The age of information makes finding, communicating with, and hiring help a very easy task. Customers are able to find cost effective services in seconds for any number of tasks or jobs. Whether you need a cabinet installer, plumber, electrician, or movers - the good old internet can help us find a group of qualified professionals in a snap… The downside to our technologically advanced digital existence is that it can also put us in touch with unprofessional, unlicensed, and unqualified organizations.
When it comes to hiring movers, you should feel confident in your hire to know who and what type of business you’re trusting to move your cherished possessions. We believe that in this age of technology and fast quotes, education and knowledge can help families avoid hiring the wrong group.
In this post, we’ll discuss the main differences between professional movers and moving brokers.
What’s the Difference Between Professional Movers and Brokers?
In a nutshell, moving brokers are not trained professional movers. They are typically not authorized or licensed to transport household possessions because they’re not technically movers at all! They do not possess moving staff, equipment, trucks, or packing supplies; instead, they act as middlemen between the inquiring individual, and a professional moving company.
Think of moving brokers as trained salespeople who operate in much the same capacity as a contractor who subcontracts work to other groups and pockets a percentage of profit to keep themselves afloat while piggybacking off the talents and skills of others. Moving brokers simply arrange for transportation of your things to your new address, and attempt to sell your contact information and booking details to a qualified moving company in your area. In short, moving brokers are unqualified sales teams that have no experience quoting, selling, or claiming to represent a moving company.
In contrast, professional movers are just that - trained and licensed movers with the experience, equipment, and skills to safely and securely move your possessions to your new address. Movers own and operate their own fleet of moving trucks, come ready to work with all of the necessary moving equipment, and can even facilitate packing services. Professional movers will likely send a trained manager, or representative to your home to give you an accurate quote after they’ve assessed the inventory of your home, and how best to cater a safe and effective move. They’ll be able to tell you how many movers are needed, what size truck, any specialty equipment required, etc.
Risks of Using Brokers
Damages & Liability
One of the main risks in using a moving broker lies in the fact that they will probably not tell a prospective client they are a brokering company - and not actually movers.
In the unfortunate event that there is a problem, an accident, or a mishap while moving, a moving broker and the people they hire to actually move your stuff will want to claim responsibility - probably because they rarely have insurance, licenses, or training to move the things they do. This can leave the customer in a serious bind - there’s potential that an unqualified mover could severely damage a priceless family heirloom, or damage an expensive piece of equipment or furniture. The client will typically be out-of-luck and forced to swallow the costs associated with repair and/or replacement of their possessions.
A moving broker will probably want to quote or estimate the cost of a moving job over the phone or via email following an initial conversation. Based on the information a client can give, like square footage, weight, family size, size of furniture, etc., the broker will guesstimate on previous jobs. There is great potential here for massively misquoting, or estimating a price that’s way off the mark. If a broker misses the mark, there could be a considerable increase in price following the move, based on the complexity of the job.
Accurate quotes and estimates are provided by professionals who are able to physically visualize, assess, and plot their course of action in-house - not over the phone or via email.
Finally, a moving broker may require a prospective customer to hand over a large deposit that may or may not be put towards the service of moving. This is typically the case when a broker cannot manage to sell moving details to a professional moving service, rendering their efforts null and void. The deposit they’ve already taken may be used as a retainer fee by the broker to help offset the costs of their time - not moving. By contrast, reputable movers will usually ask for a small deposit to secure your moving date that is deducted from the overall cost of the move.
Time & Budget
As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for, and moving is no exception. Professional movers that come ready to work with the required equipment, trained staff, insurance and licenses are going to inevitably cost more than services offered by moving brokers - but this is a good problem to have. When you’re trusting an organization with moving your entire home, you’ll appreciate the peace of mind you purchase along with the laborious act of moving house.
Moving companies may also require time prior to the move to make themselves available. Reputable moving companies can experience waiting lists of customers during busy times of the year, making their services a sought after commodity. This can sometimes dictate a last-minute move with a professional mover may be difficult to book. Always be prepared to talk to, and book your movers as soon as you’re aware of your pending move. The more time you typically have to discuss the particulars of your move, the better.
Distances & Services
Similarly, a professional moving company will need to know where you’re heading. A long distance move an entire province away can mean that they’ll need to schedule and prioritize other moves ahead of yours to position the resources, staff, and equipment needed to make your move an effective success. Always be sure to book early and tell professional movers where you’re headed so they can help make your move a stress-free reality.
Secondly, smaller professional moving companies may not be able to accommodate all of your specific needs. Let’s imagine you have to move a baby-grand piano - a small moving outfit may not possess the specialty equipment, or the experience to safely and confidently move a complex and heavy possession like that. This is where it pays to interview and assess your moving company prior to booking your move. Always ensure they have the knowledge and know-how to complete every inch of your move with confidence and ease.
It’s very important for modern customers to know the differences between moving brokers and professional movers in this age of easy information. While access to information has opened innumerable doors to the masses, it’s also capable of misleading, and potentially setting back the goodwill of customers who need an honest approach to moving services. Consider asking for proof of licensing, registration with national motor carrier associations, and organizations like the Better Business Bureau so you can make an informed, and educated decision about whom to hire.
Giving yourself the power to select exactly who you want to move your home for you gives you peace of mind, and allows you to carry on with your move stress-free.