Researching Auto Transport Brokers Before Shipping Your Car With Them
Before signing up with an auto transport broker, it’s important to understand the difference between an auto transport broker and an auto transport carrier or hauler. A carrier is a company or individual that moves your vehicle something we can all understand pretty easily. A broker, however, requires more explanation since it’s an essential, and often misunderstood, part of the auto transport business.
At it’s simplest, a broker is someone that coordinates a transaction by connecting a customer who needs a service to a company that provides it. Certain industries auto transport among them rely heavily on brokers to help facilitate business exchanges between customers and the providers who offer the service. Other common examples of businesses that tend to use brokers frequently include real estate, insurance, and finance. Essentially, the broker facilitates the contract between a customer and a business.
The benefit of using a broker is that it opens up more choices in terms of cost and services to the customer, whereas dealing with a carrier will necessarily limit you to the services, staffing, and delivery schedules they have available. Brokers can typically find a cheaper price or particular service more easily since they’re not limited to the services of just one company.
(*It should be noted that there are companies that operate as both a broker and a carrier within the auto transport industry.)
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Bonded Auto Transport Brokers - An Important Detail
Before shipping your car with an auto transport broker, it’s extremely important to make sure you are dealing with a broker that is fully bonded. Bonding refers to insurance coverage for the customer that allows for compensation in the event that the carrier (also known as the principal) does not fulfill their end of the contract.
Hypothetically speaking, if something happens to your car during transport and the company goes out of business, a broker would be able to guarantee you proper compensation due to the consumer protections provided by the surety bond.
A good auto transport broker should be able to take care of all the details for you. This includes finding a carrier that can meet your requirements for speed and shipping timeframe, a quality safety record, excellent customer service, exact type of transport required and an affordable total cost of delivery.
Where To Find Information On Auto Transport Brokers
With so many auto shipping options available online, it’s difficult to tell what companies are carriers and what companies are brokers, much less finding quality business information about either. Here are some of the best available online resources for researching auto transport brokers, either from the federal departments that oversee the industry or consumer watchdog groups.
Resources For Researching Brokers
- Consumer Advisory - Consumer advisory from the USDOT regarding auto transport companies, carriers and brokers.
- Registration Requirements - Requirements for freight brokers and carriers, as established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Company Search - Look up companies to see if they’re a broker, a carrier or both. You can search by name, motor carrier license number or USDOT number.
- Consumer Affairs - Still a great resource to look up any type of business, including auto transport. They have company reviews, customer complaints and general industry information that’s helpful to anyone shipping an auto.
- Better Business Bureau - Including ratings on businesses of all kinds, the BBB is a great launching point to start your research from. Not only will you find business ratings and general information, but there’s also customer reviews and complaint history.
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Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.