7 Tips for Hiring Reputable Movers

If the moving company you're thinking of hiring can check off all these boxes, you can move with confidence.

By Benjamin St. Jacques

 

If you’ve ever moved, then you already know it can be one of the most stressful experiences in a person’s life. You’re trying to get everything you own — from your 56-inch plasma TV to the contents of your junk drawer — from one location to another without losing or breaking any of it. Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, it’s never an easy task.

 

Luckily, there are professional moving companies that will gladly and safely haul our stuff anywhere. Just as with anything else, there are some rogue operators out there. There are moving companies that provide quality service at a fair price, as well as movers who are just looking to rip off another customer.

 

With a little legwork, some simple questions, and a bit of precaution, you can find out if the company you’re looking to hire should be welcomed into your home or moved off your shortlist. Check out these seven tips to find a top-quality moving company.

 

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1. Ensure Your Mover is Insured

At the very least, the moving company you decide to use should have insurance that covers any potential worker injuries so you won’t be held financially responsible if a mover gets hurt on your property. And don’t just take their word for it. Ask to see proof of insurance. Ask to see their business license too, while you’re at it.  

 

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2. Get an On-Site Estimate

Make sure a representative of the moving company comes to your home to see everything they’re going to be moving, how many flights of stairs they’ll be dealing with, and any other potential obstacles.

 

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Be sure to point out any items you’re giving to charity or planning to sell so they don’t include those things in their pricing quote. Some movers may try to give you an estimate over the phone, but this could lead to inaccurate estimates and surprise costs on the day of the move.

 

3. Beware of Low Estimates

Many times, movers give a very low estimate only to show up on the day of the move and spring extra expenses on you when they know you’re in no position to argue. So if you get a rate that seems too good to be true, challenge it and ask for a more realistic figure.

 

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4. Don’t Pay a Large Deposit

It’s not unusual for a mover to ask for an estimate. But if they ask for more than 25% of the total estimate upfront, look for another mover. If you pay a big chunk of the costs upfront, they may not plan on coming back.

 

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5. Never Sign a Blank Contract

Some movers will try to convince you to sign a blank contract they’ll fill in later. “For convenience,” they might explain. This obviously gives them the ability to fill out the contract any way they like and then hold you to things you never would’ve agreed to. Don’t sign any contract that isn’t 100% complete or doesn’t meet your satisfaction.

 

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6. Watch for Aliases

Some companies try to avoid the eye of the Better Business Bureau by doing business under several different names. Your moving company should have a single name, a local phone number, and a local office address you can visit in person.

 

They should answer the phone by stating the name of the business. For example, “Thank you for calling Joe’s Moving. How may I help you?” If they don’t state the name of the business when you call, or use a different name, that’s a big red flag.

 

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7. Get References

Your mover should be able to provide references from former customers upon request. Don’t be afraid to actually call them up for verification.

 

Hearing from former customers is probably the best indication of what your experience with this company will be like. You can also get a list of reliable movers from organizations like the American Moving & Storage Association — the national trade association for the professional moving industry.

 

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If your potential moving company checks off all the above boxes, then you can hire them with confidence. You’ll be able to rest a little easier on the day of the move knowing your possessions are safe and sound.

 

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