Picking moving companies in New York can be a stressful task when there are so many options to choose from and multiple factors that influence your decision. Moving can sometimes be a complex job but doing some research and choosing a high quality moving company in advance can make all the difference.

To make sure you have a smooth moving experience, FlatRate listed the six essential things to check before choosing a moving company.

Moving Licenses & Insurance

The number one priority when choosing moving services is making sure the company offers insurance and has all the proper licenses to legally move you. For interstate moves, a company must have a number issued by the Department of Transportation, serving as a license that identifies their commercial vehicles. To ensure that the company is legitimate, you can check their DOT and motor carrier numbers on the DOT’s website.

FlatRate also highly recommends using a moving company that is certified by the American Moving & Storage Association. FlatRate happens to be fully licensed, insured and bonded – complying with the regulations created by the New York Department of Transportation and possessing the necessary storage license from the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Reviews & Referrals

Online reviews are a good place to start but word-of-mouth and referrals from close friends and family provide a more reliable, unbiased look at a company’s service. Because there are so many fake and paid reviews online — and the moving industry is notorious for them — it is always better to trust recommendations from people you know.

If you don’t know anyone who moved recently, get a list of reliable movers from trustworthy websites such as the American Moving and Storage Association. You can also see what customers are saying about a company by searching the web with the moving company’s name and words such as “complaints” and “reviews” and find out whether they have reports with the Better Business Bureau, a website that offers reviews on more than 20,000 moving companies.

how to choose a moving company 6 Things to Check When Deciding Between Moving Companies

Moving Rates, Fee & Pricing

A big difference between FlatRate and other moving companies is the fact that we don’t charge  an hourly rate. Instead, our all-inclusive price is custom-made for your move, avoiding any backend fees and surprise costs. Based on your inventory and the distance moved, we factor all labor and travel expenses like fuel costs, tolls and truck depreciation, guaranteeing that the estimate you get during your free consultation will be the final price of your move.

A lot of NYC moving companies rather use the hourly rate, deceiving customers when it comes to the final price of the service, as there are a series of additional fees that may apply to your moving situation. Always keep in mind to get an estimate before closing the deal, especially if the company you choose from works at an hourly rate.

Moving Companies That Specialize In What You Need

Most companies are specialized in city moving, but what if you are planning a cross-country move? Or maybe even moving internationally? You don’t want an unreliable company handling your international relocation and transporting your valuable items if they don’t have the experience needed and are not familiar with the country’s regulations and rules.

FlatRate has been moving people forward for decades — from NYC to destinations all over the world — and we have perfected this process to ensure your international journey goes as smoothly as possible. If you own valuable items like pianos, pool tables, antiques and high-end art, it is also recommended to search for moving companies that know how to properly pack, protect and transport this kind of inventory that requires bigger care.

Included Moving Services

Always make sure you know what’s included in your move: a lot of companies charge extra for packing and unpacking, furniture placement, installing your electronics and other additional services. If you pack your belongings yourself, there is a chance the moving company won’t be responsible for possible damage. However, if you agree to have the movers do the packing, you might end up paying extra costs for special boxes, packing materials and their time and labor.

At FlatRate, the packing is always included as we know that it is better and safer to leave that kind of work to the professionals. We also offer exclusive services like box delivery, carpentry, TV & audio installation, art and antique protection and cross-country express.

Pay Attention to Red Flags

When researching local moving companies, it is crucial to stay alert to red flags as there are can be many illegitimate websites and unlicensed moving companies in your area. The biggest red flag to look for is making sure the company has a physical address — if they don’t, immediately scratch them off your list.

If the company does not provide a written estimate or ask for a large deposit in advance, there is a big chance the service is illegitimate. Another valuable piece of advice to keep in mind is to never sign blank or incomplete documents ahead of an on-site visit or talking details with a sales representative.