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11 Ways to Find a Trustworthy Mover

Retaining the services of a high-quality mover requires some research on the part of the consumer, but the reward is great -- a high-quality move with less stress. 

There are many ways you can determine that the company you select to handle your move to a new home will be the best one. Here are 11 ways to spot a mover you can trust:

1. Choose a mover with local representation. Work with a company that is locally based or has a local agent, and only use a mover that does an "in-home" visual survey of the items you want to move. Avoid booking your move with an Internet based moving broker.  Most of them hand your move over to a different company -- a company you know nothing about.

2. Make sure your mover is licensed. If you are moving within the state, check with the appropriate state authorities -- check this article to see who regulates your move in your state.  If you are moving to another state, make sure the mover is licensed by the Federal Department of Transportation -- this article explains what you should look for.

Don't take the company's word for it that they're good; call the regulatory agency and find out for yourself. 

3. Check with the Better Business Bureau regarding numerous unresolved complaints about a mover. A responsible mover may have a few complaints lodged against them -- the more moves a company handles and the larger the population in their market area, the more likely it is it will have at least a few complaints. However, its record with the Better Business Bureau should show that they have a satisfactory rating and that they respond to and resolve complaints.

4. Be sure the mover carries proper insurance. Ask your potential mover if they carry Workers' Compensation Insurance. If you have doubts, ask to see proof of insurance in the form of an "Insurance Certificate" issued by the insurance carrier. Without Workers Compensation Insurance you could be liable for anyone who gets hurt on your premises. Workers' Compensation Insurance substantially adds to the mover's cost of doing business, but it protects you if someone is injured during your move.

Ask the mover about protection on the items you are moving and learn more about moving insurance for your belongings in this article.  

5. Make sure the mover's place of business actually exists. Beware of moving companies that provide no business address on their website, have no business documents, or, when asked, hesitate to provide you with their physical business address. It is important you know where to find the company after the move if you have a problem. Again, if you only choose a mover with local representation, this will not be a concern; the locally based mover has its reputation at stake. 

Also, you may want to check out the facility.  Taking a good look at their facility may tell you quite a bit about the quality of service you can expect to receive.

6. Don't listen to salespeople who knock the competition. A high-quality firm with a good reputation does not need to knock their local competition or criticize another van line with the intent of making themselves look good.
7. Get a recommendation. A satisfied customer is the best sales pitch any company can ask for.  Ask what local companies the mover does business with on a regular basis.  You can ask for references, but they are not all that dependable.  After all, what company is going to give you the name and contact information of an unhappy customer?

8. Make sure your bid is in line with other companies' bids. Although it's important to get a good price for your move, you should treat any curiously low bid with a skeptical eye – why can that mover charge so little? Are they cutting costs in a way that could be bad for you (skipping on Workers' Comp insurance, for example)? Or do they plan to make up for the low bid by hitting you with other charges later?

9. Check the mover's credentials. Is the moving company a member of an industry trade association, such as a state association for moving companies or the American Moving & Storage Association? Are their salespeople Certified Moving Consultants? Are their moving crews certified?  What training programs do they have for their packers, drivers, and moving helpers?  A reputable company will usually be involved in one or more of these types of moving industry groups and have some type of structured training program for their staff. 

10.  Understand pricing.  Is the move hourly or by weight?  The moving charges for most local moves are based on the time it takes to complete the move.  Charges on long-distance moves within a particular state are often calculated based on the weight of the shipment.  Again, the rules vary from one state to another. 

11.  Get the right moving paperwork. If you are moving to another state, insist that you receive the following federally mandated documents from your mover:

* Ask for a written estimate that itemizes all of the services that make up the estimate for your total moving costs. Again, always insist on an "in-home" visual inspection of the goods you are moving. A phone or Internet estimate given by a mover will most likely NOT be the actual cost of your move. For the best protection get a guaranteed price or "Not-To-Exceed: Price when moving interstate. 

* A "Table of Measurements" (also known as a "Cube Sheet") listing all of the items that you will be moving (pieces of furniture, number of boxes, etc.). The mover creates the Table of Measurements in order to calculate the size and weight of your move.

* You should receive an "Order for Service" signed by your selected moving company.  The Order for Service protects you by spelling out the agreement between you and your mover regarding the dates the shipment will be loaded and delivered, the estimated cost, and the fact that the mover can only collect 110 percent of the estimate at the time of delivery, if your quote is non-binding. 

If the mover is hesitant to provide you with any of these items you should reconsider using that company. 

Your Next Move:

Do a Background Check on Your Movers

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In the Press

A Moving Company's Moving Story
June, 2012

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