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Auto Transport Broker vs. Carrier Facts

Auto Transport Broker vs. Carrier Facts

Learn all about the auto transport broker-carrier relationship. Review our guide and call us with any questions. We explain how auto transport industry functions and what is a current and realistic market price to ship a car now. We work with our customers to offer the best possible solution. This is how we operate because this is what an honest and reputable auto transport broker and carrier company does.

What is an auto transport broker?

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Brokers are the logistics management partner to every customer, and the most important business partner to every carrier. They provide a platform for management and communication, track supply and demand and quote current market rates.

How do auto transport brokers work?

Brokers negotiate on customer’s behalf and make sure customer and carrier are on the same page throughout the process. Honest, professional and reliable brokers work with all parties involved, in constant contact, to make sure the price is right for both the customer and for the carrier.

  1. Brokers have access to nationwide database of carriers
  2. They can often arrange same day pick-up of any vehicle
  3. You can always call your broker to track your vehicle and ask questions
  4. Brokers are strictly regulated, licensed and bonded to contract with customers and carriers
  5. They carry liability, however, a broker does not provide the insurance that covers your vehicle
  6. They have surety bond that can bear claims from carriers and other business partners
  7. Customers vehicles are insured under the carrier cargo insurance, not the broker’s bond
  8. The broker can provide you with the carrier’s certificate of insurance at any time for peace of mind

Brokers manage the loads, once they have contracted with a customer, while carriers are responsible for loading, unloading and driving.

Brokers do not perform the transport service themselves, but they find the best rated carrier that runs your route at your specified time frame to transport your vehicle.

Many brokers have both carrier and a broker license. A broker will work with you on a rate to accommodate your budget and will manage the process from pick-up to delivery. Reliable brokers stay in touch with their customer until they receive their vehicle at the drop-off point. This is what Corsia offers – door-to-door service and constant contact.

Claims that brokers’ fees are non-refundable, no matter what, are not true. A broker will always refund a deposit, if they have not been able to find a carrier and provide the service. When a broker has done their job to find and contract with a carrier, and then a customer decides to cancel an order, only at that point the broker fee is not refundable. It is a standard policy in most industries – once a service promised has been provided the payment cannot be claimed back.

What is a vehicle hauling carrier?

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A carrier can be a one-man company, with one or two trucks, or a big auto transport company with hundreds of trucks. Single owner operators make up about 80 percent of the whole fleet in the US.

Most auto transport carriers only serve a limited number of routes. They do not divert too far from their designated routes because this would ultimately mean slower service and higher rates.

  1. A vehicle hauling carrier is usually a double deck truck that can load up to ten automobiles.
  2. Such trucks are driven by licensed drivers trained in loading, unloading and transporting vehicles.
  3. The drivers are usually owners of one or few trucks and they decides on their routes.
  4. The truck driver is the person responsible for picking up and delivering your vehicle.
  5. By law every carrier must carry a cargo insurance, with a minimum usually of $250 000.

Some bigger carrier companies are registered brokers as well, which gives them the opportunity to sub-contract your order to another carrier. This means that even when you think you are dealing with a carrier, in some instances, you sill go through a broker service. Most auto transport carriers do not have an online presence and customers cannot find information about their performance and quality of services. Safety ratings are usually available to broker companies.

Dealing with a carrier company does not mean customers will pay less. A service costs what it costs. Whether we are talking about time, equipment and the specific job of loading, unloading and driving, or to find and deal with customers, it all costs time, effort and money.

What is the difference between brokers and carriers?

This is a commonly asked question when it comes to shipping any type of vehicle. We will not be stacking cards against neither carriers nor brokers. Our position is that a fair and efficient system depends on the professional relationship between brokers and carriers.

Considering all we said about brokers and carriers, we can summarize it here so you can see the differences.

A broker is a logistics management entity, a partner to its customers and carriers. The broker handles the management and offers its carriers loads. Brokers work as much as carriers, often spending 12 hours a day behind their desk on the computer and the phone.

The carriers accept loads from their brokers or shippers at a price they find reasonable, usually consulted with national dispatch boards. They know the cost of moving a load and thus they define market prices. Carriers deliver vehicles to customers and their work day is usually 8 hours of regulated driving.

We would like to say that the main difference is that one is sitting behind a desk while the other is sitting behind the wheel. However, the stress and responsibility at the job is similar and equally shared. That applies to dispatchers as well.

When it comes to similarities, this is what you should know.

  • Both entities must register with the FMCSA and the DOT and get licensed.
  • Both carriers and brokers contract with customers to transport their vehicles.
  • A carrier company contracts that its own trucks will transport your vehicle, while the broker company contracts with carriers to ship your car.
  • Both carriers and brokers cannot guarantee pick-up and delivery dates.
  • It is not true that a carrier company can guarantee dates. In the auto transport industry dates are simply never guaranteed. Road, whether or truck condition can delay the transport service at any point in time during transit.
  • Guaranteed pick-up and delivery dates could be arranged only for a premium rate and both a broker and carrier will tell you this.
  • Both carriers and brokers can offer door-to-door car shipping service. Yet neither of them can guarantee this type of service. If your area is restricted by narrow streets or residential rules and regulations, a large truck may not be allowed to enter.

Why are there broker and carrier companies?

Brokers and carriers are equally important for the functioning of a fair and competitive auto transport industry.

