Moving companies are not created equal. As with every other business, each has its own quirks and kinks that differentiates it from the next one.
The internal culture aside, there are certain irreducible minimums each mover is expected to meet, lack of which you shouldn’t even give them a second thought.
That’s because while moving is not short of a litany of things you need to think about, choosing the right moving company is one of the most important decisions you will get to make when planning your move.
Choosing a mover is not as straightforward as hopping on the Internet and doing a quick search, especially considering there are thousands of local and interstate companies all vying for your business.
Finding a mover that speaks to you takes time, so it’s not something you want to do a day before your move.
Ideally, you need to pick your mover at least two months in advance of the move. Not just to avoid the mad dash at the eleventh hour, but hiring a mover at short notice will most likely cost you more.
Plus, you’re less likely to avoid hiring the wrong guys – and last-minute surprises that only serve to increase your stress levels.
Hiring the perfect mover involves doing your due diligence to ensure your possessions are in good hands. The more thorough you are, the better.
Here are 5 key questions that should be top of your list when evaluating companies to handle your move.
- Are you properly licensed?
Licensing is one way you can avoid hiring rogue movers and being a victim of moving scams.
A reputable mover who provides interstate moving services should have a license number courtesy of the USDOT (US Department of Transportation). Ask for this number from the company and if you want, cross-check it on this valuable resource.
Local moving companies, for their part, are licensed by the state, not the USDOT. But they too, need to have a state license.
- What type of liability coverage does your company provide?
Accidents happen, even when working with experts. As such, you want to be sure your belongings are covered in the event of a mishap during the move.
That applies when you’re moving across the street as it does when making a long-distance move across different states.
Licensed moving companies (interstate) are required by law to provide two types of coverage: full value protection and released value protection.
You should also have the option of a third which is normally purchased from a third-party insurance company.
Ask to see the mover’s proof of insurance before signing up, which every legitimate company shouldn’t have an issue providing.
- Are you experienced with my type of move?
This is an obvious but often overlooked point, but it is imperative that you are absolutely sure the mover you intend to hire is well-versed with your specific type of move.
For instance, if you are moving to a high-rise building with multiple stories, you need a mover who has done these kinds of moves before.
If you’re moving across the country, you need to be sure the mover is not only licensed in long-distance moving, but also that they have what it takes to handle this type of move, including state-of-the-art moving trucks.
If you plan to move special items like fine art, antiques, pianos etc., again, you need a mover who has a track record moving these sorts of items.
- Do you have any references?
Before entrusting your belongings to a mover, ask them to point you to any references they may have.
A mover who has nothing to hide will be happy to provide them on request and often have them in the open, whether it’s on their social media pages or review websites like Yelp.
No, the online testimonials listed on the mover’s business website are not enough.
- Tell me everything about your pricing
Moving expenses can spiral out of control if you’re not careful – either you failed to understand the pricing structure, overlooked a minor detail, or got slapped with sneaky charges at the end of the move.
For starters, ask the company how they calculate their pricing structure – is it by the hour and size of the moving crew, or by weight and distance?
Once that is clear, ask if there are any fees you need to be aware of. These range from extra fees for oversized items, to fees charged in the event the mover’s truck arrives at your new address before you, to fuel surcharges etc.
As well, understand what type of estimate the company provides.
Is it a binding estimate that has a cap on how much the final moving cost can surpass the initial estimate by? Or is it non-binding that is subject to change based on weight and any extra charges defined in the contract?
Ask these questions to make sure you and the mover are on the same page. Nobody likes last-minute surprises, more so when it comes to money matters.