Car Shipping with a Broker or Shipping with a Carrier?
Shipping with a Broker or Shipping with a Carrier?
When you are in need of shipping your vehicle, you might find it easy to get stressed with all the different options and companies available to you. Do you go through a broker? Do you go through a carrier? Do you pay top dollar? Do you look for the lowest possible rate? We tend to believe your answer can be found somewhere in the middle.
An auto transport broker is an individual or corporation who use a network of different carriers to coordinate the logistics to transport vehicles to and from. Brokers do not own their own trucks and subcontract carriers.
Carriers do own their own trucks and are the main source who actually provide the services. Carriers come in all different sizes depending on the size of their fleet and the routes that they choose to run.
I bet you find yourself asking “why would I go through a broker when I can go directly to the source?” Well, typically yes that is a fair logic and point. There are a couple of points I would like to bring up that can help you better answer that question.
- Carriers typically do minimal advertising and can be hard to find. In the modern day, the internet connects people to the services and products they need with ease. As much truth as there is to this statement, the internet is saturated with millions of companies and websites. It is quite easy for a brand or company to get lost between the lines of the world wide web. With no disregard, most carriers and trucking companies are not devoting their time and effort to reaching the first page or top spot of Google, Yahoo or Bing. They are mainly focused on filling up truck space & completing their routes.
- Not all, but many carriers do prefer to deal with brokers as it gives them real business at minimal cost. They are not spending their money to advertise or scout new customers. Carriers who build relations with brokers get consistent work and more often than not, give brokers better rates to keep all parties happy. Everyone meets their bottom line. This in effect, can secure you as the customer better rates and excellent service.
- Dealing with a broker gives you, the customer a competitive advantage. Depending on the speed in which you need the vehicle shipped, a broker can save you time and money being they typically have a vast network of carriers. One phone call to a broker can produce several different results and options to best suit your needs. You could spend hours searching the internet and directories searching for truck space and prices only to come up short or overwhelmed by the limited options or exorbitant pricing you have found.
- Brokers are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to be an active entity with a surety bond of at least $75,000. In essence, when you have your vehicle shipped through a broker, you are covered by two different bonds. First, you are covered by the broker and you are covered through the carrier. This also gives you multiple options of compensations in the case of an emergency or an accident. While emergencies and accidents are rare when dealing with established professionals, things can happen and it is always better to be safe rather than sorry. When you are preparing to ship your vehicle, we always recommend you ask the company you are dealing with if they are licensed and insured. Don’t be afraid to ask for the DOT or MC number. Be sure to do your research and see if they are an active entity and hold a bond. This is public information easily found on the internet. Here is a link to check on the status of any company you might be dealing with. https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/CompanySnapshot.aspx
- Most carriers you would commonly find with a quick Google search have a high possibility of being large corporations with hundreds, if not thousands of trucks within their fleet running nationwide lines. You would think that this gives you the best possibility of saving money. Usually that is not the case. Being these companies are so large and established, they will use this to their advantage to markup the price of a shipment. These corporations will have greater expenses due to their size and will try to maximize each sale. I have personally seen and heard quotes at $1.50-$3.75 per mile and a 10-20% fuel surcharge. That is just ludicrous. A safe and realistic estimate should usually fall anywhere between $0.50-$1.00 per mile, depending on the route, how far in advance you are booking & the type of vehicle you are shipping.
There are many positives to arranging your transportation with a broker. But there are downsides to keep in mind as well. While most people who are shipping vehicles use brokers and have seamless experiences, there are some negative factors I feel we should bring up and discuss. I believe it is only fair to give you both sides of the spectrum and give you as much knowledge as possible to give you the best chance of having a successful and stress free transportation service provided to you. Lets begin, shall we?
- The auto transport industry is a large industry filled with millions of people on a daily basis looking to have their vehicles shipped for a variety of different reasons. There are thousands of brokers and carriers within the industry who provide this service. In such a saturated market, this brings out fierce and “cut throat” competition. Everybody is looking to make a sale. Large brokerage firms hire what we call “sharks” to sell you the dream. While their intentions might be good, their desire to close the sale is greater. Usually resulting in low ball quotes and promises that just can’t realistically be filled. You’ve heard the old adage “If it sounds too good to be true… Then it probably is.” This holds significant meaning in everything, and it is no different in the transport industry. Make sure you do your research. Be sure to ask as many questions that come to mind and do not let these representatives make you feel like you are wrong for asking.
- We live in a time where technology has become so advanced. The progression of advanced technology only grows every day. Almost everything on the internet nowadays is automated. Automated email, automated chatbots, automated advertisements, automated this and automated that! In the transport industry, several companies have implemented automated quoting. You come across a website and there is a form box that states “Get An Instant Quote.”… You proceed to put in all your information and then it brings you to a landing page with a thank you message and the quote. In some cases the quote provided is a lot lower than the others you have received and you are eager to book. The next thing you know a representative is calling you stating that unfortunately the price to ship your vehicle is going to be higher than what you were initially quoted. Now you almost feel compelled to pay it and proceed because you’ve come this far. This is a shady practice that happens more often than not. Is this a company that you deem trustworthy? Isn’t this a red flag from the very start? Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of companies out there who have accurate automated quoting or will shoot high and bring you to a happy median low. I think it is important to make light of this type of situation so you don’t fall into a shady sales trap.
