7 Tips to Choose the Best Moving Company

A mover holding a cardboard box in front of a moving van
Let’s Get Moving!

In 2019, Better Business Bureau received over 5,700 complaints about moving companies that were registered with BBB. There were many reasons for complaints, but the prevalent ones concerned lost and damaged items, bills higher than estimated provided, and late deliveries. There were also instances of moving companies holding people’s belongings hostage and requesting additional payments. Moving house is a stressful experience as it is. So, events like these are something you undoubtedly want to avoid. Following the words of the wise Abraham Lincoln, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax,” preparation is the key. And preparation begins with research. To choose the best moving company, you must do your due diligence.

  1. Look for Referrals

Nothing beats recommendations you get from the people you know and trust. So, before anything else, ask your family and friends if they know a company to recommend. Since you are moving to a new home, you have most likely worked with a real estate agent. Your agent is an excellent person to ask for a referral. Many agents want to provide an all-inclusive service to their clients, so they partner up with other professionals, including house inspectors, lenders, storage providers, and movers.

You should also go to the Internet and start browsing online databases and reading review sites. You want to find at least three potential companies that seem reliable and professional.

Imagine you have to organize an interstate move, from Florida to, for example, California. It is a pretty massive endeavor, and you will need help. There is no way to monitor the entire process and keep everything under control yourself. You can’t keep an eye on your possessions at all times. It’s downright impossible. It’s imperative to find movers you can trust. The Internet can help you get valuable info to make informed decisions and move on to the next steps.

  1. Dig Deeper

Reading online testimonials is necessary, but you can’t rely on them entirely. Companies sometimes write their own reviews, so you may fall victim to a scam.

Therefore, once you have narrowed down your options to a few moving companies that seem promising, contact each of them and request:

  • Full company name
  • DBA name
  • Number of years they have been working
  • Physical address
  • Email address
  • Website
  • DOT and MC numbers
  • References

Equipped with all this information, visit the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and look up the companies. You want to check their safety profile, see if they have a license, and make sure there isn’t an order to stop operating. Pay attention to any other comments as well.

  1. You Can’t Choose the Best Moving Company Without At Least Two On-Site Estimates

The federal law required moving companies to provide clients with in-home estimates before they perform the move. It also helps you predict your total relocation costs and prepare your budget. It is also a way to meet someone from the company and feel more confident about your final decision. You can get several online quotes to get a rough idea and figure out which company will give you the best value for your money in terms of the services they offer. But don’t rely on these quotes.

It would be best to get in-house estimates from at least two companies on your list. If any of the companies you contact only offer quotes over the phone, it’s a red flag, and you should avoid them. First, it is difficult to accurately describe your property over the phone. Second, if you are moving interstate, a lot goes into the calculation, not just the size of your household. Movers also need to consider the mileage, cargo weight, if you have any specialty items, etc.

When an assessor comes to your home, make sure to ask them as many questions as you like. The most important one would be how they conduct the valuation of properties. Check how they handle damage or loss claims and how liable the company is if something happens.

  1. Compare Movers

To choose the best moving company, you have to compare a few of them. Consider the in-house estimate as a job interview. Pay attention to how professional the assessor seems and trust your gut. If you feel unsure once they leave your home, avoid that company. If at all possible, you should also visit the moving company to check if it really is legitimate.

A reliable moving company will give you a “Your Rights and Responsibilities” brochure. This is something that federal law also mandates. In this brochure, you will find information about the 110% rule, which says that in the case of non-binding estimates, the company can charge you only 10% more than the provided estimate at delivery. The rest you can pay within 30 days.

You should also compare the services that companies offer so you know what they can do for you and if you should look elsewhere.

  1. Don’t Go with the Lowest Price

Always pick a good reputation over a low price. If you can’t find any valid information about a company, but they offer a very low price, it’s another red flag. Typically, if something seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Your number one factor should be the experience, services a company offers, and reputation. These people will handle your entire household. It’s worth a lot more than what you can save if you pick a terrible moving company.

  1. Watch Out for More Red Flags

We mentioned too low prices and refusal to provide in-person estimates. There is more to pay attention to:

  • The company asks for a cash deposit before the moving date
  • The assessor showed up late for the estimate
  • They can’t provide a straight answer to any of your questions
  • Movers showed up in a rented moving truck
  • The company has no physical address
  • They ask you to sign black or incomplete documents
  1. Get Everything in Writing

Verbal agreements mean nothing. Also, can you trust that you and the company will remember all the details of the conversation? Anything you discuss and agree upon must be put to writing. Your contract should include information on:

  • Moving estimates
  • Discounts
  • Protection coverage
  • Dates

A signed document will protect you in case anything unforeseen happens and if there are any disagreements.

The Bottom Line

With these tips, you can choose the best moving company and be confident with your decision. It’s not a difficult job; it just requires you to pay attention to some critical details. With a reliable moving company and an agent who helped you find your new home, even an interstate move can be a breeze.

Meta: Read about the most valuable tips to choose the best moving company. Learn what to pay attention to and what the red flags are so you can avoid trouble.