Movers vs Brokers, Know the Difference

Quick question, first-time movers: do you know the difference between a moving broker and a moving company?

Both types of businesses advertise that they can help you move, but they are definitely not the same. Worst case scenario, you might be getting played by a con artist. In any case, we want to help you be clear on exactly what services you’re paying for.

The difference between a moving company and a moving broker is simple.

A moving company (or mover), offers transportation services for household goods. They operate with their own crews and trucks and manage the moving and delivery process from beginning to end.

A moving broker does not perform a move, instead they evaluate the move and sell the job to a moving company. They do not have logistics or labor capabilities. Brokers usually do not have the authority to give estimates on behalf of moving companies.

There are shady characters playing both sides of the moving market, and unscrupulous brokers misleadingly advertise their services as being those of a moving company. Moving brokers are required by law to advertise themselves as brokers and not movers, but that doesn’t stop some from trying to game the system. They may use clever wording to try and fit themselves through loopholes. While many moving brokers legitimately pair customers with trusted movers, there are some who simply search for the lowest bidder and take their cut of the loot.

If you do decide to use a moving broker, keep this Broker Checklist from the  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in mind.

All HouseHold Goods Brokers Must:

  • Be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
  • Provide you with the FMCSA “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” booklet and the “Ready to Move” brochure
  • Provide you with a list of the moving companies they use
  • Use only movers that are registered with FMCSA
  • Have a written agreement with movers they use
  • Base binding or non-binding estimates on the tariff of the mover that will transport your shipment
  • Reference in their advertisements their physical business location, MC number, and their status as a broker that does not transport household goods but arranges for this service
  • Have the mover that is transporting your shipment perform a physical survey of your household goods if they are within a 50 mile radius of the mover or its agent’s location, whichever is closer. It is your option to waive this requirement.

The best defense against a moving disaster is to not have one at all. Please do your homework and protect your move. If we can help, let us know at

Happy and safe moving!



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