Which moving company should you use?

It’s not every day that you’re offered the dream move. Which service should you use? Talk to several, ask questions, and don’t settle until you hear all the right answers.

Girls moving a couch

Here are the important things to look for.

Are their estimates binding?

Stay away from a company that only gives you non-binding estimates. There is a chance the quoted price will increase significantly when your move is over. Insist on one guaranteed price, in advance and in writing.

Will they send a representative to your home? 

The mover needs to view your household contents to accurately assess your moving cost. Moving companies base their fees on several factors: weight, volume, number of rooms, degree of difficulty involved, and the time and labor the move will require. Never sign a blank sheet of paper, and always read any contract or agreement before you consent to it. Do not feel rushed to make a decision, either by phone or in person.

Are they brokers, or the direct moving company? 

You do not need a broker if you are dealing with a responsible company that provides you with back office services and honest contracts. Brokers only add cost and another layer of complication. Legitimate movers are not only easy to find but they're also easy to verify. Check to see if they are a member of The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) at: http://www.moving.org/.

Is the company licensed and insured? 

Ask for the mover’s Department of Transport (DOT) number. Cut-rate movers will almost always lack permits, workers compensation, and licenses established by law to protect the consumer from fraud and liability. Licenses have to be purchased, approved and renewed. They ensure that you will be covered by basic insurance and that you will have a clear grievance process if a dispute arises.

Will they perform all aspects of the move, or do they use subcontractors? 

Subcontractors do not have a direct contract with you. Agreements made between you and the moving company, are separate. You should insist on receiving in writing, all information about who will be doing your move ahead of time. If you are not happy with the response, look for another vendor.

Do they offer multiple tiers of service? 

Do they offer the service you want? Some people prefer to pack their own belongings and use recycled boxes to reduce cost. Others are willing to pay more for a comprehensive service, which may include custom crating and packing/unpacking services.

What is the company’s record with the Better Business Bureau? 

Look for businesses that have been around for some time, with a spotless record. The BBB is an organization that objectively monitors businesses to ensure fair practices and consumer satisfaction. Disreputable companies will not volunteer information about their standing with the BBB. You can find out more at: http://www.newyork.bbb.org/find-a-bbb/.

Can they provide references? 

Customers recommend companies and return to service providers with whom they are satisfied. A good company will readily provide names of past customers.

What kind of training do their people undergo? 

Experts are able to use their experience to anticipate and head-off potential problems. A good company will train their workers intensively in driving, packing, and, most importantly, customer service.

Do they deliver a variety of boxes and supplies? 

Your moving company should offer the sale and delivery of packing materials at a competitive price. Ask and recycled boxes may be supplied, either free or at a reduced price. If you are paying the moving company for packing services, materials including bubble wrap, tape, etc. are legally considered “tools of the trade.” They must be included in the packing fee.

Does the company appoint a manager who is directly responsible for the success of your move? 

Ask for an office number where you can direct your questions, especially on the move day. Ensure the move goes smoothly and complies with your written agreement. Inquire about the supervisor responsible for your move.

Do they ask for customer feedback? 

Companies will solicit your feedback. It is an important resource used to improve service and maintain a company’s reputation. Further information is available at an excellent website maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation at: www.protectyourmove.gov.