- While we’re on the subject of technology and the internet, let’s talk about another common internet practice. There are several companies in multiple industries who advertise under a business or provider in the service you are searching for. These companies have simple but well built websites with minimal literature or options. One thing you will for sure find is a “Request A Quote” form. You submit your information and the next thing you know, your email is being spammed by 10 different companies, your phone is non stop ringing off the hook and you are receiving text messages from different companies with quotes, links and promises. These companies are selling your information to multiple different providers. I do not want to sound like I am knocking these companies. In fact, there are plenty of them who are sure to let you know exactly what they are doing. I have personally heard from people who have submitted these forms under false pretenses and feel violated. The auto transport industry is notorious for these lead providers. If you are one of those people who likes to keep their inbox clean and despise solicitation calls, be sure to do your research before submitting your request. Make sure that you are requesting a quote from one broker or carrier and one broker or carrier only.
- There are horror stories I have heard from our own clients and customers stating that they were quoted and agreed to one price and then it changes at the time of delivery. Picture this: You lock in a rate that you believe is fair and you are happy to pay. Everything seems to be going smooth. Then your car shows up for delivery and the driver is demanding more money. Both you and the driver are frantically calling the dispatcher or broker to get answers and cannot get a hold of them. You as a customer has paperwork saying one price and the driver has paperwork stating another price. Now you are forced with two decisions. Cough up the extra money to receive your vehicle or have the carrier bring your vehicle to an impound lot where excess charges will accrue. This is a shady business practice that happens all too often. Be sure to know who you are dealing with and what you are supposed to pay. Once you are under contract, it is okay to ask for proof, it is okay to ask for updates, it is okay to ask for the drivers number. Do not let any broker, carrier or dispatcher hold vital information from you. All you are doing is ensuring the success of your transport.
- Once again, I will reiterate that all brokers are salesmen. This is common knowledge. We have good people and bad people in this world. We have good salesmen and bad salesmen in this industry. Though common knowledge, I will make clear that a broker’s job is NOT complete once they make a sale. Unfortunately, most broker’s think that once they process payment and set you up their job is done. This is the farthest thing from a fact I could bring up. Do not get duped into a salesman like this. Be sure your broker is tending to each and every step of your shipping needs from setup to completion, as if it was their own vehicle. Do not give your hard earned money to someone who won’t work as hard for you as you worked for it. There are several companies out there with reputable salesmen who do their part from start to finish. You wouldn’t jump in a swamp filled with alligators, that’s just foolish. Don’t jump into the swamp of bad salesmen and representatives. Make sure that the company you are using is treating you like family and not a dollar amount. I cannot stress this enough.
To sum this all up, if you are reading this, chances are you are in need of having a vehicle transported. It might be your first time or you might have had terrible experiences before. Either way, you should commend yourself for doing your homework and taking the time out to ensure you are setting yourself up for the best possible chances of success. Kudos to you. Too many people in this world acting and doing things blindly and on impulse and find themselves in negative situations.
While we do recommend you shop around for quotes, we also recommend you shop around the company. The internet is an information station with all the literature you will need to make an educated decision. When it comes to auto transport, you want to make sure you are with a reputable, licensed and insured company who will tend and cater to your specific needs. You might have shopped around and have gotten quotes ranging from all over the spectrum. It is probably safe to say that you do not want to spend more than you need to and it is also safe to say that you want service provided by experienced and seasoned professionals. With brutal honesty, I tell you to disregard those low ball quotes and offers. Chances are they are based under a false pretense. “Budget Friendly” quotes might be correct and you might end up getting service. But the old saying “You Get What You Pay For” holds true to this. These low quotes might yield you an inexperienced transporter with a pick-up truck and 2 car trailer who has less than 1,000 miles of commercial drive time or a price quote generated by a salesman to undercut everyone else to sell the dream and make a sale.
We tend to believe that a person looking to transport a vehicle should indeed shop around. Speak with 5-6 companies, do some research on these companies and come equipped with any questions or concerns you need answered. I think it is best practice to immediately scratch out the low ball quotes and the marked up quotes. This will leave you with 3-4 options with quotes that fall somewhere in the middle. Your next best option would be to once again speak with all these companies and use your better judgement to see which one makes you feel at home. Who is the most dependable, most responsive and gives you the most bang for your buck. If you follow this protocol, you are setting yourself and your transport up for success.
Who We Are
Millennium Transport Corp. is an automotive and freight transportation company. We provide numerous shipping solutions globally for thousands of consumers and corporations on a daily basis. With a history of reliability, innovation and thorough solutions, we are one of the most reliable transportation companies within the industry. We have a dedicated team of seasoned and experienced shipping and logistics experts who arrange and transport your freight or automobile with love and care from start to finish. We take pride in treating our customers with expert care and quality customer service. Our philosophy is to provide you with the best experience and reasonable rates every time. Millennium Transport guaranteed to provide you with a realistic and accurate shipping quote, unlike the other guys who give you “Instant Shipping Quotes” that are likely to change at the time of booking. With Millennium, the price you are quoted is the price you will pay and not a penny more. Every situation and individual needs are different and we understand the importance of making sure your needs are met. This can only be achieved by an experienced professional and not just any salesmen with an automated internet bot. We believe in transparency. At the time of booking, every customer is assigned to a personal representative who you’ll have 24 hour access to via phone, text or email. Every order is equipped with an online vehicle tracking system so you can track the progress of your shipment. Go on, Discover the Millennium Difference for Yourself.