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How To Understand the Differences Between Professional Movers and Moving Brokers

When it comes to getting your first apartment in your twenties , you may find yourself a bit confused understanding the parlance of the moving and real estate industries. One easy thing to struggle with understanding is what it means when you’re contacted by a professional moving broker versus seeking out a professional moving company.

Below, we lay out the four primary difference between professional Chicago moving companies and moving brokers while also providing our own thoughts on when one might be preferable to the other.

What is the Difference between Moving Brokers and Professional Movers?

1. Understanding What a Moving Broker Does

Chances are that you’ve worked with a real estate broker at one point or another as they can often be especially helpful in finding the apartment or home that is truly right for you. They also command a sizable fee for their services, though it’s not always possible to avoid working with a broker, especially when you’re pressed for time.

Moving brokers came into existence with the increasing digitalization of the moving industry where you can just fill out a form with a moving company that looks promising. That often results in receiving a call from a moving expert, though they may in fact be a moving broker! A moving broker is not typically certified as a professional mover and in fact is more akin to a salesperson, but they are looking to pass on your info to another company. Essentially they are just middlemen, so to speak.

2. How is a Professional Mover Different?

It might have been easier to label this section “How not is a professional mover different?” After all, professional moving companies are exactly the people you want to be talking to prior to your big move into that high-rise apartment downtown you’ve always dreamt about. They own their own materials, equipment, and trucks and are licensed to help you protect a whole range of valuables, from moving art pieces to moving a piano!

3. OK, So Why Use a Moving Broker?

At this point, you’re likely wondering why one would even go with a moving broker? Well, these are professional sales folk and thus it’s their job to convince you that you require their services, even when you don’t. The problems with using a moving broker are manifold, but here are the top things to know:

  • Neither the moving company nor the broker will take responsibility for anything broken or incomplete.
  • Pricing is often way off-base as a moving broker often has no idea of the special needs your move may require.
  • Large deposits requested by the broker often go nowhere but their own pockets

Ultimately, when working with a moving broker, you’re at their whim essentially and thus are severely limiting your ability to research your moving company or ensure that everything will be insured and protected lest anything happens. And if it’s a situation where you truly can’t move without the help of professionals, consider do your homework and finding some additional moving companies from which to choose.

4. How to Best Handle a Moving Broker

Now, don’t get us wrong. We’re sure there are some moving brokers out there who really do a great job as how else could they stay in business? But the fact of the matter is that those great brokers are the exception, not the rule. Still, you should check both your broker and moving company with this tool from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which lets you know if your broker or moving company is certified by the FMCSA, something they must both be. Ultimately, we’re not saying to never use brokers, but rather do your homework and don’t put yourself in a far more inconveniencing station just because you didn’t do your homework!

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