Here at Intercity Lines, we want to be sure all of our clients are educated on the auto transport industry before shipping their cars. Within the industry, there are primarily three types of companies you may speak with in regards to shipping a car.
Lead aggregators – Sites that sell leads to brokers and carriers
Lead aggregators are websites that gather the needed information for shipping your car and then they send it out to a network of brokers typically in exchange for some form of compensation. These auto transport brokers then use this information to contact you to provide you with a quote and hopefully book your transport.
Auto Transport Brokers – The middlemen of auto transport
Brokers’ website photos of equipment typically are unbranded and white
Auto transport brokers like the ones mentioned above are the middlemen of the industry. They make up the majority of companies you would find searching for terms like, “shipping a car”, “auto transport”, or even “enclosed auto transport carriers”. Despite making up the majority of companies, you would find they do not ship cars. They take your order and broker it out to actual carriers that own their equipment. The biggest pro of going with a broker is that they can often act as a one-stop shop for your car shipping needs. You can call a broker in regards to shipping nearly any vehicle anywhere in the world, and they will likely be able to do it, but you do not know who will actually be transporting it nor their level of experience transporting cars. We cover more about auto transport brokers in our article Be Wary of Auto Transport Brokers
Auto Transport Carriers – The ones actually shipping your car/motorcycle
Reputable car carriers have their brand on their auto transport equipment
Auto Transport Carriers are the companies that you see their trucks on the highway traveling around the country. They are the core of the auto transport industry and in our opinion is your best option when shipping a vehicle. When dealing with a carrier, you are communicating directly with the team that will be shipping your car — giving you the ability to get accurate information straight from the source. Like the average number of experience their drivers have, what kind of equipment they use, level of insurance, and how they load vehicles on to their car carriers. Unlike brokers and lead aggregators, carriers are regulated by the Department of Transportation and Motor Carrier rules. Carriers are tougher to find when searching online, but by looking in the major car magazines, online car forums, and your local car community you can easily find a reputable car carrier that will take great care of your vehicle during transport.
Each of these types of auto transport companies has their pros and cons, but by being aware of them, you will be able to be sure you are talking to a company who can do what you would like and not worry about getting blindsided. Brokers and lead aggregators often do not advertise that they do not own their trucks nor have drivers, so asking directly is the best way to determine who precisely you are speaking to about shipping your car. If you would like to learn more, please read our 10 Things to Know before Shipping a Cararticle for more explanation on the differences between auto transport brokers and carriers or How to Research an Auto Transport Company