Tips For Hiring Quality Movers
Moving insurance and valuation protection
All moving companies are required to assume liability for the value of the goods they transport. However, there are two different levels of liability. You need to be aware of the charges that apply and the amount of protection provided by each level.
Report any problems
You have nine months to report any problems to the moving company and file an insurance claim. So if you’re opening boxes a year later and find shards of glass, you’re out of luck.On moving day, try to open each box and sift through it to check for damage. Note any problems on the mover’s copy of the bill of lading before signing it.
Don’t accept the “guaranteed” quote
There are three kinds of moving contracts.
Avoid a blank moving contract
Never sign a blank contract. Get absolutely everything in writing. The mover’s estimate and any extra fees should be listed, as well as your pick-up and delivery dates.Read your contract and make sure all of your belongings are listed. If your laptop isn’t labeled on the inventory form you sign before the driver leaves, you can’t expect it to be in the box when he arrives. You can’t file a claim for something that doesn’t appear on the inventory list.
Beware of extra fees
Do you live in a two-story house or are you moving into one? Moving to or from a 10th-floor apartment? If so, you’ll likely be charged extra for the movers’ having to negotiate stairs and elevators. Have a narrow street that won’t fit a moving van? Expect a surcharge for the transfer of your belongings to a smaller truck for delivery. Make sure to ask your mover about any additional fees that may apply to your situation.
How to Choose a Moving Company
Verify the Address
Ask for a business card or pull up the mover’s website and then look up the listed address online or through the phonebook. Make sure the moving company’s address is listed and registered under the company names. Be wary of any address listed under a residential name.
Ask About Professional Accreditation
Trade associations vet companies before giving them a membership or approved seal. Look for a moving company carrying the American Moving and Storage Association’s ProMover logo. You can also search for approved companies directly from the American Moving and Storage Association’s Moving.org site.
Check With the Better Business Bureau
Research the moving company’s track record with the BBB, which you can do free online. Stick with moving companies that are BBB accredited or at least have a good rating. If the moving company isn’t listed with the BBB, consider looking for one that is.
Make Sure the Mover Is Licensed and Insured
The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues a U.S. DOT number to licensed interstate movers. If you’re moving out of state, verify the moving company’s license through the FMCSA’s protectyourmove.gov site and request the company’s U.S. DOT number; you’ll need it if you have to file a claim against the company later.
Watch Out for Red Flags
Keep an eye out for red flags during the estimate. For example, most reputable moving companies won’t ask for a cash deposit before you move. If the mover seems hungry to get the money upfront, it might not be a legit business. Also, during the estimate, note how professional or unprofessional the movers seem. If they show up late, seem unsure of their abilities, or can’t answer your questions, look for another company. And be wary of any movers who show up in a rented moving van. A professional company will own its own equipment.
Tips for Hiring Movers – How to Find a Good Moving Company
Types Of Moving Services Provided And Extra Fees
As you begin your journey to find a mover, it’s important to really think about what your move involves and whether a moving company provides the services that meet your specific needs.
Reputable Movers Offer Free In-Home Estimates
A key indicator when trying to figure out how to find a good moving company is if they provide a free estimate. A quick online quote or an estimate given over the phone is a good starting point, but a reputable moving company will offer a more accurate quote via a video or in-home estimate.
Trusted Moving Companies Are Qualified, Licensed And Insured
When searching for movers, it’s important to look for the ones who are fully licensed and insured. These precautions mean that not only is the company legitimate, but if something goes wrong during the move, there is insurance as backup.
Read Online Reviews From Real Customers
Finding out information about the mover from their website will give you an idea of who you’re dealing with, but the true assessment comes from the reviews of real customers.
Years Of Experience And Community Involvement
The amount of experience in the moving and storage industry that the company has will speak to the quality of the services they provide.
Steps to Hiring a Mover
On moving day, get a written copy of the mover’s inventory list, provide the movers with specific directions for getting to your new home, and make sure you have a number where you can reach the movers throughout the move.
Now you can select a mover. You should feel confident about any company you’ve run through the checks above. Confirm the dates and details of your move, and make sure you get a signed order for service and a bill of lading.
Next, make sure your moving company has the license and insurance it needs to move you legally. (Yes, there are movers who solicit business without the legal authority to do so.) Go to safersys.org, the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and enter the company’s USDOT number and click on “Search” (you can also search by name or MC number). If you have an accurate DOT number, you’ll be shown a screen with lots of information on the company.
Now check out the contenders in more detail. Take the information you’ve gathered and get back online. First, make sure they’re incorporated in your state―and confirm how long they’ve been in business―by checking your secretary of state’s office. Some have searchable databases of businesses online; if not, call the number in the government pages of the phone book.
When you’ve gotten all your estimates in, compare the bids. Be wary of any company that comes in much lower than the others. Look at high bids to see where the extra costs are coming from. Call and ask questions if you don’t understand anything. If you have several reasonable-sounding bids from reputable companies, don’t be afraid to negotiate to get the best possible rate. Especially in a market where there’s lots of competition, most movers will work with you on pricing.
How to Choose a Reliable Moving Company
Hire a local mover. If you hire a moving company based in your area, you’ll avoid being tricked into doing business with an unscrupulous mover operating solely over the internet, says Scott Michael, president and CEO of the American Moving & Storage Association, a trade group that represents companies that handle local, interstate, and international moves. Consider visiting the company’s office and checking out its equipment, he says.
Get estimates. Get at least three written in-home estimates, Hutt advises. Be suspicious if an estimate is unusually low or if the moving company provides an estimate over the phone or online without sending a representative to scope out the job. It may be a sign of scam.
Verify credentials. For moves between states, a mover must have a number issued by the Department of Transportation. It serves as a license that identifies commercial vehicles transporting passengers or hauling cargo in interstate commerce. If the mover you’re considering is licensed, it must provide the DOT number on its website and in its advertising, says Kurt Larson, a spokesman for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the Department of Transportation that oversees truck and bus safety. The mover also must have a carrier number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Read reviews and complaints. See what other customers are saying about the company by searching the web with the company name and such terms as “complaints” and “reviews.” Find out whether the company has a report with the Better Business Bureau, which has reviews of more than 20,000 moving-related companies. Look at the letter grade the BBB has assigned the mover and read about any complaints, reviews, and government actions.
Be wary of large deposit requirements. A moving company shouldn’t require a deposit of more than 20 percent of the estimated cost of the move, Michael says. Many won’t require any payment until your belongings are delivered, he explains. Put any deposits or other payments on a credit card, so you can contest the charge if there’s wrongdoing.