Consumer Guide: Moving Companies

Moving Companies

Moving can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, especially when it comes to finding a reputable moving company to transport your belongings. With so many moving companies to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. However, taking the time to do your research and carefully vetting potential moving companies can help ensure a smoother and more successful move. In this consumer guide, we’ll provide you with expert tips and advice on how to find a trustworthy moving company and navigate the moving process with ease.

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a moving company is their reputation. Research the company’s history and read online reviews from previous customers to gauge their level of professionalism and reliability. You should also make sure the company is licensed and insured, as this will protect you in the event that your belongings are lost, damaged, or stolen during the move. Additionally, be wary of moving companies that require a large deposit upfront or ask for payment in cash. Reputable companies will typically require payment upon delivery, after you have confirmed that all of your belongings have arrived safely.

Note:  Items listed with an asterisk (*) below is a NAOSA Gold Standard of Professional Practice™ and is a required for NAOSA professional membership. For more details, please visit the NAOSA Consumer Guides page.

Tips From the Experts: Key Factors to Consider When Hiring a Moving Company

Research the company thoroughly

Check online reviews, ask for references, make sure the company has been in business for a while and verify that the company is licensed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). It is also helpful to get recommendations from neighbors, friends, coworkers, senior living professionals, real estate agents, or any newcomer who has used a mover recently.

Get a written estimate*

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires moving companies to provide a written estimate that clearly outlines all charges and fees related to the move. The estimate must be based on a physical inspection of your belongings, or a detailed list of items provided by you, and cannot be changed without your consent. Additionally, if the final charges exceed the estimate by more than 10%, the moving company cannot require payment of the excess charges before 30 days after the delivery of your belongings. Remember: The last expensive mover may turn out to be your most expensive with cost associated with breakage and under bidding.

If you are moving out of state, be sure the mover is quoting you correctly. Intrastate movers are required to pay federal tariffs and some moves may try to skirt these rules exposing you to possible liability.

Ask about insurance*

Find out what type of insurance the moving company offers and what it covers in case your belongings are damaged during the move. Many movers will offer a protection plan that they cover directly, many offer coverage from an independent insurance company and some a combination of both. No matter the situation, it's essential that coverage is offered and important for you to compare the coverage, limits, deductibles, and costs associated with both the protection plan and outside insurance. Additionally, carefully review the terms and conditions to ensure you have a clear understanding of what is covered and any exclusions or limitations that may apply.

Don't pay everything up front*

This is very important. Only pay a portion of the fee upfront and hold the rest until the move is completed to your satisfaction. If a company require full payment upfront, find another company.

Consider timing

Try to avoid moving during peak season or on weekends, when prices may be higher. If you can be flexible with your moving date, you may be able to save some money.

Label your boxes

Each box should be labeled with your last name on the top and all sides. The box should indicate what room it belongs in, as well as any special instructions for valuable items.

For smaller, valuable items, you should consider self-moving. This will give you peace of mind and minimize the risk of breakage, loss or theft of these hard to replace items.

Insist on a Guaranteed Delivery Date

While some companies may offer lower rates for longer delivery windows, this can leave you without your belongings for an extended period of time. Make sure to carefully read the contract and understand the delivery timeline before agreeing to work with a particular moving company. Choose a company that offers a specific guaranteed delivery date as opposed to an unknown window. If you do not receive a written guarantee, you could be without your items for weeks, even months.

Clarify the expectations regarding packing materials and debris removal upfront

Make sure to discuss with the moving company what their policy is for disposing of packing materials, including boxes, bubble wrap, and packing paper. If they do not offer removal services, consider hiring a separate company or individual to take care of the cleanup after the move. Another option is to rent reusable plastic moving boxes that can be returned to the moving company after the move is completed. This reduces the amount of waste generated and ensures that the moving company is responsible for taking back all the boxes.

Lastly, consider using a move management service

A move management service is a professional service that assists individuals with the entire moving process from start to finish. The goal of a move management service is to reduce the stress and complexity of moving and can be especially helpful for older adults or those with disabilities or limited mobility. They can help with everything from decluttering and organizing possessions, packing, hiring and managing movers, and unpacking and setting up the new home. They can also help with downsizing, estate sales, and arranging for donations or disposal of unwanted items. Not every company offers all services, so be sure to ask and choose one that offers all the services you may need.

Are you a professional in the moving or move management business?
We welcome your constructive input to assist in the protection of all consumers. Please contact us.

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