In today’s market economy competition is important because it creates a system of checks and balances. Just like in many other industries, the engine of the auto transport industry is all small and midsize broker and carrier companies that work together on daily basis. This system of constant partnership keeps the prices competitive and does not allow monopolization of the market by large corporations.

How do I choose an auto transport company?

In the auto transport industry both carriers and brokers aim at offering the best possible service. They do their job and they get paid for it. This is how it works in every industry. The car shipping rates are dictated by several factors, not by brokers or carriers alone. The most important part of the equation is to work with a trustworthy company.

Brokers are licensed to manage logistics cargo  and contract with carriers to delivery that cargo. Reliable broker companies work for their customers to match them with an appropriate carrier. Most auto transport carriers in the US are small 1-2 trucks companies that only cover a limited number of routes.

Customers often think they should work with carrier only, but for a customer to find a carrier that runs their desired route, has an open spot for their desired dates the chances are close to impossible.

Most carriers do not have online presence and there is no way for a customer to find them. If you can find a carrier that matches your criteria you can certainly book with them. However, most carriers are visible only to brokers on national dispatch boards where a broker can check their license, insurance and safety ratings.

A small number of large logistic companies are both a carrier and a broker, but they do not serve the whole country. Moreover, small carrier and broker companies keep the industry from monopolization such big companies could impose on the industry. If you still have any questions, please call us. We are here to help you understand how shipping a car works, and give you peace of mind. Thank you!

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Corsia Logistics team works hard every day to ensure reliable expedited car shipping service. Our customer reviews prove that.

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Simon Moore
Great company
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Looking for a logistics company, to ship my car, from California to Illinois,my first search, then Corsia showed up, skeptical. Call and a very friendly secretary: Elena. She guided me through, I scheduled and as she explained, all when smooth as scheduled Very happy I did the right choice. I'll recommend this great Company to anyone that is thinking to relocate a vehicle. Thanks Corsia logistics for your honesty and professionalism!
Elizabeth Woodward
High five's all around!
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Corsia was highly recommended by a friend in the automobile industry. We needed to transport a cargo van from Seattle to Florida. We contacted Corsia who quickly arranged transport within just a few days. Communication was outstanding! Just a few email confirmations and we were all set. Mike was great and arrived right on time and delivered to Florida on schedule. Tip-avoid the hornets nest of auto brokers on line and just contact Corsia for a truly great experience!
Carrol Tiffany
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Corsia has been amazing. Their prices are really competitive but more importantly their customer service has been 5-Star. Elena followed up with me every step of the way, making sure there was no miscommunication between me & the driver. We are using them to ship a 2nd vehicle & would not hesitate to use them again!
Tony Boyd
Definitely recommend
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I have recently used Corsia for long time family car with sentimental value that was moved I have recently used Corsia for shipment of my vehicle from Oregon to Arizona by recommendation from other family member who also used Corsia in the past. I am very pleased on the service and the communication throughout shipment. Ken was my direct contact and kept me informed along the move The car was picked up and delivered as communicated. I did use a enclosed mover and the driver was also clean cut professional and treated car as his own. I would definitely recommend Corsia again with the experience I have had. Thank you. T
Top notch
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Top notch Transport - Porsche 997 Top notch! As easy and efficient as one could possibly imagine. Great customer service.. thank you Luke. Great prices. Check. Timely communications. Check. Clean transport trailer. Check. Supremely careful driver. Check. Timely arrival. Check. Don't mess around elsewhere, just call Corsica and feel confident your transports needs are going to be exceeded. My Porsche 911 rode like a Queen in her enclosed chariot. I've never needed a transport company before, and I surely will use them every time. Do yourself a favor, seriously. Call now.
Geet Mp Haryana
Reliable, efficient
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Corsia rep (Elena) was very proactive. Helped ship a car from CA to GA. She checked in with me via email quote and several phone calls to find me the best possible quote for the fastest available service. After several communications, Corsia was able to schedule a vehicle pickup the next day. The driver communicated well, and the vehicle arrived in final destination faster than we expected in perfect condition. I highly recommend using Corsia's reliable, efficient service.
Cay Liptak
Clean, efficient, wonderful
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Thanks, Corsia! Pickup was so clean, efficient, and wonderful -- my only recommendation is to make sure you schedule it during the day so you can fully review the car in the daylight. Drop off was equally wonderful, and the whole trip went down without a hitch (pun intended!). Seriously, Corsia delivered my Jeep from CT to California with no issues or bumps in the road!
Csaba Kovesdy
Truly positive experience
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Corsia Memphis to LA, mid-size SUV. I looked at 4 different companies amd Corsia was the most responsive of them. While being responsive, they were not unduly aggressive: when I indicated that I need to wait a month before making a decision they stopped contacting me and only came back with a reminder when I really needed it. Once I decided to engage Corsia they found me a transport within two days and the car was delivered (from Memphis to LA) in another two days. I had a truly positive experience.
Kelly Torres
Highly recommend
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Working with Corsia Logistics was a great experience. Working with Corsia Logistics was wonderful. They were able to find a driver right away to transport our car. They were in constant communication as to when the car was getting picked up and dropped off. The driver also communicated with me as to when he would arrive. I would highly recommend Corsia Logistics.
Amy Nelson
Excellent Organization
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Corsia was an excellent company to work with while I transferred my car across the US. A friend of mine suggested I use them as they had been very organized and trustworthy with her own car. I researched a few different place but decided to go with Corsia and I'm so glad I did! Any questions I had throughout the process they answered quickly and clearly. I would definitely use them again in the future and recommend them for others to use.