Not all moving companies are equal. While there are some very good companies available, there are also less than reputable companies that you should be leery of. We suggest you get multiple estimates and be on the lookout for these warning signs;
- Too good to be true pricing. Has the company taken a comprehensive list of all your belongings? Do they understand the full scope of your move? Or have they provided you with a cursory estimate based on very little information? In these cases, don’t be surprised if you are hit with “surprise” charges later, significantly increasing the cost over the estimate you initially received.
- The company you find online has a “Contact Us” feature but there is no physical address. If your only way of contacting them is through an email address this should serve as a warning that they may not be a legitimate or licensed moving company.
- No MC (Federal Motor Carrier) number is shown. Or, if they do have a number, can you find it in the AMSA’s searchable database
- Is the moving company fully licensed, insured and bonded? They should be.
Other Things to Consider
- Once you identify the companies from which you will request an estimate (preferably three companies or more) seek a written, in-home estimate for any interstate (crossing state lines), longer distance (more than 35 miles) or larger move (three bedrooms or more). A reputable moving company will be happy to provide a FREE in home estimate for any of these.
- Check local ratings to see how your neighbors grade the movers.
- Legitimate moving companies will ask for a credit card number or a small ‘good faith’ down payment to reserve space on their calendar. This is especially true during the busy season, which is generally in the spring and summer months when weather is better and more people are moving. They may charge a cancellation fee if you cancel your move within 24 hours as they are unlikely to have time to rebook that slot. Be wary of any company that requires a large down payment or payment in full before the service has been completed.
- Be sure to get written copies of all estimates and agreements you have signed. Your contract is called the BOL or Bill of Lading and you should always be provided a copy of this.
- Moving companies will almost always have a minimum number of hours you must meet for any move type. For smaller moves, they will generally give you a per hour price based on the number of movers who will be sent and indicate simply that there is a minimum to be met, often four (4) hours.
- Ask your moving company what you can do to prepare and to save money. The more prepared you are, the less expensive your move will be in many cases. Moving companies can provide a wide variety of services, including packing, loading into mobile storage, delivering to storage units, and, in some cases, short term and long term storage options. You may pack your own belongings or pay the moving company to do that for you.