- Get referrals from local real estate agents and friends who have moved recently.
- Only consider movers that are licensed, bonded and insured.
- Investigate your potential movers through the US Department of Transportation, the Better Business Bureau and MovingScam.com.
- Evaluate a minimum of 3 movers based on in-home estimates of goods to be moved.
- Price isn’t the only factor- extremely low bids indicate a desperate mover.
- Ask for written “Binding Not-To-Exceed” estimates.
- Avoid “rogue movers”- if you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts!
If you decide to hire professional movers, you’re faced with a big decision- how do you find reputable movers or moving companies? The good news is that a small amount of time spent on researching potential movers can help insure a stress-free move. This article outlines those research steps.
Getting Started: Referrals
Getting referrals is clearly the best way to start your review of potential moving companies. While the Yellow Pages (for those of us who can even find their phone books!) and web searches can help, referrals can provide the best leads. Ask your friends, co-workers and new neighbors about their experiences. Look for people who have moved in the past 12 months, as companies’ quality changes over time. Be sure to ask for details such as the names of people they worked with, what went well, and what to watch out for. Even information about moves that didn’t go well can be helpful.
In addition to friends and co-workers, try to get referrals from industry professionals. Check with your leasing agent or real estate agent for experiences of their clients- they can be a wealth of helpful information. If you work for a large company, check with the Human Resources department to see if they have someone who works with relocation (even if you’re not receiving relocation assistance- they may be willing to pass on useful information anyway). Getting these types of referrals will get your research started on the right foot.
Movers are regulated by federal, state and local laws. At the federal level, a moving company that carries goods across state lines (interstate) needs to be licensed by the Department of Transportation (the DOT does not regulate local movers). At the state level, laws vary widely, and several states (Alaska, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, South Dakota, Utah, and Vermont) don’t require moving companies to have a separate license. For those that do, verify that the licenses are current. We also…