First-Time Car Shipping: Crucial Warnings and Must-Know Tips to Safeguard Your Vehicle's Journey

This article serves as a comprehensive guide for individuals engaging in their first-time car shipping experience. Delving into crucial warnings and essential tips, it aims to empower readers with the knowledge needed to safeguard their vehicle throughout the transportation process. Covering a range of topics, from potential pitfalls to key precautions, the article strives to ensure a smooth and secure journey for their valuable vehicles.

1/27/20247 min read

My post contentEmbarking on your inaugural car shipping experience? Chances are, you've delved into online research to unravel the intricacies. Perhaps you've encountered various marketplaces, numerous brokers, and companies professing to be carriers. To streamline your journey, allow us to illuminate the advantages and drawbacks of these options. Navigate through the four primary choices for transporting your car across the country as we delve into each.

Car Shipping Marketplaces: Navigating the Pitfalls

In the age of the "Amazon era," where online marketplaces abound, the car transportation industry has witnessed the rise of various car shipping platforms claiming to facilitate direct connections between customers and carriers. While initially appearing as a cost-efficient and straightforward option, a closer look reveals that this is not the case. Here are four critical reasons why caution is warranted:

1. Broker Dominance:

A staggering 90% of service providers posing as carriers on vehicle shipping marketplaces turn out to be brokers. While working with a broker is not inherently problematic, this prevalence raises concerns about the transparency of the auto transport marketplace.

2. Lack of Verification Requirements:

Some marketplaces bypass essential verification procedures for service providers, neglecting checks such as USDOT or MC number verification. This oversight exposes customers to the risk of engaging with untrusted or unreliable service providers. Moreover, many platforms prohibit service providers from disclosing their real names and contact details, limiting customers' ability to independently verify credentials.

3. Risk Absorption by Marketplaces:

Car shipping marketplaces typically disclaim any responsibility or involvement in case of emergencies or issues with service providers. Customers are advised to carefully read the terms and conditions before engaging in bidding on a marketplace to understand the inherent lack of risk coverage.

4. Double Fees and Deposit Challenges:

Vehicle shipping marketplaces often demand an upfront deposit of around 20%, termed as a success fee. Subsequently, brokers may impose an additional broker fee, resulting in customers paying two separate fees. This allocation leaves minimal compensation for the carrier, as the marketplace essentially charges its own profit. This 20% deposit primarily provides customers with an opportunity to connect with a service provider, often a broker. In the event of booking cancellations, returning this deposit becomes a considerable challenge.

In essence, customers should exercise caution and thoroughly scrutinize the terms and conditions before relying on car shipping marketplaces, given the prevalence of brokers, lack of verification standards, and the financial intricacies involved in the process.

Doesn't seem like a viable choice, does it?

Everything you should know about Vehicle Shipping Brokerage Companies

The issue lies in the absence of regulation, as many in the industry are not actual brokers but rather broker agents. While brokers themselves are often reputable and reliable, the challenge arises with their agents, where a significant number—9 out of 10—tend to be glorified telemarketers lacking proper licensing. They work on a straight commission basis. The majority will often tell you no deposit upfront because they hide their fees. For example, if you get a quote for $1000 from us and another quote from another company for $1000, don't assume they are the same. Enterprise will take $250 for their fee, leaving $750 for the driver. The majority of the money will be given to the carrier to ensure the best one is found. A non-broker at an auto transport company will offer you $1000.00; this person only gets 35% or less and no hourly wage. It's in their best interest to offer the least amount of money to the driver to make their commission higher. The majority of bad agents in this scenario will post the car at $500.00. Then when the car does not move, they can ask for more money and still keep their broker fee at $500, so now it's no longer a $1000 move. The move now costs $1250, but they convinced you not to pay the deposit upfront. Do you see why this makes us here at Enterprise so disheartened? Because we are just trying to do a good job and fulfill our responsibilities, but our entire industry is flooded with these sorts of agents. Why doesn't the owner of the brokerage care? Because most brokers like the no deposit scheme since the higher the deposit/broker fee, the more money the broker themselves make. It's in their best interest to let their employees low ball the carrier. Most of the time, the carrier will call on a car in this scenario at $500 and say we need $750, so now, since you have no idea how much their deposit was because you didn't pay one, they can easily come back to you and say sorry we couldn't find a driver, now we need $750. You could have avoided all of this by booking with us. Now your car is late, you're paying more, and you're probably going to say you never want to ship your car again.

