You need to choose the right moving company for yourself in order to guarantee a safe and enjoyable move. Try finding a reliable moving company that is near you so that you can coordinate with them in a simpler manner.
Here are a few things that you need to check before finding a moving company:
Go through the recommendations
Ensure that you ask your reliable friends, colleagues and local real estate agents for recommendations. In order to find moving companies, you might consider looking in the phone book. Always make sure that you get an in-person estimate of how much your move will cost. Never make the mistake of trusting any estimate that comes on your way from someone who hasn’t looked in every one of your closets. Keep in mind that big-name companies are always not the best-fit for you. Make sure not to get estimates through websites that offer to “find you a mover.” Trust your own guts in case of finding the best-fit mover for yourself. Remember that you need to maintain a safe distance from numerous scams that are associated with some of these sites. Never use household-goods brokerage services that find a moving company for you. Remember that these are usually not regulated by the laws that movers must abide by.
Do an initial screening
After you are done with making a proper list of recommended movers, you can go online to do a background check on every company. You might consider calling or go to the website of the Better Business Bureau. Also, you might call or e-mail the American Moving and Storage Association to see if a moving company is a member. This indicates that it has agreed to follow the organization’s published tariffs and to participate in its arbitration program.
Ensure that you check the consumer-advocacy sites movingscam.com. Remember that each of these sites has a blacklist of companies with a history of consumer complaints. These sites usually provide you with all the required tips and general information about the moving industry. Do a search using the company name at Rip-off Report if you can.
Shortlist at least 3 companies
Never instantly go for the very first company that you come across. You need to shortlist a few first and then compare the different deals and analyze for yourself. When you need to do an interstate move, you need to ask if the company will give you a written binding estimate or, even better, a binding not-to-exceed estimate. Both these types of estimates usually put a guaranteed cap on what you will pay for your move. Nonbinding estimates are legal in general.
In general, interstate movers are allowed to charge you for binding estimates. However, most will offer them free of charge. Estimates are usually based on the weight of the items you are moving and the distance of the move when it comes to interstate moves. For intrastate moves, rules about estimates differ widely. For certain states, they require that movers give a written and signed binding estimate. Other states forbid them. Estimates for these movers typically depend on the amount of time the move will take.
Be open to the estimator about your items and other moving factors
It is very important for you to be clear about your items when it comes to feeding the estimator with all the necessary information. The estimator certainly needs to have a clear idea about all the items that you wish to move. Do not hide anything from him, whether it is the closet, the backyard, the basement, the attic.
You need to remember that if on your moving day the foreman believes you have more stuff than was calculated in your estimate. In that case, he might end up challenging the original estimate. This usually takes place before everything is on the truck. Of course, he cannot hypothetically force you to pay a higher amount, but he might refuse to get your stuff moved for the original amount. The worst part is that at that point in time you won’t have any other decent option but to pay the demanded amount.
So, make sure the estimator knows about any conditions at your new to avoid such a messy situation. Make him aware of the stairs, elevators, or a significant distance from the curb to the closest door.
Once the estimator visits you at your home, you can get as much information as you can about the company. Also, you need to make sure that the company does not contract the job out to another mover. Find out how long the company has been in business. You should have all of the following information ready:
- The company’s full name and any other names under which it does business.
- The company’s address, phone numbers, and e-mail and website addresses.
- Names and contact information for the company’s references.
- USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) and MC (motor carrier) license numbers.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation booklet called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.”
Federal law requires any interstate mover to provide you with this guide that is the official rule book of the interstate moving industry. Movers are usually regulated by the state’s department of transportation or its public utilities or commerce commission. This applies mainly to in-state moves. Certain states publish their own moving-guide pamphlets as well.
Evaluate the estimate
The estimate is a combined document that is usually signed by you and the moving company representative. Often, it serves as your order for service and bill of lading, too. Just like the inventory list, this estimate is one of the basic documents any mover should provide you with. Note that the three words “written binding estimate” should appear at the top. The mover’s signature should be at the bottom.
For an interstate move, the estimate should clearly describe the type and quantity of goods you’re shipping, the distance to your new home, when your things will be picked up and delivered, and any additional services and supplies the moving company is providing. For an in-state move, for which you can’t get a binding estimate, you should still get a written estimate that sets out the hourly rates and any additional costs you may incur.