If you watch the move, you’d almost think moving is as risky as jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. It’s not. While it’s true that there are a lot of scam companies out there, most movers are legit. With just a little homework and by looking for a few clues, it’s easy to find a reliable moving company and to avoid getting scammed.
Screen movers before getting estimates
If you go online and search for movers, you’ll see enough options to make your head spin. You don’t want to call most of them. First off, click on their link. Are you immediately prompted to enter your personal information? Close that link. That will take you to a lead provider or to a broker. It will not take you directly to any moving company. While brokers and lead providers might be fine, they don’t all screen the companies to whom your information is being sent.
If clicking on the link takes you to an actual mover’s website, scroll to the bottom. They should list their licensing information. Enter their licensing information in the US Department of Transportation website. Ideally, you want a company that’s been in business at least five years.
So, their licensing checks out, that’s a good start. Now check out reviews through Yelp, Facebook and Google. Take a look at Angie’s List. Eye both five and one-star reviews with suspicion. Look at those reviewers previous reviews and read them. See how the mover responds to the one-star reviews.
You should always get approximately 3-4 estimates, preferably in-house (although a virtual tour should be fine) and preferably a “binding” or guaranteed estimate. Don’t be lured in by the lowest quote. Moving costs are relatively fixed. One company can’t get your goods across country for half the price of another. It would be impossible. The low-ball estimate is likely from a scammer and they’re the people you read about on the news.
A moving estimate is a two-way contract. A mover agrees to move a certain number of items of certain sizes, pack agreed upon items and to perform the move under agreed conditions, such as distance from the truck to the front door, stairs, etc. If those agreed conditions change, it will be reflected in the bill.
Move sensitive items yourself
We’re not talking about your 60 inch TV or that wall-sized masterpiece. Any reputable mover should be able to care for those. You do want, however, to move sensitive documents and valuable jewelry yourself. In fact, movers are not legally responsible for those items.
For more information, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.
Featured image via Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier/Flickr.