Hiring a Moving Company: A Little Work for A Lot More Peace of Mind

Jon Fesmire | Jul 11, 2016 @ 03:00 PM

What are some of the things people say when they hear that someone they know is moving? “Wow, moving sucks,” is probably one of the more frequent comments, and we all know why. Moving is a huge endeavor that many must undertake while still working, still parenting, and still trying to juggle everything else in life.

On average, Americans make about 11 moves in a lifetime. We might make more, if it wasn’t for the difficulty of moving! In any case, people commonly ask friends and family for help, but sometimes, when you’re moving far or you just need that extra assistance, it’s a great idea to hire a mover.

Once you’ve decided to hire a mover, though, you’ve just committed yourself to a different sort of work. Let’s examine the steps it takes to find, vet, and finally hire a moving company.

Locate Moving Companies Near You

First, use an internet search like StorageFront’s Moving and Labor Marketplace to find a list of movers in your area. This would also be a good time to get out pen and paper and take notes about each company. What exactly do they provide? While some companies simply load your boxes onto a truck and then deliver them to your new home, others will pack and unpack boxes for you, and may even clean your former residence or office when done.

Get In-House Estimates

Fortunately, the StorageFront listings provide a good deal of information, including licensing, customer reviews, and more. You may, however, need to look up the company’s phone number and website address with a Google search.

The initial quotes given should be considered rough estimates. We encourage you to contact the companies that look the most promising to you and to ask for in-house estimates.

When a moving company sends someone to your home or business to do an estimate for you, make sure to show and tell them about everything you need moved. They will need this to give you as accurate an estimate as possible. If you leave something out, they may later refuse to move it.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about how the company operates and what it offers. You can ask what supplies the company provides, if they use new boxes for each move, and how much of the work the company does.

Many moving companies are flexible in what they offer. You may want to hire them just to pick up and deliver your items, and to do all the packing yourself. Or, you may want a full-service move, where they pack up, clean, transport, and unpack.

Ask how many movers they think the move will take, and expect it to be greater if you need your items packed as well. Also, find out how they handle appliances, furniture, and other large items like pianos. Some companies will disassemble your items at your old place and reassemble them at your new place. Make sure they are aware of any stairs, distance to curb, and so on.

Ask for a binding or a binding-not-to-exceed estimate to minimize any extra charges. State laws vary on how these estimates work, so they may have to use one of these, or they may not be allowed to.

On the estimate, make sure they provide a breakdown of the pricing. How much will boxing your goods cost? What about driving time and mileage? It should all be easy to see in the final paperwork.

Comparing Companies

Once you have two to four estimates, it’s time to compare them. Don’t automatically go for the cheapest! It might look like the best deal, but it might not actually be the best deal. This is where the breakdowns and your initial research will help tremendously. A higher-priced company may have a better reputation and more experience. Its quote may include services you need that the cheaper priced estimates do not. You want to go with the one that works best for you.

At this point, there are other steps you might consider taking. Look up each company on MovingScam.Com and Ripoff Report. While most movers should be reputable, scams do exist in the business.

If you are moving to another state, the company should provide you with the U.S. Department of Transportation and Motor Carrier booklet, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.” Interstate movers are required by federal law to provide this guide, but you can also download it from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. For intrastate moves, another guide or pamphlet may be provided.

Finally, head to the website for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. There, you can check the number of drivers the company has, and make sure all their authorizations are in place and up to date. If anything looks suspicious, you can call the FMCSA at (202) 385-2423.

Yes, hiring a moving company itself can be a lot of work, and will definitely cost you extra. However, if you have the money and just want to focus on the rest of your life while a reputable business takes care of your move, it’s worth the effort.