One of the biggest challenges pre-moving day is locating and securing a reputable and reliable moving company. We’ve all heard tales of movers that had a 3-day window for delivery and missed it, or items that were lost or damaged in-transit, or even companies that failed to show up on the scheduled moving day. Unfortunately, once the contract is signed, you can often become hostage to whatever situation occurs because it is hard to get movers on short notice and, if you are moving cross-country or even acoss the state, you may end up “homeless” on one end or the other of the move.
What can you do to make sure that your movers meet your expectations? Here are some steps to help make your moving day experience as seemless as possible.
- Do your research.
- Get recommendations from friends, especially those that have moved in the past year, and your real estate agent. They will have personal knowledge of what companies to take a look at and those to steer clear of. Your agent will often have names of companies that they partner with and will have feedback from a variety of clients.
- Do some preliminary research on the companies that are recommended. There are a variety of sites that you can check to see if the companies you are contemplating are a good option including BBB.org and Moving.org. Don’t forget to run them by consumer sites as well like movingscam.com and ripoffreport.com. The more you look at before the next step, the better. This will save you from taking the time to interview an unacceptable mover.
- Interview the remaining candidates. Ask all candidates the same questions and document the answers for later comparison. Most likely, they will bring a folder of information. You should have one too with questions like:
- Are they properly licensed and insured? They should be able to provide documentation proof.
- Are there employees covered by Worker’s Compensation and Liabiltiy Insurance?
- Do they have experienced staff or do they employee temporary crews?
- Who will be providing services at the destination address? Does the company have a crew to unload/unpack or do they employ sub-contractors?
- Can they provide references and recommendations?
- What is their USDOT number?
- What do they consider additional charges? How much are the charges?
- What is the cancellation policy?
- How do they charge? Hourly? Is there a minimum?
- Is there a guranteed pick-up and delivery date?
- What if you are delayed in-transit? Do they have storage? Do they do consolidation?
- What is the process if something is damaged?
- Can you pack your own things? Is there a liability issue if you do that?
- How are claims handled? What about disputes?
- Do they provide everything in a written document?
- What forms of payment do they accept? Cash only is a red flag!
- Do they offer any discounts or promotions?
- Have the companies come to your house to give you a written binding estimate. Make sure to show them everything that will be included in the move including items in closets, basements and backyards.
- Collect and compare several bids to make sure you are getting the services you want, are properly covered for unexpected situations, and then, select your best options.
- Make sure to check their safety record using their USDOT number. This should be one of the items they readily provide you. You can search for details about the company and their driving record at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
After you have made your final selection, make sure that you provide your movers with an inventory list, as well as the directions to your new home. Exchange contact information to be immediately accessible to each other throughtout the move.
There are many resources on-line to help you be confident in your moving company selections. Some up front research, organization and attention to the details will make this a much soother transaction.
Care to share? What do you wish you knew at the time of your last move? Let us know about your experience with your moving company in the comments below!