Licensing Requirements For Moving Companies

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Moving is hard work and this doesn't refer to just the manual labor of packing, loading and unloading all your stuff. It also requires a lot of planning and coordinating. If you plan on using professional movers, you will need to make sure they have the proper licenses and follow the required guidelines and federal regulations. Here are some things to remember about moving company license rules.

Moving Locally

The best place to start is by delineating what a local move actually means since this can be a little confusing. Here are some of the basic rules and definition of such a move:

  • Moving within the same state.
  • Normally, the distance must be under 100 miles.
  • Local moving companies will likely charge according to their time spent.

The states may impose various licensing rules upon local moving companies. For example, many will only require a state license. However, more than half of all states do require even local movers to obtain a Department of Transportation (DOT) number, which entails federal registration, through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Find out exactly what your state requires before even thinking about hiring a moving company of any type.

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Long Distance Moving

Here are some of the rules generally applied to long distance moves:

  • Moves into another state are almost always considered long distance.
  • When moving more than 100 miles, even in the same state, this is considered long distance.
  • Fees and the pricing structure will likely be determined by weight rather than time (but not always).

All long distance moving companies will be required to have a DOT number. This makes it easy for the government to identify and track all the goings-on of any particular interstate moving company and connect all of their audits, inspections, compliance reviews, and other information. This is great in terms of customer protection as well, since all of these companies are quite easy to research.

This registration also mandates a lot of what these types of companies can and cannot do. That includes their areas of operation, type of cargo that can be moved, and even the amount of insurance they must keep (and offer for their customers).

International Movers

There are many logistical details and issues that need to be addressed when making an international move. Simply the act of going to another country can be an adventure in and of itself, even without having to ship all of your household goods overseas. Even if you were going to Alaska, you would probably need to cross into Canada, which means your movers should be prepared to deal with an international border crossing.

Licensing and regulation of international moving companies can be a bit spotty since there is more than one country involved. Making sure the mover you choose has membership in the Federal Maritime Commission is a great safety precaution. So is having a Freight Forwarder permit.

Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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