You have an upcoming move. You are contending with a million (or more!) logistical questions. It’s easy to try to save time and simply go with the cheapest mover, but that could cost you big in the long run. You want your household items and furniture to arrive in good condition.
Of all the things you need to worry about to make sure your move is successful, selecting your moving company doesn’t have to be one of them. If you do your research diligently and follow this guide, choosing the best moving company will be an easy decision.
Research Potential Moving Companies
- Make sure you allow ample time to research several movers. To get started with this, you can contact Network Moving for an estimate from movers in your area.
- Check their licensing and any information. A licensed moving company will have a DOT number listed on its website. All interstate moving companies should also have motor carrier numbers issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Both of these numbers can be used to verify the moving company.
- Get references. Ask at your company. Your HR department might have information. Check with your coworkers, especially anyone who has relocated recently. Friends, family, and neighbors also may have suggestions. Are the moving companies you’re interested in listed with the Better Business Bureau? Check for any information.
You can also search online for reviews and comments on social media sites and moving sites. There may be several negative reviews, but there should not be a pattern of bad reviews and complaints to the BBB. If there are, consider it a big red flag. A real estate agent can also be an excellent source for referrals.
- One advantage of a local company is you can visit them in person. Verify that the company address is a professional business, not a residential address.
1. Get an Estimate.
Your estimate should be based on a representative from each moving company conducting a thorough walk-through of your home. A complete inventory will be made, and the rep will ask you detailed questions about your upcoming move.
Check with each of your potential movers. Sometimes you will be asked to fill out an inventory of your items to be moved. Some companies allow you to do a video inventory. Most frequently, a representative from the moving company will assist you in person with filling out the inventory.
You should actually get three or four estimates. Plan to get estimates at least a month in advance of your move.
Be suspicious of any estimate which is unusually low. Also, be leery of a moving company offering you an estimate without actually seeing what items you will be moving.
First impressions count. When the movers arrive for the estimate, are they professional? Do they drive a vehicle with the company logo? Are you impressed by them, or do they make you feel uncomfortable?
Communication is also important during the move. Confirm that there will be a way to contact the driver or to have updates on the status of your items.
2. Never pay cash or a large deposit prior to moving.
If a deposit is required, it is generally less than 20% of the estimated cost of your move. Most reputable moving companies charge nothing until your items are delivered to you. If you do have to place a deposit, put it on a credit card for easy tracking and consumer protection.
3. Decide on Services.
Are you packing your items? Do you have the time and moving materials to handle packing your entire home? If you are looking for budget-friendly solutions, packing your own household goods may make sense.
Ask the moving companies you are considering what their policy and methods are for packing. Confirm the price for packing and materials. Ask if there are any other fees or costs.
Do you need any other services? Unpacking? Short term or long-term storage? Do you have specialty items such as a piano, or other fragile items? Notify the moving company of any additional services and obtain a quote including them.
4. All about Contracts and the Bill of Lading.
Never sign a blank contract. Every detail must be spelled out in the contract. Pick-up date and Delivery date must be recorded in the contract. Also carefully review the inventory form to ensure all items are recorded, especially valuables. Sign nothing until the form is complete. Anything that is not listed on the inventory form does not exist if you ever need to make a claim.
The Bill of Lading is a very important document. You want to store it in a safe place with you as you move. This is basically a receipt from your moving company detailing all of your items being moved. Check to make sure the destination address (your new home) is correct. It also includes the price you were quoted for your move, as well as a complete inventory of your possessions. Do not sign the Bill of Lading until you have checked every detail for accuracy.
There are three basic types of contracts:
- A Binding Estimate
A binding estimate on the contract is a guaranteed quote. It should include all services, fees, and extras.
- A Non-Binding Estimate
With this estimate, your movers cannot charge more than 10% over the cost originally estimated.
- A Binding to Exceed Estimate
A binding to exceed estimate guarantees the original estimate is the actual price you will pay.
5. What is Moving Insurance Protection and do you need it?
There are two different types of liability insurance. Moving companies are required to provide liability when they transport your belongings. You should ask your moving representative for the exact details and any costs for each type:
- Full Protection (Replacement Value Protection)
This plan is the most comprehensive level of protection for your items. If anything is damaged or lost, your movers have the option to repair the item, or pay you to repair it, or replace the item, or pay you to replace it.
- Alternative Level of Liability
This plan costs less but provides minimal coverage and protection. The moving company is liable only for 60 cents per pound per item, regardless of what the item is.
The Best Moving Company Makes Your Relocation Easier
The moving company you select is your professional ally for your move. A huge weight will be lifted off your shoulders when you have a skilled company handling your possessions.
Contact Network Moving for qualified movers and estimates. Remember to get estimates and don’t sign any contract until you are certain you have the movers you want.