11 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Moving Company

Was your plan to Google Moving Company? Think again.

Guest post by Co-Founder NorthStar Moving Company Laura McHolm

I know, you were thinking you would just Google “moving company.” Sure, you will find a zillion moving companies, but are you ready to handover your baby grand piano or other prized possessions into any stranger’s hands? So, how do you choose the mover you can trust?  Here are some handy tips on what to look for when hiring a mover.

First, when choosing a moving company, reputation is crucial. A great reputation saves you time and money. And, a great reputation equals great rates. No one ever says: “oh yes, I LOVE this company they just made me over pay for their crappy service.” So, if you take away only one tip: It’s choose your mover based on reputation.

How do you know who to trust with all your worldly possessions? Asking key questions not only uncovers a wealth of knowledge about the company and helps prepare you for moving day, but a little extra research can save you from a huge hassle in the long run. Here are some surefire questions to ask before hiring a mover:

  • How long has the moving company been in business? Experience counts and a track record shows their ability to deliver each and every time. They have moved countless kids clay hand-prints and know they are simply irreplaceable: no amount of insurance is going to ever give you those back.
  • Are they licensed? If you are looking for a moving company to move you from state to state the moving company should have a US DOT number, which is a unique license number issued by the United States Department of Transportation. Make sure your mover’s DOT number is valid by searching it in this database. If you’re looking for a moving company to move you with in your own state they need a state license. In California, it’s a Cal T license.
  • Is the company insured? Verify that the company is insured on the same website you use to check their license number. Never use a moving company without a license number or insurance. Think underage unlicensed teenage driver at the wheel of a semi-truck. Not a good idea, right? Neither is an unlicensed or uninsured bunch of folks who call themselves a moving company or group of dudes who really only do moving as a side job. Also, check to see if your personal items are covered during a move under your homeowners or renters policy. If not, you may want to consider supplemental moving insurance. Movinginsurance.com or moveinsure.com are good resources.
  • Have they won any awards or accolades for service? Can they show you any letters of recommendation? If they haven’t won any awards for service, chances are they aren’t going to win any awards from you. Remember a great reputation absolutely saves you money. NO ONE gives a glowing review to a company that over promised, under delivered and over charged.
  • Be sure to check out the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Social media sites such as Yelp, Citysearch and TrustLink will also give you a look into other people’s experiences with the company. Make yelpers your new BFFs.
  • Low rates don’t necessarily mean a low final bill. Study rates! What do their rates really include? Are fuel charges incorporated? Also, just like the airlines, rates can vary based on season and days of the week. Will they give you a better rate if you move on a Sunday as opposed to a Monday? Repeat your new mantra: Great Reputation equals Great Rates. And repeat again: no one wins awards or great reviews when they overcharge!
  • If you are moving out of state, ask the company to explain in detail its consolidation policy and delivery windows. Consolidation is when your belongings are combined with other people’s and shipped together. It’s a great way to save money, but be aware that it will add time to the delivery schedule because multiple stops for the other folks’ deliveries are made as your belongings travel across the country. Is the moving company forth coming about the fact that long distance moves almost always involve a delivery window not an exact delivery date? It’s better to know all this upfront so you can pack a suitcase that stays with you, you don’t want to start your new job in your gym shorts or pjs.
  • Will the moving crew wrap and protect your furniture to prevent damages? How many movers will be on the job? How long will the job take? Are there enough hours in the day? Will you be charged if there is overtime?  By law a moving company can only give you rates on the phone not estimates on the phone. Does the moving company provide free on site estimates?
  • Are they active in the community? If they care about the community, chances are they will care about you and your move. They want to continue doing business in your town a long, long time. And, they aren’t just into one night stands but really want a committed relationship with your community and you, your friends and your family.
  • What sort of specialty experience do they have? Are they familiar with high rises and elevators? Additional men and equipment can mean surprising extra costs.
  • Ask the movers to measure your doorways, stairways, elevators etc… and take pictures of them before the move so you can’t be blamed for any damage.
  • Lastly, let the moving estimator ask YOU questions. If he/she hasn’t asked a single question, yet is ready to give an estimate, turn and run.

