The car shipping industry is not all that well-known – sure, plenty of people know about it, and if you stop and think about it for a little bit you can make some educated guesses about how it works. But on the whole, when compared to, say, Wal-Mart or McDonald’s, car transporters just don’t have a lot of customers. Of course, to mitigate this they have to charge you more money for their services, but one of the most-asked questions is how auto shippers determine how much they’re going to charge to transport your vehicle.
The answer to this is that it depends on a number of factors. For one, where you’re shipping from. There may be thousands of different auto transporters driving car transport trucks across the United States, but there are only going to be a handful that will be moving in or out of your pickup city, and even fewer that are headed toward your delivery city. So the load has to be worth their while, and this is where the driver’s experience really comes into play: some shippers will charge on a per-mile basis, but most will actually sort of wing it in terms of how they price your shipment. Some run specific routes that they know the ins and outs of, which allows them to quickly and expertly name the price for their route because they know it so well. Others will look at fuel prices versus distance, and maybe do some research on typical traffic conditions along the route. Most all will incorporate other loads they are carrying into the route as well, which means that they may not always take the quickest way from A to B.
This is part of the reason why auto transport brokers are incredibly important – they help to keep your costs reasonable. Brokers feed loads to the transporters on the road, but if they try to gouge a broker for more money all it takes is a quick phone call to a different company (one who will take the load for less money), and all of a sudden they have one less car on their truck. Without that middleman, though, chances are the transporter would charge you an arm and a leg, because you don’t have intimate knowledge of the auto transport industry like a broker does. It’s like mechanics charging more for parts and labor for things that don’t need to be fixed because they know the customer doesn’t know jack-all about cars. It’s the same concept, and brokers are the ones that help make sure your prices are fair and reasonable. These are just some of the things that determine your ultimate auto transport cost.
Let’s say you are planning to relocate and need to find a reliable company specializing in vehicle shipping. You may think that searching the web for different auto transport carriers would be the best place to start. However, you will soon discover that you cannot find what you are looking for and may even get the impression that auto transport companies are just too hard to come by.
While it is true that you won’t come across many auto transport carriers online, the vehicle shipping establishments are never the less out there. The reason you won’t find the actual car shipping carriers is because they typically do not advertise their business. “How can I locate a carrier for auto transport?” you may ask. Well, most carriers do not need to advertise. This is because they get most of their loads through the use of auto transport brokers. If you want to find a quality carrier, going through a broker is the way to go.
There are two main companies involved in the auto transport industry. You have the vehicle transport carriers, and then you have the car shipping brokers. Other people that play a significant role in auto transport are the quote providers. They are not directly involved in the process of vehicle shipping. However, you can expect them to use your basic information to get you connected with several brokers to further assist you with your vehicle shipping needs. The downside to the “lead providers” is that the customer might get pummeled with emails and calls, but we will leave that topic for another day.
Vehicle shipping carriers are the guys that load up the trucks and deliver the cars to customers. The vast majority of carriers use auto transport brokers to find their freight. Though carriers are the heart of the auto transport industry, they are too busy with vehicle shipping to spend hours constructing and updating a website or devote time to advertising. With all the time they spend driving to and fro, vehicle shippers rely heavily on brokers like Direct Express Auto Transport to bring in customers.
You want to use an auto transport broker to book your shipment. Unlike carriers, most brokers do have a web presence, and everything can be set up for you online. With the information you provide, your broker will handle all of the leg work and correspond with the carriers to ensure they have all the specifics for your auto transport shipment. Remember, the broker can get in contact with the carriers that you will not be able to find on your own. More than anything, that is the key point! It’s a big country. Wherever a carrier is this morning, he is 500 miles away this evening and you the customer won’t know in which direction? But the auto transport broker is so well connected that he can find the vehicle shipper going your way soon.
Using a broker may cost a little bit more than setting it up by yourself, but it is definitely worth the extra money. Let’s face it. The carriers are not so easy to find directly. Brokers are there to make things a little simpler for you. By using a broker, you also have a better chance of getting connected with a shipping company that offers top quality service.
The answer to which carrier is better for your shipment, open or enclosed, is best answered this way: it all depends. Like so much of the auto transport industry today, much of which carrier you want transporting your vehicle depends on what you’re shipping. If you’re looking to transport a car that you drive every day, or a car that you bought a few years back and it has some miles and you drive to work in it or take the kids to school in it, chances are open is what you’re looking for. Open transport is the standard method of shipping, and while it does expose vehicles on it to the elements it’s no more than what they are exposed to every day while they are being driven.
There are, however, vehicles that you simply don’t drive every day, ones that sit in your garage and look great until you want to break it out for a drive down the coast in pristine conditions. These are your classics, your rare automobiles, your Lamborghini or your Bentley or your Rolls-Royce. This is the car that you want to make sure nothing ever happens to because it’s just that valuable, both sentimentally and monetarily. Enclosed transportation services completely enclose the vehicles they ship in a protective container, where they are secured away from all those road hazards.
So when it comes to answering which carrier is best for you, ask yourself: what do you prefer?
Open auto transport services are by far the most common type of transport services for vehicles in the industry today. Roughly 95% of all auto transport trucks on the road today are of the open variety; they are the easiest type of carrier to find and they are usually the cheapest form of auto transportation around. Open auto transport carriers can haul up to ten cars at a single time; there are some that can haul a maximum of three, some can do five, but on the whole open carriers that run nationwide routes haul ten vehicles at a time. Smaller open carriers that can handle fewer vehicles will typically run more local or regional routes as opposed to cross-country, as it is more cost-effective for them to service a smaller area.
If you’re transporting a vehicle that you drive every day we recommend that you book your shipment with an open car transport carrier. They are the cheapest and easiest auto transport services to find today. There are other types of services available – enclosed and flatbed auto transport trucks are also available – but none will get your vehicle moved faster or for cheaper than open auto transport. Part of the reason why is that there are literally thousands of open carriers on the road, running routes that go anywhere and everywhere.
An enclosed auto transport carrier is a type of carrier that is used to transport rare or expensive vehicles that cannot be exposed to inclement weather conditions or possible damage from road debris (such as errant rocks and the like). Enclosed transportation is great when you need to move a vehicle that you can’t run the risk of damaging either by driving on the road yourself or transporting it via an open car transport carrier, but there are a few drawbacks to enclosed shipping that deter a lot of shippers.
For starters, it’s more expensive than open transport services – this is because fewer people are moving via an enclosed transport truck. There are also far fewer enclosed shippers on the road today than there are open shippers, which not only makes it more expensive but also increases your pickup window. This is why we don’t recommend enclosed transportation for someone moving a vehicle they drive every day; the expense and the longer wait do not make enclosed shipping worth it for many vehicles. However, if your vehicle is rare, valuable, expensive, classic, restored, or just the type of vehicle that you don’t even want to run the risk of damaging, enclosed transport is probably for you.