If a move is successful and costs the expected amount, it’s usually because thorough research was done and the right questions were asked before choosing a professional mover. There is a lot of potential risk in haphazardly hiring a mover. Learn some of those risks plus six things you should know and do before hiring a moving company.
Problems with Hiring the Wrong Moving Company
It’s important to hire a good moving company because of all the many things that can go terribly wrong otherwise. The industry is fraught with scammers who use tricks to drive up prices. Many unscrupulous movers know how to attract customers and get away with dishonesty and/or doing a substandard job. By knowing how to choose a good moving company, the following are among the problems you can avoid:
- Movers are widely known to load up belongings and then demand more than the estimated amount of payment for moving before unloading the truck. Sometimes they will unload all but the most valuable items and say they are going to keep them at a separate location until you pay the extra amount demanded.
- When moving costs are based upon weight, shady movers use many different “tricks” to significantly drive up your moving costs. They simply make it appear your belongings weigh more than they actually do. For instance, they will weigh the empty truck with an empty gas tank and the driver inside and then weigh the loaded truck with a full tank of gas and all crew members inside.
- When making moving arrangements over the phone, you could end up talking to a “moving broker” who is out to rob you. These scammers will require a deposit, and then they make arrangements for a mover to show up at your home on moving day. Turns out the movers know nothing about a deposit paid, and they rightfully demand the full amount for the move.
Things to Know and Do Before Hiring a Moving Company
Depending on what you’ve heard or experienced firsthand, you may be surprised to know that those who hire reputable professional movers usually have positive moving experiences. Moving is one of life’s biggest stressors. It can bring peace of mind to know you’ve chosen a dependable mover who won’t try to scam you on moving day. The following are things to know and actions to take before you hire a moving company.
1. Ask for Referrals and Check Reviews
Contact trusted friends and family members to ask if they have had a great experience with a mover they can recommend. Don’t stop with one mover’s name. Get several recommendations, if possible, because you still want to do some research. In the event no one has a good mover they can suggest, be sure to spend some time reading reviews of any moving company you end up considering.
Manipulation of reviews is common. For instance, companies can post false negative reviews about their competitors. More commonly, however, a company plants fake reviews to cover over those from dissatisfied customers. The best thing to do is wade through quite a few reviews, for an honest picture of customers’ experiences.
2. Be Sure the Company is Legitimate
Moving is an industry in which many shysters find ways to avoid being detected as the scammers they are. Check to verify that a moving company has the following: A local address, licensing information, and insurance. When calling the moving company’s number listed online, the person answering the phone should state the company’s full name. Request their state and federal license numbers, and use the information to do an online search for complaints. Check for consumer complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Enter the company’s federal license number on the FMCSA website or call the hotline at 888-368-7238.
3. Ask About All Charges Associated with the Moving Service
Ask the mover about any and all charges and fees assessed for a move. Request a complete written explanation of all potential charges. Charges for long-distance moves are usually calculated based on the weight of your belongings and the distance in miles.
4. Verify in Writing Services Included and Excluded
Among the surprise costs people are hit with by movers are charges for such things as heavy lifting, permits, use of stairs and elevators, and shuttling. Ask questions to flush out such details, to avoid or be prepared for last-minute moving costs.
5. Find Out About their Insurance
All moving companies are required to carry insurance, but there are different kinds. If you have many valuables, insurance is an important issue for you during a move. Two basic levels of liability are carried by moving companies through insurance: Full (Replacement) Value Protection and Alternate Level of Liability, which offers miniscule protection. Make sure you establish the insurance protection you want and need with the moving company you hire.
6. Ask All the Right Questions
The following are more questions you can ask a mover before choosing who to hire, to prevent unexpected charges, moving disruptions, and losses:
• What type of moving equipment will you bring to complete the job?
• Do you require a deposit? (If so, hire someone else.)
• What is your cancellation policy?
• How do you prevent damage to property?
• Are my items covered against breakage if I pack the boxes myself?
• What will you do if my belongings are damaged, broken, or missing?
• How do you handle complaints and disputes?
With these tips, you should have everything needed to ensure that your professional mover does a good job for you on moving day. Doing the research and asking the right questions before hiring a moving company will pay off on what could otherwise be one of your worst days. If you’ve ever had one of those bad moving days, you know a move that goes smoothly is a wonderful thing.