Whether you’re hiring a moving company to get your possessions across town, to another state or to a new home in another part of the world, you’re going to want to take some time to do a little research. The Internet is rife with nightmare stories of movers who are careless with possessions, don’t show up after already being paid or even hold property hostage until you give them even more or your hard-earned cash. Check out these four tips to help you choose a good moving company.
Check the Word on the Street
Start with looking at reviews. Word of mouth from people you trust is one of the best ways to know where to start, but online reviews will give you a good picture, too.
When you find a company that looks promising, search their name along with “complaints” and see what comes up. What’s their Google rating? Are there reports filed on them with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)? How has the BBB scored them? What’s the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) website say about the company’s history? Are there any government actions against them? These are all important things to consider when hiring a moving company.
Make Sure They’re Legit
If you’re moving to another state, moving companies are required to have a number listed with DOT. Reputable movers provide this number on their website and advertising, so that may be a red flag if you don’t notice it. But even if a number is listed, check it out for yourself with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)—a division of DOT.
If you’re move is in state, the FMCSA can help there, too, as most states—including Georgia—require moving companies to have an active DOT number.
Additionally, you can check to see if your moving company is certified by the American Moving & Storage Association. This isn’t required by law, but it’s always a good sign if they’re listed with this organization, as they hold companies to certain professional standards.
Get Your In-home Estimates
FMCSA requires moving companies to come to your home and provide a free estimate. If the moving company isn’t willing to do that or just wants to do it over the phone or online, be wary. They’re probably not legit.
And don’t just get one estimate. A low price shouldn’t be your top reason for choosing a mover, but saving money is always a good idea whenever possible. So get several companies to come out an evaluate your move—take note of any estimates that seem unusually low, as this can be a red flag. Similarly, be cautious with companies who want a large deposit up front. It’s common for moving companies to ask for a down payment, but it’s typically not more than 20% of the total cost. Many companies don’t ask for any payment until the job is complete.
Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to check out local movers. You’ll be able to stop by their office and see what kind of facilities and equipment they use, as opposed to working strictly over the phone or Internet with a company that might be located far from where you live.
You might have items that require a crane or forklift. If the mover doesn’t own this equipment and has to rent it, it could mean delays in your move. Before you schedule an in-home estimate, let them know what kind of items in your home might need special moving accommodations. Ask what kind of equipment they have on-hand. A few questions can help you weed out companies that might be ill-suited to your needs.