Understanding the difference between professional movers and moving brokers

The difference between a moving broker and a professional mover is important to understand before making the choice of moving your household goods. In this age, it has become far easier and quicker to contact professional movers through internet forms. However, the movers getting in touch may be either professional movers or may turn out to be moving brokers.

Professional Movers

Professional movers or moving companies are the companies that carry out the actual move. They have a professional moving staff, moving trucks, moving equipment and packing supplies. They provide a relatively accurate estimate of their services. The cost of moving depends on a number of factors but the major ones are the number of goods to be moved, the weight of the goods, the distance to be moved and so on. Trusted moving companies generally send an expert to the home of the client in order to perform a visual home inventory. The professional movers or experts are more likely to answer the queries or questions of the client and provide reliable and accurate information relating to the various aspects of moving.

Moving Brokers

Moving brokers are middlemen between the professional mover or moving company and the person who is moving home. They are not exactly professionals because they are not licensed or authorized to move household goods. They generally also do not own moving trucks, moving equipment, moving staff and packing supplies.

There may be some potential risks associated with using moving brokers. Some of the possible things that could go wrong are listed here.

● Moving brokers may book an unlicensed or unregistered broker for the client.

● The estimate given by the moving broker may not be accurate and can be lower than what the actual moving company will ultimately charge.

● They may not be able to address many of the queries or doubts of the client regarding the moving procedure because they may not have enough experience relating to actual moving.

● It may also be that they may not be able to find a professional mover for the client, leading the client to mistakenly believe that they have a professional mover booked.

However, in case a client wishes to use a moving broker, there are eight simple rules that can help them avoid the risks associated with unregistered moving brokers. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) is working to ensure better protection of consumers while using brokers. (source)

● The client must ensure that the moving broker is registered with the FMCSA.

● The moving broker must provide the customer with the list of moving companies that they use.

● The moving broker must provide the customer with the FMCSA booklet ‘Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move’ and the ‘Ready to Move’ brochure.

● The moving broker must only use the moving companies that are registered with the FMCSA.

● The clients must ensure that the moving brokers have a handwritten agreement with the movers that they use.

● The clients must ensure that they have non-binding or base binding estimates on the tariff of the mover that will transport the shipment. A binding estimate guarantees the price of the client’s move on the basis of the estimate given by the movers. A non-binding estimate refers to the approximation made by the mover, and the mover can charge up to certain percent more than the original estimate.

● The client must ensure the reference in their advertisements their physical business location, their motor carrier number and their status as a broker that does not transport household goods but arranges for that service.

● The clients must also ensure that the mover which is transporting the shipment perform a physical survey of the household goods to be moved if they are within a fifty-mile radius of the mover or its agent’s location. It is the option of the client to waive this requirement.


Therefore, if the basic rules on this checklist are kept in mind by the clients, they are likely to avoid any possible issue that can arise with respect to moving brokers. Having this basic knowledge enables the clients to make better choices regarding the professional assistance they need for the moving of their household goods.