Moving can be one of the most stressful events you’ll ever experience, regardless of if it is ten blocks away or across the country. However, hiring the right mover can help eliminate most of that stress, making it well worth the extra cost. To help you out, here are 8 steps you should take when it comes to hiring the right moving company for your needs.
- Get referrals. While jumping online might be your initial instinct when searching for a mover, it will likely be overwhelming and can lead you in the wrong direction. When you ask family, friends, coworkers, or even the real estate agent you worked with, you’ll be off to a much better start and will better be able to avoid the scammers associated with many of the moving sites you come across. If someone you know has personally used a moving company, they can tell you the pros and cons of their experience first hand.
- Ask questions. After you find several companies to consider, call their offices and gather information about each company. It’s always good to ask how long they’ve been in business, what their full company name is and if they have any DBAs (Doing Business As), where they are located (meaning get a physical address so you can go check them out), what procedures and policies they follow, etc. And, while you are speaking to a live person, this is also a great time to ask for license numbers (see #5).
- Request in-home estimates. Arrange for at least three moving companies to do an in-home estimate. If they don’t actually come see what stuff you’ll be moving, there is no way they can give you a totally accurate estimate. If they won’t come do an estimate in person, move on and try another company.
- Compare estimates in detail. If any one company’s estimate is significantly lower than the others, use caution. Check the other bids and compare the details to see where the higher costs are coming from. Ask questions if you aren’t sure about anything, and if the company you were leaning toward has the highest estimate, don’t be afraid to try and negotiate a better rate.
- Check for proper licensing and insurance. It’s important that the moving company you select is properly licensed and insured. Legit movers will have a DOT and MC license number that can be verified through the FMCSA’s website.
- Call the FMCSA’s Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline. You can ask about any complaints filed against your moving company, which may help in your decision when selecting the mover that’s right for you. The number is (888) 368-7238.
- Double check with the Better Business Bureau. If you are wondering about a moving company’s track record, the BBB allows you to do that research for free. You’ll be able to see if the company is BBB accredited and can check for good ratings or complaints. If a company isn’t listed with the BBB, you might want to choose someone else.
- Select your mover. Now you should be able to make an educated decision and can select the moving company you feel most comfortable using!
Even after doing all the necessary research, it’s always good to be aware. If anything seems off on moving day (i.e., movers ask for cash upfront, the moving truck doesn’t have a permanent label, etc.) be cautious. Make sure you have a written copy of the mover’s inventory list and get phone numbers from the actual movers themselves so you can contact them at any point during the move.
And finally, if you don’t feel comfortable, send them away!