Did you know that moving is one of the top stressors in life, right up there with divorce, a major illness or a job loss and, that of the more than 1,100 industries the Better Business Bureau keeps tabs on, the moving industry ranked 14th in consumer complaints?
Finding a reliable and trusted mover is a difficult task and one that should not be taken lightly. If you chose the wrong company you could be left with a big headache, broken furniture or even paying more than you would expect. Here are some of the best ways to make sure you pick best movers.
Do Your Research
Before hiring a moving company, you need to start researching the moving companies at least two or three weeks in advance. You will have plenty of time to compare the moving quotes with time until your move. Ask friends, coworkers, family and local real estate agents for recommendations. You could also look on the internet to find the moving companies near your home. Getting quotes from multiple companies helps you to get detailed quotes on your inventory and the service offered. Comparing your options of the moving service side-by-side is the best option.
When you have found three or four moving companies, call them for in-home estimates. Make sure to ask them whether the company offers written binding estimates or binding not-to-exceed estimates. Estimates for moving your belongings are based on the weight of the items and distance of the move. When moving your items within the state, the rules and estimation could vary based on hourly rates.
Customer Service and Cost
While nothing beats customer service and credibility when it comes to hiring a moving company, the second most important factor is price. Look for companies that offer good deals but be cautious of this as well. If the price sounds too good to be true, in most cases, these companies end up being scams or offer extremely low-quality.
Never Pay a Large Deposit
Reputable movers won’t demand cash or a large deposit before moving. You should only pay upon delivery. If you pay in advance, you have no control over when you will see your belongings again. When you do pay, use a credit card to help protect you from possible fraudulent activity.
Check Credentials and Be Sure the Company is Bonded
A moving company should have an active authority status in regards to their FMCSA licensing and insurance. Do not chose a company that is still in an application-pending state. Movers are required to have bodily-insurance, property damage and cargo insurance filed to cover the entire amount of your move. Find out if there are any other names the company “does business as,” as well as their state and federal license numbers. Search online to see if there are complaints about the company.
Ask any mover you speak with for references. Tell them you want a list of three customers from your area who have moved in the past three months. Call those customers and ask direct questions about their experiences.
Do Not Accept the “Guaranteed” Quote
There are three kinds of moving contracts:
- A non-binding estimate on your contract means the company cannot require payment more than 10% above the original estimate. Any overages must by paid within 30 days of delivery.
- A non-binding to exceed estimate on your contract insures that you will not have to pay for any overages to the original estimate. The estimate is the maximum you’ll be required to pay for any services rendered.
- A binding estimate on your contract is supposed to be a guaranteed price for the move and all extras and services. If you request additional services (such as unpacking), any extra fees must be paid within 30 days of delivery.
You have nine months to report any problems to the moving company and file an insurance claim. On moving day, try to open each box and sift through it to check for damage. Note any problems on the mover’s copy of the bill of lading before signing it. Your mover has 30 days to acknowledge receipt of your claim. Within 120 days of receiving it, he must deny your claim or make an offer to pay.
- “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” – this is a booklet prepared by the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration and must be furnished to you by your mover before you move as stated by Federal Law.
- “The Moving Survival Guide: All You Need to Know to Make Your Move Go Smoothly”, by Martha Poage
- Moving House and Packing: www.wikihow.com