Packing up your life to move hundreds of miles away to a new city or state isn’t easy. That’s why most people look to hire professional help. It can quickly get overwhelming trying to manage all the moving parts of relocation while still finding the time for work and family.
But let’s be honest — there are a dozen moving companies promising the world to customers. Pick the wrong one, and you are opening the doors to a myriad of problems — broken items, delayed or missing deliveries, shoddy business practices, unprofessional attitude, poor communication, and the worst…. the company bailing on you the day of the move.
We don’t want that to happen to you. This article will give you 13 practical tips for hiring professional movers that strive to give their customers a world-class relocation experience.
1. Are they taking inventory?
Any reputable moving company will conduct a detailed stock of what you’re planning to take. This is because knowing what’s being moved influences multiple other decisions, like what and how much packing supplies will be needed, what size truck will be required, how many movers should be assigned to the project, etc. The estimator should conduct a thorough in-person or virtual survey and check the drawers, cabinets, garage, bookcases to accurately understand what needs to be moved.
2. How thorough is the walkthrough?
Check whether or not the estimator is hurrying the walkthrough or taking their time to listen to your requests. This is the stage where you should take them room by room to show what is being donated, left behind, disposed of, and brought with you. If there are fragile or antique pieces, ask them what they will do to protect them from damage and if there’s anything they’d require from you for the move.
3. Are they asking for an upfront fee?
If yes, you may want to reconsider giving them your business. Reputable moving companies allow customers to pay once the move is completed. If you pay in full in advance, you will be stuck if the company doesn’t follow through with its promises. Even if they ask you for an upfront deposit, make sure it’s less than half of the total estimate.
4. Do they operate under multiple names?
If yes, that’s a huge red flag. A reputable company will use one name in all its marketing materials and business registration documents. Using multiple names is a tactic shady company use to prevent being assessed by the Better Business Bureau and evade bad reviews on customer review websites. We recommend giving the company a call and see if they respond with their complete business name. Also, make sure they have a local address and phone number available on their website.
5. Do they have references?
It isn’t safe to simply go by online reviews to determine if a moving company is good or bad. This is because reviews can be easily bought and faked. We recommend calling up the company and asking if you could speak to a few of their previous customers. Call or text each of the references and verify their moving experience with the company. You can also try connecting with them through social media since it will be less invasive than contacting them through the phone.
6. Is there packing protection?
If you’re hiring a company for packing assistance, check to see if they provide any kind of insurance that protects your items against damage. For the most part, packers tend to be very careful, but it’s best to be cautious and be protected. Also, remember that most likely the company will bring their own branded supplies for the move. If something unforeseen happens, like a box breaking open while being carried because of bad-quality tape, cause a fragile item to break, the moving company can be held accountable for the mishap.
7. Do they have additional fees?
All moving companies charge extra for factors such as if you live in a high-rise apartment or near a narrow road where parking will be hard to find. But you want to make sure that you work with a company that is upfront with all the additional fees and doesn’t try sneakily padding the bill at the end. Since you may be working with a specific budget, you don’t want to be caught off guard with an exorbitant fee at the end.
8. Is the moving contract detailed?
You want to never sign a vague or blank contract that leaves everything open to interpretation. From the quote to pick-up and delivery, everything should be neatly mentioned on the contract. Also, make sure all your belongings are mentioned in the inventory list in the agreement because those will be the items whose safety you can hold the company accountable for.
9 .What type of estimate are they offering?
There are generally three types of estimates moving companies provide:
A quote is given based on the approximate weight of your belongings, but it isn’t set in stone. The final price will change depending on the exact weight of the move. We recommend steering clear of this type of estimate because you may end up paying way more than you are prepared for.
The company guarantees a fixed estimate based on approximately how much your move will weigh. Once the contract is signed, the company will not be able to increase the price whatsoever. This means you don’t have to worry about overages, but if, by chance, your move ends up weighing less than anticipated, you will still have to pay the quoted amount.
Binding not-to-exceed estimate
This tends to be the most popular type of estimate among customers looking for a long-distance move. If the moving weight exceeds the original estimate, you will not be charged anything extra. But if it weighs less than anticipated, you will only have to pay for the actual weight.
10. Is it easy to report problems
Ask the company what you need to do to file any claims or report any issues during the move. You should have nine months to report any problems and to file an insurance claim. The company will have 30 days to acknowledge your claim and 120 days to approve or deny it. Also, during the moving process, you should be assigned a moving manager you can contact for any questions or concerns. Open and consistent communication during relocation is vital. If you need a quick progress update, the company should have someone reliable ready to quickly address your concerns.
11. Do they offer moving insurance?
All reputable moving companies assume liability for delivering your items in their original condition. You don’t want to hand over your belongings to any company that isn’t licensed or offers extensive coverage for the things they’re handling and transporting.
12. Do they provide a free moving quote?
A reputable moving company will never charge you for a consultation or a quote. We understand that you may be working with a specific budget and are contacting multiple companies for an estimate. Discussing your needs is part of our job, and we will never charge you for that.
13. How easy do they make to attain a moving quote?
You want to work with a company that makes it very easy to get a rough estimate. Most reputable companies will have a quote calculator right on their website. With just a few details, such as moving type and destination, you should be able to see what the project will roughly cost.
We hope these tips for hiring movers help you find your ideal moving company. We recommend contacting at least three companies before making a final decision.