15 Questions to Ask Moving Companies Before Choosing One [Video]

Knowing the right questions to ask moving companies before committing to one is the best way to avoid surprises on moving day. Asking smart questions will help you find the perfect moving company for your needs and help you feel confident your possessions are in good hands. When it comes to the questions you decide to ask moving companies, the more thorough you are, the better.

Check out the video below for an overview of the top 15 questions to ask potential moving companies. 

Get to know the moving company

Before you sort out the finer points of your move, it’s important to get acquainted with each of the moving companies you’re considering. To learn more about a moving company’s track record, ask about their business, qualifications, and references. The first questions you ask a moving company should help you determine whether you want to move forward with their service.

1. How many years have you been in business?

Start by asking about the history of your potential moving companies to get a sense of their service. Some moving companies have been in business for over 100 years! While a long history is not a guarantee of high-quality of service, it can help you gauge a moving company’s expertise.

2. Do you have references for your service?

Reputable moving companies should happily provide you with references from past customers from online testimonials or by request. If you decide to search for references online, look for reviews that provide detailed examples of the reviewer’s experience, whether positive or negative. Checking references can help you spot moving scams from a mile away.

3. Is your moving company licensed, bonded, and insured?

One simple way to guarantee your moving company is in compliance with all laws and regulations is to ask if they are an Updater Certified Moving Company. Moving companies that are classified as Updater Certified must be licensed and insured with a USDOT Number and be registered with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). Ask if your moving company is Updater Certified or inquire about their licensing and insurance information.

4. What documentation will I receive before moving day?

One of the most helpful questions to ask moving companies entails your commitments, contracts, and moving itinerary. Ask your moving company about the documents you should expect to read and sign and what you need to have prepared for moving day.

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Ask about quotes and extra fees

Before you sign a contract, you should understand exactly what you’re being charged for and why. These questions will help you have a master understanding of your bill of lading (moving contract) and help you plan for additional moving fees.

5. How do you determine the cost of the move?

In order to determine your moving expenses, you should ask each moving company how they calculate their pricing structure. Some moving companies charge by the weight loaded onto the moving truck and the distance, others charge by the hour and the size of their team, and some charge by a combination of the two. Finding out how each moving companies charges can help you plan when packing up your home.

6. Is this a binding or non-binding estimate?

There are two common ways moving companies help customers estimate the cost of their move, binding and non-binding estimates. Binding estimates guarantee the total cost of your move and have rules that determine how much the final moving cost can exceed the estimate — if at all. Non-binding estimates are subject to increase based on the exact weight of your move and any additional charges outlined in your contract.

For more on estimates and other moving terminology, check out our moving terms glossary.

7. Are there any extra fees I should know about?

Every move is different and moving companies have a process of evaluating the fees associated with their moves. What you don’t want is to be surprised on moving day with a series of extra charges you weren’t aware of, so make sure you ask your moving company about their moving policies. Some question to ask moving companies include flight charges which govern carrying items up and down stairs, elevator charges, and long carry charges which are determined by the distance between where the moving truck is parked and the home.

8. Will I be charged extra if the moving truck arrives before me?

One of the most important questions to ask moving companies relates to your Preferred Arrival Date (PAD). If you’re moving locally, and especially if you’re moving long-distance, you should ask your moving company when they expect your belongings to arrive at your new home. Local deliveries may arrive the same day but the longer the distance, the more factors will determine your delivery date and time. Ask about guaranteed pickup and delivery service and any fees associated with warehouses and storage.

9. Is there an additional fee for oversized items?

While you’re on the topic of additional fees, notify your moving companies about any oversized items you anticipate bringing with you. Oversized items include pool tables, pianos, and safes. These items are worth mentioning and may be subject to bulky article charges.

10. Are there surcharges for fuel?

Another additional fee question to ask moving companies about are fuel charges. Some moving companies factor in refueling costs into the final moving cost. While this isn’t bad practice, it’s important to clarify with your moving company so you understand how you’ll be charged. Additional fuel charges are especially important if you’re moving long distance.

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Check in about additional moving services

On top of bringing the truck and crew, moving companies offer a wide array of additional moving services. From packing and unpacking to crating, your moving company has the tools to make your move a breeze. Here are a few questions to ask your moving companies about their moving services.

11. Do you offer packing services?

Sometimes known as accessorial charges, packing services include packing, unpacking, crating, or appliance disconnection by the moving company. These charges are added to your baseline moving costs. Ask each moving company what types of packing services they offer, how much they cost, and what you need to prepare. If you’re moving on a tight schedule, packing services are a lifesaver!

12. Who will do the loading and unloading?

One question you’ll want to ask your moving company before you choose one is who will be responsible for the loading and unloading of the moving truck. Moving fragile and heavy objects takes experience. You should make sure your moving company provides a well-qualified team of moving professionals who are up to the task and are physically able to move everything in your home safely.

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Learn about the logistics of your move

One of the last but most important sets of questions to ask moving companies pertains to protecting yourself from damage and liability during your move. Ask about the vehicle and safety regulations of moving companies so you can have peace of mind on moving day.

13. How often are your moving vehicles serviced?

Proper vehicle maintenance is a sign of a reputable moving company. Ask your moving company about their vehicle maintenance schedule and how they ensure your belongings will arrive at your new home on-time and undamaged.

14. Do you offer liability insurance? What are my options?

There are several types of moving insurance your moving company may provide and they each have benefits. Talk to your moving company about the insurance options they offer and consider purchasing additional coverage for extra protection. Here’s an overview of the different types of moving insurance and the coverage they provide.

15. Is your crew covered by workers' compensation?

Not all moving companies offer their crew workers’ compensation and it’s smart to ask your moving company about their policies pertaining to injuries on the job. While a moving company not offering workers’ compeansation shouldn’t be a deal-breaker, you should be sure you understand who is responsible if there is an accident during the move.

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There are so many factors that go into finding the best moving company for your needs. Getting the best information available will help you narrow down your moving company options and single out the moving company that will make your move stress-free. With these 15 questions to ask moving companies in mind, go out and pick your perfect moving company!