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User Question

What is the difference between an auto transport broker and a carrier?

What is the difference between a broker and a carrier?



Difference between an Auto Transport Broker & a Carrier

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A broker is an agency that obtains bookings for various resources such as Vehicle Shipping. These agents, and establishments market for potential clients and broker the services to Authorized Transport Companies also known as Carriers. The role of a firm when it acts as an agent for a customer and charges the customer a commission for its services. 

Some auto transporters who have been in business for a number of years basically become a hybrid - which is a cross-breed between a broker, and a carrier. After 5 or more years you tend to gain so many contacts in the industry and you are able to create relationships for weekly routes with the same qualified carriers. This way the clients get serviced the best with the top service providers seeked out by the reliable brokers over the course of their years.

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A car carrier trailer, known variously as a car-carrying trailer, car haulerauto transport trailer, etc., is a type of trailer or semi-trailer designed to efficiently transport passenger vehicles via truck. 

Commercial-size car carrying trailers are commonly used to ship new cars from the manufacturer to auto dealerships; in the U.S., shipping of used vehicles is also a big industry, employed by car owners who are relocating and choose to ship their cars instead of driving, as well as consumers who have just purchased a vehicle on the second-hand market (particularly online) and need it delivered to their location.

Like other semi-trailers, most commercial car carrier trailers attach to the tractor using a fifth wheel coupling. Trailers can either be enclosed, possessing walls like a conventional box trailer, which affords the shipped vehicles more protection at the cost of lower capacity; or open, as in the commonly seen skeletal tube steel design, which exposes the vehicles to the elements but allows for greater carrying capacity. An American commercial car carrier typically fits between 5 and 9 cars, depending on the car size and trailer model (capacity is limited by an 80,000 lb weight cap that a road vehicle is subject to under U.S. law.). Significantly higher-capacity vehicles have been observed around the world, such as a side-by-side loading Chinese model.

Open commercial car carrier trailers typically have a double-decker design, with both decks subdivided into a number of loading and storage ramps that can be tilted and lifted independently of one another with hydraulics. Unlike flatbed tow trucks, which often need to transport non-running vehicles, car carrier trailers are not equipped with loaders or winches, instead relying on the vehicles to be loaded under their own power. The trailer hydraulics allow the ramps to be aligned on a slope so cars can be driven up and secured to the ramp floor with chains, tie-down ratchets or wheel straps, after which the ramp can be tilted in any direction to optimize stacking.

To load vehicles on the top deck of a double-decker commercial trailer, the rear half of the deck can tilt and be lowered hydraulically, forming a drive-up ramp to the upper deck. The top deck is usually loaded first and off-loaded last, since the presence of cars on the lower deck can make it impossible to lower the top deck ramp.

Trailer hydraulics are operated using a control box mounted on the trailer itself.


Learn more about the differences in working with a broker and a carrier on uShip
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Many people can't decide which is better a Broker vs Carrier.  We say Broker!  Reputable companies will use only a Carrier that has adequate coverage to arrange your transport.

A “Broker” has an established network of routes and Carriers – along with a reliable infrastructure of systems, processes and procedures to ensure you get the best price, service and convenience. Thus, a Broker can typically offer a faster and lower rate than any single Carrier can. That’s because Brokers have access to a wide array of options that Carriers do not have the resources to provide -- and Brokers coordinate hundreds or even thousands of requests each day from customers like you who need competitively-priced vehicle shipping quotes.

A transport “Carrier” operates trucks and actually delivers the vehicle in the car transport industry. A Carrier is often the owner and operator of a single transport truck (or sometimes a few trucks). Carriers prefer to focus on actually being on the road, safely picking up and delivering the actual cars, vans, SUVs, motorcycles and more. They are expert at the physical, hands-on aspects of loading and unloading vehicles. However, most Carriers do not want to be involved on the “front-end” or “back-end” of the car transport process -- such as calculating quotes, optimizing routes, coordinating customer contact, or other important but office-specific aspects required to run a large-scale operation that serves thousands of customers daily. So Carriers work with Transport Brokers, like us. Carriers are required to have appropriate insurance coverage, and they are the primary responsible party in the event of any damage.

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Benefits of Booking Your Auto Transport Through a Broker

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Carriers and Brokers work together in the auto transport industry in order efficiantly move the vehicles needed to be transported nationwide.

In the car hauling industry, most carrier companies have 1-5 trucks in their fleet, making it impossible to be able to cover all vehicles nationwide or even a small fraction. If a customer decides to go directly via carrier and skip the broker, the pick up of the vehicle might be delayed significantly after a long time of trying to find the driver that would do your route. 

When going through a broker, your shipping agent makes sure a highly rated company is confirmed with an active insurance making sure that the liability of your vehicle while in transport is ensured.

When going through a carrier directly, you are increasing the risk of something happening with your vehicle while the carrier is avoiding responsibility.

Make sure that prior booking via carrier or broker, a thorough research has been performed online.

Always visit TransporReviews, BBB, ScamReport, Yelp and many more.

There are also companies that are both a carrier and a broker, that might be the best option.


Difference summed up

The Broker is the middle man who finds you the right carrier for your job.

The carrier actually does the work.


difference between a broker and a carrier

Brokers monopolize this industry as we specialize in customer service so we typically have the client and team up with car carriers that put the equipment meaning their trucks. Brokers can shop around for you and do all teh leg work for you as far as ensuring you are connected to a reputable car carrier. Also if you happen for some reason to go with a carrier and you do not hit it off with that carrier you are stuck speaking to taht 1 car carrier who now has your car on his truck. When you go with a broker you gain many options as we offer over 1000 car carrier options nationwide.