Moving Company Startup Advice
Moving Company Regulations and Permits
Starting a moving company? Don't forget to get a moving business permit. Without a moving company permit, you may be out of businesss before you know it.
The moving industry is a heavily regulated industry.
If you operate a moving company, you need to be aware of all the moving company regulations and laws that are in effect in the areas you serve.
If you don't, you can be subject to fines for a wide range of violations, and your moving business can even be shut down.
For example, if you start a moving company in California, here's a small sampling of moving company violations that can result in fines:
- Operating and advertising without a permit
- Engaging employees without evidence of workers' compensation insurance coverage
- Failing to comply to consumer protection rules in MAX 4 such as not showing a Not To Exceed Price on shipping documents
- Operating as a sub-carrier without a permit
- Failing to provide the "Important Information for Persons Moving Household Goods" booklet
- Failing to issue the "Important Notice About Your Move" document
In California, the California Public Utilities Commission's (PUC) Consumer Protection and Safety Division, Transportation Enforcement Section is the enforcer of these rules.
Each state has its own enforcement agencies that monitor moving businesses.
In addition to state regulations, there are many county regulations regarding moving companies and city regulations covering moving businesses.
For example, all businesses performing South Florida moves in Miami-Dade County must be registered with the County and display signage.
There is an annual non-refundable moving business permit fee of $750.00 that must be paid. There is also an annual non-refundable moving vehicle decal fee of $10 per vehicle.
Getting a moving business permit isn't just as simple as filling out a form and paying the fee. Most states and counties will require that you have the appropriate insurance coverages and they also want to be sure you have worker's compensation insurance.
In our example county, Miami-Dade County, your application for a moving company permit must be accompanied by a certificate of insurance showing that you have General Liability Insurance, Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance ($50,000 combined single limit for vehicles with GVW of 35,000 lb. or less; $100,000 combinedsingle limit for vehicles with GVW in excess of 35,000 lbs.) and Cargo Liability Insurance (valuation of $10,000 combined single limit minimum with 60 cents per lb. per article).
Palm Beach, Florida has different requirements to be eligible for a moving company permit. They require valuation coverage at the rate of sixty cents ($0.60) per pound per article; cargo legal liability insurance of no less than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) per shipment; Motor vehicle combined bodily liability insurance and property damage liability insurance as follows: a) $100,000 per occurrence for each commercial motor vehicle weighing less than 26,000 pounds, b) $250,000 per occurrence for each commercial motor vehicle weight of at least 26,000 but less than 44,000 pounds and c) $1,000,000 per occurrence for each commercial motor vehicle weighing 44,000 or more.
Beyond proof of the insurance discussed above, you will typically need to show proof of workers' compensation insurance coverage, a state certificate of exemption or a letter indicating that no such workers' compensation is required by law.
As you can see, depending on where you decide to open a moving business, the requirements for a moving company permit will vary considerably. As such, when starting a moving company, you should contact all of the state and county agencies where you will be operating your moving business. These government employees will be more than happy to explain the specifics on what it takes to start a moving business in your area.
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