What are moving brokers and how to avoid them?

A man signing a contract

An unpleasant atmosphere surrounds moving brokers lately, so people are wondering why is it the case. What are moving brokers and why have they become notorious? Most importantly, who should you trust and team up with for your pending move? We’re shedding light on the matter below.

What are moving brokers?

Moving brokers are sales agents who book your move, and then outsource it to a moving company. Most often, they are just the middlemen, connecting the client who is relocating and movers who conduct the relocation. They act somewhat like wedding planners, booking various services on behalf of the client but not involving themselves in any of the actual services. The concept sounds beneficial to all parties involved; clients save time on moving preparations and some money on the relocation, moving companies get another, more focused source of clients, and moving brokers earn their brokering fees. But what happens, in reality, is often too far from the concept.

If you’re considering a relocation, you most likely worry about the cost of hiring movers but bear in mind that not everything is about the price. To book your move, moving brokers need to provide you with a moving estimate first. What happens is that they offer very low moving quotes to make them attractive but don’t consider the current prices of moving services. The results can be utterly disappointing and upsetting. Clients either get shocked by the actual moving costs once moving day comes, or the movers do not show up at all because earnings offered by the broker are way too low. And guess what, moving brokers are not liable for any issue or oversight on the movers’ part.

Can you, should you, and how to avoid moving brokers?

If moving brokers were not needed, there wouldn’t have been any. They help clients book all necessary moving services. They are especially useful if a single moving company does not offer every service a client needs. Connecting different movers with a client leads to an efficient and stress-free relocation. However, note that there are many scams you should be aware of before hiring a broker. The same people who connected you with those incredibly affordable movers are not responsible if those movers turn out to be fraudulent. Not to mention scammers among the brokers themselves.

While it will take you longer to organize your move, you can avoid dealing with moving brokers altogether if you wish. However, the movers you choose will be the ones who show up on moving day, and any damage that your movers couldn’t prevent, your moving insurance will cover. If you take it upon yourself to search for licensed and reliable professionals, you will not fall a victim to fraud, whether they are moving brokers or moving companies.

The good news is, you don’t need to choose between hiring and avoiding moving brokers. There is a way to benefit from their services and keep your peace of mind. The solution comes in the form of licensed movers that also act as brokers. Such companies have a U.S. DOT number and an FMCSA number. You can always run that number through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration database and confirm their status. The same goes for regular moving companies and brokers. FMCSA has made great efforts recently to protect customers from frauds. Independently operating brokers must register with the Administration. Also, they must work transparently and provide written, binding agreements and estimates among other requirements.

How to ensure safe relocation?

Aside from running a check of the moving company at the FMCSA, there are a few more things to do before choosing a mover. Unless your family and friends can refer you to a trusted moving company, prepare for an online search. To narrow down your choice, you should check the online moving reviews. There’s no need to follow your gut feeling when deciding if reviews are fake or not. There are clear signs that reviews are not genuine; they are repetitive, excessively descriptive, and either overly positive or negative.

Eventually, you should call and interview the remaining few moving companies that suit your relocation needs. In-home estimates provide the most precise moving evaluation. However, the current situation makes such estimates risky and unwelcome. This is why responsible movers and brokers such as National Van Lines adopted a virtual survey system and even offer a valuation via FaceTime. Their experts are doing their best to provide the most precise quotes possible and act responsibly in the face of the ongoing situation. Moreover, make sure you get at least a few free moving quotes from different companies to get a clear insight into the real cost of moving your home. Avoid the most and least expensive offers.

When it comes to estimates and contracts, always ask for binding agreements. Non-binding agreements tend to change and, more often than not, the moving price increases. Don’t settle for anything less than full transparency when dealing with movers and moving brokers. Nevertheless, you still need to carefully read the documentation and moving contract before you sign anything. Finally, but no less importantly, don’t forget about the moving insurance. Full value protection is the type of insurance that grants you full replacement value of the goods that were damaged during the move. An excellent choice if you’re moving light but high-end belongings such as electronics.

Conclusion

While avoiding moving brokers seems to be the only way to keep peace of mind and money in your pocket, it does come at a cost. Many busy people simply can’t afford the time to plan the relocation and search for movers who fulfill all their requirements. Some order has been imposed, though. Moving brokers, moving companies, and companies that operate as both, need to register with the authorities and follow a strict set of rules. If you wish to avoid moving brokers, you can. But if you need their services, opt for licensed and experienced professionals.

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