No moving day is hassle-free, that is for sure. This is why careful planning ahead of time is of paramount importance if you want your move to be as smooth as possible. Hiring a moving company to help you with your relocation is a huge part of this plan, but let’s back up one step. Before you rush into anything, it is crucial that you first evaluate a moving company. In the internet era, this endeavor has been significantly simplified, due to easily accessible information. However, an online search is just the beginning stage, as there are many details that you can only figure out face-to-face. Read the rest of the article to explore the whole process and rest assured the right decision will pay off on the moving day!

Online vs Offline Research: Where to start?

Paying attention to the online presence and reading the reviews is a great way to evaluate a moving company

The first thing you’re probably going to do is search for professional relocators on Google. If so, make sure to study their website to see the kinds of services that they offer. But, don’t stop there. Take notes on their online presence, as it is a great way to evaluate a moving company at first glance. A respectable company will have a user-friendly, informative website that reflects the respect they have for their customers.

Read the reviews

Nowadays, it seems that online reviews are just as important as personal recommendations. Still, you need to be careful and take them with the grain of salt – especially if they are overly positive. Learning to spot fake reviews might save you a lot of time during your rigorous online search. To be on the safe side, try finding the company on forums to find the experiences of real people. Another idea to consider is asking the moving company for reference letters from their satisfied customers.

Check locally

The easiest way to go about this is to check out moving companies in your vicinity. Not to mention that there is the advantage of the local community, your friends and family who can provide you with proper guidance. An even better option would be to evaluate a local moving company by meeting with a company representative. This way, you will be able to see for yourself whether their moving services can meet your criteria. Don’t be afraid to trust your gut instinct to decide if the company seems trustworthy.

Evaluate a moving company by asking the right questions

company registration tags on tablet screen
Making sure the moving company is registered is one of the ways to avoid frauds

All the research in the world won’t be enough if you don’t know what information you are aiming to find. If this is your first time hiring moving professionals, chances are that you don’t know enough about the business to make the right decision. Remember, if you do not hire high-quality movers, you are only further complicating the already complex moving process. Not only that, but you are also risking to fall victim to uncertified moving companies. This set of questions will come in handy when you meet a company representative. Take notes!

  • Will they come and do ‘in-home estimate’?  Online estimates can be helpful, but you don’t want any surprises on the moving day, do you? That is why you should get an accurate, written estimate from your mover. Make sure they have all the necessary equipment to handle every aspect of your move.
  • How many years have they been in service? This is an important question to ask, especially if you have valuable belongings. Years of experience means they will be able to tackle all issues, as they’ve seen them all before.
  • Are they registered? Lack of paperwork is one of the biggest red flags when looking for a mover. Interstate movers should be registered with the FMCSA and have a U.S. DOT number.
  • What about insurance? The moving company should provide coverage in case of damages. With Replacement Value Protection, the company pays only $60/lb per damaged item, so if you have pricey and valuable items, consider Full Value Protection instead.
  • Can they provide a list of extra charges? Travel fees, unpacking services, extra pick-ups at storage units – know what to expect when you get a final bill.

Study the contract

Reading and signing so many papers can be exhausting, and it is even worse if you are a first-time mover. Carefully go through the confusing parts and ask for clarifications whenever you are in doubt. Another way to evaluate a moving company is whether they are willing to explain moving industry jargon to their customers. Understanding the lingo used in the contract is crucial if you don’t want to be scammed. 

Bill of Lading

This is the most important document you will receive from your mover – think of it as an outline of your agreement. You will be asked to sign that you agree to the previously stated terms, so make sure nothing’s missing in the contract. First and foremost, check the listed fees and see if they match with the estimate. If something doesn’t check out, be sure to point it out to the movers so that there are no unexpected surprises on the relocation day.

coartroom sign saying 'bill of lading'
Understanding what you are signing prevents you from misunderstanding the terms of the contract

Inventory Sheet

Attached to the Bill of Lading you’ll find attached the mover’s inventory – it legally keeps you from losing your stuff during the moving process. Other than that, it also represents the mover’s estimate of your goods. If you do not agree with the mover’s opinion, you must resolve it before signing. Keep the inventory sheet next to you on the moving day as it will come in handy during the unloading process. For your high-value goods ask to fill out a separate, high-inventory sheet. This is of paramount importance as these items will otherwise not be adequately covered!

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