Your furniture and personal belongings are valuable to you, so why would you just go with the first moving company that you come across? Finding the right moving company will take a bit of research on your part, but if you know the right questions to ask and why, it shouldn’t be too difficult.
Below are seven questions you should ask a moving company you are interested in. Remember, you can ask a lot of these questions via email or over the phone, but you should always meet with a moving company representative in person before hiring them (this is especially true for question No. 6).
1. How long have you been in business, and how much experience do you have with this type of move?
This question is one of the first you should ask any moving company. They may offer great rates, but if you’re moving across the country and they’ve never done that before, do you really want to use them? You should also never just take their word as truth when it comes to their reputation. Look online for reviews from previous clients, and as you’ll see in No. 3, be sure to look them up with the right authorities.
2. Do you offer any discounts?
If you are a student or a member of the military (just two examples) and have the identification to prove it, you may be eligible for a discount on your moving bill. Just don’t be afraid to ask, because some moving companies may not offer them out front, or this subject may simply slip the mind of the moving representative you are speaking with. Keep in mind though that just because a company does not offer any discounts at a given time doesn’t mean they are not reliable and legitimate.
3. What are your DOT and MC license numbers?
If you need an interstate mover, asking for these numbers is a necessity. All companies that drive commercial vehicles transporting things in interstate commerce in the U.S. must have a DOT (also known as USDOT) number from the Department of Transportation, and they must be registered with the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can check these numbers with the Department of Transportation to make sure that the moving company is valid and has a good driving record. You can also check their records with the Better Business Bureau.
4. What kind of liability protection do you offer?
All registered and licensed moving companies are required by federal law to provide their customers with at least a basic form of liability protection, should anything be damaged or lost during the move. In many cases, however, this liability protection— also known as “valuation”— does not cover the full value of your possessions. If you want more coverage, you will likely have to pay extra.
5. Do you offer moving insurance as well?
Here’s where it gets a little tricky, but it is important for you to know the difference between liability protection and moving insurance. In many cases, liability protection will only compensate you for a damaged or lost item, at a predetermined compensation value. If you’re looking to be compensated the full replacement value of an item (“full value protection”) you will either have to pay extra for moving insurance or use a third party moving insurer. A lot of moving companies do not actually offer insurance, but they may be able to point you in the direction of moving insurance companies you can use.
6. What is the best estimate you can give me?
You can get a good feel for how a moving company charges by asking for rates via phone and/or email, and all legitimate movers will provide these estimates for free. If you are moving locally, you should never accept any estimate without meeting them in person and having them look at the items you want to transport. After all, you don’t want any surprises on moving day, such as the movers insisting that your couch is bigger and heavier than described to them. If you are moving long distance and are unable to get an in-house estimate, take a detailed inventory of every item you want transported, and provide the moving company with photos of these items if possible. Once you get an estimate, have them explain it to you. Ask whether it includes packing supplies (boxes, bubble wrap), or if there is anything that will likely be added on to it. A good mover will be able to give you detailed, reasonable answers.
7. What does ____________ mean?
Never be afraid to ask about certain moving terms or words that you do not understand. A legitimate moving company will understand that you are not an expert in this area, and they will be more than happy to explain everything in words you can understand. If you feel that you are being swindled at any time, don’t be afraid to start looking at the other companies on your list.
When you’re first starting to look for a mover, be sure to ask friends and family if they have any recommendations. Some of your coworkers may have even moved recently, and you should ask them for advice as well. You don’t have to go strictly with any of the companies that are suggested to you, but it is certainly a good idea to add them to your list.
Don’t have a place to move to just yet? No problem! Check out RentFinder’s search tool today to find the perfect new home.