Over 80% of prospective persons that need to move, start with their favorite browser to locate a moving company. Many consumers let go of practical reason, common sense and good judgment and only look at the bottom line and one can’t blame them, because moving can be an expensive endeavor. Virtual movers threaten those moving companies that are established and have warehouses, owned trucks, and an office. These unregulated virtual mover’s bulletin boards, reverse-auction sites, and popular find-a-mover business lead aggregators are very successful because they can offer the lowest price, which is usually the driving force. Price! But unbelievable deals are sometimes just that “unbelievable” and leave you paying much more in the end.
As a consumer, consider these questions when learning about the moving business and whether to use a virtual mover.
- What is the difference between full-service mover, move manager, a move broker and a moving services provider?
- Full Service Mover is transportation company that has been licensed by the state or federal regulations to provide local and long distance intra- or interstate moving and storage services. Most of these companies use their OWN van drivers, local personal, and independent owner-operators. They have facilities and equipment qualified under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or State Department of Transportation (DOT) or public utility corporation regulations to perform these services.
- Move Manager is an individual or third-party company that provides relocation consulting for individuals or organizations that are moving personally or as a group. Move managers don’t do the moving per se, they undertake the organizational and budgetary aspects of the relocation planning.
- Move Broker is by definition of the FMSCA is “A company (or individual) that arranges for the truck transportation of cargo belonging to others, utilizing for-hire carriers to provide the actual truck transportation. A broker does not assume responsibility for the cargo and usually does not take possession of the cargo.” They must be licensed by the FMCSA for interstate moves; the move broker has no control over the drivers that have your goods on their truck. A full service mover can also be a move manager and a move broker.
- Moving Services Provider consists of a combination of individuals and companies that could be:
i. Full-service movers
ii. Move managers
iv. Real and virtual internet moving service companies, including
v. Real estate and relocation service companies
vi. State licensed or FMCSA approved local, intrastate and interstate less-than-load (LTL) and truckload (TL) general freight common or contract motor carriers
vii. Relocation consultants
- Valuation. Most on-line moving quotes only include the minimum “release rate” of $.60 per pound per article for any lost or damaged items
Why? Probably because it’s the most economical options available, since by law, it must be offered at no additional charge. However, under this option, if your mover damaged a 50 pound flat screen TV valued at $1,500.00, you would receive the following compensation: 50 lbs. X $.60 per pound = $30.00.
What the on-line broker or internet mover might not tell you is that while there is no additional charge for this “free” coverage, you must specify this in writing on the bill of lading or moving contract. If you do not select the $.60 per pound per article option, your shipment will automatically be transported at the mover’s full value level of protection and you will be charged accordingly. Based on the size of your shipment, this could add hundreds of dollars to your final bill.
Full Value Coverage & $.60 per pound per article are not insurance policies. They are Federal contractual tariff levels of liability authorized under the Surface Transportation Board of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Mobile portable container operators or freight consolidators DO NOT have to abide with the FMCSA’S consumer protection regulations. Their release rate valuation might only limit their liability to just $.10 per pound per article.
- 3. Pickup and Delivery Dates. Typically when shopping on line, budget conscious consumer’s usually select the shortest pickup and delivery dates for the cheapest price… and then are surprised when they find out what they have actually purchased. For example, depending on the time of the week, agreeing to three business days for the pickup could actually be two days longer than allowing three calendar days to have a mover get your things out of your residence at origin. Allowing an online mover two to ten business days to deliver isn’t the same as the two to ten calendar days that a reputable mover might commit to on their written Order for Service.
When shopping for your mover online, don’t automatically choose the company with the lowest price. You might be surprised at what type of moving service you are actually buying…and what the sales person isn’t telling you. Instead, select the local or long distance mover that will supply you with the best value for your overall situation.