Brokers vs Carriers in Car Transport

The difference brokers vs carriers in car transport is often blurred.

As a customer, you might not be able to tell them apart and may have initial false beliefs about them.

Car transport brokers can provide you with multiple quotes to choose from and often work faster and with much more flexibility in pickup and delivery time.

Carriers, on the other hand, are often slower to work with and they can only provide you with one quote at any given time because they have a limited number of trucks (one or two).

There are exceptions of course but here, we’ve put together some some similarities and key differences you’ll find between brokers vs carriers in car transport.

What Does a Car Transport Broker do?

A good car transport broker can be your best advocate in making sure the customer and carrier are in sync and on the same page throughout the auto transportation process.

This means a broker will ensure that customers are charged reasonable rates that both the carrier and customer agree upon.

Some of the more common areas in which car transport brokers can help include:

  • Brokers will communicate about where your vehicle is, how it is doing and in general answer all your questions;
  • Brokers can find options and choices for you to consider through a nationwide database of reputable carriers;
  • Brokers ensure that customer vehicles are insured under the carrier cargo insurance and not a broker’s bond;
  • Brokers will generally carry liability but not necessarily any insurance needed in covering your vehicle;
  • Brokers can respond to your transportation needs quickly and, in some cases, can arrange pick up your vehicle the same day you call or email; and
  • Brokers will give you a copy of the carrier’s certificate of insurance if you need it.

Whilst brokers don’t transport vehicles themselves, they help you locate the people who do.

Perhaps the biggest advantages of working with an car transport broker is speed; especially when it comes to finding the right carrier for the job.

Duties of the Car Transport Carrier

Car transport carriers are the ones on the road you see that are operating the trucks that ships your vehicle.

Carriers work hand-in-hand with brokers because it’s the broker that has the carrier network of choices they offer to customers. Even if it’s a driver who owns a truck that can deliver a car, they can be called a carrier and could form a part of a broker’s carrier network.

Some carriers have an entire fleets of trucks they can use and provide extensive services to commercial organisations such as car dealers and vehicle manufacturers. There are many times that large carriers work with brokers or owner-operators if extra transportation resources are needed.

That being said, you also have a hybrid position that lies somewhere between a broker and a carrier. These are the brokers that also have a fleet of trucks. 

In the end, it doesn’t matter is the company is a broker or a carrier or a combination of both; they should let you know what they are and what auto transport services they will be providing you.


  • Often provide faster response
  • Can provide quotes from multiple carriers
  • Offer greater flexibility in terms options to suit your budget and timeframes
  • Can be contacted online or by phone
  • Can arrange transport of vehicles locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally
  • Access to multiple insured carriers
  • Access to multiple licensed carriers
  • Multiple customer service representatives
  • More transparent online reputation
  • Customisable quotes to suit your requirements
  • Able to ship vehicles of any size and make
  • Able to arrange two way transport (both to and from)


  • Slower delivery
  • Direct communication
  • Limited quotes
  • Inflexible pickup and delivery times
  • Deep knowledge of the routes and transport lanes
  • Can transport vehicles locally, regionally and nationally
  • The may or may not have a website and if they do, it is often with limited functionality or is difficult to find
  • In the case of larger carriers, no single point of contact
  • Limited contingency plans in case the truck breakdown
  • More accurate price
  • Insured & licensed

Should You Choose a Broker or a Carrier?

In the end, choosing a broker or a carrier really comes down to which one best meets your specific needs.

The important thing is how the business handled the negative experience and what they did to make it right for the customer.

Brokers want to be flexible so they can fit your car transport needs best, and that means they will try to find a car carrier with open spots that will be where you need them to be when you need them to be there.

But always remember a broker is only as good as their carrier, and they don’t have any direct control over any pickup or transit time a carrier gives them.

You now know what auto transport brokers and carriers provide you as well as those things they cannot promise or guarantee. Making the right auto transportation decision is based on a lot of moving parts like where the vehicle is headed to, it is a classic car, who has the best liability insurance, what stops will be made, and more.

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