Who Regulates Moving Companies?

The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and various local agencies, like state Public Utilities Commissions and Departments of Transportation, have strict regulations that moving companies must abide by.

Even for moving industry veterans, figuring out just who regulates moving companies in each state can be confusing.

That’s why we always recommend choosing qualified and highly vetted moving companies with a good reputation to handle your move.

However, during the pre-move screening process, it’s important to vet prospective movers, and verifying that they’re in good standing with the agencies that regulate them is one of the best ways to do it.

To that end, this article will serve as a comprehensive state-by-state guide to moving company regulations.

Jump to the section you want to read about:

Who Regulates Interstate Moving Companies?

The USDOT and FMCSA must license moving companies that perform interstate (state to state) moves.

The FMCSA is the federal agency in charge of creating and enforcing safety regulations for interstate moving companies, trucking companies, bus companies, and people who hold commercial driver’s licenses. The FMCSA also keeps track of USDOT numbers and requires all moving companies to have a number and comply with federal safety regulations. 

When moving out of state, learning How to Check a USDOT Number is a great way to separate legitimate movers from scammers.

But remember, as its name implies, the FMCSA and USDOT only regulate interstate moves (those that cross state lines) and movers, not local and intrastate ones.

In other words, federal laws and regulations usually only apply to interstate commerce.

However, regardless of where you live, you can check whether an interstate mover is appropriately registered with the US Department of Transportation here.

You’ll also be able to see –

  • What type of authority they have (Household Goods Carrier, Broker, Freight Forwarder, etc.)
  • Their contact information, including address and phone number
  • How long they’ve been in business
  • Their safety rating
  • Whether they’ve met minimum insurance requirements

If you’re moving from one state to another, download a copy of the FMCSA’s Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.

FMCSA Contact Information –

  • United States Department of Transportation
  • 1200 New Jersey Ave, SE, Washington DC 20590
  • (855) 368-4200
  • fmcsa.dot.gov 

Who Regulates International Moving Companies?

The Federal Maritime Commission regulates moves by sea and oversees and licenses Ocean Transportation Intermediaries (OTIs) and Freight Forwarders. Both of these organizations may coordinate international household goods shipments.

Contact Information –

For a list of licensed OTIs and freight forwarders, click here.

Who Regulates Local Moving Companies?: A State-by-state breakdown in alphabetical order

Alabama

To ensure that in-state movers operate safely and reliably, moving companies in Alabama must have a registration number issued by the Alabama Public Service Commission (APSC).

Contact Information –

Arizona

Though Arizona is largely an “unregulated” state, local moving companies are subject to some Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) and Department of Weights and Measures regulations intended to ensure that they operate safely and ethically.

Contact Information –

And,

In the event of unresolvable disputes and consumer complaints against your mover, contacting each may hasten a resolution.

Arkansas

Before providing in-state household goods relocation services, Arkansas moving companies must be issued an Intrastate Authority Permit from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.

Contact Information –

California

When contacting a local moving company for an estimate in California, make sure each has a “T Number” issued by the California Public Utilities Commission (CAPUC).

Moving companies with valid T Numbers have met state requirements for insurance, safety, and financial stability and have passed criminal clearance checks conducted by the California Department of Justice.

Contact Information –

Colorado

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (COPUC) regulates local and intrastate moving service providers in Colorado.

Contact Information –

If you have a problem with a mover, you can file a complaint here.

Connecticut

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) regulates in-state moving companies and taxi, trucking, and bus companies.

In addition, customers are also protected from scam movers by regulations set forth by the Connecticut State Department of Consumer Protection.

Contact Information –

Delaware

Movers headquartered in Delaware that offer local and intrastate moving services don’t need to be licensed. Still, they must comply with Delaware Department of Transportation (DDOT) regulations on insurance and commercial vehicle safety.

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Florida

Individuals and companies engaging in for-profit local and intrastate moving within the Sunshine State must register each year with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Division of Consumer Services.

