How does the car shipping industry work transporting door to door?

The United States is a large and vast territory, so the task of fulfilling the car shipping needs of a country like the U.S.A, is staggering. Due to the fact that many people who are looking to transport their car may need the service in a short amount of time, there are hundreds, if not thousands of routes for auto transporters to cover with an almost daily frequency.  So the industry works by combining the skills of trucking companies with the specialized knowledge of technologically savvy auto transport specialists called brokers.

The Customers

The industry is made up of car dealers, be it people buying or selling a car on an internet site such a EBAY. There are also many military or corporate transfers, retired snowbirds relocating yearly, students going off to college, and families or individuals who are simply relocating.  The service needs of the personally-owned vehicle(POV) customer base is usually “door to door”, so there are hundreds of big cities, as well as thousands of remote small towns where a car may need to be picked up and delivered.

 

The Carriers

Because of this, the personally-owned vehicle (POV) transport industry lacks a big, “mega carrier”, that covers the whole country like we are used to seeing in most industries in today’s world.  It’s not like the airlines, mostly comprised of a few major companies who may have hundreds or thousands of planes to cover the country daily.

Therefore, car shipping industry is driven mostly by a mix of small companies of 2 to 10 trucks working under one dispatch department, and/or, individual owner-operators.  The companies may have dispatch departments that dynamically build their loads and routes and coordinate the pick-up and deliveries of the vehicles in order to operate efficiently, while owner-operators of car carriers may build mixed loads of regular dealer clients and POVs.

The Brokers

This task of managing a trucking operation is very intensive and demanding, so the actual job of finding the clients by being visible in the internet, pricing the specific move correctly, preparing the customer for the process, making sure the truck is compliant with insurance and federal guidelines, and making sure that in the case of a claim it is processed correctly, is usually handled by a specialized professional auto broker company.

The best auto transport brokers are technologically driven and knowledgeable about the routes and tendencies that may cause rates to fluctuate, will get the necessary information from the customer to coordinate appropriately, and be honest with the customer. They are usually accredited by major organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and have a body of good customer reviews.

Bad auto transport broker companies – and there are many in the industry- may not have the analytical tools to correctly find the best rate for the situation. Many will even purposely quote low in order to close more sales, then the customer suffers delays or never gets the service they seek because drivers will move better paying cars in their limited space. Because they require their customers to secure their reservation with a credit card deposit, the customer will find it difficult or tedious to get out of the contract. This may cause great inconvenience to customers who are expecting a reliable auto shipping service. Ultimately there may be the need to cancel the shipment and book at the last minute with another company, probably at a much higher cost.

So it is very important for customers to do their research on the companies they consider before securing their auto transport reservation.

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BBB
Department of Transportation
Business Consumer Alliance
US Military
Licensed, Bonded, Insured
FMCSA
TRUSTe
eBay