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 filed 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 a 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.

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

Different 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 moving internationally, it is crucial for the moving company to be well-versed in customs, regulations, and international shipping.

“Is your company properly licensed, bonded, and insured?”

Avoid moving scams by reviewing the license of the moving company. 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 a storage license from the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection.

“What kind of liability coverage does your company provide?”

Before you hire a moving company, take the time to learn about liability coverage. It is surprising, how many claims go unmade. People are usually not sure of what the moving company is liable for. Many people are disappointed when they discover their insurance coverage is insufficient to cover damage or loss. 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 moving day?”

The documentation you receive prior to moving day depends on the type of move. With a local move, the moving company will most likely only send you a few things. Standard documentation includes 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. An international move includes documents such as customs, foreign regulations, and other essential forms prior to the move.

“How long does it take to complete a move?”

Because every move is different, there is no correct answer to 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, the fragility of items, and complexity of the move all affect the number of hours to complete the service.

“Does your company offer packing services?”

Many moving companies offer packing as an additional service. Asking questions about packing services is crucial to avoid paying extra fees. When doing your research, learn what kind of services each company offers. Ask how much specific services cost and what you need to do 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 how do I pay them?”

Many moving companies charge by the hour while others consider the size of their team or the 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. Ask what the initial quote specifically includes. This will help to avoid 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?”

The moving industry recommended tip for local movers is 10-20% of the contract. FlatRate recommends, for a long-distance move, a 5-8% tip, based on the contract, split between the pickup and delivery teams.

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