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Georgia

Georgia movers aren’t technically regulated, but the Georgia Department of Public Safety enforces commercial vehicle laws and monitors motor carriers that operate within the state.

Contact Information –

You can find a list of movers licensed in Georgia on the DPS’ Household Goods Consumer Service Report Card website but be warned, some of the information may not be current.

Hawaii

Like in other states, movers in Hawaii are regulated by the Public Utilities Commission, which oversees and enforces tariffs, licensing, and insurance.

Contact Information –

For a list of household goods movers licensed in the state, click here.

Idaho

In Idaho, in-state movers are regulated by and must register with the Idaho Transportation Department.

In cases of unresolvable disputes with local movers, they may help.

Contact Information –

Illinois

In Illinois, regulations on in-state moves and local movers are set forth by the Illinois Commerce Commission.

To move household goods locally and intrastate, companies need to have a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, so make sure the companies you’re considering have one and that it’s current.

Contact Information –

Indiana

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) regulate movers operating within Indiana and issue moving companies Indiana Households Goods Carriers Numbers.

Check to make sure prospective movers have one and that it’s up to date.

Contact Information –

Iowa

When moving within Iowa, make sure to hire a company that is licensed by the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Each household goods mover in the state should have an Iowa Motor Carrier (IOWAMC) Number, which means they’ve met minimum insurance and highway safety requirements.

Contact Information –

Kansas

In Kansas, the Transportation Division of the Kansas Corporation Commission monitors, licenses, and regulates intrastate motor carriers like movers.

The state’s Corporation Commission issues moving companies operating authority in the form of KCC Numbers, which customers can verify online here before hiring a mover.

Contact Information –

 

Kentucky

Movers in Kentucky are licensed and regulated by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) – Division of Motor Carriers.

Moving companies that operate within the state must carry adequate cargo insurance and file public tariffs detailing the services they offer and the cost for each.

The KYTC can assist consumers with resolving disputes with movers, but only after a customer makes a formal written complaint.

 

Contact Information –

For more helpful move day tips and information on finding and hiring a mover in Kentucky, click here.

Louisiana

If you’re using a legitimate moving company to relocate from one home or apartment within the state to another, look for a company regulated by the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC).

During the pre-move screening process, families on the move should verify that prospective movers are registered and in good standing with the LPSC.

In cases of substandard service, inflated costs, and unlicensed movers operating illegally, consumers may file a complaint, after which the commission will initiate an investigation.

Contact Information –

Additional links –

Search for Households Goods Movers in Louisiana

File a Complaint Form

 

Massachusetts

Moving companies in Massachusetts are required to obtain a license from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities – Transportation Oversight Division to provide local and intrastate moving services in

Massachusetts movers must carry adequate cargo insurance and publicly file their tariffs required to list the services they provide and the cost for each.

Michigan

The agency regulating local and intrastate household goods movers in Michigan is the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).

State regulation and oversight activities include commercial vehicle registration and safety compliance, review of published tariff rates, licensing, and consumer protection efforts.

Contact Information –

For more tips on safe moving in Michigan, check out – Key Tips to Protecting Your Household Goods (HHG) Move (PDF)

Minnesota

To operate legally within the state, Minnesota household goods movers must have a current permit from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).

Before being granted operating authority, each moving company must file a public tariff, provide proof of insurance and submit a Certificate of Compliance to MnDOT.

Contact Information –

Suppose you’re considering hiring a Minnesota mover for an in-state move. In that case, you can contact the Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle operations to verify that they’re fully licensed and insured.

Mississippi

Like in many other states, movers in Mississippi are regulated by the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).

When considering hiring a local mover, you’ll want to check that they have an up-to-date MSPC Number.

If they do, it means that they’re authorized to move household goods within the state.

Contact Information –

Missouri

Movers that provide local and intrastate relocation services in Missouri fall under the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

Every household goods mover operating in the state is required to have a MoDOT Number.

Contact Information –

Montana

In Montana, local and intrastate movers need to have a valid Public Service Commission (PSC) number issued by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDOT).

