When moving to a new house, it is normal to feel a lot of pressure. Usually, at about the same time you are moving to a new city, you are also paying for and preparing a new home. You will also have moving expenses and lots of other smaller costs. During this time, the last thing you want is anything that will add to the stress you are experiencing.
This is why it is important to make sure the moving company you hire is the right one. The wrong mover can escalate your anxieties and push your moving costs through the roof. Even worse, if you hire a rogue mover, they may take your belongings hostage and demand payment before they release your stuff to you, warns KRS Holdings in Mechanicsville.
Before signing a contract with the mover, you should verify their competence and trustworthiness. Getting this information about a mover is vital and it is your responsibility. What are the steps you should take to investigate a moving company before you hire them? Actually, finding the right moving company is not hard if you know what to do. Here are the steps to follow:
What to look for when hiring a mover
If your move is within the same state, you only need an intrastate mover. You can verify intrastate movers by checking the American Trucking Associations’ ProMovers List.
If you are moving across state lines, your mover must be registered with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the company’s DOT number should be prominently displayed on its trucks. DOT numbers can be verified on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration database.
They must be experienced
The company must be local and have years of experience. A company that has been in the area for a reasonable length of time will have a track record that is easy to verify. There may be people in your network who have used the service and can give you a firsthand account of their performance. If a company consistently offers poor service, it is highly probable that they would have closed shop.
Avoid new companies
Incompetent companies or movers with a bad reputation may simply change their name and move to new business premises. Avoid doing business with a new company, especially if there is no one to vouch for it. It could just be a bad company operating under a new name or a fly-by-night outfit. Such companies often have other names they “does business as.”
Positive reviews and references
After you verify that a mover is properly licensed and insured, the next step is to see what past customers say about them. Companies without any review should be avoided. To get more information about a company, ask them to provide references.
These references should be people in your area. For the best results, references must be customers who have used the company in the last three months. Limiting references to recent customers ensures you will be speaking to people who can still recall their experience with the mover. Make sure you contact the references.
Check mover complaint registries
These registries are maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an arm of the US Department of Transportation. If there has been a registered complaint against the mover, this is where you are most likely to find it. In addition to complaints, you will also find valuable advice on the website.
Get a detailed walk-through and inventory
Moving companies are required to physically inspect the goods they want to move before giving estimates. Do not use a company if they try to give you estimates over the phone. The company must send an estimator over to your house to check what you want moved. The estimator cannot do a hasty walk-through, they must be detailed and inventory your stuff.
Whatever the company charges you, the quote must show how it arrived at the estimates. Mover’s rates are usually based on the number of hours and how many movers are needed for the work. There may be additional charges if packing materials are included or if you have large items to move. Whatever the case, these details should be shown in the quotation.
Understand moving contracts
There are three types of moving contracts a mover can give you
- Non-binding estimate – is a ballpark figure of what it might cost, and costs might increase on moving day
- Binding estimate – is more accurate because you are guaranteed not to pay more than the amount charged, even if the weight of your belongings exceeds the estimate
- Binding not-to-exceed estimate – means you will not pay more than the quoted amount but if the actual cost is less, the estimate will be reduced.
This third option is the best.
Don’t make a large deposit
Finally, do not make the mistake of accepting to pay a large deposit. If the mover is asking for a substantial part of the payment upfront, do not work with them. You should only pay movers when your things are delivered.