Moving can be a stressful experience. Making the decision to use a professional moving company to help alleviate some of that stress can make the whole endeavor that much easier. It does, however, come with its own set of potential roadblocks. How do you choose the right moving company? How can you be sure your items will be properly taken care of? Is the quote you received fair or are you overpaying?

To help answer these questions, we wrote this guide to choosing a moving company and hopefully making the relocation process simple and seamless.

1. Do Your Research

This is perhaps the most important piece of advice in the entire guide. Doing your research before choosing a moving company is paramount to having a good experience. Start with moving companies local to you. Check for a physical address and Department of Transportation number. Having a physical address is important because it means the company you’re researching has a location rather than just operating online through a website.

All licensed and insured movers are required to be registered with the Department of Transportation for interstate moves (and depending on the state for local moves as well). You should be able to readily find their DOT number and cross-reference it with the DOT database. Also, be sure to check if the moving company you’re looking into is a verified ProMover with the American Moving and Storage Association.

Be sure to check review sites for the moving companies you’re looking at as well. All companies are sure to receive some negative reviews between Yelp, Google, Facebook, and the Better Business Bureau. They’re simply unavoidable. Complaints filed on BBB are a different story and reviews that mention receiving a quote and paying a much higher price on move day should be treated as major red flags.

2. Ask How They Charge

Every moving company will charge for your move slightly differently. Some may charge you only after your things are delivered while others may charge a couple of days before the move. Be wary of any company that asks for a large sum of money upfront to reserve your move day. This should be considered a major red flag.

Most reputable companies will require full or partial payment up to 48 hours before the day of the move. Any company that requires payment further in advance should be dealt with cautiously or not dealt with at all.

Another great question to ask is whether the moving company bases its quotes on an hourly rate or based on inventory. For local moves, it could be either, but when going a long distance is it almost definitely going to be based on either the weight or volume of your items. We have a whole article devoted to the topic and the differences between each method here.

3. Local vs. Long Distance Moving

The challenges of moving locally and long-distance (or even internationally) require very different resources and knowledge from a moving company perspective. If you find yourself moving hundreds or even thousands of miles away, whether it’s across the country or to a new country altogether make sure the moving company you’re considering is experienced in these types of moves.
Storage also falls into this category. It’s common that people to need to store their items between leases. If you need short or long-term storage as part of your move it’s important to ask whether the moving company owns its own storage facility or they use a third party. While there isn’t anything wrong with a moving company teaming up with a third party to offer storage, as a customer you’re agreeing to work with another company when storing your items which requires some more research.

4. Specialty Items

Certain items require special care when handling and moving. Perhaps number one among these specialty items is pianos. Whether it’s a small upright up to a baby grand or grand, pianos require a great deal of experience and often special equipment and extra crew members to safely move. Ask your moving company if they have a special crew dedicated to moving pianos and request them if possible.

Other items that could help make the decision of what moving company to choose that much easier include pool tables, art, and antiques. Be sure to ask how the company plans to pack and protect pieces of art or antiques. Generally, custom crates are the best method to make sure your items get from point A to point B safely.

Moving can and should be an exciting experience and a chance for a fresh start in a new home. Choose the right moving company to get your things from one place to another safely. This way you can focus on turning your new house or apartment into a place you’re proud to call home. Thanks for reading!