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The Difference Between Auto Shipment Brokers and Carriers (Podcast)


The Difference Between Auto Shipment Brokers and Carriers (Podcast)

Mike Scenna, sales manager at PreOwned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto transport and logistics company in Massachusetts, discuss the difference between auto shipment brokers and carriers.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Mike Scenna, Sales Manager at PreOwned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto transport and logistics company in Massachusetts. Our topic today is the difference between auto shipment brokers and carriers. Welcome Mike.

Mike Scenna: Hey John, thanks for having me.

Biggest Difference Between Auto Transport Brokers and Carriers

John: Sure. Mike, what’s the biggest difference between auto transport brokers and carriers?

Mike: The difference between a broker and a carrier is that carrier, as the term people use, will be a company that uses exclusively their own trucks. They own the fleet of trucks that carry the vehicles from point A to point B and an auto transport broker will own pretty much no trucks, and they broker their service. They have relationships with companies that own trucks that they broker their services to get a move done for you. Of course, this is very different. I get asked a lot of questions about, is it better to use a broker or a carrier? And what’s the difference?

Of course, with a broker, it’s all about the quality of the network that they use to move cars. Their years of experience in doing this, the companies that they work with, the terms and agreements that their shipment, these are all things you want to look into when choosing a good broker. And with a carrier, it’s the same thing, all of that’s important. It’s important. They probably won’t cover as much of a distance using their own trucks as a broker. Broker’s going to be able to cover … Cast a much bigger net because they’re brokering out services to other companies that have access to more trucks.

Similarities Between Auto Transport Brokers and Carriers

John: Okay. And talk about some of the similarities. In what ways are auto shipment carriers and brokers similar?

Mike: They’re similar in the sense that they’re both accomplishing the same thing. They’re both moving cars from point A to point B, they’re doing it in a different way, but ultimately they’re doing the same thing. They’re going to have to stay up to date on all of the same rules and regulations. They’re following the same safety guidelines, drive time. They’re both aware of that. Yeah. It’s like I said, doing the same thing, they’re doing it in a different way. It’s the same industry. They know the same lanes, what it takes to get a car from one place to another, what places are difficult to move cars to, what places are easier to move cars.

Pros and Cons of Carriers and Brokers

John: Talk a little bit about some of the pros and cons of each option and how I choose which auto shipment option is best for me. And then while you’re at it, maybe talk about PreOwned Auto Logistics, your company, and how that maybe is a little bit different than either or of these types of options.

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. As far as the carrier goes, it’s usually cheaper to work with the carrier directly, but you’re cutting out the middleman. And I would say it’s also a bit faster to work with the carrier directly. You’re usually working with a smaller company with a carrier, so their stuff is planned out a little bit more specifically, and they’re able to accomplish routes faster. The cons that you’re going to get with a carrier are they usually might not be as reliable when you get a carrier director as small as just one or two trucks. If you make a car shipment, if you do some sort of a consistent shipping of a car, and you’re working with a carrier, say from Mass to Florida and it’s going great, that carrier might stop making that trip. They might move on to a different part of the country and suddenly you just don’t have an option to ship with them anymore.

Their insurance coverage might not be as high. It’s possible that they’re not operating it as safely as they can. They really don’t have anyone holding them accountable to their actions. But the right broker holds their network of carriers very accountable, staying on top of them, making sure that their paperwork is in order and that they’re up to date on all of their licensing. With a broker, your cons are going to be that it might cost a little bit more money and it could take a little bit longer for the shipment. But the pros there is you’re going to get a company that’s much more resourceful, able to handle more lanes and accomplish more types of moves. You’re probably going to get a better service. You’re working with an agent, just like you would with a real estate or insurance agent.

They’re working for you and trying to broker service for you. So of course, they want to provide the best version of that that they can. We do, as far as you’d ask how we operate here at PreOwned Auto Logistics, we do a combination of both. We have a fleet of our own trucks that operate in a specific area and we broker out services with companies that we’ve been building relationships with for close to 20 years. We keep our own internal rating system for these carriers. There are certain … Outside of the law itself, there are certain criteria that we hold our brokers accountable for. And if they don’t meet that, then it won’t be in our best interest to continue doing service with them. It’s not something people think about often, but it’s definitely something you should consider when choosing a shipping company and ask these kinds of questions.

John: Basically when I’m shipping with you, you’re choosing what the best option is for me. If you have your own truck that is doing the route that I’m looking to have my car shipped on, then you might go in that direction. Or if you don’t have your own truck, that’s going in that direction, then you have a team of people that you work with, that you trust and that you’re checking up on all the time and you might go with them. You’re just basically picking whatever the best option is for me when I want to ship my car.

Mike: Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s how we explain it to people. When you go to ship a car with our company, you get assigned a single point of contact, a rep, who’s going to work with you to find out what you need and what’s important to you. They’re going to do the best that they can to save you money and work on understanding your time frames with you and presenting you with the best option. We really try to go above and beyond when we provide that service to our customers.

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Mike. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Mike: Yeah. Thanks John.

John: And for more information or request a quote for your auto shipping needs, visit the website at or call (877) 542-1955.