The ability to pack up and move to a new home without assistance is a rare gift possessed by only a small percentage of people – for the rest of us, there are moving companies. You cannot simply go with the first movers you see, however, as we’ve all heard a horror story or two about moving companies not coming through or damaging personal belongings. So, how do you find the best moving company for you?
1. Ask Around
Even if you’re moving to a new city where you have limited contacts, you can still ask your current acquaintances for recommendations. Chances are that not all of them have lived in the same place their entire lives, so somebody may be able to give you the name of the moving company they used, if they did use one. Ask them what they did and did not like about their chosen movers, specifically whether the condition of their belongings upon delivery.
2. Check Reviews
Once you have a company name, check out additional reviews on websites like AngiesList, MoversReviewed.com, Yelp or Google Local. Both Angieslist and Yelp have taken measures to be the place to find positives and negatives of service-based businesses.It isn’t a bad idea to go the extra mile and check out their standings with the Better Business Bureau and RipOffReport.com as well.
3. Check Cost
The first thing you’re likely to discuss with a prospective moving company is cost (well, maybe not the first thing, but it’s up there). Whether or not price is of concern to you, what you are charged reflects on the professionalism of the company. If you are priced too low, chances are that your belongings will not receive the utmost care. Too high, and you’re just getting ripped off while your items may or may not be cared for. It is a good idea to compare prices and reputations between different companies before making a decision. The distance, number of transfers (if any) and transportation type all factor into the price. A plane, for example, costs more than a truck.
4. Evaluate Legitimacy
When it comes to payment, never go with a mover that takes only cash. This is because cash does not leave a paper trail, and therefore the company may be trying to evade taxes (making them less legitimate and reliable). Try to find a company that takes your credit card of choice, as well as directly from your bank. You want to have multiple options, should something go wrong. Some moving companies also require a deposit, so be sure to inquire whether the deposit is refundable or built into your bill. This deposit, however, should be a small one.
Once you have the name of a moving company you are interested in, drop by their local office to get a better feel for them (never be fooled by “movers” whose business is run strictly online or by phone. A legitimate business will have an office). The way the office is organized can be a sign of how your belongings will be handled. If the place is messy, find another mover.
5. Check Licensing
As an extra step, you should also check out their U.S. Department of Transportation operating license number. Often listed as “USDOT NO.” (or something similar) followed by a numerical sequence, professionals will have it on their website, as seen in the example screen capture below.
You can then input the number into the DOT’s Motor Carrier Safety Website to further verify the company’s legitimacy.
6. Check Insurance
Accidents can still happen with the best moving companies. Be sure to ask about their insurance and damage policies. Many have their own insurance upgrades at a small fee, but you also have the option of insuring your belongs with an outside insurance provider. Discuss your concerns with all parties involved, well before moving day.