Should I Use a Broker for Auto Transport?

by | Jul 1, 2021 | Transport Tips

Over the 20+ years we’ve been in business, we’ve built a reputation as being a reliable car carrier that provides fair and honest pricing, and prompt and safe transports. What a lot of people don’t realize when they first contact us to inquire about shipping a car is that we’re also a licensed auto transport broker. In fact, many of our transports are brokered out and not completed on our own trucks. I’ll explain why that is later on in this blog post.

When prospective customers read our glowing reviews online or see our A+ BBB rating with zero complaints, they automatically assume all those transports were done on our own trucks. They are thrilled to be dealing with a carrier and not a broker. Then there is always that awkward moment of silence when we have to break the “bad news” to them that on their particular transport route we need to broker it out.

I don’t blame them for being concerned. Auto transport brokers are a dime a dozen. They are here today and gone tomorrow. And don’t even get me started on the horror stories you’ll read online about working with brokers! I think brokers have a worse reputation than used car salesmen. No offense to our used car salesmen brethren. We love them, but let’s face it, we are both in the same boat. We are generally frowned upon by consumers.

My goal with this blog post is to give you a better understanding of brokers vs. carriers, why we sometimes have to broker transports, and why you shouldn’t be wary of auto transport brokers.

Brokers vs Carriers

I’ve already written extensively on the differences between brokers vs carriers so I don’t want to spend a ton of time here rehashing it all.

In a nutshell, carriers have their own fleet of trucks and brokers don’t. Brokers rely on carriers to complete their transports. Brokers pay carriers to move their customers’ vehicles for them.

When you work with a carrier, you’re paying “wholesale” because you’re paying the company directly that is going to complete the transport for you. When you work with a broker, you’re paying “retail” because there is a markup on the carrier’s fee. That is how a broker makes money.

Everyone wants to work with a carrier. Who doesn’t want the cheapest price? The problems are, it’s not that easy finding these “wholesale” deals, and paying the cheapest price isn’t usually a good deal in the long run as you’ll soon discover.

There are far more brokers online than carriers. Most carriers aren’t tech savvy so it’s not easy to find them doing a Google search or browsing through social media. When you do searches for things like, “shipping a car,” or “how to ship a car,” most of the ads and search results are from brokers, not carriers.

Most carriers rely exclusively on brokers to keep them busy. Why bother with a website or any online marketing when you can stay plenty busy relying on brokers?

Even if carriers were tech savvy and easy to find online, what are the odds of finding one that just happens to have a truck on your exact route on your exact timetable – and is reputable to boot? Zero to none.

When you work with a broker you have access to thousands of carriers across the country. You dramatically increase the odds of finding one that is on your route and on your timetable – and is reputable.

The primary advantage of working with a broker is convenience. Granted, you pay a little more for this convenience, but it’s worth it compared to the headaches and extra time required trying to find a carrier yourself that you can trust.

Why We Sometimes Broker Transports

We do thousands of transports across the country every year. Unless we had hundreds of trucks in our fleet blanketing the country, we could never do all those transports on our own trucks.

This is the same reason why most auto transports in general are done by brokers. Carriers just aren’t big enough to cover the entire country. Most carriers consist of a single driver and his truck. If a carrier has a dozen or more trucks they are considered a “large” carrier. Carriers with large fleets of trucks are not the norm. Mom and pop carriers rule the roads.

Even if you’re working with a “huge” carrier, how many routes do you think a few dozen trucks could cover? Not many. They have to focus on specific routes that are going to be the most profitable.

We’d love to complete every auto transport on our own trucks but it’s just not possible so sometimes we have to broker our transports out to get the job done but that shouldn’t scare you!

Why You Shouldn’t Be Wary Working with Us
(as an Auto Transport Broker)

I mentioned that brokers are a dime a dozen. Fortunately, most do a decent job but it’s the few bad apples that ruin it for the rest of us. There are good and bad actors in every industry, and the auto transport industry is no different.

We consider ourselves as one of the good guys when it comes to brokering vehicles and here’s why…

1. We don’t hand you off to a carrier and leave you hanging.
There are many fears you might have working with a broker. My guess is one of the biggest fears you have is being handed off to an unknown carrier and being left on your own for the rest of the transport. That is NOT how we broker our transports!

When we broker a transport, we are your primary contact from beginning to end. The only time you’ll deal with the carrier is when the driver for the carrier calls to give his 1-2 hour notice on pick up and delivery. Otherwise, all communications and updates throughout the transport come from us – period.

Your experience working with us is the same whether your vehicle gets shipped on our own trucks or a carrier’s trucks. We handle all of our transports exactly the same.

2. We provide regular communications and updates (and are always available).
Another common fear you might have working with a broker is that you won’t get updates, or the broker will be impossible to reach. Not so with us!

We communicate regularly with you throughout your transport, and we provide plenty of notifications so you can plan and prepare for your transport. As soon as we have a driver assigned to your transport, we let you know immediately. Then we also provide a 24-hour notice on pick up and delivery, and then the driver himself will give you a 1-2 hour notice on pick up and delivery. The communication process is the same on all transports!

We also give you direct access to our dispatch land line and text line. We are always just a phone call or text away!

3. We thoroughly vet carriers.
Another concern you might have is not knowing if the carrier we assign your transport to is reputable and is properly licensed and insured. The bad actors in our industry are sloppy when brokering their transports. They’ll assign them to any carrier that charges the least amount of money. That is not how we do business!

