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Licensed Movers

The Importance of Having a Licensed Mover

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We know that figuring out which mover to choose isn’t an easy task. Luckily, there are certain indicators that might make the selection easier, such as whether or not the companies you’re evaluating are licensed movers. In this page you’ll be able to find information about what it means to be a licensed mover. As well, we’ll fill you in on what are the most important licenses in the moving industry.

What Is a Licensed Mover?

Plain and simple: a licensed mover is simply a moving company legally allowed to operate in its current city, state and/or country. Generally, regulations and requirements to obtain licensure will vary from state to state. As well, different requirements will apply depending on whether the company specializes on interstate or local moves.

You should always focus on finding licensed movers. Failing to do such might result in scams, loss of money, damage of property and other unfortunate situations. To check whether or not a mover is licensed, you can simply plug in the company’s name on this search tool. This will allow you to obtain information such as:

  • Company information;
  • Safety and insurance;
  • Complaint history;
  • Fleet size;
  • Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories.

Particularly if you’re carrying out an interstate move, you should most definitely take a company not being licensed as a huge red flag! Remember that booking a licensed mover ensures that you hire a trustworthy and experienced company.

Licensed Movers: What Licenses Should You Look For?

When it comes to licenses, such will vary depending on the type of move the company specializes is. In this section we’ll briefly introduce the main two licenses US movers should have.

USDOT Number Registration

US department of transportation logoWhether you’re moving locally or across state lines, it’s likely that the moving company you select holds a USDOT Number registration. At the moment, all interstate movers are required to have this registration while only 28 states requirelocal movers to have it as well.

In essence, the USDOT Number serves as a company’s unique identifier used when collecting and monitoring the company’s safety information obtained and assess during inspections, audits, crash investigations and compliance reviews.

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US Department of Transportation: Mission

The US Department of Transportation (DOT), established in 1966, is a federal cabinet department of the US government concerned with the country’s road transport. The department’s mission is to ensure the country enjoys the safest, most efficient and modern transportation system to improve the quality of life of all American citizens.

What Is a USDOT Number?

The USDOT Number serves as a company’s unique identifier used by the government when collecting and monitoring the company’s safety information obtained and assess during:

  • Crash investigations;
  • Inspections;
  • Audits;
  • Compliance reviews.

All companies that operate commercial vehicles transporting passengers or hauling cargo in interstate commerce must have a USDOT Number. This number is issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an important subdivision of the US DOT in charge of preventing commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

When a company applies for this registration, it will be enrolled into the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program, which lasts approximately 18 months. During such, companies are taught about carrier safety and hazardous material regulations. To obtain a permanent USDOT number, the carrier must pass a safety audit and comply with all FMCSA safety regulations consistently.

Why Is the USDOT Number Important?

The main reason why it’s crucial for you to be on the lookout for this registration is the fact that it will guarantee that you’ll steer away from scams and rogue movers. As we mentioned before, all interstate movers (and some intrastate movers) are obliged to register with the FMCSA to obtain this number. If this isn’t the case, you should take it as a sign that the moving company you’re assessing isn’t very trustworthy.

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USDOT Number: How to Find It?

To find out whether or not a moving company holds a USDOT Number you can simply check out their website for it, as such is usually listed at the bottom of the site. Once you locate it, you can introduce it along with the company’s name in FMCA’s search tool to obtain information such as:

  • Company details;
  • Safety and insurance;
  • Complaint history;
  • Fleet size;
  • Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories.

Federal Maritime Commission License

Federal Maritime Commission Logo

In case your move will require ocean transport, it’s crucial that you look for a mover with a FMC accreditation. The main goal of the FMC is to foster fair, efficient and reliable international ocean transportation that contributes to the US economy and protects the public from deceptive practices. Thus, licensed movers of this kind are likely to be trustworthy, ethical and transparent.

Federal Maritime Commission: Responsibilities

The mission of the FMC is to foster fair, efficient and reliable international ocean transportation that contributes to the US economy and protects the public from deceptive practices. Its responsibilities include:

  • Developing and enforcing international shipping regulations;
  • Licensing ocean terminal operators and intermediaries;
  • Oversee the country’s shipping and maritime-trade industries;
  • Enforce regulations and monitor rates in the US shipping industry;
  • Evaluate agreements between shipping lines and maritime terminals;
  • Serve as an intermediary in disputes between operators and consumers;
  • Take measures against unfair/unfavorable conditions caused by foreign governments.
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Why Is a Federal Maritime Commission License Important?

The reason why you should ensure that the mover you book is licensed by the FMC boils down to the fact that it serves as a guarantee that any irregularities will be dealt with in a professional manner. As well, this license helps to regulate charges so that customers don’t have to overpay due to the unethical practices of third parties. In other words, this license ensures that loss, damage of property and/or other issues will be handled in an efficient and competent way.

In order to obtain the Federal Maritime Commission license, Ocean Freight Forwarders (OFF) or Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carriers (NVOCCs) must comply with the following:

  • Have a minimum of three years of demonstrable OTI experience;
  • Be an officer of the applicant’s corporation, a partner in a partnership or the sole proprietor of the firm;
  • Have gained experience in the United States or outside of the US (if an international mover);
  • Submit the required application form;
  • Pay the required license application fee;
  • In case of the mover being an international one, the company must establish a presence in the United States.

To find out whether or not the mover you’re interested on booking has an FMC license we recommend that you first take a look at the company’s website. If you cannot find the seal of such, we recommend that you take a look at the official Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTI) list.

We hope that this article managed to give you some insight into the importance of hiring licensed movers. In case you might be interested in the most relevant moving associations that you should also be on the lookout for when evaluating a mover, we recommend that you check out the ones linked below. 🙂