So, you’re ready to hire a moving company! Tread carefully here as not every business that portrays itself as a moving company has the experience, skills, and legal recognition in the industry. Unfortunately, there are rogue movers out there who claim to be something they’re not. If you use one you may jeopardize your belongings and expose yourself to a world of hurt. Here’s what to consider when hiring a moving company.
- Deal direct. Moving companies come in all sizes and include several household names. At the same time, there are web-based businesses that act as brokers to help you find a moving company. Unfortunately, such brokers aren’t doing you any favors — usually, they have a moving company in mind and will steer that one to you. In exchange, they receive a higher commission, and you are the one paying for it. Furthermore, brokers seldom vet the companies that pay them — you may have an illegitimate mover sent your way. Always deal directly with the moving company you are considering using.
- Experience matters. Upstart moving companies often slash their prices to gain a toehold in a competitive business. On the surface, it may appear that you’ll come out a winner. On the other hand, in order to offer such low rates, they’ll cut corners somewhere, typically in how much they pay their workers. Low-paid workers willing to lift heavy items are hard to find. They often don’t show up as they do what anyone else would do: find a better paying position. This means your stuff may arrive late as the moving company scrambles to find replacements. It is better to work with an established mover and to pay a bit more than to deal with a company that isn’t treating its workers right.
- Require a written estimate. Estimates provided over the phone or by means of email are not sufficient. You need to get those in writing and they should be binding. Legitimate movers abide by the rules and will often go beyond the basic requirements. These companies have a reputation to preserve and will do what is necessary to ensure that your moving experience is a solid one explains the North American Moving Companies.
- Ask for and check references. The established movers are not afraid to share references. In fact, when you receive your binding estimate, the representative may have a list of local and recent references for you to contact. So, contact these references to gauge whether they were satisfied with the work. Most people are forthcoming and will share their experiences with you. You should also contact the Better Business Bureau to ascertain whether there are complaints filed and how the company responded to each complaint.
- Verify their federal authority. Moving companies must abide by the rules. At least the legitimate ones do. This means each company has an ICC number, therefore check it against the FMCSA records to determine the company’s standing. Any company not recognized should be avoided. You might also report a rogue operator to your state’s office of the attorney general.
Trouble typically erupts when consumers choose an independent mover not associated with a trusted moving van line company. Beware of business operators who may claim association with a van line, but are not. You can always check with the company’s headquarters to confirm whether they are operating under another name.
By carefully vetting each company you solicit estimates from, you can avoid the traps that come with dealing with any business that is not on the up and up. Your goods are too valuable to entrust to anyone, except legitimate and vetted operators.