Types of Auto Shipping Companies

In the car shipping industry, there are three main types of auto shipping companies. Of them, two actually help you move your vehicle, while the third helps in a different way.

It’s important to understand the differences between the different types of car transport companies in the industry today. They all offer different services that can help you move your vehicle, of course. But some of them are better than others, and some are ones you want to avoid booking a shipment with if you can help it.

In this blog post, we’re going to talk about the different types of auto shipping companies out there today, what they can offer you, and what they can’t. We’ll also discuss how to go about finding the right shipping company for your needs, as well as what we can do to help you get your vehicle shipped.

So keep reading about the different types of car transport companies below. Then, read about what we here at Automobile Shipping Quotes can do to help you too.

What types of auto shipping companies there are

There are three main types of automobile shipping companies out there today: brokers, carriers, and quote providers.


Brokers are the company that you want to book your shipment with. They are the ones that handle everything except the physical transportation of your vehicle. Brokers offer the following services:

  • Comprehensive quotes that are designed to move your vehicle on time and on budget;
  • Coordination between customers and carriers;
  • Make sure all paperwork is filed properly and carriers are licensed and insured;
  • Provide oversight for carriers on the road and can help with damage claims;
  • And more

Brokers do the jobs that carriers don’t have the time for, basically. They are the go-to company to book your shipment with and you should always look to book with a broker instead of a carrier.


Carriers physically move your vehicle. They are on the road for hours upon hours every single day picking up, transporting, and delivering vehicles for customers.

There are lots of different carriers out there that provide the same basic services. However, there are some differences between them all. Carriers come in three different varieties:

  • Open Trailers. Open transport trailers are just that – open to the elements. You have likely seen a few yourself; they are often spotted hauling up to ten cars at once. These are the cheapest and easiest carriers to find and are considered the standard method of transporting a vehicle.
  • Enclosed Trailers. Enclosed trailers are designed to haul vehicles that need extra protection. While open transport protects vehicles better than if you were to drive them, enclosed trailers protect vehicles better than an open trailer. This is a great option if you are shipping an expensive vehicle, for instance.
  • Flatbed trailers. Flatbed trailers are designed to haul heavy equipment and oversize vehicles. It is not something that is generally asked for; rather, it is something that is necessary only for some vehicles. Talk to your representative to see if you may need a flatbed trailer.

Quote providers

Quote providers are not actual auto shipping companies. Their website may look like they are one, but they are not. Why? Because quote providers are not licensed to transport or to broker vehicles. They also aren’t licensed to transport or broker any other items, either.

Instead, quote providers get you quotes from different auto transporters. They are designed to collect your information in order to get you quotes to ship your vehicle.

Sound familiar?

It’s not unlike shopping for auto or health insurance. You get multiple quotes from different insurance companies and then choose from there. Quote providers provide the same basic service. It’s completely free and the good ones (like us) will clear the companies sending quotes for dependability. This means they make sure those companies are brokers, they are fully licensed and bonded, and they are good, reputable companies.

Why brokers are the ones to book with

So, we’ve talked about the different car transport companies that you can talk to when shipping a car. Obviously, you cannot book with a quote provider, as they don’t ship cars. However, you shouldn’t book with a carrier either, but for different reasons. Brokers are the companies you want to book a shipment with every time, and we’ll tell you why.

Brokers help keep prices lower. They have access to tens of thousands of carriers on the road. This means that they have the ability to shop your vehicle. Because of this, they can avoid charging too much to try to meet a carrier’s price, and instead focus on keeping their customers happy.

They also keep carriers honest. Brokers don’t work with carriers that are not fully licensed or insured. At least, they’re not supposed to. Every broker that you will get a quote from if you fill out our online form does this. They ensure their carriers are top-rated and fully licensed and insured. This way, you know that you’ll be in good hands from booking to delivery.

Carriers don’t have time to do customer service. Carriers are on the road moving cars, and for them, time is money. Couple this with the fact that many carriers are independent owner-operators, and it can be hard for them to provide customer service to lots of customers. By giving this job to brokers, carriers can focus on what they do best: shipping cars. This in turn also helps keep prices lower since the carriers can reduce overhead.

How auto shipping companies get paid

This comes down to one simple rule: everyone has to get paid. When you ship your vehicle and you book with a broker, you end up paying two different companies. Why? Well, it’s simple:

Brokers typically charge a deposit, which is a fraction of your total price. So if your price is $1000, your broker may take $200, and the rest is payable to the driver on delivery. Brokers, of course, are a business, and businesses aren’t designed to function for free. They need to be paid. Brokers have offices, they have staff and support workers, and they do a lot of work when it comes to shipping cars. So they need to get paid.

Typically you’ll pay when you either book your shipment or when the broker finds a carrier to haul it. One isn’t better than the other, though canceling a shipment is easier if it hasn’t been dispatched. Brokers often will allow you to pay via credit/debit card, though they often offer alternative payment methods as well.

Carriers, though, get paid on delivery. Sometimes they can take payment on pickup, but most of the time they get paid when they deliver. This is because carriers have a lot of on-the-road costs, such as food and fuel, that they have to deal with. Having cash on hand is great because they can easily pay for the things they need.

Carriers do not take personal checks or other non-certified funds. They require cash or a method that’s as good as cash. Sometimes you can pay your broker the entire fee and then they pay the carrier. However, these types of arrangements can take longer to dispatch, as carriers prefer cash on delivery.

Why start with a quote provider?

For starters, a quote provider is completely free. If a quote provider says they have to charge you for your quotes, run! An actual quote provider will never charge you for the quotes you receive.

Why? Because the companies that you get quotes form pay the quote providers. It’s a form of advertising; quote providers get customers in contact with brokers, so brokers don’t have to do it themselves. This gives brokers the ability to get customers easily and quickly and, most importantly, far cheaper than they could if they had to advertise themselves.

Let’s face it, online advertising is difficult at best. It takes a full team to keep a website up-to-date, current, and following the latest trends. Getting it near the top of the search results is even more difficult. Since most brokerages have fairly thin profit margins, they often don’t have the ability to maintain their websites.

Enter the quote provider. Quote providers are a great source of information because they do have the time to maintain their websites. This means that more customers see their website, which means more potential customers for their brokers.

You should start with a quote provider as well because of the reasons we mentioned above. They only work with reliable brokers so you know that you’ll be well taken care of regardless of who you choose.

How ASQ can help you find quality auto shipping companies

I suppose it’s time to talk about the fourth type of company. A new type of company, if you will. A company dedicated solely to providing you quality reviews of auto transporters.

That’s what we here at Automobile Shipping Quotes do. We find top-rated shippers that can help you move your vehicle, and we give you the lowdown on them. We make sure they’re licensed and bonded, top-rated, insured, and their reviews are stellar. And, if they’re not stellar, we’ll let you know too!

Our honest approach to getting customers in contact with shippers goes far beyond a lead provider. We don’t have a monetary incentive to put a positive spin on these companies; we only offer the truth. We know how important truth and honesty are in life, and we make sure the companies you can read about on our website reflect those values as well.

Take a minute and read about some of them. From there, you can contact them to get a quote, book your shipment, and much more. We’re not a lead provider, we’re a review provider, with the sole intent of making sure you know you’re in good hands.