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services. www.northstarmoving.com

 

Lindsay is the the Senior Manager of Media Engagement for Coldwell Banker Real Estate and manages the brand’s media and social media department. She is also a licensed real estate professional. In 2017, she was named a top 20 social influencer in the real estate industry in the annual Swanepoel 200 power rankings.

Lindsay lives in Livingston, NJ with her college sweetheart and now husband Joe and recently welcomed another Joe into her life as she became a mom in June 2016. Lindsay and her two Joes love spending their time playing with their cat Rory, watching sports and vacationing in Cape Cod.

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27 Comments

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  16. Scott
    February 2, 2017

    I had never thought to consider if I will be charged for overtime. My wife and I are planning on moving in about a month and we think we have narrowed our search to one moving company. With all the things going on, I think we forgot to ask about this. I’ll have to call them up today and ask them about this.

    Reply
    • Victoria Keichinger
      February 2, 2017

      Glad you found this helpful. Best of luck with the move, Scott!

      Reply
  17. Phillip
    March 6, 2017

    Thank you for the moving blog! If you need to hire movers make the right move… http://www.rightmoveshouston.com

    Reply
    • Kevin Yu
      April 3, 2017

      I would like to mention that All the Right Moves has been around for more than a decade and I highly recommend Phil for the Houston and Spring, Texas area.

      Reply
  18. Matthew Barwood
    April 22, 2017

    Choosing the right and reliable mover is highly essential for a hassle-free and safe move. Nobody wants any of their prized possessions get damaged, but still doesn’t provide time to choose a trusted one. First of all, you should be clear about your requirement. Then you should invite your selected companies for an in-house binding estimation and compare their quotes for the best deal. Most of the people never ask questions to the mover and this proves a huge loss for the customers in case some things go wrong.
    https://www.wearemovers.net/

    Reply
  19. John Mahoney
    April 24, 2017

    My family and I are planning on moving in a few months and might need professional help. Thank you for talking about the importance of choosing a reputable company to help with your moving. It is important to remember that consulting with several companies and with the BBB can help you find the best around you.

    Reply
  20. Naveen
    July 19, 2017

    agree with you that moving is hard work! I’ve had to move a couple of times, and every time I end up having a major stress attack! I like the graph that you posted! I need to be better at trashing, selling, and donating. I’ll take your advice and do that more often!

    Reply
  21. Sateesh
    July 26, 2017

    Great article! It was brief and very helpful for the people who want to move their small, medium, and large house plants without any damage. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  22. Ernest London
    August 22, 2017

    I like that you mentioned to check with the BBB to find a moving company’s reputation. That way, you can read reviews, and see if they have any formal complaints. I am trying to find a moving company to help me handle my big family move this year. I will be sure to keep these tips in mind as I try to find the most reputable moving company out there, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  23. Ezhilan
    September 28, 2017

    Great post. Everyone search for the mover’s experience but no one care about the specialty experience and its cost. And in 10th step, you mentioned about the elevators and staircase, good one. Finally, the surveyor should ask some questions or else we have to run. Once my friend also experienced the same situation while moving. He also got the estimation rate from other movers, the difference in estimation rate is very high. Looking for more post. Thanks.

    Reply
  24. Ezhil
    September 28, 2017

    Hi,
    Great article. Nowadays more number of people are moving either nationally or internationally. But they don’t have any ides about how to hire a reputable mover. As you mentioned, they will check the experience but they don’t check the special experience in handling the equipment. For that, they will charge more. Checking the BBB about the reviews is a very good method to identify the reputable mover. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  25. Roger Middleton
    October 4, 2017

    My wife and I are getting ready to move out of our house and we have been wanting to hire some movers to make the process a bit easier. I liked that you had mentioned that it can be very important to make sure that the company is licensed and has the proper documentation to prove it. Once we start looking around, for a moving company, we’ll be making sure that we select one that has the right licensing and is willing to prove it.

    Reply

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