Choosing the right moving company can be stressful but when it comes to planning a streamlined move, making sure you’re working with reliable movers is the most important decision of the moving process.

According to the Better Business Bureau, in 2012 over 7,000 complaints were filled against moving companies in the United States — most focusing on damaged property, lost items, late arrival, not honoring quotes or simply not delivering the promised service.

So how do you avoid a moving scam or the headache of working with an unreliable moving company? There are a series of important questions that need to be priority when doing your research. Thinking of all the future NYC movers, FlatRate has gathered a list of things to ask when hiring a moving company.

8 Essential Questions to Ask a Moving Company

  • Does your company have experience with my specific type of move?

DDifferent moving companies specialize in different types of moves, and it’s important to make sure the company you’re choosing is familiar with the kind of service you’re requesting.. For instance, if you’re moving long distance on a tight schedule, make sure the moving company you hire offers cross-country express services and delivery windows that work with your deadlines. If you’re moving internationally, it is crucial that the moving company is well-versed in foreign customs, regulations and international shipping.

  • Is your company properly licensed, bonded and insured?

The first rule to avoid moving scams is to immediately make sure that the moving company you’re considering is properly licensed. All professional local and interstate moving companies should have a license number issued by the United States Department of Transportation — you can check their license number and complaint history online at any time.

FlatRate is a fully licensed, insured and bonded moving company that complies with the regulations of the New York Department of Transportation and receives storage license from the Department of Consumer Affairs. For interstate moves, we are regulated by The Interstate Commerce Commission.

  • What kind of liability coverage does your company provide?

Before you hire a moving company, take the time to learn about liability coverage. You would be surprised by how many claims go unmade because people are not sure of what their moving company is liable for. You would also be shocked by how many people are disappointed when they find out their insurance coverage is not enough to cover damage or loss of their belongings. A moving company can either offer released value protection coverage or full value coverage protection — learn more about both on our coverage blog post. 

  • What kind of documentation will I receive prior to move day?

The documentation you receive prior to move day depends on the type of move. If you’re moving locally, your moving company will most likely only send you a contract, a final quote, an inventory list and a custom move plan. If you’re moving internationally, it’s important to know what other documents you should expect to fill out: documents such as customs, foreign regulations and other forms are usually essential prior to moving.

  • How long does it take to complete a move?

Because every move is different, there is no correct answer for this question — moving a one bedroom apartment will obviously be quicker than moving a four-bedroom house but other factors like traffic, distance traveled, assembly & disassembly, fragility of items and complexity of the move all affect the amount of hours to complete the service.

  • Does your company offer packing services?

Many moving companies offer packing as an additional service and asking questions before adding packing services is crucial to avoid paying extra fees later in the process. When doing your research, learn what kind of services each company offers, how much they cost and what you need to prepare.

At FlatRate, we understand the fragility of certain items and that some things need to be handled with special care. In addition to our packing services, we offer custom crating, long distance packing, storage packing, IT installation and much more.

  • How much do movers really cost and what forms of payments are accepted?

Many moving companies charge by the hour while others consider the size of their team or complexity of the move. At FlatRate, our guaranteed price is based on your inventory and the distance you’re traveling. Inform yourself before hiring a moving company and ask about what’s specifically included in the quote they initially give you — that will help avoiding extra fees and hidden costs at the end of your move.

Take the time to learn what is the preferred method of payment of the moving company you end up choosing. Some only accept cash while others prefer to use credit cards and checks.

  • How much should I tip the movers?

For local services, the moving industry recommended is 10-20% of your move. For long distance moves, FlatRate’s recommended amount is 5-8% split between the pick up team and the delivery team.

If you have any other questions about your move, call FlatRate now and let us help you in any way we can.