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What is the Difference Between Common & Contract Carriers?

What is the Difference Between Common & Contract Carriers?

What is a Common Carrier?

A common carrier is essentially anyone and everyone that hauls cargo. This is not limited strictly to goods and products, but also for people, as well as livestock. If someone is interested in becoming a common carrier, aside from getting the necessary equipment to transport goods, a good start is to find potential business via load boards. It is advised that if you are looking for high-income loads, your best bet is to work with brokers who have good reputations with motor carriers.

In short Common Carriers provide for-hire transportations services to the public.

What is a Contract Carrier?

Contract carriers are a step above common carriers, aside from transporting goods, contract carriers have partnered with specific shippers, brokers, or freight companies. This partnership works in the sense that trust has been built where you can regularly haul goods for one specific industry rather than continually looking for new work.

In short, Contract Carriers are for-hire transportation services for specific shippers based on contracts.

The Similarities Between a Common & Contract Carrier


Legal Protections

According to the FMCSA, both common & contract carriers fall under the for-hire carriers’ bracket. This essentially means that regardless of the organizational structure, both carriers are getting paid to transport 3rd party goods from one location to another.

The Differences Between a Common & Contract Carrier

While it may seem that common and contract carriers are similar, let’s dive into the major differences and what it can mean when it comes to the best way of operating your transportation business.

Insurance Coverage

When discussing insurance, both common and contract carriers are required to have liability coverage. While liability insurance is necessary, common and contract carriers are not legally required to have any sort of cargo insurance, although it is generally advised to carry some form of cargo insurance as it provides the customer with the assurance that their goods are protected.

Why Choose AWA for Your Transportation Collection Needs?

AWA operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning, if we cannot collect, you owe us nothing. If collection efforts are successful, our rates will be based on how old and how much the debt is, if there is a damage claim, and whether the debtor is in or out of business.

AWA specializes in Transportation collections; it is all we do! AWA’s strong understanding of the transportation industry puts its clients in the best position to get paid. If you have unpaid freight invoices and are not sure what to do next, call 662-892-8591 to speak with one of AWA’s client specialists today or Contact Us Directly!

For more information on our agency practices and methods, view our AWA Collection Process Page.

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