Avoiding Moving Labor and Broker Scams
Let's face it, the moving industry doesn't exactly have the best reputation. It's an extremely heavily regulated industry primarily because of all the scams and rip offs, you've likely heard a moving related horror story before. The vast majority of regulation affects full service moving companies (e.g. van lines and long distance movers) while very little regulates the moving labor industry. From most state and federal perspectives you must provide transportation to be considered a mover, obviously this does not apply to moving labor.
When preparing for your upcoming self service move the question remains: How do I choose the right moving labor company?
- If the company says they are "licensed and insured" but offers no proof make sure to ask for proof. Any company with the proper documentation should not deny your request.
- Most states allow you to look up business entities within the state for free. If the company claims to be an Inc, LLC or other entity type then validate it by searching online.
Cash Only = Red Flag
- One of our favorite things to see is moving labor "companies" that offer "licensed and insured" moving labor for $20/hr per man. While it may be possible from the perspective that 'anything is possible' it surely isn't profitable. A quality moving company pays their employees well and will charge at least $25/hr per man.
- It's 2011 and credit cards are used for purchases in more than 50% of the total transactions annually. If the company does not accept credit cards, or will only process the deposit by credit card then this could be a red flag.
Read the Fine Print
- Very few companies have straight forward pricing, instead many opt to tack on a bunch of extra fees that may be hidden. While piano moving fees and travel fees are normal, charges for stairs, elevators, short notice moves and weekend moves are not.
- Does the company charge a reschedule fee? Moving has a lot of unknowns associated with it and rescheduling is common, if the company charges for rescheduling you should move on.
What About Insurance?
- No moving labor company can insure your items once they finish the work and depart the site, but they are required to provide federally mandated coverage while working. This coverage is called "Released Valuation" and covers dropped or broken items at $0.60/lb per item.