The best way to manage a move is to research the moving company and set realistic expectations. A professional moving specialist will be receptive to your questions and answer quickly without hesitation.
A reliable moving company will also ask YOU questions, such as:
- What are you moving? Your shipment size determines your cost.
- Do you need packing services? This includes specialty item packing and crating.
- Do you have any stairs? Stair carries cost extra!
- How big is your property? Long carries between front door and parking cost extra!
- Do you need insurance? Full Value Protection costs extra!
While you should be able to answer your moving company's questions, here are the top 10 questions you need to ask potential movers while looking for the best choice.
1. How long has the moving company been in operation?
If the company only has a few years of experience, you may want to check the business's background more thoroughly. A moving company that's been in business for a while proves that they provide quality service -- and that they operate lawfully. A new moving company will not have a paper trail, so it will be difficult to find reviews, legal action or other open complaints against them.
2. What is the mover's reputation?
Checking a company's credentials is important, but you might want to supplement online customer reviews with other references. Ask if the mover can provide you with some other proof of good service. The mover's readiness to provide you with references will be an indication of their reliability and professionalism. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) are professional organizations that can also provide additional insight into a moving company's reputation.
3. Is the moving company licensed and insured?
If your moving company does not provide proof of their license and insurance on their website, ask for a copy of their Certificate of Insurance. You can also check for their USDOT number on the FMCSA's website. Verifying the legitimacy of a mover ensures your items are transported safely and legally while also saving you from rogue companies and moving scams.
4. Does the mover offer a binding not-to-exceed estimate?
While locating a mover, you are probably working on your moving budget, too. Determining estimates and fees from potential movers can help you find a reliable mover with affordable rates. A binding not-to-exceed estimate means you only must pay for an agreed upon price, even if your weight exceeds the estimate.
5. Are there any specifics to your move that will cost extra?
This question is about the moving charges related to your specific relocation. It's good to keep in mind the following information:
- Long-distance and interstate moves are charged by the weight of the shipment
- Local moves are usually charged hourly per worker
- International moves are usually charged by the shipment's volume
Knowing these details before you speak to your moving specialist can also help you ask questions about additional policies related to these different types of moves.
6. How will the moving crew prevent damage to walls and carpets?
You want your new home to be protected on moving day. The mover should be able to provide you with information about their moving techniques and the type of protective coverings they use. Large appliances require moving pads, sliders and a dolly. Furniture should be dissembled and wrapped in blankets. It would also be wise for the moving company to measure your doorways and plot out a pathway before the move day.
7. Does the company provide a trained moving crew?
The mover should use regular employees, not contractors. Not only will regular employees be professionally trained and experienced, but they will undergo background checks and be covered under workers' compensation. If the moving company doesn't provide insurance or workers' compensation, then the customer is liable for injuries that occur on their property.
8. Do you train your moving staff to safely pack and handle goods?
Assess how your goods will be handled and protected during the move. The mover should tell you about the types of packing materials they use, precautions they take during the move and the range of their insurance policies. Every employee of the company should go through the same rigorous preparation, so it doesn't matter which crew members are assigned to your move.
9. What is the claims process in case of lost or damaged items?
In addition to locating information about the mover's insurance policy, inquire about their claims procedure. No matter how many precautions your movers take, there is still the possibility that something will get broken or misplaced during the move. Know the company's policy in advance, so you'll be ready to handle claims as soon as they happen.
10. When will your belongings arrive at your new home?
For local moves, it shouldn't take weeks to transport your belongings, but it may take that long for long-distance and international moves. Get a good idea of when to expect your items and keep in contact throughout the process. A seasoned mover will appoint a representative to your move, and they should call you with updates until you receive your belongings.
Use our printable moving company questionnaire when comparing movers
Before hiring a moving company, you will want to do your homework. Save and print this worksheet to track their information and know which questions you should ask. Afterward, you can compare their responses and make an educated hire -- knowing your valuables will be taken care of and your wallet won't be taken advantages of.