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How To Find a Moving Company

MyApartmentMap - Oct 1, 2010

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Moving is an exciting time in a person’s life, whether it’s your first move or your twentieth. You could be moving to a new city, moving in with a new roommate, or renting your first apartment solo…whatever it is: moving requires a lot of time, work, and boxes….along with the exciting experience. This is why many people decide to get some help. They opt for a moving company, a team of able-bodied professionals who will pick up, transport, set-up and in some cases, even pack their belongings for them. If it’s your first time using a moving company the prospect of finding a reputable one that will transport your valuables safely and economically, can seem a little overwhelming. Here is a quick reference, no-fail tip guide on finding the best moving company for your needs:  

As always, before calling or emailing local movers; ask around of people you know who could recommend a good moving company. A tried and true reputation is better than no reputation at all.

If you do not have recommendations from friends and family, the best place to start researching is the internet. Shop local moving companies, estimates, and learn about their policies, methods, etc.

As a part of your research, it’s always wise to check out the Better Business Bureau’s file on specific moving companies. Type in the company name, managing personnel and owners. You’ll be able to view if there have been disputes opened with this company, how many disputes, the nature, and if they were closed due customer satisfaction.

Select a good handle of local movers with contact info, that meet your specific needs.

Before you call prospective movers, be prepared with specific moving dates, a box/room estimate of your belongings, if you need packing materials, and whether or not you need them to pack for you.

Start calling the top movers on your list, to conduct phone interviews. Be prepared with questions, that were not answered on their website or through research. Here’s the questions you’ll need to ask:

Find out their registration number with the U.S. Department of Transportation (more specifically, their registered number with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). Note: sometimes movers who travel within one state are not required to have a registration number. You can check with a handy tool off the USDOT website.

Ask their rates and how they are gauged. Most moving companies will ask the distance and approximate weight of your moving cargo. With this, they are able gauge how long it will take to safely move your belongings. This figure can be a rough estimate as you will meet with the movers later, so that they can see what you have, if there are particularly heavy items, and what specific tools, help, etc they will need.

Ask the moving company if they use subcontractors. Some of the larger companies contract their work out to smaller companies. If they do, you’ll need to gather the contractor’s name and contact info to set up an interview with them.

Depending on the info you receive from calling the moving companies on your list, make appointments to meet. This meeting’s purpose is to have the movers survey your belongings and give you a estimate contract, as well as have you further interview the moving companies before deciding on who will handle your belongings.

At your in-person interview with the moving company and/or subcontractors, make sure they take a detailed survey of what they will be moving, and give you an estimate contract to bind you to a certain rate.

While reviewing the estimate contract, ask about additional fees that could be incurred, such as unforeseeable events, etc. All extras such as gas mileage, truck/parking access to your home, and related issues should be included in your paper estimate, as this should be gauged by the movers when they visit your home.

If you are moving long-distance, make sure to ask about truck transfers and transfer fees. Truck transfers can occur if you are moving a long distance, and fees are incurred by doing so. Make sure you know the complete process of your move.

Ask about insurance. All reputable moving companies offer insurance options for your belongings, at an additional cost. Typically, moving insurance is based on weight, so you should gauge what you may need accordingly. (If you have valuables, gauge more insurance needed). Standard coverage is approximately 60 cents per pound. If you have home insurance, it would be wise to see if the policy includes moving insurance first.

If you have decided to have the moving company pack your belongings; ask what sorts of packing materials they will use, rates on the materials, and what they will and will not pack.

Ask any further questions that you may have about this moving company’s policies, practices, etc. This is your time to interview them before you may your final decision. If you have specific questions, other than what is listed above, ask your mover now.

Finally, ask for recommendations from the moving company and/or subcontractors from previous clients. Remember, hiring a good moving company does not typically come cheap…and most moving companies will be happy to offer all they can to get your business. For more information on professional moving companies and to find a moving company near you, Visit our Moving Quotes page.