Transportation Service vs Private Hauler? How to Transport Your Vehicle!

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated: May 31, 2023 / Published: December 13, 2020
Red car, tow truck

If you need to transport a vehicle from one place to another, you face many choices to get the jobs done. A key question will definitely be whether you should work with a transportation service or a private hauler. But what is the difference? This article will provide you with an overview of the complex world of vehicle transportation and help you decide on who to trust to transport your vehicle.

What’s The Difference Between Transportation Service and a Private Hauler?

In the transportation industry, we structurally decide between two kinds of actors: Brokers and carriers. Brokers are transportation services that don’t actually own shipping vehicles. For each shipping, they access a network of trucks and drivers to do the job for them. In this position, they are an instance between the client and the driver. Carriers are the companies or individuals who own their own trucks. They are the companies which actually transport the shipping. Some carriers transport for-hire, ie working for broker companies, but other carriers, so-called private carriers, ship their own goods without cooperating with brokers. Some companies mix this structure up and function as both, broker and carrier. These hybrid businesses use their own trucks for some jobs and hire a pool of drivers for others. 

Every one of these companies has its pros and cons for the clients. Let’s look into it.

Pros and Cons of a Broker Transportation Service 

The big plus of working with a broker company is the flexibility they provide. These companies often work with a huge network of small and big scale carriers all over the country. In this, they are neither limited to the vehicles they own nor to the routes to their available drivers – one transportation service can cover all sorts of vehicle transports all over the country. 

Since they make their money through communicating between customers and carriers, working with a broker can spare you a lot of time and energy. In comparison to individual carriers, they are easy to find, have accessible websites with information about licenses as well as insurance and their online presence makes it easy to read reviews of their work quality. If they are good and experienced in their business, transport services can find you a top carrier for your individual needs much faster than you could ever do privately. 

They take over the whole management and communication of the move for you, so you can focus on other things. Unfortunately, not every transportation service is good at their job. As a client, you are highly reliant on the carrier they choose, their skills of communicating the details of your move, and organizational competence. This dependence can easily backfire if you are unlucky.

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Private Hauler Carrier

While these arguments for working with a broker sound convincing, direct collaboration with a private carrier also has a lot of pros.

One of the most central advantages of working with a private hauler is the price. Since there are no middlemen, which charge for coordination and communication, a private vehicle hauler will be more affordable. 

Another point is the possibilities that come with direct communication. If a private hauler is shipping your vehicle you are either in contact with your carrier’s dispatcher, but often even with the driver itself. On the one hand, this has the advantage that it’s much easier to communicate the individual specifics of your shipping directly to the person who is actually physically moving it. On the other hand, if anything goes wrong or doesn’t go as expected, the experience tells that direct communication makes it easier to resolve an upcoming problem.

But working with a carrier has many challenges. First of all, they are often not easy to find or research. Obviously, there are several bigger carrier companies with a good online presence, but many carriers have small businesses that don’t appear on the 1st page of your google search, and others don’t appear in public at all, but just advertise their services on national dispatch boards. This also means that it’s harder to prove how good the quality of the work is because you will find fewer reviews.

Generally, it can be hard to find exactly the one carrier, which offers the exact route for your specific kind of vehicle. To make their business profitable, carriers have to decide on which trucks to buy and which routes to take, which obviously excludes others and gives them less flexibility. Often it takes longer to organize.

Other Considerations for Vehicle Transportation

Both kinds of companies must register and get licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) to do their job. These institutions’ regulations come with strict requirements that should guarantee that you’re in good hands with both of them. Independent of what information you get from a broker or carrier, the pickup and delivery dates can never be 100% guaranteed. There are many variables that impact them like weather, construction, accidents, traffics, or the breakdown of a truck. 

Consider the Best of Both Worlds

Businesses extending this dual structure, like the marketplace-based provider CitizenShipper can be a great solution to combining both worlds’ pros. The company functions as a platform for a huge network of private haulers all over the U.S. You can post the details of your vehicle shipping on the website, and you get connected to available drivers, which bid directly on your shipping with a price offer. The platform earns money through the driver’s membership and listing fees, but the marketplace bidding structure keeps the price down. 

The company gives you the security that all the drivers are licensed, insured, and background checked. Above that, each driver gets reviewed by their customers through the platform. While CitizenShipper provides the flexibility of a classical broker company, it also offers the advantage that you are in direct communication with the driver about the details of your transport and during the moving process. Give it a try and post the details of your vehicle today.