More than 40 million people move within the USA and moving companies are a dime a dozen. You want the moving company that’s right for you and your family. In this day and age, moving scams can happen and you’ll find the horror stories on the news every summer. For example, this unfortunate story from Florida.
So, what are the appropriate steps to finding the best mover? Today, you’ll learn the top five questions to ask ANY moving company and what answers you should expect.
Question #1: Are you licensed?
This is the question you MUST ask a moving company. Do not be persuaded by cheap Craigslist movers or “flat price” no-name movers. To operate a relocation firm in the state of Pennsylvania, movers must carry the proper licensing. Moving companies must carry a U.S. DOT number and, if they handle long-distance shipments, an MC number.
To check if a moving company is properly licensed, visit the FMCSA website at https://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/hhg/search.asp
If a moving company won’t give you their license information, they might be scammers.
Question #2: Are you insured?
In a perfect world all moves will happen without incident. Moving is a laborious process and accidents can happen. You’ll want to make sure you’re hiring the right company that stands by their work if an item sustains damage. Therefore, it’s important for that moving company to be fully insured.
All licensed movers must follow the standard federal & state provisions regarding any damages caused by the movers’ negligence.
Licensed moving companies offer two forms of coverage: Automatic and Full Replacement Valuation. Automatic is included at no extra charge and you’ll pay a premium for Full Replacement Valuation. Your mover should be confident and transparent in answering coverage questions.
Remember to be realistic with your expectations. For example, moving companies won’t cover any items they haven’t packed. If a mover is quick to say “oh, don’t worry, we’ll take care of it” without providing anything in writing, they could be uninsured and disappear once you need to file a claim.
Question #3: Where are your offices and can we visit?
This is an overlooked question, but an important one. A professional moving company will have a clean, modern fleet of trucks and a location of operation. The moving trucks should have their own logo and license numbers clearly shown on the sides.
You’ll want to know the business hours and the names of the office staff. As you approach your moving date, you’ll want to call frequently to coordinate, check in and get your questions answered.
A reputable moving company will have no qualms with providing you their address(es) and visiting their office(s). Scammers are known to operate without an office. They’ll hire cheap untrained labor and rent an unmarked moving van. If the mover you’re contacting won’t give you their office address, they could be scammers.
Question #4: How long have you been in business?
Longevity is a major factor in choosing a mover. The longer a moving company has been in operation, the more experience and training they have under their belt. In addition, long-operating moving companies will have the best grasp on the laws & regulations they must follow.
As you continue your research, ask this question to the office staff and your estimator. Make sure they’re consistent. Research the moving company’s profile on the BBB, or Better Business Bureau, to find the year the business started.
Scammers are known to constantly change their business names to hide their negative reputation. If the moving company is newer, take extra caution and ask a lot of questions to make sure they’re the real deal.
Question #5: What’s the first step?
You only move a few times in your life and there are many unknowns to the moving process. Finishing off with the best question to ask: where on earth do I start?
This is the moment your moving coordinator takes charge and starts to ask you the questions. It’s also an opportunity for you to get a feel for the company. First impressions are crucial in the relocation business. You want a mover who is confident, makes you feel comfortable and has the expertise to move your possessions efficiently.
At some point in the conversation, your moving coordinator must suggest a free, in-home estimate. This is, technically, the first step in choosing your mover. The purpose of an estimate is to show you the costs associated with moving and what they, specifically, have to offer.
If a mover gives you a “flat fee” price without suggesting a visual inspection, they could be scammers. You must receive an estimate in writing.