Moving is a big undertaking, and if you’re going to put your trust and money into a local or long-distance moving company, you want to come up with the right questions to ask moving companies. From packing to loading the truck, to the actual move, relocating yourself and your belongings can be tough. Make a list of questions to ask movers to avoid picking the first San Francisco Bay Area moving company that pops up in an online search. Here is a list of 10 important questions for movers from Got2Move.
Are you licensed through the FMCSA and insured?
To protect yourself against frauds, make sure you’re putting your trust in a professionally licensed and insured moving company. Bay area moving companies that only work within California are regulated by the state, and you can check for their license yourself. The California Public Utilities Commission allows you to search for moving company licenses with this handy online search tool. Select ‘Moving Company’ as your Carrier Type, search for the California moving company you’re interested in, and click submit. You’ll be able to see the company’s mailing and physical address, as well as the various permits and insurance policies they hold.
Every reliable moving company should have the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) accreditation. This government agency guarantees safe regulations of vehicle operations for both customers and companies. Any licensed and insured moving company should also provide information about the License ID number and U.S. DOT number that you should be able to check.
What kind of liability coverage do you provide?
Most moving companies claim to be fully insured and licensed, but that doesn’t always mean what you might think. Check for mover’s liability coverage options. This is something most people do not pay attention until they have experienced damages to their items during moves.
The most common coverage value for moving companies is Released Value Protection; it assumes liability for $0.60 per pound. This means that if an item is broken, the company will pay the weight of that item multiplied by $0.60, regardless of how much that item is worth.
Another option is Full Value Protection (FVP) it assumes liability for the current market value of your belongings. If you want your items to be fully protected and insured, make sure to read the fine print so you know exactly what you’re getting and what to expect in case of damage.
Do you have reviews and references?
Don’t just depend on your moving company to sing their own praises; check out online reviews to see what others are saying! Word of mouth can be a good way to find a moving company, but online reviews give you a wide range of information, opinions and experiences to sift through. Moving companies often have testimonials from previous customers on their website, but don’t just stop there. A quick search of the company can lead you to Yelp or Google customer reviews and ratings. No moving company will have entirely good reviews. However, the majority of the reviews should be satisfied customers eager to recommend the company’s services to someone new. If they’re not, then don’t be afraid to run for the hills! No need to waste your time with a company that has a track record for shoddy service. You can read more tips on how to choose a moving company with useful advice.
Do you provide a binding or non-binding estimates?
Make sure the moving company you choose provides binding estimates. It means the cost will not increase after you get an estimate. A phone call is never enough, get quotes in writing. A contract with your movers and packers will help you make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. In California, price estimates given over the phone or Internet are illegal and not enforceable. Estimates are required by law to be written after your goods have been visually inspected.
Ask for free estimate from your top choices. Most reputable companies offer free estimates and quotes because it will save both parties from unpleasant surprises with budget and time.
Do you offer all the services I need?
Ask for additional services they offer. Box packing, taking your well-loved items to the donation centers or dumpsters, storage services are among the related services most movers offer. On the moving day, you might be thankful for your moving service to help you donate or discard those items for you. Not to mention unpacking, which is going to be your main activity for a few days or weeks after you move into your new place.
Make transportation accommodations for yourself for the day of the move. Even though it makes sense to jump into the mover’s truck to travel to your new home – as per insurance requirements, professional moving companies are not allowed to give a ride to their customers. Whether you drive, or Uber, or rely on friends – make sure you plan your commute beforehand in order to be in your new place to let the movers in.
How long have you been in business?
Older doesn’t always mean better, but it does often signify experience. Moving companies that have been in the game for some time often have a leg up on their competitors. Companies with a long history have had the time to build up a strong clientele base. This gives you a wide range of references and reviews to check for before you make a decision. They’ve had time to solidify their business and their brand, and as a local moving company, they have often embedded themselves in their local communities. Movers that have built up their business over the years can provide an advantage over non-local moving companies because of the wealth of knowledge they have. They often know the area well, both where you’re moving from and where you’re moving to. They’ll know how to navigate the city in the quickest and most efficient way, how to navigate through traffic, and any parking regulations you might need to know about.
How do you determine the cost of the move?
Most moving companies charge hourly rates or determine the cost based on several factors like moving distance, total weight or season. Be prepared that some companies also charge for things like fuel and additional services.
California moving companies are also required by law a «Not to Exceed» prices for all moves. However, this price does not include any extra, additional services. Don’t forget to ask what types of payment does the moving company accept?
Do you have any extra fees I should know about?
You can be blindsided by hidden charges and surprise fees. When choosing a moving company, you want to know exactly what you’re paying for. If you’re getting any extra, additional services you’ll want to know that so you don’t get confused by a higher bill. Are you paying for packing and unpacking? Truck loading and unloading? Is there an extra fee for flights of stairs? Is travel time to and from your location included? Make sure you cover these questions to ask movers when getting estimates and get the answers in writing, in case there are any discrepancies later on.
Do you offer packing services?
If you need services like packing and unpacking, crating, disassembly, reassembly, appliance disconnection or custom crating by the moving company, ask the movers what specific packing servicers they provide. Also ask about the conditions, costs and specific preparations you may need to make beforehand.
What is your cancellation policy?
Most professional moving companies have clear-cut cancellation policies, find out their cancellation policy and mark your calendar for the latest day you need to cancel or reschedule with minimum or no fee. Don’t forget that if you need to reschedule or cancel your move – you should let your mover know as soon as possible, the more days in advance, the better. This helps you to avoid cancelation fee, or book a better day if you are trying to reschedule. When searching for a moving company, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile. You want a company that will give you the best service. These 10 questions to ask a moving company before hiring will help you find one.