Auto Transport Brokers or Not?

This is a big question that many customers ask about. The reasons one might choose a broker over going direct to a truck are very important. For starters, good auto transport brokers can save you money. In some cases a lot of money. About 75% of the auto transport companies in the U.S.A. depend on brokers for their loads and that means aggressive brokers can get the price down considerably even after getting their broker fee.

It’s a win-win situation when you are working with a good broker.

Another thing that you may not know is that most transports that deal with the customers direct are doing 50/50 business. What’s that? It’s 50% their own trucks and 50% of the loads they are brokering. The trucks that you think are going to carry your car have a 50% chance of actually carrying it and you’re paying more money too. More than what you would be paying average auto transport brokers in most cases.

Then there is the power a broker has over a transport. If the transport mistreats the broker’s customer the broker penalizes the transport by sharing a bad rating review among the industry using a shared dispatch network. When that transport gets the “black ball” for mistreating a client (or their vehicle) suddenly they can’t get any cars to haul. Their reputation is tainted and no good broker will give them a car to move.

Now on the other hand if you go direct to a transport and they mistreat you what will you do? Call the police? They won’t get involved unless the car is stolen…which it isn’t. The transport with your car on it has your signature on the bill of lading/ inspection sheet. You gave them permission to take it.

So if there is a problem, you can’t call the police. How about an attorney? When you go direct to the truck, you are under their contract and typically a bullet-proof contract at that. Legal avenues take time and money. Lots of money. After paying your attorney fees, you eventually find it was not worth it. This is another great example of why you should use an auto transport broker for your shipping.

One last point to consider in the broker vs. transport argument is insurance. This is probably the most important thing to know about the difference between going through a broker instead of going direct.

After being in the industry for such a long time, you have moments of amazing clarity. One of those is how sneaky some transports can be. There are good transports and bad transports; very bad transports I say. They will do anything to get a load and take those ultra-low dollar online quote jobs from customers who don’t understand what that cheap price includes.

We have seen countless situations of sweet-talking auto transport drivers and dispatchers who will tell you anything to get a car from you. The worst of them will actually fax fraudulent insurance documents and license documents. They also know the right brokers to prey on, the ones that aren’t wise enough to know how to verify the documentation or they just don’t care. Often times you will find those brokers online shooting quick quotes left and right at rock-bottom low pricing.

Auto Transport Brokers can protect you and your vehicle.

So let’s say you go direct to a transport truck. When they were loading/unloading your 1958 Corvette, they had an accident. Let’s just say they had a new driver and he drove off the loading ramp and damaged the trailing arm. So you wait and wait for the car to show and when it does, you discover it is damaged! The driver makes a note on the inspection report and asks you to sign it in order to receive the car. You sign and release all liability because – wait for it – you didn’t have a broker on your side and took the transport driver’s word that you needed to sign for the car. Now you are in a world of hurt.

So you file a claim IF you can somehow access the insurance on the truck, the correct insurance. Many transports simply avoid your calls when this happens. Having that broker in your corner sure would be nice right about now, right?

So you get that claim filed and the insurance company tells you your claim is denied. Now what? If you had a broker working this he could put the “black ball” on the auto transport company until they do something about fixing the problem.

Ultimately, the best case scenario is to find a auto transport broker that actually does care about you and your vehicle. One that you can trust and one that knows how to play hardball with the auto transport drivers and owners. Thinking you can do this yourself can lead to potential nightmare situations unless you know how to access the industry ratings (you have to be licensed to see these) and get cargo certificates and verifications of proper insurance. This includes referrals on transports or if only you had used this company before, as brokers most likely have. Then, and only then, would you know if you were going to trust them with your gorgeous ’58 Corvette.

I hope this explains the reasons to use an dependable auto transport broker vs. going transport direct. We feel there have been far to many people who have paid the price for going it alone. Ultimately, it is your choice.

Check out our guide to car shipping.