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How to Choose A Moving Company

Are you a little nervous about who to trust with moving your earthly possessions? Whether you’re moving across the street or across the nation, choosing the right moving company will save you money, reduce stress, and protect you and your belongings. Follow these guidelines to help you find a reliable moving company and give you a little peace of mind.


How to Choose the Right Moving Company for Your Local Move:

  1. Talk to friends, neighbors and co-workers for personal recommendations and warnings.

  2. If you are looking for choices on the Internet, make sure you DO NOT USE A BROKER. Current consumer protection laws related to the movement of household goods do not apply to Household Goods Brokers. Once a broker has your business, he sells the job to the highest bidder and is no longer responsible to you. Brokers are not licensed to do the actual moves. With a broker, you’ll never know who is going to show up on moving day and they will usually charge you a lot more than you where told by the broker. Always ask, "Are you a broker?"

  3. Spend some time talking with each moving company. It’s a good sign if they take the time to understand your moving needs. Ask questions. If the company representative isn't friendly and helpful on the phone, call someone else.

  4. Don’t let a moving company bait you with low hourly rates. A professional moving company is sure to perform your move more efficiently and protect your belongings and that’s what ultimately saves you money.

  5. Occasionally, no matter how careful a moving company is, an item may be damaged. That’s why it’s important to ask the moving company about their claims policy.

  6. Verify that the moving company is insured.

  7. Verify they are a member in good standing with your Local Better Business Bureau.

  8. Verify that the moving company is licensed and regulated. You can inquire with state agencies that regulate transportation services, or look in the phone book under a Public Utility Commission (PUC) or Department of Transportation (DOT).

Warnings:

  • The lowest hourly rate for a local move is not necessarily the lowest final price. Some moving companies bait you with low hourly rates, and then, in the sneakiest of ways, prolong the time required to finish the move to raise the cost of your move. Always choose the best-suited moving company based on the above criteria, not the hourly price.

  • Watch out for hidden costs. Always ask about any other potential costs you may be required to pay.

  • DO NOT USE A BROKER. Always ask are you a broker?

  • Before you choose a National Van Line, keep in mind most Van Lines don't have the authority to do local moves. The moving contract will be with you and their local agent and the Van Line will not be responsible in the case of any damages or other potential problems. Rarely will the agent tell you this and if he does not choose another mover.

How to Choose the Right Moving Company for Your Long Distance Move:

  1. Talk to friends, neighbors and co-workers for personal recommendations and warnings.

  2. If you are looking for choices on the Internet make sure you DO NOT USE A BROKER. Current consumer protection laws related to the movement of household goods do not apply to Household Goods Brokers. Once a broker sells you, he sells the job to the highest bidder, and he is no longer responsible to you. Brokers are not licensed to do the actual moves. With a broker you’ll never know who is going to show up on moving day and they will usually charge you a lot more then you where told by the broker. Always ask are you a broker?

  3. Spend some time talking with each moving company it’s a good sign if they take the time to understand your moving needs. Ask questions. If the company representative isn't friendly and helpful on the phone, call someone else.

  4. Don’t let a moving company bait you with low quote. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Most honest professional movers are competitive, and there prices will differ but be within a reasonable range. If a mover comes in with an estimate way below all the others, that should be a red flag to examine the basis of the estimate before accepting it.

  5. Occasionally, no matter how careful a moving company is, an item may be damaged. That’s why it’s important to ask the moving company about their claims policy.

  6. Verify they are a member in Good Standing of your Local Better Business Bureau.

  7. Verify that the mover is licensed and regulated. An interstate (moving from one state to another) moving company must be licensed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the federal agency that regulates moving companies. A moving company that holds a proper license is subject to all of the consumer and other regulations administered by the DOT. Call the moving company's office and ask for their DOT number.Then click here FMCSA and input their DOT number and click search.

  8. If you get this message: “No record found, please try different search parameters," this moving company is not licensed and it is highly recommended you do not use their services.

  9. In the next screen: Click on HTML, and then check under the column "Authority Type" to make sure your moving company has at least "Common" marked as active. If the columns "Application Pending" or "Revocation Pending" do not say "NO" for common authority, then you should be aware that something might be wrong.

  10. Under the column Property check under “Household Goods” to make sure its marked “YES”, if its marked NO your moving company does not have the authority to move your personal belongings.

  11. Then scroll down to “Insurance Type” to make sure your moving company has the insurance required for moving companies. A long distance moving company is required to have BIPD ($750,000 minimum) and cargo insurance filed with the FMCSA, so if your moving company does not have either one of these insurances, you should be looking for a different moving company.

  12. One final way to check your moving company is to call the FMCSA's Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline at 888-368-7238 and ask about the complaint history of your moving company.

Warnings:

You may have seen recent news stories about the proliferation of scam movers who have been abusing customers across the U.S. Typically, they come in with an estimate that is much lower than legitimate movers. However, once these scam movers take possession of your household goods, they significantly increase the price and refuse to unload your possessions until you pay the higher price, usually in cash.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from these rogue movers:

  • If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Most honest professional movers are competitive and their prices will differ, but fall within a reasonable range. If a mover comes in with an estimate way below all the others, that should be a red flag to examine the basis of the estimate before accepting it.

  • Legitimate movers usually don't require a significant deposit before moving you. Normally, they require a small good faith deposit. However, scam movers frequently require large deposits even for the simplest and least expensive moves.

  • DO NOT USE A BROKER Many Internet moving sites are hosted by household goods brokers whose names sound like real movers, which they aren't. These brokers turn over your shipment to a mover, many of which are rogue movers instead of professionals. Be sure to ask if your shipment is being brokered.

  • The principle governing industry tariff specifies that interstate household goods rates (prices) should be based on the weight of your shipment (and that weight should be determined on a scale that has been certified by an official state agency). If the mover you are considering tells you that he is going to base your charges on the number of cubic feet in your shipment (which means there is no way for you to verify the amount you will be charged), you may want to consider using another mover.
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Moving Tips...

Moving Tip #14 Before you begin to unpack, don't forget to wipe out all cupboards and shelves. You can also use shelving paper to line cupboards and drawers.
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