How to Choose a Moving Company
Choosing a moving company is a daunting task. Not only do you have to make sure you're getting the best deal possible, but you also have to weed out the fraudulent companies looking to make an unfair profit. But fear not, movers! If you follow this guide, you'll find a perfect (and reputable!) moving company to get your belongings safely from point A to point B.
While online reviews are helpful, it takes time to sift through all the 2-star companies to find a 5- star diamond in the rough. To avoid tedious, time-consuming research, use recommendations from friends, family, and real estate agents as a starting point for your search. It's less work, and you'll get a more detailed review from a real person than from an online review!
Review the online reviews
Now that you've gotten word of mouth recommendations, you can scour the Internet for other opinions. You obviously won't want to hire a company with overwhelmingly negative reviews, but what about a company with only a couple really negative reviews? Pay attention to how the company responds to unhappy customers. If the moving company is respectful and suggests a game plan to correct the situation, then you can feel more assured that the moving company will offer excellent customer service to make things right should something go wrong with your move.
Get several quotes
Don't hire the first moving company that gives you a reasonable estimate. Shop around with at least three companies (and do in-home estimates!) to be sure you're getting the best deal and the best service. And don't hesitate to tell a company that you have a better offer elsewhere – they may be willing to haggle! At the very least, showing that you've done your homework will make companies more inclined to give a fair price.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
"You get what you pay for" — this is especially true when it comes to moving companies! If a company gives you a freakishly cheap rate with lots of services and add-ons, it could be a scam. Make sure you do your homework on the company before booking to avoid legal struggles and potentially losing your belongings down the road. You may end up paying a bit more, but your peace of mind and security is priceless!
Look for certifications
As you shop around for a moving company, keep an eye out for certifications from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA)'s ProMover certification. BBB certified businesses have the stamp of approval for upholding high standards of trustworthiness and consumer satisfaction. Similarly, ProMovers must meet high level qualifications before being accepted by AMSA into the program. So whether a moving company is BBB or ProMover certified (or both!), you can feel confident that they're a top notch business. Be on the look out for these logos, which are often displayed on the moving company's website or in their marketing materials:
Scammer red flags
To avoid fraudulent moving companies, keep in mind these red flags:
- The company can't answer your questions, or shows an obvious lack of knowledge or experience
- The company uses rented or unmarked equipment and vehicles instead of purchasing its own
- The company doesn't respond promptly to calls or emails
- The company doesn't offer in-home estimates
- The company doesn't have an easily-searchable address
- The company doesn't take credit cards
- The company requests a down payment or other compensation before moving day
If any of these red flags sound familiar, proceed with caution and do some thorough research!
Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes
In the age of Internet, it's quite easy to background check moving companies to make sure that they don't have sketchy records. Simply search the company's name, US Department of Transportation (USDOT) number, or motor vehicle number at the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration website. If nothing pops up, that's a bad sign! If something does pop up, look closely at the company's information: does the contact information online match up with the contact information that they gave you? Are they authorized to transport household goods? Are the company's safety infraction averages lower than the national average? If you answered "no" to these questions, tread carefully!
Take the plunge
Once you've checked the moving company's record and decided on a fair price, you can make things official! Double check that the dates are correct, ask for a signed service confirmation, and get a bill of lading. When moving day rolls around, make sure you have a copy of the inventory list in the event something gets lost in transit. Then you can sit back, relax, and prepare to unpack!
With a little advanced planning, patience, and sleuthing, you can find the moving company that's right for you in no time. Hop to it!