RELO Roundtable…a gathering place

For folks who have stuff to move and the professionals who can help them

More People Moving Out of Florida

By • Feb 24th, 2009 • Category: *RELOCATION NEWS UPDATES*, Scam

It appears there might be another big casualty of the real estate mess – Florida. 

In an article released Sunday, veteran Associated Press newsman Mike Schneider explains what many national van lines already know – the Sunshine State is losing its longtime appeal for many relocating American’s. 

Using data obtained from Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, a recent AP analysis showed there has been a 30 percent drop in driver’s license applications during the past five years. This corroborates relocation trends gleaned from shipment data released by three of the nation’s largest household goods moving companies during the same period. 

Recently Atlas Van Lines 2008 Migration Patterns, Allied Van Lines 2008 Magnet State Study and United Van Lines 2008 Migration Study all confirmed that the lure of sun, sand and security have been compromised by hurricanes, higher insurance, and even higher unemployment numbers.  There are now an equal number of people moving into the state as there are anxious residents wanting to move out. 

These changes in consumer attitude will undoubtedly have an affect on future traffic patterns and pricing during the upcoming summer moving season – particularly all along the eastern seaboard. 

Every moving company in the megalopolis stretching from North Carolina to Massachusetts knows the attraction that Florida has had to their business volume and bottom line.  The high frequency of Bostonites, Chicagoans, Detroiters, New Yorkers and Washingtonians that historically have flocked to the beaches and bikinis are what made, in movers jargon, Florida ‘zip’ runs popular out of larger metroplexes for both large van line agents and small independent moving and storage outfits.  These regular, weekly turnarounds have supported many an energetic bedbugger’s family for the last six decades. 

In the past, equipment rental companies used to have to pay to move their excess inventory of empty trucks or mobile/portable storage containers out of the market because of the non-stop influx of new arrivals every week. This equal mix of in-bound and out-bound patrons is a blessing to their bottom line.

In a normal economy, the balance of supply and demand would suggest that the pricing for relocation services going into or coming out of the state might not be as lopsided or competitive because of the new demographic changes.   

Florida, however, has a reputation for being a hotbed that attracts seedy independent contractors, a slew of virtual relocation and lead generating marketing companies; and slick, well-financed move brokers who offer ‘unbelievably’ high discounts despite the fact that they don’t have any drivers or equipment over which they have any dispatch control or fiduciary responsibility for.

With so many dubious vendors preying on financially strapped consumers in such a turbulent real estate market, anyone considering a relocation in Florida must check out any illegitimate craigslist contractor or state licensed moving company that they’re considering to handle their move.     

The Florida Attorney General’s How to Protect Yourself: Consumer Guide to Moving is an mediocre online resource about how to choose a moving company. Additional information can be obtained from the Florida Movers and Warehousemen’s Association or through the American Moving and Storage Association’s ProMover Program.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains a complaint history of Department of Transportation licensed interstate household goods carriers and move brokers at their Protect Your Move.gov website. Visitors can check a prospective company’s credentials, size and safety record, authority history and complaint record using the FMCSA’s Search Movers & Complaint History tool at the government operated resource.

When searching for someone to handle your relocation, don’t shop by price alone. You’ll probably get what you pay for. Look for true value and measurable performance results in the services being offered. Things to consider when making your decision are:

Fleet Size – Does the company have dispatch control over enough licensed equipment to meet their pick up and delivery service commitments for all of their customers?

  • Location – Is it practical to expect the carrier to be able to service your shipment from their location with the amount of equipment that they have qualified?
  • Tenure – How long has the company been involved in interstate moving? Does their motor carrier or brokerage authority have unexplained interruptions or gaps in their service?
  • Complaint History – What is the frequency and type of complaints the company has received? No company is perfect and it’s normal for many established, reputable interstate movers and brokers to have some criticisms. Are the number of records and nature of complaints consistent with their size and tenure?
Residents who have complaints about suspected rogue movers and scam artists that operate in the state can report them to the AG’s general’s fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226 or by filing a complaint online at My Florida Legal.com. Those moving within the state should visit Florida’s Division of Consumer Services’ Household Intrastate Moving resources.  
 
Problems with interstate household goods carriers or move brokers can be reported to the FMCSA through the National Consumer Complaint Database.
 
If you’re still in a quandary about your moving plans, visit the RELO RoundTable Forums and ask for some free advice.

 

Tagged as: , , ,