Car Transport Service Industry: A Complete Guide

Brantley Kendall

17 Mar 2021 3 years ago

The global car carrier market was valued at $95 million in 2020. It’s projected to continue to steadily grow as more people utilize this service to move their vehicles to a new location. Car transport services can vary greatly in cost and method. 

This guide will give you a detailed explanation of the auto transport industry.  

Car Transport Services Explained 

Auto transport is one sector of the freight industry. It provides car shipping services to vehicle owners and businesses who need to have a car moved from one location to another. This could be because of a career move, seasonal travel, or buying a new vehicle. 

Businesses such as car dealerships or rental agencies also work with car transporters to move their inventory around. 

Types of Trucks 

While you could use air, rail, or boat to ocean freight your vehicle, the most often used is a truck. There are two types of trucks used when transporting your vehicle.

Open Truck 

An open trailer is the flatbed style of trailer that you see two rows of vehicles stacked on. You can see the vehicles that are loaded on the trailer. They come in a range of sizes that can hold anywhere from one to ten cars. 

This method is beneficial to those who have a limited budget because they can carry many vehicles to share the cost. It’s also a good method for older vehicles, those with wear and tear, or low-value vehicles.

Enclosed Truck 

The original car transport method that continues to this day is the enclosed truck. These haulers look just like any other semi-truck when driving on the road. However, inside there are two levels that hold cars. 

This method of shipping costs more but is well worth it in certain situations. The enclosed truck provides more security and protection. It’s a smarter choice for those with sports cars, collector cars, or high-value vehicles

Types of Services

You’ll quickly realize that your car transport service can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be. Experts will warn you not to pick your carrier solely based on price. The money you save with a bargain basement quote often ends up costing you more in the long run. 

The biggest influential factor in the price of your shipment is the origin and destination of your shipment. 

Door to Door 

The most convenient service is to have the carrier pick your vehicle up at your door and drop it off at the door of your delivery location. This service is the most customized and also the most expensive. If your car has a high value or you live near a major city, then this is a good option. 

Terminal to Terminal 

For those on a budget, consider using terminal to terminal services. You’ll have to bring the car to a designated location for pickup and then drive to meet the carrier at a designated location for the drop-off. This transportation method is more affordable because it saves the carrier from making a special trip to your front door. 

Types of Companies

There are three types of companies you can work with when looking for car transport services, lead aggregators, carriers, and brokers. Who you work with will depend on your experience in the car shipping industry and how many vehicles you need to ship. For most people needing to ship a single car, a broker is going to serve their needs the best. 

Lead Aggregators 

When shopping online for car transport services, you’ll stumble across a lead aggregator website or two. These are websites designed to look trustworthy and helpful. However, their sole purpose is to gather your information and sell it to transport brokers. You’ll then receive countless phone calls and emails from brokers looking to provide their services to you. 


The companies that do the actual shipping are called carriers. They own the trucks that you see on the highway. This could be a single driver that owns his own truck or a large national logistics company that owns several trucks. They will offer a variety of services, and each has a specific territory that they will transport vehicles in. 

These businesses rarely work directly with private car owners. Instead, they will work with brokers or use load boards to find shipments to book. 


If you need to book a car transport service, the easiest thing to do is work with a broker. The majority of car shipping services that you’ll find online are brokers. These are middlemen who don’t actually own trucks and trailers. Instead, they connect people who need car transport services with those who provide them. 

Working with a broker can provide you with several advantages. You’ll have one point of contact as your broker communicates with several carriers to find you the best service for the best rate. The broker can usually negotiate a lower rate for your shipment by leveraging their shipment volume. 

Auto Transport Industry Origin

The first vehicle shipping took place on railroads throughout the 40s and 50s. Boxcars were used to transport vehicles throughout the country. Each boxcar could hold two to four vehicles. Once the US Interstate system was established, semi-trucks became more popular to transport cars. 

In the 50s, German railroad companies and Volkswagen engineers invented a more efficient transport method. The result was a two-level flatcar that could transport ten vehicles on one car. This inspired others to invent various carrier designs that could carry eight to ten vehicles at a time. 

It wasn’t until the 80s when the auto transport industry saw significant growth. Today, vehicle owners can use trucks, trains, planes, and ships to transport their vehicles anywhere in the world. 

Future Predictions

The future of car transport services will see continued innovation and development. Major advancements have already been accomplished with driver automation and environmentally friendly motors. 

SAKEAM In the Car Transport Industry 

As we mentioned earlier, the majority of car transport service companies are brokers, not carriers. This leaves you looking for a broker that’s reputable. SAKEAM strives to be a broker you can trust and depend on. With years of experience in auto transport, you can trust that you’re getting quality advice and guidance. 

You deserve fair and transparent pricing while also receiving a personalized service. SAKEAM never requires you to pay upfront for your car transport service. You’ll only pay when your vehicle is picked up for transport. 

When you work with SAKEAM, you’ll have one designated point of contact. This improves your communication and makes it easier to get your questions answered. You’ll appreciate how comprehensive the service is. 

Most importantly, you can trust SAKEAM to deliver your vehicle safe and sound. Every shipment is covered under our comprehensive insurance coverage. This protects your vehicle should anything happen during shipment. 

Book Your Car Transport Service Today 

Are you ready to book your auto transport? Now that you’ve read this guide, you’re ready to start looking for a car transport service. Start by deciding what vehicle you need to ship, where you need it to go, and when you want your shipment to take place. Then you can start considering your options. 

Working with a broker like SAKEAM can help walk you through the carrier selection and booking process. You’ll feel confident in your choice by having a single point of contact from start to finish. 

Fill out the details of your shipment on our simple form and get a free instant quote for your car transport. 

Brantley Kendall