Lots of moving companies are willing to move your things and take your check, but not all companies are all equal. Some are big with well-known names. Their trucks have passed you on the highway. Some are small and lesser-known. How do you know whom to trust with all your worldly goods? To get the answer, you will have to do some digging. On the downside: some movers will arrive in crisp uniforms, offer friendly advice, carefully transport your cherished furnishings, arrive on time, and in all other ways exhibit courtesy and pride in their work. Others will put your precious belongings in a filthy truck, take twice as long to move you as estimated and hold your things in ransom until you cough up the extra cash, and then expect a hefty tip. And they’re gone before you realize they’ve broken your Limoges china, scratched your Duncan Phyfe table and left your carefully boxed work wardrobe on the curb at your old house!”
So how can you tell whether or not you’re getting a professional mover? And what about the quality of a moving service?
First, make sure the business is licensed and regulated. Movers who transport goods across state lines must be licensed and follow the rules of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). The ICC regulations protect you and define your rights and responsibilities and those of your mover. In addition, states have agencies that regulate transportation services. These agencies are typically listed in the phonebook under a public utility commission (PUC) or department of transportation (DOT).
Second, verify whether your mover is a member of a trade organization such as the American Movers Conference (703-683-7410; amconf.org). Membership not only means they take their industry seriously, but also gives you a higher power to contact if you have a dispute.
Third, check with area Better Business Bureaus to find out whether any bad claims have been filed against the company. Check out the Better Business Bureau Web site to find an office near you (bbb.org).
Finally, ask among your friends, neighbors, employers, acquaintances, real estate agents, and people on the street to learn about their moving experiences and the companies they would and wouldn’t recommend
A carrier is the company actually providing transportation for your shipment.
As you call moving services in the telephonebook, ask these questions:
- How long have they been in business?
- How much experience do their packers and drivers have?
- Do they offer storage?
- Are they licensed for interstate transport?
How they answer questions is nearly as important as the answers. Eliminate any company that is unhelpful and unwilling to answer all your questions.
Now you can ask the three or four companies that impressed you the most for specific estimates. Because you are moving all your possessions, they should be willing, even eager, to send a company representative to your home to ask lots of questions, evaluate your household, and provide a free estimate of the cost of moving from here to there. To get an accurate estimate, you will have to tell them exactly what is to be moved, to where, when, and how. You should now ask them lots of specific questions such as the following:
- What services do you offer?
- What insurance coverage do you offer?
- Are you and your crew bonded?
- Can I save money by packing some or all of my own possessions?
- What guarantee do you offer that my goods will arrive in good condition?
- What is covered if I pack some of it myself?
- Do you supply packing materials? At what cost?
- Can you move my second car? My boat?
- Will you arrive on time to begin my packing and/or loading?
- Do you guarantee my things will arrive at my new home on the day we agree upon?
- Do you offer any discounts for senior citizens, employees of my firm, or off-season moves?
- Can I visit your office and see your equipment and local storage facility?
- Can I call you during the move and learn just where my things are at any given time?