Contact Information –

Customers may send additional moving-related inquiries to [email protected].

Nebraska

The Nebraska Public Service Commission (NPSC) regulates local and intrastate moving companies within the state.

All movers must have a Certificate of Authority issued by the NPSC, maintain minimum levels of insurance, and comply with regulations set forth by the Commission’s Motor Carrier Division.

Contact Information –

For a complete list of movers authorized to operate in Nebraska, click here.

 

Nevada

Movers that provide relocation services within the Silver State are subject to rules and regulations set forth by the Nevada Transportation Authority (NTA).

The NTA’s aims include fostering economic growth and promoting efficient, safe, and reliable moving services around the state.

Contact Information –

You can find a list of Nevada movers and review their published tariffs here or file a complaint against a mover here.

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) is the agency tasked with regulating and overseeing movers that offer relocation services within the state.

If you’ve already moved and had a dispute with your moving company, they may be able to help resolve the issue, but you’ll need to file a formal complaint first.

Contact Information –

New Jersey

In New Jersey, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs handles the regulation of in-state moving companies.

The state’s Division of Consumer Affairs works to ensure that warehousemen (public storage companies) and public movers provide safe, reliable, and ethical services while adhering to all relevant state rules and regulations.

Contact Information –

For more information on how the state regulates moving companies and how to avoid moving scams, click here.

New Mexico

Movers that operate within the Land of Enchantment are licensed and regulated by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.

Contact Information –

For a list of movers authorized to operate in the state and review their published tariffs, click here.

If you’ve already moved within New Mexico and have an unresolvable issue with your moving company, click here to file a complaint.

New York

New York is one of the busiest moving states in the country, and local and intrastate moving companies operating within the Empire State are regulated by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT).

Contact Information –

When hiring a mover in New York, it’s important to make sure that they’re licensed.

To verify that prospective movers are authorized to offer moving services, call (518) 457-6512, or send an email to [email protected], and don’t forget to include the mover’s name and NYSDOT Number.

For more helpful tips on moving in New York, check out Household Goods – Consumer Moving Information.

North Carolina

For-profit household goods carriers in the state fall under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Utilities Commission, Transportation Division.

All legitimate movers should have a “C Number” issued by the commission, signifying that they’ve met minimum insurance requirements and adhere to the provisions outlined in the state’s Maximum Rate Tariff (MRT).

Contact Information –

For additional information about hiring in-state movers and relocating within North Carolina, check out this helpful page from the state’s Attorney General.

North Dakota

All local and intrastate movers operating in the Flickertail State are regulated by the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT).

Each mover in good standing is issued an NDDOT Number, which consumers may check the status and validity of by calling the phone number listed below.

Contact Information –

For general questions about movers and moving within the state, consumers may also contact the NDDOT via email.

Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, in-state household goods movers are certified and licensed by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC).

Contact Information –

Contact the OCC to verify that the movers you’re considering are above board, and get your free Moving in Oklahoma Brochure here.

Oregon

Moving companies headquartered in Oregon must possess an up-to-date USDOT Number as well as a license issued by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

Contact Information –

Pennsylvania

For decades movers In Pennsylvania were regulated by the Public Utility Commission (PUC).

Each company was issued a PUC Number and was required to abide by a universal publicly published tariff that established the rates movers could charge for various services.

Now, some sources claim that the PUC no longer regulates in-state movers, and it appears as though the PUC’s website is no longer functioning. So if you’re moving within Pennylvania, you’ll want to address these issues with your moving company representative and if possible, contact the state directly.

Previous Contact Information –

 

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (RIPUC) is responsible for providing regulation and oversight of the moving and storage industry.

The state maintains a database of licensed movers, though some information may not be current.

To verify that the movers you’re considering are licensed, insured, and authorized to provide relocation services without the state, check the above link and call (401) 780-9700.

Contact Information –

South Carolina

To promote safety, economic development, and ethical business practices, the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) oversees movers in the state. They are responsible for inspecting, examining, and auditing public utility providers like movers.

