either allow the broker to provide multiple quotes for carriers that meet your specific needs, or you can research carriers and obtain quotes from a few of them. 

  • Customer experience 

The suggestion is that a car owner can reach brokers readily, but the communication slows once a carrier is selected. That seems to be a problem for many owners who can't reach someone for status updates. 

From the start, carriers can be challenging to reach but these are a more personable service and one where the associates will remain in contact throughout the auto's journey. 

The issue of delays can be a problem with carriers if there's a breakdown, an accident, or another issue. The carrier is limited by its fleet and drivers. This is less of a problem with a broker readily prepared with a backup carrier. 

  • The availability 

Carriers outnumber brokers but the brokers inundate the online platform with their contact details, making them very visible and easy to find. Carriers are less visible with many not even offering individual websites. 

Final Thought 

When trying to discern how to ship a car for a long-distance move, it doesn't have to be a daunting experience if you narrow your choice between a broker and a carrier. Opting for auto transport brokers will mean the company does a lot of the leg work helping to find the most suitable carrier.  

With carriers, the services are relatively personable, with many resources offering transparent details from the quote to keeping the car owner up to date throughout the car's transport journey. It's a matter of how you prefer to approach your car shipping experience.

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