Choosing a good moving company can be hard and stressful; there is a lot to consider, especially when having no experience. However, doing some research can help you find quality moving services and have a smooth, stress-free, and professional move with no extra charges.
Here are 10 simple tips on how to choose a mover.
Figure out what type of movers you need
Some moving companies provide interstate moving services, some specialize in local moves in San Francisco Bay Area or long-distance relocations, and some focus on fragile or delicate objects like moving pianos or mirrors.
Figure out what type of moving company do you need and what additional services or equipment is required. Specify if you move locally or across the country, if you need storage or packing services, trash removal, or extra truck rental. By these criteria, you can narrow your list and start researching.
Get referrals on movers
Search the Internet, make a list of at least 10 moving companies to choose from, and get referrals. If you don’t know how to find a moving company, ask your coworkers, friends, or family members if they can recommend dependable movers. If you have a real estate agent, ask your agent for referrals. Don’t settle for the first estimate, find at least 3 referrals. If you can’t find recommendations, use the American Moving and Storage Association to make a list of reliable movers.
Watch out for red flags
Never pay large deposits and avoid cash payments upfront. Any reputable moving company accepts card payments and never demands deposits before moving. Note if the movers seem professional during the estimate, if they show up in time, answer your questions, and have their own moving truck and other needed equipment.
Verify Moving Companies’ License and Insurance
Every household moving company in California must be licensed by the Bureau of Household Goods and Services (BHGS). The license should be either MTR, or HHG, or CAL-T. You can verify any California moving company’s license at cpuc.ca.gov/tmis. Also, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues a U.S. DOT number to licensed quality moving services that you need to request in case you have to file a complaint.
Moving companies have two levels of liability for the value of your belongings they transport. The basic is full replacement value protection; with this plan when the item is lost or damaged, the mover has two options:
- Restore the item to the same condition or pay for repairs
- Replace the item with another of like kind and quality or pay for the replacement
Alterative level of liability is a no-cost option that provides minimal protection for no more than 60 cents per pound. This option is the most economical and requires no extra charge, but you have to sign a specific document.
Go over the insurance policy and pick the suitable option for you. Consider extra protection if you move valuable or fragile items.
Check the Reviews Online, research the Better Business Bureau
Choose a few moving companies with overall ratings from 4 to 5. Be suspicious about movers having 100% rating reviews; and of course, avoid companies with only bad reviews. Check reviews on Yelp, Google Reviews, and Facebook.
Research the moving company with the Better Business Bureau, you can do it online for free. Stick with moving companies that are accredited by BBB or have a good rating, just like Los Angeles local movers from Got2Move.
Request Moving Quotes in Writing
In the digital era email will work. Make sure to have quotes emailed to you with all possible charges for any packing supplies and additional equipment required.
Having quotes provided in writing will help you to compare moving companies and feel safe that you will avoid any hidden fees from cheap movers.
Choose the suitable option of contract:
- A non-binding estimate by which a moving company cannot charge more than 10% above the original estimate
- A non-binding to exceed estimate by which the original estimate is the maximum you’ll have to pay
- A binding estimate by which the price for moving and additional services is guaranteed
Ask About the Moving Equipment
Different moving companies provide different equipment so one of the tips on how to hire movers is figuring out all about their supplies and materials. Including boxes, moving containers, tape, moving pads, or other special materials for your belongings. In case of last-minute changes, find out if extra truck rental is available.
Provide All Moving Details
After choosing reliable movers, provide all the needed details. They include but not limited to:
- Parking availability at all places you would require movers to stop
- The size of your move including the heaviest and bulkiest items
- Either you need help with packing boxes or you’ll have boxes packed prior to movers’ arrival
- Whether you have any time restraints (elevator reservation, flight, concert, etc.)
- The number of flights at each location if any
- Walking distance between your doors and parking zone
The more details you provide to moving companies, the more quality moving services and accurate estimates you’ll get. In addition, the more details the movers know the better your move will be arranged; first of all, we mean the adequate manpower and the size of a moving truck.
Report any problems
You have nine months after the move to report any problems and file an insurance claim. Therefore, it’s better to open the boxes during the first days after the move and check for damages. Before signing the bill of lading, note all the problems on the mover’s copy.
Your mover has 30 days to acknowledge receipt of your claim. Within 120 days of receiving it, a good moving company must deny your claim or make an offer to pay.
Look for the Best Movers for You
Don’t try to save a couple of hundred dollars on your move because damages may cost you more. Follow all the steps to find quality relocation services and if everything else is equal then choose a moving company with the lowest rates. Otherwise, lean towards the ones who you trust more rather than the cheapest option.
To sum up, here is a comparison of reliable movers and suspicious movers.
|Reliable movers||Suspicious movers|
|Have good referrals
||Don’t have any referrals
|Accept card payments, don’t demand large deposits upfront
||Accept only cash payments, demand large deposits
|Licensed by the BHGS and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
||Don’t have a license or insurance
|Offer two levels of liability: full replacement value protection and minimal protection
||Provide unprofessional, inaccurate estimates, show up late
|Have good reviews and ratings on the Better Business Bureau, YELP, Google Reviews
||Have only bad reviews and low ratings on the Better Business Bureau, YELP, Google Reviews.
|Provide all the necessary equipment, materials, moving containers and truck rental
||Don’t have all the necessary equipment and supplies