Carriers vs Brokers or, Why can’t I just book the trucker directly?
If you are like many first-time shippers, you may be surprised to learn the person who quotes your auto transport is not going to be driving the truck. He or she is in an office with a phone headset, and nowhere near a truck. In fact, everyone responding to your quote request is a broker who uses that quote to contract a carrier. Not everyone will tell you that. Some brokers are perfectly content to let you make assumptions about the industry. And some are aggressively telling you whatever you want to hear.
It may seem more convenient and cost effective for you to just deal with the guy with the truck. The truth is, the truckers are busy driving the trucks. They don’t have time to take phone calls, to haggle, to explain the process – they have to drive and keep driving. As soon as they finish one run, the have to turn around and hit the road again. There aren’t office hours for truckers.
All truckers find their loads through broker listings on the industry hub: Central Dispatch. That is where all of the waiting jobs are listed, and where truckers can pick and choose the routes – and the pay – they want. Frankly, they respond to the easiest, best paying jobs. They will lock down a good contract immediately. Jobs that have lots of time restrictions, are located in rural areas, or are for super-sized vehicles or offer low pay don’t get contracted. Or, if they do get contracted, it’s to a desperate carrier.
That’s why you want a reputable broker handling the contract. A good broker will recommend a realistic, market price to confirm a good carrier. A good broker will check the carriers documentation to make sure their license and insurance are up to date. And a good broker has a history with carriers, knowing which ones have responsible track records and which are loosey-goosey with safety. A good broker is available during office hours to answer your questions, to provide you with industry information and realistic expectations.
Of course you will have access directly to your driver later in the process, but carriers do not offer estimates directly or prepare customers for pre-transport. That is a reality that has evolved logistically for both the good of the driver and the good of the customer. Your broker is there for a reason, and that relationship is industry standard.