The process of finding a good mover can seem daunting. But doing a little research is worth it. By shopping around, you can save money and avoid scams.
1. Get Recommendations: Ask friends, coworkers, and local real estate agents. Look in the phone book for moving companies that have offices near your home. You’re going to want to get an in-person estimate of how much your move will cost. Don’t rely on any estimate that comes from someone who hasn’t looked in every one of your closets. Don’t assume that big-name companies are best. Do not get estimates through websites that offer to “find you a mover.” Find the mover yourself and avoid the numerous scams associated with some of these sites. And don’t use household-goods brokerage services that find a moving company for you―they are not regulated by the laws that movers must follow.
2. Do an initial screening: When you have a list of recommended movers, go online to do a quick background check (you can do a more thorough check later). Be sure to check the consumer-advocacy sites movingscam.com. Each of these has a blacklist of companies with a history of consumer complaints, as well as tips and general information about the moving industry. Make sure you look at Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews, Google reviews, LikedIn Profiles...... Anything you can. Use the resources you have available to you.
3. Estimate: When an estimator comes to your home, show him everything you want to have moved―in the closets, the backyard, the basement, the attic. If on your moving day the foreman believes you have significantly more stuff than was calculated in your estimate, he can “challenge” the original estimate (before everything is on the truck, not after). He can’t force you to pay a higher amount, but he doesn’t have to move your stuff for the original amount, either. And at that point you probably don’t have a lot of other options. Also, make sure the estimator knows about any conditions at your new home that might complicate the move, such as stairs, elevators, or a significant distance from the curb to the closest door. While the estimator is at your home, get as much information as you can about the company. Make sure he will be moving you himself, not contracting the job out to another Company. Find out how long the company has been in business. (You want one that’s been around a few years at least) By the time the estimator leaves, you should have collected all of the following:
-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.
4. 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.
5. License and Insurance: 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.
6. 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.
7. Relax: Sit back relax and allow the movers the space they need to get your belongings moved. Just remember, they are the professionals and you have done all your hard research, you KNOW they are professional.