On what basis should I judge auto transport companies?

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There are thousands of auto transport companies in the United States; they come in all sizes and profiles, and they all vie for your business. How do you decide which ones to entrust with your iron steed without fear of either losing it altogether or getting it back with unexpected riches of dents and lacerations?

Auto Transport Companies: Carriers & Brokers

The way the auto transport industry is set up, there are auto transport carriers, which are companies that actually own and operate the trucks that load up and ship vehicles, and broker companies that advertise, find customers, give them cost estimates and match jobs with auto carriers.

Get to Know These Transportation Companies

Found them? That company's a Broker!

Most carriers are small companies that don't publicize themselves and most of them don't even have websites. Brokers, on the other hand, are all about visibility.

If you want to check the record of the company you are considering using, the most basic approach is to call them and try to get a feel for who runs the outfit, how they work, and whether it's in the hands of professionals who know their business and want to build a solid reputation, or if it's a fly-by-night operation that just wants to turn a quick buck. It's always a good sign to find friendly and responsive people on the other end of the line.

As with any other business, online reviews can also be helpful. Google Maps is the obvious place to go, though you can also use Bing local listings and other business directories, or even dead-tree Yellow Pages. Companies that have phone numbers and addresses are generally more trustworthy than online fronts with no clear contact information.

The Better Business Bureau is another good resource. Any company that is listed with the BBB is automatically subject to more accountability and will be more diligent with customer service. A company with too many outstanding unresolved complaints against it is a dubious partner, while one that deals with problems promptly and thoroughly will be deserving of your trust.

Finally, if you're looking to really go into detail, the government is your friend. Every licensed car transport company in the country has an identifying number: either a USDOT number or a Motor Carrier (MC) number. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) at the Department of Transportation is responsible for regulating safety among commercial transport operators, and their SAFER system provides a way for any individual to find basic information on any trucking company in the nation, including the name of the license holder, the company address and contact information, insurance status and more. If a company doesn't provide a USDOT or MC number, it's an excellent reason to look for an alternative.

With the Internet at your service, it's not only possible to find good rates for auto transport, but also to make sure that you do business with respectable companies and so you receive top value for your business.

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