Moving Tips: How to Pick Trustworthy Moving Companies

How to Pick Movers

Choosing a professional moving company is one of the most important decisions you will make as part of your relocation. You should start looking for a mover early so you have time to compare and contrast and find the best deal. The Internet has become a very popular and effective way for consumers to find high quality moving companies and to easily receive multiple quotes. It is important to always get multiple moving quotes to help you really evaluate the services you are receiving and the price for these services.

Outside of your Internet search for movers, you should ask your friends, family and neighbors for recommendations and advice on movers. An easy way to check on the background of the moving companies that you want to speak with is by contacting the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) to inquire about the company's complaint record and how these complaints were resolved. All movers are required to be licensed, so check for the DOT license number.

Interstate movers are required to meet two additional criteria:
  1. They must publish their tariffs or price list and make it available to anybody who requests a copy.

  2. They must participate in a dispute settlement program and offer neutral arbitration in the event a dispute arises. A dispute may arise in the event loss or damage happens to a shipment while in the hands of the mover.

Before talking to a mover you should decide what items will be shipped and what will be sold or given away. Also know whether or not you would like the mover to pack and know what additional services you might need.

Start the process of choosing a mover by calling or emailing the movers you are considering and ask for an estimate. Stay involved in the process by meeting with the relocation consultant to survey your home and prepare a written estimate. Find out how long the estimate is valid for and whether or not it is binding. Never accept an estimate over the phone. If the company does not offer an in-person estimate, then you should not consider using them.

When getting an estimate it will be important to inform the mover of any possible unusual situations on either end so your estimate can be more accurate. Problems that the mover may encounter at the delivery include parking, road access, street accessibility, and delivery time restrictions.

Try to reserve a "parking space" for the moving van if your new home is on a congested street. If the moving crew has to carry your load more than 75 feet from the moving van to your door you may be charged for excessive distance. Some neighborhoods may prohibit trucks over a certain weight. If this is the case, the driver will offload your possessions into a smaller vehicle and the charge for that can be quite high. Advise the relocation consultant if you anticipate this situation arising.

Also, the cost of your move can increase if there are stairs or elevators involved. Advise the consultant if you are moving to a high-rise building where an elevator reservation is required.

Ask all movers for references and be sure to understand the coverage for loss or damage of your shipment. All licensed movers must provide liability for the value of goods they transport. There are different levels of liability that you need to be aware of. You need to understand the amount of protection provided and the additional charges that may apply. See our guide to moving insurance to understand the different options.

When choosing a mover it is always important to ask plenty of questions. Here is a list of important questions to ask when making your decision.
  1. Are there extra charges if the movers have to go up an extra flight of stairs even if I did not know about it when booking?

  2. What is the estimated delivery time and will the driver notify me?

  3. If I pack myself, what type of packing material such as boxes are acceptable?

  4. How do I pay? Cash, credit card, check (personal or certified)?

  5. When do I pay? Cash on delivery?

  6. Will the movers disassemble everything and will they reassemble all items at the destination?

  7. Following the initial weigh in, will there be an additional weigh in to determine actual cost?

  8. If I have purchased liability insurance and I need to make a claim what is the process?

Other questions may arise as you prepare for your move. Write them down as you go so you don’t forget to bring them up with the mover. Making an informed decision when choosing a moving company will allow you to rest assured that things will go as planned on moving day.