How to Find a Reputable Moving Company in Your Area
Finding a reputable moving company when you’re pressed for time and money can be a trying process. After all, if you’ve ever had to move quickly and on a budget, you may have fallen prey to rogue movers. These swindlers start by giving you a low-ball estimate without ever seeing the items you need them to move. Then, when they have your stuff packed up, they hold it hostage until you agree to pay a higher fee.
In situations like those, most people just want to have their property back where it belongs. So, in the end, they usually fork over the cash — even if they have to borrow it. In any case, the best way to combat these kinds of scams is to make sure they never happen. Rather than hiring the first movers that give you a good price, take the time to vet several candidates.
But hey, if you’re not sure how to find a reputable moving company in your area, there’s no reason to worry. These tips should help you get the ball rolling on your upcoming move!
Pro Tips for Finding a Reliable Moving Company
When looking for reputable movers in your city, it pays to have a professional in your corner. Luckily, that’s exactly who we consulted to get you these tips for moving. Having worked at an NYC moving company for many years, the General Manager at Oz Moving & Storage, Nancy Zafrani, had many insights to share. So we asked her what should be our first step in finding a responsible moving crew.
Compile a List of Candidates
According to Nancy, the first thing we need to start our list of potential candidates is the recommendations of the people we trust. So, if any of your friends or family have moved recently, ask them about their experiences. If nothing else, that might give you enough information to cross a moving company off your list.
Another thing you could do is call local real estate agents and ask them if any companies have a particularly good — or bad — reputation. Between these check-ins and your basic Internet search, your list will start to grow before you know it.
To keep things organized, make sure to write down the full name of the companies you come across, as well as any DBA names they might have. Additionally, you’ll want to jot down the:
- Company address and website
- Its email and (local and toll-free) phone numbers
- DOT and MC license numbers (which will help you vet them more thoroughly)
Lastly, you should try to find out how long the companies you’re looking into have been in business. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t work with companies that don’t have at least 10 years’ worth of experience under their belts. Once you have all that information, you’ll be ready to start crossing some of those businesses off your list.
Look Into the Moving Techniques
Now, it’s time to make some calls or, better yet, visit the company headquarters. During the initial conversation with the companies on your list, you’ll want to ask them about the materials (such as moving blankets) and the techniques they use. If you have any concerns about a specific piece of furniture in your home, ask how they would handle getting it out.
Additionally, you can ask to see the company’s vehicles. Many rogue movers have only magnetic signs attached to their trucks. That may be a signal that they’re not in the moving business all the time. Needless to say, you’ll be better off with companies that have permanently marked vehicles.
Ask for References
Before wrapping up the first conversation with all the different moving companies, ask to see some references. Any legitimate company should be able to provide you with at least three contacts of the people they have worked with. The clients they provide should have moved to your general area within the past three months.
Potentially shady companies may try to sneak in contacts of people who are associated with the business. However, you’ll probably be able to pick up on that during your conversation. If anything feels off, just cross that business from your list. In the end, you should have between three and five companies to choose from.
Once you narrow down your list of potential movers, you should introduce some numbers into the game. Right off the bat, Nancy Zafrani says you shouldn’t do business with any company that will give you a definitive price without seeing the property.
On the one hand, some businesses do have algorithms that can help them calculate the approximate estimate without seeing the house. Still, coming up with a price out of thin air is usually a bad sign. Instead, the company should offer to do an in-home estimate.
If nothing else, you should get one or two movers to give you an in-person estimate. That would show you how far off the sight-unseen offers were, letting you decide for yourself whether you want to strike them from your list.
Read Through the Paperwork
Last but not least, if you’re looking to get strangers to handle all of your worldly possessions — you’d better read the fine print. Moving companies in the U.S. are required by law to give you a pamphlet explaining your consumer rights and responsibilities. Make sure you go through those carefully.
Additionally, each moving company has its own set of rules and service levels. Each of your front-runners should either provide you with a list of services that cost extra or make them evident on their sites. As you’ll find, many companies charge extra for packing — which is understandable. Still, if you want to avoid that cost, you can pack most if not all of your stuff before their arrival.
When you settle on the company, you’ll probably get some paperwork to sign. If the representative gives you a blank contract — go with your second choice. On the other hand, if you just don’t fully understand the document, take the time to read through it carefully. If a company is legitimate, it won’t mind waiting while you decode the meaning of every little line in there.
Just remember to sign the contract only after you’re fully satisfied with it. That will make both you and the movers happier in the long run