Instant quotes aren’t that instant.

The brokers who give you an instant quote overcharge you. Here is how it works: The car shipment industry is a free market, where each and every deal is negotiated between the carrier and the client (or the broker, in this case). After having a price quote, brokers go to the load board and search for a carrier who can accomplish your transportation. So how do they give you an instant quote? They just keep a higher profit margin to back their risks. Let’s say you ask for a quote for Los Angeles to New York City transportation. The broker knows that that destination costs about USD 950-1050. Your instant quote will be something around USD 1300-1400. After you confirm the quote, the broker tries to negotiate with carriers to get the cheapest price and maximize their profit.

Unpredicted situations

Several unethical broker agents employ this strategy. They give low quotes, but later call and demand more money with false justifications. To safeguard yourself from these frauds, it's crucial to be aware of these strategies. This can be a frustrating and unpleasant experience. Always be on the lookout for extremely low quotes to avoid falling for these kinds of frauds. Some service providers might be advertising prices that seem too good to be true, and they might then attempt to make up the difference by introducing extra fees or hidden charges after the booking has been made. You may have seen the ads something like $399 nationwide. According to our research, most of the negative feedback the brokers receive is because of cancellations due to this strategy. Those dishonest brokers are most likely to find you on vehicle shipping marketplaces. Always compare the prices you see there with reputable brokers. Don’t let them fool you with inadequately low prices.

Auto Transport Carriers

It seems that the best option is to find a carrier and work with them directly, without any mediators. That’s an option. But, here too, there are some crucial drawbacks you should know about.

Most carriers have one or only a few car transporters, even the biggest ones. Finding a carrier that has a free slot to your desired destination at the right time is not the best idea to bid.

Even if you decide to, you will spend a ton of time finding a carrier (because they have low online presence), negotiating the price and time, checking their credibility (because you risk your money), preparing and signing documents (because they won’t). Do you really need this?

You are always at risk with a carrier. If a booked shipment is canceled (you may decide to change the date, or

the carrier may have technical problems), you will have to start over again. That may be frustrating.

For carriers, doing business with brokers is much more convenient rather than with clients directly. They usually prefer to book ready shipments from brokers. It’s quicker, easier, and regulated by law.

Carriers usually do terminal-to-terminal shipping. This option will hardly be the fit for you, as their terminals may be hundreds of miles far from you. You can find more information about it in our door-to-door shipment description.

If the carrier damages your car, what are you going to do about it? Since most carriers book with brokers and care only about the reviews on the load board, brokers use your negative feedback on google about them won’t matter much. You most likely will be holding the bill.

They could steal your car. How do you know who you hired online is even the real company? Brokers vet the carriers through Central Dispatch, which you do not have access to. They check their ratings, their insurance, and their driving record. If the carrier doesn't do his job, brokerages can give them a negative rating on Central. These carriers with bad ratings are usually the same carriers who will pick up the low ball quote you got because no good company like ourselves wants to work with them. When we get replies from customers who say we are too expensive, I don't get upset. We just feel bad. The customer has no idea they just fell into a trap.

We have been in the industry for a decade now and see all those problems from the inside. That’s why I founded Enterprise Auto Transport. I try my best to be as innovative as possible to combine the advantages of all those options and create the service our clients deserve. Here is what you should know about us:

I am a real Auto Transport broker. I have my license. I am not an agent like 99.9% of the people calling you.

Unlike other vehicle shipping brokers, I will show you the real price the carriers charge.

We will take care of the paperwork, make sure the carrier has insurance, be with you during the whole process, and stand by you in case of unpredicted situations.

We charge only $250 service fee of the total price. That’s fair to you. That’s enough for us. The balance goes to the carrier. If we find a carrier for less than what we quoted, unlike other companies, we do not keep the money, we pass the savings on to you.

To make an auto shipment booking call 239-273-4649.


Rena A


Enterprise Auto Transport