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How to Tell If a Moving Company Is a Broker

While moving brokers are not inherently bad, there are many who are unscrupulous and misrepresent themselves as moving companies. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that over 3,600 complaints they get annually typically involved disreputable companies taking advantage of people who do not know the difference between a moving broker and a moving company.1

With statistics like that, the motto “buyer beware” is pretty apt when it comes to looking for the Twin Cities moving company to take on your relocation. While you may not avoid moving brokers altogether, knowing when you are dealing with one and not a moving company is helpful. Our professional movers in Minneapolis explain how to identify “red flags” to help you avoid potentially falling victim to fraud.


What Is a Moving Broker?

A moving broker is a salesperson or a sales team that is responsible for booking your move, which they then will sell to an actual moving company. A moving brokerage company will arrange the transportation of your belongings but will enlist the help of professional movers who are authorized to provide the actual moving services. Essentially, a moving broker serves as an agent and middleman, connecting a customer with a moving company.

If they successfully sell the job to professional Minneapolis residential movers or Minneapolis commercial movers, they will likely get a commission. However, if they don’t successfully sell your moving job in time, you may end up without any movers at your doorstep on moving day despite having already paid the moving broker. If you booked your move with an unscrupulous broker, it may be difficult to get your money back.


What Is the Difference Between a Moving Broker and a Moving Company?

The main difference between a moving broker and a moving company is that a broker is not registered or authorized to transport cargo. Only moving companies are licensed and authorized to transport your household or office goods.


Ways to Tell a Moving Company Is Actually a Moving Broker

Reputable moving brokers will be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and use only movers registered with the FMCSA. You can always call transportation professionals and ask them if they are a broker or mover, trustworthy ones will give you a straightforward answer.

If you choose to work with a broker, make sure they provide you with the FMCSA Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move and Ready to Move booklets as well as a written agreement with the moving companies they work with. Reputable brokers will also ensure the Minneapolis local movers or Minneapolis long-distance movers responsible for transporting your shipment perform a physical survey of your items in order to give an accurate estimate.

On the other hand, if you want to work directly with a moving company and are trying to avoid brokers cosplaying as legitimate moving companies – here’s what to look out for.

  • A company offering two or more instant online quotes on their website is probably a moving broker.
  • If a website doesn’t clearly show FMCSA registration information and the company’s MC Number, the moving broker is likely unregistered and should be avoided.
  • Check out the company’s reviews. A lot of bad reviews and complaints about movers not showing up or items going missing usually points to a shady broker or scam.


If you want to work directly with a reputable and top-rated moving company for your upcoming relocation – call the moving professionals at USA Family Moving & Storage. Call 612-286-0400 for free quote today!



  1. Daphne Jefferson, U.S. Department of Transportation – Moving Company Vs. Moving Broker: What You Need to Know Before You Hire


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