One of the most important relocation decisions also happens to be the hardest: choosing the right moving company
For starters, we suggest researching moving companies online using websites such as Google or Yelp. Look for movers that have multiple 5 star reviews that are recent and read their reviews carefully. If there were any issues with the moving process, did the moving company get them resolved? Were there any surprises that were encountered in the process? You can also ask friends/family members who have recently moved who they used and how the process went. Whoever you contact, chose at least 2 or 3 companies to call and get a no-cost estimate for services.
To avoid moving scams and rogue movers, make sure to ask whether the moving company is properly licensed. All professional interstate moving companies should have a license number issued by the United States Department of Transportation. You can check their license number and complaint history here. On the other hand, local moving companies who only relocate customers within the same state are regulated by the state – not the U.S. Department of Transportation. Therefore, local movers should hold a state license. It’s important to note each state has their own set of moving regulations and license requirements.
Be sure to ask the moving company whether or not they have ample experience handling your specific type of move. For instance, if you’re moving to a high-rise apartment building, a townhome with multiple stories (and steps), or to a big city, you should inquire whether the moving company has experience with the type of move. Movers should be well-prepared to handle anything coming their way – i.e. parking restrictions, steep stairs, no elevators and small doorways.
Before handing over your things, you’ll want to make sure your belongings are covered in case of a mishap during the relocation. Whether you’re moving across the street or across the country, your professional moving company should have multiple liability coverage options for you to choose from. Licensed interstate movers are required to offer two types of liability options: Full Value Protection and Released Value. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) defines these options, below:
Customers also have the option to purchase insurance from a third-party insurance company. However, before purchasing insurance, the FMCSA recommends checking your homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure you’re not already covered.
In addition to liability coverage options, you should ask to see a moving company’s proof of insurance. Note: every legitimate, licensed moving company should be able to show you their own insurance policy when asked.
You wouldn’t hire an employee without checking their references, so why would you hire a moving company without asking for theirs? Before entrusting your belongings to a moving company, ask for references. When prompted a moving company representative should be able to provide you with all the information you need.
Another must: double-check the moving company’s online reviews and ratings. Moving.com’s Moving Company Directory includes customer reviews for more than 600 moving companies nationwide. The reviews also include the moving company’s U.S. DOT number, Better Business Bureau rating, any official complaints filed with the FMCSA, and whether the moving company has any association with the American Moving & Storage Association.
Don’t let your bill leave you with any unwelcome surprises. Many (if not most) moving companies offer non-binding estimates, which means the estimated price of your move is subject to change, depending on actual costs. This could end up being a good or bad thing. If your move requires more man-hours or is heavier than originally estimated, you could end up paying more than the original estimate. If not, you could end up getting lucky and paying less.
Prefer to know exactly how much you’re going to owe ahead of time? Then hiring a moving company that offers a binding estimate may be the better option. A binding written estimate ensures the cost of your move will not end up exceeding the original cost estimate. The binding estimate should include add-ons and any potential charges along the way. When beginning your moving company search, be sure to ask whether the company offers binding written estimates for their customers. All add-ons and services, such as stairs, travel time and more, should be included and clearly laid out in the quote.