How to choose a reliable moving company
There’s no doubt that we live in a golden age of information. That information when used correctly can make our buying decisions end in satisfaction more times than not. You read the reviews, take test drives and negotiate with the car salesman, before finally pulling the trigger on the new ride. You looked at different styles, sizes, and locations before finally settling on the home of your choice.
You even probably checked out restaurant reviews on Yelp before heading out to eat dinner.
So why is moving any different? Well, for most it’s not, but the one caveat is that you have so many competing priorities when moving. Some simple examples are scheduling child care, updating utilities, closing the loan, etc. Moving really shouldn’t be complicated after all; a reliable company that has a track record of satisfied customers should deliver a great experience.
It shouldn't be a daunting task to choose a moving company. That said, the moving industry is overly complicated at times due to various reason. Getting a quality moving company, requires taking your search a bit further.
You should feel comfortable with your movers, while being aware of rogue movers who are available all over the web.
In this post, we will provide tips on some of the major parts of the process in searching and eventually hiring a mover.
Look out for names of recommended companies & shortlist them
First thing first is to seek for recommendations from people around you like friends and family. Your trusted loved ones will be more than happy to give candid feedback, and you can be that it’s reliable. Put any referrals on your shortlist of potential hires.
From there, we highly recommend using search engines and review sites such as Google and Yelp to sort out the best rated movers from your list. These sites will help you add quality options.
Reach out to prospective moving companies
It is important that you refuse the temptation of getting quotes over the phone. True estimates can only be prepared after getting critical information to know the size of the move. Some examples are the size of the home, number of rooms, number of floors, etc. Many moving companies do charge per item fees and randomly “add on” fees on the job if items were missed during the inventory/quoting process. We recommend asking if adjustments to the fees are in play and ensuring that you understand your pricing structure prior to selecting your moving company.
During your interview process, ask basic questions like the number of moves the company makes, whether they own their equipment, or whether they contract out movers.
Know that none of these answers should disqualify movers, however, they are essential to give you an idea of the type of company you could be working with. The responses should help you get a feel for the companies that suit your needs.
After you have had discussions with a hand-full of companies, it’s time to arrange for three in-home assessments. For traditional moving companies, the in home visit will help get an accurate estimate of how much you should be expecting to pay for your job. With traditional movers, this is the only way to weed out the pretenders and get an accurate idea of the cost for your job.
Verification of credentials
It is required that a mover be licensed in your state to move household goods legally. That license will either allow the mover to haul goods intrastate (within the state) or interstate (across state lines). Being license requires movers to follow state law, maintain at least minimum requirements for insurance coverage, and do quality work.
Keep in mind, the requirements vary by jurisdiction for intrastate moves. Intrastate movers are unregulated in some states. Check with your local department of transportation to get more information on requirements in your state.
Community involvement matters
It is most likely that if the moving company cares about the community in which they operate, there’s every possibility they will care about you and your move. They would want to continue being relevant in your town for the long haul, and they should look to better the community they serve.
The low-ball offer
Be aware…If an estimate is way below what other competitors are offering, it probably sounds too good to be true; there could more to it than meets the eye and there’s every possibility that you could be charged additional fees on the job. Some hidden charges may be involved that you’re not aware of initially, or even worse, theft and damage are more likely when using underpaid movers.
Read reviews and complaints
By searching the web with terms such as “complaints” and “reviews”, you can definitely see what other customers are saying about the company. Check if the company has a report with the Better Business Bureau, which has reviews of over 20,000 of moving related companies. Take a critical look at the letter grade being assigned to the mover while reading the complaints, reviews, and any government related actions.
Taking it a step further, you can review the company’s complaint history by making use of the mover search tool on the Department of Transportation’s website.
Be mindful of large deposit requirements
The deposit a moving company demands shouldn’t be more than 20 percent of the total estimated cost. Most of them will never collect a dime from you until your belongings are delivered. Make all payments on a credit card so you can contest the charge if need be—that’s in the case of a wrongdoing.
Try contacting the local police in a situation the mover holds your possessions hostage in a bid to force you to pay more. They will be willing to offer their assistance.
Ensure to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, if you have a problem with a mover, and in the case of an interstate move, do it with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Special consolidation & delivery windows
If you’re moving out of the state, ask the mover to explain how they use consolidation in detail. Consolidation has to do with your belongings being combined with other people’s and then shipped altogether. This is a great way to save costs, but you must understand that it will extend the delivery schedule, due to multiple stops for other people’s deliveries as your belongings make there way to the destination.
Did the moving company inform you that for long distance moves, it usually involves a delivery window and not an exact delivery date? It is better you know all of this upfront so you can pack accordingly. No wants to start a new job wearing pajamas while waiting for proper clothing to arrive!
You have an estimate now, what next? First and foremost, ensure you understand it completely. The document offered to you by the moving company will include an estimate, and also serve as your order of service. Digest the content and properly understand what it says, and if you need clarity, don’t hesitate to reach out to the moving company.
If you’re dealing with an interstate move, which is also known as a long-distance move, make sure the description of the estimate covers the type and quantity of goods you’re shipping, the distance of the move, the time of delivery, including any additional services that you’ve requested.
For an intrastate estimate, usually under 50 miles, they are typically charged using hourly and mileage rates, with additional charges sometimes coming into play for special items.
During the estimation process, the mover will request that you consider insurance for the protection of your goods, which is important incase any foreseen circumstance crops up. We highly recommend insurance because minimum state coverage is typically $.60 cents of value per pound. That means that standard coverage rarely covers the entire value of your property, which makes insurance a necessity for your protection.
On a final note, the moving company will eventually take an inventory of your belongings to be moved. Make sure the inventory is accurate. If anything is missing, you will have to pay more on your moving day. Also, be sure you’re absolutely prepared when the moving comes.
The final check
Now that you’ve finally narrowed down the list of your movers, it’s time to check them out with the secretary of state, the Better Business Bureau, and also the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, to make sure you’re working with a licensed mover and that they don’t have problems with unresolved complaints. Doing this is so easy, and having come this far, why not be sure?
You want to move your stuff to your new house, but you’re wary about the moving companies out there. With the tips as outlined in this blog spot, you should maximize your success when selecting movers.
The pro tip:
You knew this was coming…Why spend hours researching and meeting potential suitors when you can get reliable service in seconds? With Totable App, we've streamlined the process so you can book confidently and spend your valuable time on life:
get your estimate in real time
book on your schedule
have piece of mind knowing all movers are:
backed by our $1m insurance policy
trusted ratings & reviews in app
Make your best move yet, with Totable starting in May, 2018!