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Doing a Background Check on a Moving Company

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When trying to find a mover, you should check the track record and history of service of any moving company you consider. Since these people will be responsible for transporting all of your possessions, you certainly should be aware of their track records and try to find proof of good service.

Search for the company using their US DOT number

By obtaining a company’s US DOT number, you can find out a lot of vital information about them, and this information is the key to doing a routine background check to make sure the company is reliable and reputable. If you are unfamiliar with what a US DOT number is and how you can obtain one, check out this guide to learn more about it.

To check a company’s US DOT number, visit this website and enter the number where you’re prompted to enter it on the form. Once you have submitted the form, you will be taken to a page that will provide you with details about the company.

Clicking on the HTML icon in the View Details column will allow you to see the kind of insurance that is on file for the company. Furthermore, if you wish to see the status of the company’s moving license, click on Authority History at the bottom of the page.

Search for the company using the Better Business Bureau

Any company accepted by the BBB will most likely be a reputable company to use when moving. In order to be accepted into the BBB, the company must meet all of the following eight criteria:
  • Build Trust
  • Advertise Honestly
  • Tell the Truth
  • Be Transparent
  • Honor Promises
  • Be Responsive
  • Safeguard Privacy
  • Embody Integrity
To learn more about these criteria and to see exactly what the BBB is looking for in regard to each one, check out the full list here. If the BBB determines that a company meets each criterion, then that company will be able to put the BBB seal of approval on their website. Keep in mind, though, that BBB accreditation does mean that the business's services have been evaluated or endorsed by the BBB. Rather, the BBB makes the determination based on the company's business practices.

Check to see if the company is blacklisted

You certainly don’t want to be hiring the services of a moving company that has been blacklisted, so it’s a good idea to check up on that kind of information before you go about hiring them. In order to do this, you can visit this website and click on the Blacklist icon on the top of the page to pull up a list of moving companies that have been blacklisted and check to make sure the company that you want to hire isn’t on it.

Search for any outstanding complaints against the company

Just as you wouldn’t want to hire a moving company that has been blacklisted, you also want to stay away from movers that have had a laundry list of complaints filed against them. While you can always browse through the extensive collection of moving reviews on, a good secondary source for researching this information would be to log on to to type the name of the moving company you are looking for into the search field to receive a list of any complaints that have been filed against the company in the recent past.

Check references

Asking movers for references isn't always an easy task, as doing so may make you seem skeptical or doubtful of the moving company's abilities. However, it may be necessary to ask for important contacts so you can ensure the security of your move. You should treat the situation as professionally as possible and politely ask for at least three references from former customers. Ask for both work and cell phone numbers for each reference as well as the city and state they reside in. Though you can always ask for letters of recommendation, these are very easy to forge.

TIP: When a moving company gives you references, make sure that they don't appear to be immediate connections to the movers (for example: if all three references have the same last name or share an area code, they might not be the most reliable references).

Before you can trust a reference from a moving company, you should ensure that the reference is genuine. Here are some steps for checking to see if a reference is authentic or not:

1. If a reference calls you, be suspicious. Tell him or her that you are unavailable at the moment and schedule a time to call back when he or she is at their office.
2. Have your potential mover supply you with a full name, job title, company phone number, and e-mail address for all references. Be sure to get three references per vendor. Look out for temporary e-mail addresses, such as Hotmail, Gmail, or Yahoo, that are not indicative of a real company.
3. Personally call all of the references and talk to them. Though this takes time, you may avert wasting the time and money that you would if you hire the wrong moving company.
4. Perform an online search to ensure that the reference is real. Does it match the Internet domain name of the e-mail address given to you by the mover? For example, if the reference company's name is "Sleazy Movers" and the e-mail address is, then go search on Google for that company name and see if is one of the top results you come up with. For individuals, try checking out and other phone directories specific to the region you're calling. Make sure that all of the references aren't located near the mover's office(s).
5. Call the reference's place of work, if possible. You can confirm his or her employment status, locate any ties to the mover, and ensure that he or she is genuine.
6. Leave a voicemail and send an e-mail. Follow up your calls with a thank-you e-mail.
7. If you have any suspicions that the company isn't real, use Whois Search to see how long their domain name has been around and who created it. You can also match up locations to area codes on Wikipedia in order to ensure the identity of your reference.

Research statistics

Every good moving company should have statistics about the number of moves they have performed, their years in service, and other relevant numbers. These numbers, when verified against other independent sources, can paint a vivid portrait of the mover and can either bolster or destroy its credibility. Treat the statistics carefully and look for any logical flaws. For instance, if the mover insists they have performed 200 moves in the past month but only owns two trucks, you can be sure there is a problem.

Since your movers will be handling everything you own, it is worth your while to check up on your moving company. By choosing movers with good track records, solid references, and a history of good service, you can feel confident in their abilities as they transport your belongings.

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  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on December 18, 2009

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