What are Moving Brokers? (Hint: They are Not Movers!)

movingbrokersbox600400Need a little help planning your apartment move?

You might consult the services of a moving broker.

These agents act as go-betweens between you and a moving company, helping to set the details of a move and allowing you to focus on other important matters.

If you choose to work with a moving broker, there are some important details you need to know.

Moving brokers, defined
A moving broker, also called a household goods broker, is kind of like a travel agent for a move. They can provide estimates based on rates quoted by moving companies, for instance, and can actually set up the move for you with that company.

A moving broker is not the same thing as a moving company. It’s important to know the difference, so how can you tell?

Begin by simply asking whether the party is a mover or a broker. It can help you verify a moving company by determining whether they have a physical location in your town. A moving broker, on the other hand, might operate from a call center nearly anywhere.

Ask about the broker’s affiliation with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA. A professional broker must be registered with this government organization and must abide by its regulations. A broker should by law provide you with the FMCSA’s document “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.”

According to information shared by Duane DeBruyne of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: “the broker does not operate the truck or handle the shipment, but does make all the arrangements for the truck and labor to load and unload the shipment. Brokers can provide estimates for service on behalf of motor carriers based on the rates in the motor carrier’s tariff.”

If you decide to work with a moving broker…
The job of a broker is to assist you with the moving process.

  • A broker can help you find a good rate for your move with a professional moving company. A broker can research competitive rates and help you find affordable options.
  • A broker should have detailed knowledge of the services offered by their affiliated moving companies in order to match your moving needs with the right one. You may need, for instance, to move a car; a moving broker should be able to connect you with a company that can offer such a service.
  • A moving broker MAY be able to help you move more quickly because of their knowledge of and relationships with a number of different moving companies. If one is fully booked for your move dates, a broker would likely continue to work to find an available company. A broker should provide a complete list of the movers they work with.
  • A broker must provide a written estimate for how much your move will cost.
  • A broker must have written agreements with the moving companies they work with.
  • A broker should be able to explain the details of moving insurance, including full valuation and released value.
  • A broker will receive payment from you for the moving services you order.
  • A broker could help with filing a loss or damage claim, but the broker is not the party which assumes responsibility for the goods being moved.

Protection backed by the federal government
Know, as well, that similar federal laws are in place to regulate moving brokers as professional moving companies. Moving brokers are required to work only with movers who are also registered with the FMCSA.

You can verify whether a mover or broker is registered at ProtectYourMove.gov. Keep in mind that these protections apply to interstate moves, though your state may provide its own set of laws regulating moves within the state’s borders.

As with any moving service, you should investigate, on your own, both a moving broker and the moving company that broker recommends. Consult online resources like Yelp and the Better Business Bureau to add to your peace of mind about the companies to which you will entrust all the stuff of your life.

Check out more of our moving resources on the Apartment Guide Blog!

How Much Should You Tip Professional Movers?

Apartment Guide Moving Checklist

Moving Lingo: How to Understand Your Moving Contract

Pack a Priority Box to Make Your Move Easier

How to Talk to Your Kids about Moving

You’ve Moved In… Now What?

Photo credit: Shutterstock / iQoncept

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