What To Look For When Hiring A Moving Company
You are about to move house and have decided that the best way to go about it is to hire a moving company. The reason you made this choice is because you want your move to be as smooth and easy as possible. You believe that with everything in the hands of professionals your stuff won't go missing and nothing could go badly wrong. But you are only half-right.
Every year millions of people move house in the US, and a good percentage of them use professional movers. For some of these people, their house moving experience turns into a nightmare because the movers they hire proved to be incompetent or outrights scams. Cory Real Estate Services has some experience with this as they helped hundreds of their tenants to move in/out over the years. Some of the experiences these people report include:
· Movers who did not show up on moving day
· Avoidable damage to household appliances and other items
· Inability to get their stuff back because the movers held their belongings hostage
· Hidden charges that inflate the moving cost far above the estimate that was initially given
Hiring a moving company is not as simple as getting the company with the lowest quote. The professional moving business has exploded with over 6,000 moving companies in America. Among these are the inevitable fly-by-night operations. To help you avoid such companies, we share things to look for when hiring a moving company.
Verify the movers
The most credible movers will be licensed. If you live in a state which requires movers to have a state or local license, check to see that they are licensed. If they are interstate movers, they must have a DOT number issued by the Department of Transportation. This can be verified through the FMCSA database and their complaint history accessed. Movers' insurance is also easy to verify, and their website should list a local address that you can visit. The company should be a member of the American Moving and Storage Association and certified under the "ProMover" program.
Look for companies with a track record
How long a company has been operating in its current location is a good indicator of its reliability. Untrustworthy companies do not stay long in one area because they soon get a bad reputation. Some companies will change their name and address to shed the bad reputation they have acquired. So avoid new companies for which there is no reliable information. If the company's telephone numbers are not answered with the full name of the business or they are "doing business as" the mover should be avoided.
Check the company's reviews or ratings and get recommendations
Some companies resort to doing business under various names to avoid being assessed by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If a company is not reviewed or rated by the BBB, avoid them. You may also get a list of reliable movers from your state's professional movers association or the American Moving and Storage Association. Regardless of who recommends a mover, ask them for the contacts of, at least, three customers whom they have helped to move in the last three months. These must be people in your area. You may also get recommendations from friends and family on movers they have used personally.
Have an estimator do a thorough walk-through
The moving company's estimator must do a thorough walk-through of your home and take note of the things you want to move. This means you must create an inventory of the household items you want to move and have it ready before the estimator arrives. The company should then determine the bulk and weight of the listed items to arrive at an accurate estimate. Unless the mover goes through this process, there is no way they can give you an accurate moving quote.
Understand the estimates and contract
Get estimates from three to five different companies. A mover's estimate can be a non-binding, non-binding to exceed or binding estimate. Each contract type has its distinct characteristics; understand the contract the mover gives you. Also, all details must be included in the contract before you sign it; the mover's estimate, extra fees, plus, your pick-up & delivery dates. If a mover demands a large upfront deposit, that is a red flag; reasonable deposits should not exceed $100-$500.
Get the right mover's insurance
All moving companies assume some form of liability for the goods they are transporting. There are two forms of protection a moving company can offer you. They can provide full value replacement, in which case, your stuff is fully repaired or replaced if they are lost, stolen or damaged. Or they can offer an alternative level of liability, in which case, the mover only pays 60 cents per pound on any items that are lost, stolen or damaged. Ensure you get full value replacement; it cost more but offers greater value.
Finally, if the mover does not present you with a copy of the "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move" booklet and a copy of "FMCSA's Ready to Move brochure," you have reason to be suspicious because this is required by federal regulations.