If you're preparing to move, you might be wondering how to know if a moving company is reliable or trustworthy. Use this guide to help you choose the right moving company.
Hiring a moving company can take a lot of the stress out of a move, but only if you hire a reputable one. Some fly-by-night companies lure customers in with low prices, only to refuse to deliver their stuff until an additional fee is paid. Others may insist on payment up front, and then not show up on moving day at all.
If you’re gearing up for a move, you definitely want to avoid these unreliable moving services – who needs the extra expense and hassle? You should take just as much care searching for a moving company as you would for a handyman or any other contractor you plan to trust with your possessions. Get multiple quotes, verify the company’s license and credentials, do your research, and take steps to protect yourself.
Get at Least Three Quotes
Average moving costs can vary depending on the level of service you’re buying and the distance of your move. Moving companies offer a range of services, from full-service moves in which movers pack your belongings for you and provide all of the packing materials, to labor-only services where you pack your own belongings and rent your own truck, but pay a crew to show up and help with loading and unloading. Obviously, it will cost a lot more to have all of your stuff packed and delivered to your new home on the other side of the country by long-distance movers than it will to have a couple of guys show up for two or three hours of heavy lifting.
Get quotes from at least three moving companies, especially if you’re entrusting all of your belongings to a company for a long-distance move. Use a moving cost calculator to determine what a reasonable price for your move might be. Don’t go with the lowest quote; you could end up paying extra to get your stuff back and still having to hire another moving company to deliver it to your new address. A reputable moving company needs to know how much stuff you have to pack up before giving a quote.
Verify the Company’s Credentials
If you’re hiring long-distance movers for a move between states, the company should absolutely have a US Department of Transportation (USDOT) number authorizing it to carry cargo on the interstate. It should also have a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration carrier number. These numbers should be prominently displayed in its advertising and on its website.
Local moving companies that do not operate out of state are required to have USDOT and motor carrier numbers in 33 states. Whether or not a mover has a USDOT and motor carrier number can tell you if they are legitimate, even if they’re a local moving company. However, if your state does not regulate intrastate movers, there are other ways to tell.
Ask for References
A reliable company should be willing to provide references to their trustworthiness and track record of good customer service. These references should include accrediting agencies and insurance agents, as well as previous clients.
Search for Complaints Online
Proper licensing, insurance and professional accreditation are important for any company, but online reviews can tell you how customers feel about the service they received. While any company will have a few disgruntled former customers, it’s not a good sign if there are more bad reviews than good ones, or if previous customers have lodged complaints with organizations like the Better Business Bureau or Ripoff Report.
Research Your Payment Options
No reputable moving company will ask you to pay the entire cost of your move up front. Many won’t require any payment until services have been rendered, especially if you’re purchasing a local move or handling key aspects, such as packing or driving the truck, yourself. However, many long-distance and full-service movers will require a deposit on moving services. A deposit of up to 20 percent is reasonable; more than that may be a bad sign. Pay your deposit with a credit card because it will be easier to get the money back if something goes wrong.
Beware of Red Flags
When you’re vetting moving companies, look out for additional red flags, which can include:
Unprofessional behavior during the estimate process
Using a rented van
Showing up late
Failing to answer questions
When you’re planning a move, using the right moving company is of the utmost importance. But don’t wait to settle into your new place before you protect your new home and budget with a home warranty. Contact American Home Shield® to get warranty coverage for your new home before you move, so you can be prepared for unexpected repairs and expenses that will occur eventually.