How much does shipping your Vehicle cost?
Free Instant Online Calculator based on quotes from Trusted Auto Shipping Companies
Customer Images
7790 people shipped using A-1 Auto Transport last week

Joe brought me peace of mind. I can’t thank you enough for being so reliable and trustworthy

Joe brought me peace of mind. I can’t thank you enough for being so reliable and trustworthy

+2 million
of customers
recommend us

The Difference Between Contract, Private, and Common Carriers

What's in this article?
  1. Contract Carriers
  2. Common Carriers
  3. Private Carriers
Auto Transport Services Near Me

The auto transport industry is a bit more complicated than many people think, as there are a multitude of carriers in operation, all of which may not be accessible to a single person. All of the transport carriers that you may see while driving is not all necessarily part of the same service that you'll find on your typical auto transport website. There are actually three types of carriers, which are:

  • Contract carriers
  • Private carriers
  • Common carriers

Here's what differentiates each one from the other:

Contract Carriers

Contract carriers consist of carriers that work exclusively with one organization or company under a contract position. As a result, they only transport vehicles for that one company. You will find contract carriers with some auto transport brokers that laud the fact that they also act as carriers.

They are not as common today and becoming much less so as time goes on. That's simply because of how auto transport brokers are able to view a multitude of carriers in order to determine the best one for them in terms of price and scheduling. Contract carriers really are only relevant for extremely large auto transport brokers, usually ones that have a vast nationwide presence.

A-1 Auto Transport Ships Worldwide.

Get a Free, No Obligation to Buy, Auto Shipping Quote.

Get my free quote now

or call us to do it for you:

I Want To Ship My Car

Common Carriers

Common carriers are the most common out of the three ones mentioned. They are carriers that are able to be hired by any auto transport broker for an agreed upon price. The majority of the common carriers have open transport trucks, and they are the most efficient and affordable way of transporting vehicles, especially if there is more than one at a time.

Common carriers have to have a full auto transport license, not to mention be fully insured and bonded. The vast majority of auto transport carriers that you might see on the highway are common carriers. Because they are so numerous, they are highly competitive with each other. This allows auto transport brokers to be offered attractive prices, which increases their own profit margins and allows them to, in turn, charge their customers an affordable rate. The reason why your vehicle can be picked up almost immediately at times is due to the abundance of common carriers on the road.

Private Carriers

While common and contract carriers are available to the regular consumer, private carriers are not. Private carriers are not used by auto transport brokers. Instead, they are mostly used by large organizations and companies that have a need to transport a high amount of vehicles. One such example would be automobile manufacturers. In order to make sure that the vehicles get to their dealerships, they haul them themselves directly from the production plant. It's rare that you will be able to ship your vehicle using a private carrier.

As already mentioned, your vehicle will most likely be shipped using a common carrier. Common carriers are able to provide as good of security and service as the other two types, which A-1 Auto Transport works hard to ensure!

Best Auto Transport
Share this content on social media
for a chance to get up to 15% off your next shipment.
Copy link

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.

Email Me

Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★ choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

A1 Auto Transport... From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

Visit our social, and see what what our clients are saying about us

State to State Auto Shipping

Ship Your Vehicle With A-1 Auto Today
Get an instant free Quote Now

Or Call Us Today and Speak Directly to Our Sales Team:

Our Partners:

Better Business Bureau Accredited
FMCSA Member
INC. 500 Member
VeriSign Secured
AMSA Member

A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
Copyright © 1988-2023, A-1 Auto Transport - All Rights Reserved.