I have been seeing a lot of emphatic comments on the internet lately, relating to this subject. I am an auto transport broker and I cringe whenever I see “don’t ever use a broker!” plastered all over some carrier’s (/broker’s) website. I can see the appeal of wanting to bypass the broker fee by contacting the carrier directly. For a lot of people the bottom line is all that matters. I realize that economic times are tough and most of the people I speak with daily are interested in getting the best price possible. I would like to point out a few things to the customer looking to deal directly with the drivers as opposed to paying a freight broker.
The first thing would be this. Most carriers are also brokers.
Imagine this…Trucking company X gets a call from a customer looking to ship their car from point A to Point B. This customer wants to know if the company owns their own trucks. Yes company X owns their own trucks.
That’s good news to the customer who is looking to deal directly with the carrier, not a broker. Customer schedules transport. Well company X’s trucks are all in point R,S & T and wont be near point A or B for at least 2-3 weeks. What are they going to do? Tell the customer it may be 2-3 weeks before they can pick up? For some, this wouldn’t be an issue at all. However, for the majority of the clients I work with, most of them are on some kind of time schedule and do not have months to wait for their cars. So what if the client doesn’t want to wait, do you think trucking company X say’s “I’m sorry, I guess we cant help you.” No, they won’t say anything and broker out the load to a friendly company that they do business with. After all, they didn’t lie when they told the customer they owned their own trucks they just fail to mention that those trucks wouldn’t be anywhere near the location the customer’s car is at.
Here’s a brief breakdown of why I feel you need both.
Scheduling a transport with a customer and driving a truck are two full time jobs. I’ve been a trucker and I’ve been a broker. When you’re driving 10-15 hours a day with multiple stops, your customer service skills can start to slide down the scale a bit. As a broker I can spend anywhere from ten minutes to ten days working out a customers relocation schedule with them, I have time to do this because it’s my job.
Most of the truckers I deal with are owner operators. The cost of maintaining and operating a car carrier can be very expensive. Understandably, they are usually happy to let a broker pay for the cost of advertising and supply them with freight for free. A good percentage of truck drivers I work with do not even have websites. A broker provides a very valuable service to the carrier.
I also believe it is a misconception that you will save a significant amount of money by bypassing the broker. I had a driver who was unable to fulfill his obligation to 7 of his clients in Florida and asked me to take care of them while he dealt with a personal issue. I was able to ship all of his client’s cars for the same price he quoted them and in one instance I was actually able to lower the quote by $100 because I found a driver who had 1 empty spot on that route and needed to fill it quickly.
There are many other very good reasons to schedule your transport through a broker but I really wanted to point out some obvious ones to those who feel brokers are an unnecessary additional expense and should be avoided.
So for those of you who are still looking to save a couple of bucks and arrange transport yourself, best of luck. For those of you who would like me to handle all the arrangements for you, we’re open 6 days a week.