Unlicensed Moving Companies - All Risk And No Rewards

Moving is stressful. Besides other pressures, the cost of the move is a major financial burden. Its normal to look for ways to relieve the stress and minimizing moving costs is one that many people resort to. Unlike the other factors, it appears to be something within your control. The idea of using a cheap, unlicensed moving company is tempting. However, the cost, in terms of damage, loss, delays and the constant worry about the security of all your valued possessions can outweigh any perceived advantage. Unfortunately, in many cases, the fears turn out to be well-founded.

Possessions Matter

Everything you own has either been paid for by your hard work or has emotional value because of its association with people or places. Undervaluing what you have is easy - something that cost you $100 some years ago could cost double that today. If a valued gift or heirloom is lost or damaged, how do you replace it? Money cannot buy a replacement for the attachments you have. Your home is the center of your life and risking that to save a few dollars is just not worth the risk.

The Gamble

Using an unlicensed moving company is a huge gamble. Here's why:

  • They are not regulated or monitored by either the state or federal governments. That means that there are no quality standards they have to maintain. Accountability is another issue. If they disappear with your possessions, getting them back will be very difficult.
  • They offer low prices by using cheap untrained labor which greatly increases the risk of damage.
  • The packing materials they use are substandard and insufficient. The packing may look nice and clean, but it is not enough to protect your valuables.
  • The vehicles they use are not right for the job or are old and unsafe. The risk of damage while being transported is high.
  • They are not bonded or insured. That means that repairing damage or replacing losses will be paid for by you.
  • Many of them are just brokers who bid for a moving contract and them sell the work to someone else. The lower the actual cost of the work, the greater the broker's profit. The results are usually disastrous.
  • A good review on Yelp or other social media is useful in finding a good moving company, but it is not enough. Unlicensed movers have no financial stability or reputation to maintain. So when they have financial problems, the already low standards they have are compromised even more in order to save money. Some of them do a few good jobs to get positive reviews and once they have that, show their true colors.
Professionals Are Safe

With a professional moving company, you are protected.

  • Since they are regulated, if there is a problem, the regulatory authorities will be able to help you in resolving them.
  • They have years of experience behind them so they know what they are doing.
  • The labor that is used is trained and experienced so risks, if any, are minimized.
  • Quality packing materials are used and used in the right way and amount to ensure that your possessions are protected.
  • The vehicles used for transport are designed for the job and in good condition.
  • Licensed moving companies are bonded and insured so if something is lost or damaged, you are protected.
  • They use their own resources to pack and move and do not sell or subcontract the job so they there is no offloading of responsibility or passing the buck.
  • Professional movers have a reputation to maintain so they will not take risks or cut corners because the results of any shortcuts will damage their standing and so hurt them financially.

Moving is stressful. Adding to the pressure by using an unlicensed moving company is not a real saving. It has a huge cost in risks you face and the emotional toll of the worry you suffer. There are times and places to gamble but rolling the dice and risking all your possession by using an unlicensed moving company is not one of them.

For more information check out what the California Attorney General has to say about unlicensed moving companies - https://oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/moving.



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