All About Moving Companies

The moving Van Line industry is a very competitive business that operates in a saturated U.S. marketplace. Most national companies are reputable and trustworthy, but condensed seasonal high times, a shortage of drivers and tight revenue streams can negatively affect the quality of service that you receive. Understanding all that you can about the industry before hiring a mover will help you make an informed decision about which company to choose.

Van Lines, Agents and Local Movers

To make an informed decision on choosing the right company it is important that you understand how van lines are aligned, how they operate, and how they generate their cash flow. 

Van line: a van line is a parent company that provides services through individual agencies. The typical van line does not physically conduct moves; rather it provides the backbone for agency operations, including policy, advertising, and other services. Van lines generate revenue through their agents in national (often global) networks.

Agent: an agent provides the physical move services on behalf of a van line. Agencies are independantly owned and generally operate in one or a few local markets across the nation, providing packing and unpacking, storage, and transportation services. It is common for multiple agents to be involved in different stages of a move.

Independent: an independent is a van line company and agent all in one. This dual operation provides the same national services that a van line/agency relationship does, only under the control of one entity.

Local mover: a local mover is an independent company that does not work for a van line. These movers generally do not cross state lines and are local to a small geographic area. 

Pros and Cons 

Van lines and Agents Pros:

  • Large presence across the nation to provide transportation, origination and destination services almost anywhere.
  • Standardized processes and service agreements.
  • Accountability for agency services, including damaged and lost items.
  • A larger revenue stream to make concessions for customers.

Van lines and Agents Cons:

  • Multiple agents handling a single move increase the probability of damaged, lost or stolen items, as well as decreased service levels.
  • Larger conglomerates can cause increased service delays, impersonality and bureaucracy.
  • The potential for a higher percentage of labor shortage, fostering the use of untrained moving personnel.

 


 

Independent Pros:

  • Large presence across the nation to provide transportation, origination and destination services almost anywhere.
  • A single agent managing the entire move increases service levels.
  • Standardized processes and service agreements.
  • A high degree of accountability for services, including damaged and lost items.
  • A larger revenue stream to make concessions for customers.

Independent Cons:

  • There are limited drawbacks, taking into account the overall field of suppliers for moving services.

 


 

Local Mover Pros:

  • More personalized service.
  • A single agent managing the entire move increases service levels .

Local Mover Cons:

  • Limited capabilities to handle interstate (across state line) moves.
  • Increased probability of untrained personnel.
  • Potential for lackluster processes and service agreements.
  • Insufficient funding to make concessions for damaged, lost or stolen items.

Move Acronyms

AMSA  American Moving & Storage Association

CWT   Cost per one hundred pounds

DOT    Department of Transportation

PBO    Packed By Owner

SIT     Storage In Transit

 


Real Estate Acronyms

BPO   Broker Price Opinion

CMA  Comparative Market Analysis

FDR   Formal Dining Room

MLS   Multiple Listing Service

TI      Tenant Improvement

 


Relocation Acronyms

CRP   Certified Relocation Professional

COLA Cost of Living Allowance

FMV   Fair Market Value

MVA   Market Value Analysis

PCS   Personal Change of Station (military)

 

 

Also see Definitions and Terms