What is a moving company van line agent?

I am moving from one state to another and I have obtained several estimates, but I don't understand why there are two names on everything...the little mover's name and the big mover's name. The sales guys tell me that the little names are 'van line agents' for the big national names, but I still don't understand. Can you explain this to me?

It's really quite simple: when a move takes place within a state (FROM New York State TO New York State for example) the "little name" mover operates as itself and moves your shipment under the operating authority granted to the "little name" mover by the local governing state authority (the NYS Department of Transportation in the case of New York State). These state-to-state moves are called "intrastate" moves. However, when your move across state lines the move is generally performed under the operating authority of the "big name" (the national van line brand name) which is granted authority by the Federal Department of Transportation. I say "generally" because many smaller moving companies are not affiliated with a big national "van line" brand name and these small companies often operate under there own Federal Department of Transportation authority for moves that cross state lines (which are called "interstate" moves).

Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that the quality of services between different agents of the same van line brand name can vary greatly. Most van line agents are independently owned and operated. The American consumer tends to view the van line national brands as they would McDonalds, and certainly the quality control exercised by an organization such as McDonalds is extraordinary. But that's not always the case with national van lines where (sometimes) the quality differential between ABC Movers and XYZ Movers (both agents for BigGreatVanLines, Inc.) can be dramatic. While all of the national brands attempt to address quality control with various "Quality Programs," the nature of the agent/van line agency agreement...and the nature of the relocation industry...sometimes allows for significant differences between agents from the same van line. As a result, a customer who had a great experience with BigGreatVanLines, Inc. some years ago...but who had a bad experience with BigGreatVanLines, Inc. some years later...will ask "what happened to BigGreatVanLines, Inc.!!!?" Well...nothing happened...it's just that the customer chose a good BigGreatVanLines agent 10 years ago and a not so good BigGreatVanLines agent for the latter move. What's a consumer to do? That's simple: do research on the quality of the individual van lines agent...not just the big national brand. Which leads us to the conclusion that your moving job is not a hamburger. Smiley

In addition, reading the article " What is a van line agent? " may help you better understand what a van lines agent is.

Thanks for your good question!

Joel (not verified)

Sun, 11/26/2017 - 13:13

Hi, just read Finn Murphy book on being a moving tucker, excellent book, well reccomended. If I am moving from new York to Florida, for example, I call atlas vans (or belkins or united) directly for a quote, or I call a local mover, smith brothers, (hypothetical name, can be an name of local over) who represent them and do local moves plus be the agent for long haul atlas or others? Does a worker come to house and dO estimate? Then on moving day, will smith bros come to get items in their straight truck and transfer it to big atlas 53ft truck, or does 53 foot truck pull up on my New York City street and load? when I arrive in Florida, is there a local company who brings items to house? Or do I have 53 foot atlas truck in front of house? Does atlas brIng their own workers to unload, or does local Florida moving company provide workers? Very interested in how necessary but often misunderstood industry works. Joel

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