Movers vs Brokers: What to Know

Before moving, you’ll of course be looking to work with a mover or broker.

Wait, what’s that? The difference between a mover and broker? Glad you asked!

First, please consider checking out this handy fact sheet. It has much of the information you need in a brief, easy-to-read format.

Now, onto the main topic.

A mover is specifically the organization that has the trucks and staff that will be moving your goods. A moving broker is a company that arranges transportation of your belongings, and uses for-hire carriers to secure the truck transportation.

Think of brokers like sales teams that book your move and sell it to an actual moving company.

A broker is not authorized to transport your goods — and therefore they also are not responsible for them. They don’t employ trucks or professional movers. However, brokers for interstate moves are required to only use movers registered with the FMCSA.

Important note: factors like low estimates, no availability, or limited resources can mean that a broker isn’t able to sell the job to a moving company. In this case, it could mean that you end up stuck without a mover on the day of your move. Keep in mind that many brokers operate from call centers across the country.

So, what should you do if you’re working with a broker? Another great question!

First, be sure to double-heck that your chosen company is reputable. A tool like Zipmover is great for doing so quickly and easily. After this, you should ask if they’re a mover or a broker.

If they are a broker, then they must:

  • Be registered with FMCSA
  • Provide you with both FMCSA’s Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move booklet and the Ready to Move brochure
  • Give you a list of the moving companies they use
  • Use only movers registered with FMCSA
  • Have written agreements with any movers they use
  • Base binding or non-binding estimates on the tariff of the mover that is selected to transport your shipment
  • Disclose their physical business location, MC number, and their status as a broker that is not qualified to transport household goods
  • Have the selected mover perform a physical survey of your household goods if they are within a 50-mile radius of the mover or its agent's location. (You may choose to waive this requirement.)

Both movers and brokers have their place. Just keep these points in mind, so you know exactly who you’re working with, and your move will be smooth and successful!