Contact Information –

For more specific information about state moving regulations, hiring movers, resolving disputes and filing complaints, and other frequently asked questions, click here.

Texas

In-state movers operating in the Lone Star State are legally required to be licensed by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TXDMV), which issues 10-digit TXDMV numbers to commercial carriers.

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For tons of Texas-specific information about licensing, regulations, hiring movers, and protecting your rights as a consumer, check out this helpful web page from the TXDMV – Don’t Make a Move Without Us.

Virginia

In addition to filing tariffs and complying with insurance, bond, and highway safety requirements, all intrastate moving companies in Virginia must have a certificate from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (VaDMV).

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For more valuable information, check out the following links –

Washington State

In Washington, local and intrastate movers are regulated by the state’s Utilities and Transportation Commission.

For a list of household goods movers licensed in the state, click here.

For specific information on each, click the ‘Company Detail’ link under the ‘Status’ heading on the right.

Contact Information –

West Virginia

In the Mountaineer State, the state’s Public Service Commission oversees local and intrastate movers. The commission strives to support and promote the interests of both businesses and consumers, and those interested in hiring an in-state mover can browse the Commission’s Regulated Motor Carrier Database to verify that they’re reputable businesses in good standing.

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Wisconsin

Movers providing in-state relocation services in the Badger State must register with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), but strictly speaking, it’s not a regulated state.

However, movers must comply with individual insurance, licensing, and other state laws and regulations.

Contact Information –

For more specific Wisconsin moving information, check out the Wisconsin Movers Association Household Goods Guide.

Wyoming

In the Cowboy State, moving company licensing, regulation and oversight falls mainly to the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT).

Though they have limited authority to intervene in disputes between movers and consumers, they’re worth calling if move-related issues arise.

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Washington DC (District of Columbia)

Movers operating within Washington DC city limits are subject to regulation by the Utilities and Transportation Commission, which issues operating permits to household goods moving companies.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is an alternative to litigation in which both parties (like a moving company and consumer) agree to enter mediation with an impartial third party to resolve their issues.

Will state agencies help with filing damage claims?

Unless you allege fraud or theft, state agencies generally won’t get involved in the claims process.

What’s an Order for Service and a Bill of Lading?

For an in-depth analysis of the paperwork associated with moving, check out 10 Important Moving Documents.

Can interstate moving companies do local moves?

Van Line agents that perform interstate moves also provide local and intrastate moving services, but in most cases out of state companies cannot make intrastate moves in another state.

What is valuation (cargo insurance)?

Often referred to as “moving insurance,” valuation sets limitations on a moving company’s liability (as in reimbursement/payout) in cases of loss and damage while a customer’s household goods are in storage or transit.

Do state DMVs regulate movers?

State Departments of Motor Vehicles may license commercial drivers, but they generally have no regulatory authority over moving companies.

What’s the difference between local and intrastate moves?

Local moves are generally those where the distance between your old and new home is less than 40 or 50 miles, while intrastate moves are longer, though it varies by state.

What’s the difference between a shipper and a carrier?

In moving terms, the shipper is the customer (you), and the carrier is the moving company or van line.

What’s a DOT Number?

The USDOT issues DOT Numbers to moving companies engaged in interstate commerce, while state DOTs often give registration numbers and operating authority to moving companies that provide local and intrastate moving services.

Last-Minute Tips…

1. On most local and intrastate moves, you’ll only get a non-binding estimate. In some states, movers can give customers a firm price bid.

2. Make sure you get a written estimate from each moving company and never sign any blank or blank documents that you don’t fully understand.

3. Even if you probably won’t need them, ask moving companies for quotes on additional services like packing, unpacking, storage, crating/uncrating, and appliance disconnects/reconnects.

4. Ensure each moving company representative makes a detailed inventory list when giving you an in-home estimate.

5. Though some state agencies purport to champion consumer protection, the truth is that most are underfunded and understaffed.

6. Vetting prospective movers with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a great way to separate legitimate companies from shady ones.

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