If you are relocating to another city or state, you will most likely need moving assistance. In your search for packing, loading, and transportation help, you will find brokers and moving companies.
While these two terms may sound synonymous, they are two different services that operate on the common goal — to take your household belongings safely from Point A to Point B. But many people unknowingly book their services with brokerages, thinking they are a relocation company. It’s a mistake we don’t want you to make.
A brokerage is a vendor that sells your job to a third-party relocation provider.
Brokerages aren’t permitted to handle your belongings. Neither do they have trucks or staff nor can they be held liable for your items. When it comes to interstate moves, a brokerage is required by law to delegate your job to a licensed moving facility.
Here’s how it works: brokerages provide you a quote through phone or website. After you pay a fee, they will find a company capable of handling your request.
But it doesn’t come without risks — if the broker is unable to connect you with a relocation company, you can end up having no assistance on the big day. Many brokerages will gloss over critical details to have the relocation provider give them a cheaper estimate. This usually leads to the provider itself increasing the price on a moving day.
Also, there’s a chance that they may give your project to an unlicensed and uninsured company which puts you at risk of not being able to file a claim if your belongings get damaged or misplaced.
What to Consider When Hiring a Broker?
Here are some tips to ensure you’re hiring a good broker:
- Are they FMCSA licensed? If so, scan their history using the FMCSA search tool.
- The brokerage should give you a copy of FMCSA’s Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move and Ready to Move.
- Attain a list of firms in their network.
- Get a written contract with the firms they work with (or at least the ones they will be using for your job).
- The quotes should be aligned with the moving company’s prices.
- Check if they include the physical address, MC#, and title as a brokerage (instead of claiming they’re a relocation company).
- If you live within 50-miles of the company, ask if they will send someone over for an in-person assessment. This will also allow you to physically meet with someone from their team.
Is the Moving Company Actually a Broker?
Some brokers may make themselves appear as a relocation company. Here’s how to find out:
First, obtain the company’s Dot# or MC# (they should have these if licensed). It might be located on the paperwork or their website.
Next, go to FMSCA’s SAFER move database, and plug the number onto the search tool. You want to look at the “Entity type,” and if it shows “Broker” or “Carrier/Broker.” The latter means that they are both brokerage and a moving provider.
These are facilities with a solid team of in-house experts, tools, a fleet of vans to help with your relocation needs.
When you contact them, they will dispatch a surveyor to look over your belongings for an accurate estimate. The final quote depends on the shipment’s weight, distance, and booking date.
The company also takes responsibility for your belongings while it’s under their care. They usually give you multiple insurance coverage to choose from, which will be added to your estimate. Additional services, like packing and storage, will influence the price as well.
Working with a moving company provides greater transparency than working with a middleman. You can get in touch with the team directly for an update on the status of your belongings. And you have full control over who will be handling your items. On the other hand, using a broker means there’s a chance that you might get stuck with a poor-quality company.
Working with moving companies offers you the peace of mind knowing your belongings are in the hands you have thoroughly vetted and deemed safe and professional.