Moving takes a lot of work. Not only do you need to pack all of your items into boxes and bins, but you also need to get everything from one place to another. While it is possible to rent a moving truck and do it yourself, many families prefer to have professionals do the heavy lifting. Hiring movers can also make the entire situation less stressful and expedite the process. Unfortunately, with thousands of local moving companies competing for the highest place on Google, it can be difficult to find one that’s dependable. While there are probably plenty of great options in your local vicinity, you can use the tips below to help make sure you choose a reputable moving company.
9 Tips to Follow When Looking for a Reliable Moving Company
When you need to hire a moving company, approach the choosing process like an interview. Ask as many questions as possible to get a better understanding of how the company operates, what their processes are, and what to expect with payment. If, at any time, the moving company refuses to answer a question, consider that a red flag. To help you get the most out of this experience, consider some of the tips below.
1. Think About Your Moving Needs
The first step in finding a dependable moving company is thinking about your needs. Depending on the type of move you’re making, you may need to narrow your search to specific features. This is especially true if you plan to move across state lines, as doing so requires an interstate moving company.
You should also think about the items that you’ll be moving. If you have antique furniture or large specialty items (i.e., a piano or pool table), you’ll need someone who knows how to handle them with care.
Finally, will you need help with packing, or can you handle doing that on your own? Some moving companies do offer packing as an extra service, but the price can vary and add up depending on the number of items you have.
2. Ask Friends and Family for References
Next, start searching for potential movers that can help you with your needs. Begin by asking your friends or family for any references and referrals. If someone in your area has recently moved (either to your neighborhood or away), they may have a company that they can recommend. This is a great option, as it allows you to get the inside scoop on the quality of movers or moving company without much effort.
3. Be Thorough with Your Research
If your friends and family don’t have any recommendations, that’s okay. You can find plenty of companies with a simple Internet search. Just don’t assume that the first company you see will be the best. Instead, open a few different options and start reading through their website. You want to be systematic about the moving company you choose to work with, as there are plenty of low-quality companies that are good at masking bad reviews. Look at where each company’s from, how long the company has been in business, how many years of experience their team has, and what their areas of service are. Start by looking at the top five companies on your search results.
4. Evaluate Their Credentials
When you’re gathering more detail on prospective moving companies, always prioritize evaluation of their credentials. Moving companies should hold the proper licenses and insurance to guarantee that your belongings are protected during the move. You may still want to get your own mover’s insurance for comprehensive coverage, but all reputable moving companies will carry some type of policy.
You can also check for any professional accreditations. High-quality moving companies often put forth the effort to gain these titles as they can help attract more customers. One of the most popular accreditations to look for is the American Moving and Storage Association.
Finally, if you’re going to be moving across state lines, check the company’s federal registration status. When you’re looking up credentials of a moving company, look for their Department of Transportation (DOT) number. This should be displayed somewhere on their website. The DOT number allows you to confirm that their business has been recognized and registered by the federal government. It will also keep track of any complaints. DOT numbers are required for companies that provide interstate moves, so don’t work with a company if they’re missing it or refuse to share it with you.
5. Check Out Online Reviews
Online reviews are another helpful tool that you should use in your research. You’ll want to look for reviews that seem honest and unique, as some companies go as far as creating fake accounts to leave spammy positive reviews. While testimonials on their website can be considered, check sites like Yelp or the Better Business Bureau to ensure legitimacy. You may also want to try and see how they pack a moving truck to determine efficiency!
6. Verify Their Local Address
Another important step is verifying the address of your prospective moving company. It’s important to make sure that they actually exist, as businesses without a physical address are a red flag (more on those below). The listed address should also be registered to ensure legal operation within your location. Any businesses who have a residential address (i.e., they’re operating out of their garage) should probably be avoided.
7. Look for Red Flags
Unfortunately, moving scams do exist. To avoid falling victim to one of them, try to keep a diligent eye out for any red flags. Some of these include outrageous delivery charges, upfront cash deposits, unprofessionalism during the estimate, rented moving trucks, or the inability to answer questions during your interview process. These are likely to indicate that the moving company is not reputable and or experienced enough to handle your belongings.
8. Ask About In-Person Estimates
Reputable moving companies will provide you with an in-person estimate after doing a walk through and taking inventory of your belongings. This gives you a chance to meet the staff and learn more about their associated processes and costs.
During the in-person estimate, there are a few different types of moving contracts that can be offered: a non-binding estimate, a non-binding to-exceed estimate, and a binding estimate. A non-binding estimate means that the moving company can’t charge you over 10% of their quoted price, a non-binding to-exceed estimate means that the estimate is the maximum you’d be required to pay, but the costs may be less. A binding estimate means that the price is as stated. This can be problematic as the movers may end up taking less time than anticipated or you may have to add additional services, which can be difficult with these types of contracts. The best option is one of the two types of non-binding estimates.
9. Choose Your Favorite Moving Company
At the end of the day, trust your gut. There are so many different moving companies available to choose from and many of them are reputable and carry the necessary licensing. Trying to find “the absolute best” can end up being more stressful than moving itself! Instead, vet a few of your top choices and go with someone you’re confident in. As long as everything’s in order from a legal standpoint, things should be fine.
Moving into a new home doesn’t have to be stressful. Whether you’re traveling across town or across the country, the most important thing to do is make sure you’re prepared. Hiring a reputable moving company can help you achieve this, but so can renting a self-storage unit near your new (or old) home! Self-storage units are great for the transitionary phase of a move. They give you the chance to store some belongings offsite and reduce the number of things you need to put in a moving truck. This can help make DIY moving easier. That’s why The Lock Up Self Storage offers short-term self-storage for all of your moving needs. With a range of sizes, our storage units will provide you with the extra space you need while getting settled. If you find that your new home isn’t as big as your previous apartment, flexible leasing provides your excess items with a safe, reliable place to stay for as long as you need. At The Lock Up, all of our self-storage units are temperature controlled and protected by state-of-the-art security features like perimeter alarms, CCTV, and unique, individual access codes. We also carry all of the moving supplies you need to pack and transport your items—including moving trucks. To find a location near you, contact The Lock Up today at 1-866-327-LOCK or find a unit online today.