|Finding a moving company that fits your move criteria and your budget takes some careful consideration and smart comparison shopping. You don't want to end up on the wrong side of a bad moving experience. To make sure that your belongings are placed in the hands of an experienced team of movers, you'll need to follow the right steps to narrow down the field:
Selecting a mover
The market is flooded with moving companies competing for your attention and your business, so it can be easy to fall prey to an unprofessional, unethical company with all of the movers that are vying for your dollar. Knowing how to search is key.
- Start with the Internet. With endless amounts of information at your fingertips, you can start with a general search for movers in your area, then narrow your search based on further research on the companies you find. Movers.com makes it easy for you - all you have to do is fill out our simple quote form for FREE quotes from up to seven different moving services in your area. You can also click the ‘Compare Movers' button on the form and get a list of all the movers near you.
- Verbal recommendations. Any information from people you trust can be helpful, so ask neighbors, family members, friends and coworkers if they have moved recently - someone may offer a good company for your consideration.
- Customer reviews. Reading reviews and testimonials from real customers can be extremely valuable. The more info you can glean about a certain company, the better your decision-making process will go. It's important to see what other people are saying about the particular companies you're considering.
Researching and planning your move
Finding a moving company should be one of the first things you do for your move, as booking a company well in advance will get you some flexibility to change dates if necessary, and it should also save you some money as well. Movers.com can help you locate a list of the top moving companies in your area for you to then narrow down.
Narrow your search
The best way to narrow your search for a moving company is to find three movers in your area that you believe best fit your criteria for your move. Then, from those three, break down the pros and cons of their services to help you decide.
- Don't make a decision solely based on price; although price can be a major factor, often times, the company that is the cheapest does not necessarily provide the best service. You can end up sorely disappointed when all is said and done.
- Check each company's credentials - find their US DOT number, and if they are accepted by the Better Business Bureau, for starters. You can also ask the companies for references - most reputable moving services will have plenty of customers or affiliates that can vouch for great service.
- Research common moving scams so you'll know how to avoid them.
- Be wary of moving companies that insist on phone estimates. In-house estimates should be standard, as they allow for the company to get a proper evaluation of your belongings.
- Ask each company you are considering plenty of questions, including extra charges like stair carries, long carries and packing supplies.
Common moving services
Here are some of the options different moving services might offer:
- Boxes - If you're unable to obtain moving boxes through other sources, you may be able to purchase them directly from the moving company, but be sure to inquire about it beforehand.
- Packing services - Some moving companies offer full-service moving options, meaning that they also will provide packing services for you, in addition to whatever else your move requires. If you'd rather skip the packing part of your move and let professionals handle it, going with a company that offers this option is your best move.
- Packing supplies - As with the moving boxes, if you're in need of packing supplies like moving blankets, packing paper, packing tape or other similar materials that you can't find anywhere else, go with a moving company that can provide them for you.
- TV crates - If you want extra protection for your expensive big-screen TV, you can look into purchasing specialty TV crates from your moving company, if they offer them. These crates are a safer way to transport your TV than just wrapping it in a moving blanket and loading it onto the truck.
- Stair carries - If you live in a condo or apartment complex and your move is going to require a lot of going up and down stairs, your moving company will typically charge an extra fee for what are known in the industry as "stair carries". These fees can vary from company to company, so ask beforehand how much the company charges for this service.
- Long carries - Like stair carries, long carries are another extra service carried out by moving companies when they have to make a particularly long walk from the front door of your home to the moving truck to load your belongings. This will sometimes happen if you can't obtain a parking permit for the moving truck to enter your apartment or condo complex, or if there is no available street parking immediately in front of your house.
- Auto transport services - If you plan on transporting any of your automobiles, you'll need to hire an auto transport company separately from your regular moving company to handle moving your vehicle(s). However, some companies do offer both services and this kind of added perk can really help you in choosing a mover to handle your move, especially if this is a service you're looking for.
Getting estimates and comparing quotes
When you've narrowed down your search to a few movers, the next step is to get estimates from them. It's helpful to familiarize yourself with the moving estimate process before you begin this step, as well as with the different types of estimates that you will typically receive from moving companies.
There are three main types of moving estimates that you may encounter during this process: binding estimates, non-binding estimates, and binding not-to-exceed estimates. Non-binding estimates are the ones that are most commonly given by moving companies, while binding not-to-exceed estimates are usually the best ones for the customer, as they stipulate that a moving company cannot charge a customer more than what the original estimate states, but they can charge less if the total shipment ends up being smaller than what was initially anticipated.
The best way to get estimates is in-person, when the moving company comes to your home to do an in-person assessment of your belongings to give you the most accurate estimate possible. Whenever possible, try to get an in-person estimate rather than an over-the-phone estimate, as these tend to give you the most accurate price and will save you money in the long run.
It's important to make sure that you get at least three estimates from moving companies before you make your decision. Read the fine print and in case of doubt, ask the moving company to explain to you the details of the estimate. Once you have received your estimates, compare the quotes to find the company that fits your budget best. Then, weigh these estimates along with the company's reviews and recommendations and the various services they offer to make your final decision.