What is a moving broker?
When you’re stressed and busy as heck, you tend to welcome all the help you can get. It’s normal for the problematic and desperate to seek the assistance of anyone who’s willing to help. Unfortunately, those who offer to assistance don’t always have your best interests in mind. Moving brokers are an example of the people who will offer to make things easier for you. They will give you an estimate based on how much you own and then find the best company for the job. Let’s be fair here though. There ARE a lot of credible brokers out there. But it’s also true that there are also a huge number of rogue brokers who are out to take advantage of customers like you.
Broker VS Moving Company
So what’s the difference between a moving broker and an actual moving company?
A professional moving company is an organization that is composed of people (employees) who will do the actual work for you. They usually have the skills, machinery, and manpower to do everything from packing to transport, storage to unloading. Legitimate professional movers have a Motor Carrier Number issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration together with a DOT Number issued by the Department of Transportation.
On the other hand, moving brokers are like agents who help the clients in finding an appropriate moving company. In simple terms, they are middlemen. They usually do business over the phone or the internet, and give you a rough (often inaccurate) estimate on how much everything will cost you. Legitimate brokers have a Motor Carrier Number, but they don’t have a DOT Number since they don’t own the vehicles for transport.
Over-the-Phone Estimates are Problematic
Even if their services offer a lot of convenience for you, it’s a must to watch out for scam or rogue brokers. Brokers will usually speak with you over the phone and ask you to walk around your house and itemize your furniture and possessions. They will then come up with a price that you think is a bargain and they’ll proceed to finding the professionals who will do the job. The problem is, the broker is not the actual company who will be doing the work. The actual company (or truck owners) may have a different price computation in mind.
There are even some horror stories where the movers will even take your things as hostage until you agree to pay the higher price. Then if you ask the broker about the problem, he might blame you for being dishonest about the estimates you gave him and for not providing an accurate count of your things. He’ll basically wash his hands clean. Of course you can’t argue with this, because in reality, you have no way or idea on how to make a professional estimate. It wasn’t even your job to begin with.
Be Careful with Upfront Fees
Questionable brokers usually ask for large upfront fees (in cash), which they will say is a partial payment for the service. But the truth is that the money doesn’t go to the movers but to the broker himself who will call it his broker’s fee. Once the actual movers appear at your door, an unscrupulous broker could disappear completely from the picture because he already got paid.
You must remember that good professionals will never ask for huge upfront payments and only demand the full amount after the goods have been delivered.
It’s also important to note that legitimate moving services offer various payment methods other than cash. A reputable company should accept credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners, etc.)
Look for Credibility
Before entrusting your project AND things to a broker, you must check the following:
- Full company name as well as the broker’s full name
- Company address and contact numbers
- How long he’s been in business
- Website URL (if any)
- Email address
- References, whom you will have to call personally
- Any online feedback. Watch out for bad reviews from irate customers.
Not all brokers can be trusted. Watch out for any questionable behaviour. Do a quick background check. If anything seems fishy, don’t hesitate to pull out and say no. If you end up with a scammy broker, you’ll have a lot more headaches than the ones you originally had.
Trust the Experts
To save you from the hassle, you can simply get quotes from the actual moving companies themselves. This way, you can avoid the unnecessary charges of the broker and get the information straight from the source.
Here at Top Mover Quotes we can help you do just that. We can tap into our wide network of industry contacts and get actual quotations from the most reputable moving companies in your area. All you need to do is fill out a form and we’ll take it from there.
In order to avoid being scammed, stop taking chances and trust only the experts. Moving involves a lot of money as well as risk for your belongings, you should do your best to keep yourself and your possessions out of harm’s way.