Having been in the business for 20+ years, we have established relationships with carriers throughout the country. We have a vast network of carriers that we know and trust. This is a huge advantage we have over other brokers. They simply don’t have the experience or a network of carriers like we have.

And because we are not only a broker but a carrier with our own fleet of trucks, we know the ins and outs of being a carrier. We know what to look for if we have to work with a carrier we haven’t worked with before.

For example, we know how to vet carriers to ensure they are properly licensed and authorized to do auto transports.

We know how to thoroughly vet a carrier’s auto transport insurance. We know how much insurance a carrier needs to have, and what type of insurance they need to have to properly cover your vehicle in the rare event there is damage to your vehicle during the transport.

We won’t assign a transport to a carrier until the carrier passes all of our vetting. It is not uncommon for us to deny a carrier a transport!

4. We stick with you even if there is damage to your vehicle.
Speaking of damage, our damage claim policy is also something that makes us unique from other brokers. Most brokers will just leave you hanging if there is damage to your vehicle. They’ll tell you it’s not their problem and that you’ll have to deal with the carrier directly to get your damage resolved and wish you good luck. We never do that!

We step in and help facilitate the damage claim process with the carrier. We’re your advocate when working with the carrier and we stay involved until your damage claim is completed. And because we’ve been around the block for a while and give a lot of business to carriers, they are incentivized to make sure our customers’ damage claims are promptly taken care of, but we stay involved no matter how long it takes to complete your claim.

5. We (fairly) price our transports to move promptly and safely.
Another concern you might have working with a broker is the time it takes to get your transport completed. Most brokers are only concerned about making the most money they can so their primary goal is to hire the cheapest carrier they can find.

In this business, money talks. The more you’re willing to pay a carrier, the faster your transport will be completed. Knowing this, if a typical broker is looking for the cheapest carrier, what do you think happens with your transport? That’s right, your transport takes weeks to get done!

We do things differently. Sure, we want to make money but that’s not our primary goal. Our goal is to make every transport a win for everyone – a win for us, a win for the carrier, and a win for our customer. This requires us to price our transports so that we can pay a carrier a fair fee to ensure a prompt and safe transport and so that we can make a little money too, all without gouging our customers.

This is why our transports are typically higher than other brokers. It’s not so we can line our pockets. It’s so we can get vehicles moved promptly and safely for our customers. We typically get vehicles picked up within a week from when they are first available to be picked up. You can’t do this paying dirt cheap fees to carriers. Unfortunately, that’s what a lot of brokers do so their transports take weeks on end to get done.

6. We provide honest and upfront pricing and payment terms.
Finally, another concern you may have working with a broker is the rate changing midway through the transport, or the payment terms being confusing. It’s a common practice for brokers to give a ridiculously low price just to get your business. Then after your vehicles sits for days or even weeks on end because the broker doesn’t have enough money to pay a carrier to complete the transport, they’ll come to you and hit you with a surprise price increase.

We are always upfront about our pricing. From time-to-time we have to adjust our rates because our instant quotes aren’t always 100% accurate. Even though we spend countless hours every week tweaking our instant quoting system to give as accurate pricing as possible, at the end of the day it’s still just an algorithm so it’s not perfect. Occasionally, it gives prices that simply aren’t accurate so we need to adjust them after the fact.

When a price adjustment is required, however, we tell you immediately after you place your order with us. We also give you the option to cancel your order and get a full refund of your 10% deposit if you’re not o.k. with the price adjustment. If you agree to the price adjustment, the price doesn’t change after that!

As for payment terms, we keep it simple. Most brokers have confusing payment terms. They’ll charge you a certain fee or deposit and then they’ll tell you you’ll pay another fee to the driver upon the delivery of your vehicle (called Cash On Delivery, or C.O.D. for short). Then wires get crossed and the fee the driver is demanding at the time of delivery is different from what the broker told you, not to mention you’re standing around with a bunch of cash on hand. What a mess!

We charge your credit or debit card a 10% deposit when you place an order with us. Then the remaining amount due is automatically charged to that same card when your vehicle is picked up. When your vehicle is delivered, the transport is already paid in full and you don’t have to worry about carrying wads of cash or haggling with a driver. The process is painless and simple!

And in case you’re wondering how or when the carrier gets paid, we have contracts in place with every carrier we work with. The contract stipulates what fee we’ll pay them for the transport, and it stipulates that we’ll pay the carrier directly (not the customer) after the transport is completed. After the transport is completed, the carrier sends us an invoice and then we submit payment.

We Are an Auto Transport Broker You Can Trust!

If you’ve stuck with me this long, I hope you’ve come to realize we are very different from most auto transport brokers. I also hope I’ve been able to demonstrate why you shouldn’t be wary of working with us as a broker. Again, your experience working with us will be the same whether your vehicle is transported on our own trucks or one of our carrier’s trucks.

We’re going to stay in constant communication with you and give you regular updates from beginning to end. And in the rare event there is damage to your vehicle during your transport, we’ll be there to help you out and we won’t leave you hanging!

While we always strive to put your vehicle on our own trucks, we want you to rest easy and trust us even if your vehicle has to go on our carriers’ trucks. We wouldn’t have been able to stay in business this long, nor would we have so many positive reviews online or the A+ rating with the BBB, if we weren’t an honest and reputable auto transport broker!