When it comes to hiring professionals to relocate your household belongings, you have two primary options. One is employing a moving company, the other is hiring a moving broker, and no, these aren’t the same. Each has their own pros and cons, which you will find listed below, but first let’s define them:

What is a Moving Broker?

A moving broker is a company that serves as a go-between for the customer (you) and a moving company. They act in essence as a middleman. They are not themselves professional movers and are not licensed or authorized to transport household goods. They also don’t have moving, equipment, moving staff, trucks or packing supplies.

What is a Moving Company?

A moving company is a group of professional movers who own their own moving trucks, have the right equipment to complete a relocation job, are licensed to transport home goods, often provide packing materials and handle virtually anything related to your move.

What You Should be Cautious About When Hiring Each

Each option, both movers and brokers offer advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to a moving company, one risk is that they are not registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This is a red flag you need to check for when hiring them. You also need to make sure that you get your moving agreement in writing via a contract of some sort with a mover.

When hiring a broker, your biggest disadvantage is the fact that you are not dealing with the people who will ultimately move your household items. This can become problematic if you have specific instructions for certain items. You also might be limited to what days and times you can substantiate a move when dealing with a third party broker, and if something is broken or damaged in transport, things could get confusing. The broker could say it is the mover’s fault, while the mover points their finger at the broker. In the end, this might leave you high and dry with no one to accept fault for your damaged goods. Brokers also might be unfamiliar with your local movers, though they are now required to give you a list of all available movers in your area.

Advantages of Each Moving Option

Brokers must meet greater regulations. This means you are ensured a moving company that is registered with the FMCSA when going through a broker. You also don’t have to find your own moving company as the broker will do that for you. When it comes to a moving company, the primary advantage is dealing with the people who will ultimately be doing the work. If you have special requests, you know it is heard by the people actually doing the move. A moving company will also more than likely know the area better, and be more prepared for situational occurrences as it relates to moving a household worth of items.

Which is More Cost Effective?

It is difficult to say which is the most cost effective option as it greatly depends on how far you are moving and how much stuff is being transported. In general, brokers “bid” your move to movers, which would in theory make their end price cheaper. Of course, they might also quote you a lower price, only to have the moving company raise their rate on the back end. Moving companies, though, who would prefer to work directly with their customers might give you a deal for cutting out the middle man. In addition, they can quote a price that “should” stick, because they are the ones who perform the job.

Whether you hire a moving company or broker, be sure to get everything in writing and make sure any moving company you consider is registered with the FMCSA. Also, research these companies. What do their reviews say about them? Do they follow through with promises? Are they careless? Do they show up on time? Check them out thoroughly, and then, make the call on how you want to orchestrate your move.