Imagine that you hire some movers who charge you a rather large sum of money and demand you make the entire payment at the very beginning. Then they arrive on moving day and toss your stuff around carelessly. At the very end, just when you think the nightmare is ending, they demand that you pay an exorbitant amount of additional fees that weren’t included in the initial quote. Can you even bear the thought of all this?
A good mover will always make the process of transition from your old home to your new home easy and convenient. However, don’t forget that the moving industry is also filled with moving companies who are just waiting to scam innocent people. But there’s no need to worry! This article will give you certain tips and tricks that will definitely help you choose the right movers for yourself. So, look no further and read up on the tips for hiring quality movers to keep yourself safe from scammers!
Tips For Hiring Good Quality Movers
1. Know Your Own Needs First:
Before you start looking for movers, it is absolutely crucial for you to know what exactly you are looking for. Do you need a full-service mover to carry out your entire move? Do you just need someone to come over and pack your stuff? Or do you need someone to load and unload your stuff and ship it to the new home?
Once you have an exact idea about the type of services you need, and know other details like the size of your move and the distance to be covered, you’ll be able to filter out the movers that aren’t right for you. If you need just a couple of extra helping hands, it won’t make sense for you to hire full-service movers. Don’t forget that the more help you need with your move, the more you should expect to spend.
2. Check Whether The Company Has Fulfilled The Essential Licensing Requirements:
You should know that each and every moving company has to obtain a license issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is essentially a federal agency that establishes and maintains safety requirements for commercial vehicle operators, and also keeps track of their safety performance.
If your company is able to produce this licensing, you can rest assured that they don’t engage in any fraudulent activities. This license indicates that the company dutifully abides by federal law and will provide you with good services at a fair price.
To check whether the claims made by movers about possessing the licensing are true, simply ask them for their USDOT number (U.S. Department of Transportation) and MC number (motor carrier). Then, visit the FMCSA website, put in these numbers, and check the company’s status.
If you see the word ‘authorized’, you are good to go! However, if you see the words ‘out of service’, you might be dealing with scammers. Similarly, check whether the company’s MC records have a ‘satisfactory’ rating. Don’t forget to ensure that the contact information of the movers in these records matches the information that they have given to you.
3. Check Whether The Company Has Received The Necessary Accreditations:
If you want to further test the reliability or the trustworthiness of the company, check whether the moving company has been registered as a member of the American Mover and Storage Association (AMSA). Similarly, if the company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, it can ascertain the fact that the company is most probably reliable. It’s always safer to work with movers who have the necessary licensing and accreditations as opposed to dealing with movers that don’t have any of this.
4. Conduct A Basic Background Check:
Searching for the name of a few movers and choosing a random mover out of the lot is a big mistake. Before you decide to hire a mover, you must conduct a basic background check on them. After all, you’re going to be handing almost all of your life’s possessions to them! You don’t want them to damage or disappear with your belongings now, do you?
The very first thing that you need to inquire about is the experience of the moving company that you are about to hire. Don’t get us wrong here, we aren’t saying the newer moving companies might turn your move into a disaster.
All we mean to say is that older companies that have gathered a ton of experience over the years might be able to do a better job at your move. Needless to say, experience teaches a lot and this can be applied to the moving industry as well. Companies that are experienced can often prove how well they have been doing their job and that’s why you will find it easier to trust them with your belongings.
Another thing you must ensure is that they are giving you the right information about themselves. Fraud movers often provide their customers with a false office address. Then they collect the entire payment before the moving day and vanish off the face of the earth. Sometimes, they even hold your belongings hostage and you remain clueless about how to locate them. Make sure that you know the actual physical office location of the moving company and verify it as much as possible before you carry out any kind of transactions with them.
Also Read: How To Tell If A Moving Company is a Scam
5. Have A Look At The Company’s History:
You must have a look at the company’s history before you hire them. Rogue companies tend to change their names several times in order to escape from the scrutiny of organizations like BBB and AMSA. In this way, they avoid getting negative reviews. Do read up and enquire about whether your company has changed its name even once in the past.
A good mover accepts all types of feedback graciously. Not just this, but such a mover will also address and resolve the complaints and problems made by their customers. This is most noticeable on platforms where they’ve responded to reviews left by customers, both good and bad. If you realize that your mover has gone through the process of the name change, demand an explanation from them. If their explanation seems plausible, then you can consider hiring that mover. However, do proceed with caution. If you feel that something seems off, immediately cancel your contract and hire a different mover.
6. Choose A Mover With A Great Reputation:
Even if a moving company has years of experience, it’s quite possible that it might not have a good reputation. What does this mean? It means that the company might have a lot of complaints registered against it due to the inconveniences it caused to its customers. Their past customers might have faced problems like not getting the deliveries according to the schedule, dealing with rude and unhelpful customer service, movers working carelessly and haphazardly, etc. Such customers often leave a negative review that forewarns the company’s future customers.
Always remember to check up on the reputation of the moving company that you are about to hire. How do you do this? First, you can ask the movers to provide you with the contact details of 3-5 of their past customers. Talk to these people and figure out whether they were satisfied with the services provided by that particular mover.
The second thing you could do is search for movers via referrals. Ask around in your social circle and try to find out whether any of your family members or friends recently employed the services of any moving companies. If yes, then ask them whether the movers provided them with good services at affordable prices. Referrals are a great way to look for movers as personal reviews are more trustworthy than online reviews.
Another way to check up on the mover’s reputation is to look for reviews online. You could visit the company’s website and check whether they have published any reviews submitted by their customers. But do keep in mind that the reviews on the company website might be rather polarized.
You can easily find honest reviews of your moving company on reliable websites like AMSA and BBB. Look at how the company has been rated. Also check for reviews of the company posted by people on third-party review websites like Google Reviews, Yelp, Trustpilot, etc. If you notice that the company is responsive to the complaints registered by people, it’s a good sign because it indicates that it probably cares a lot about customer satisfaction.
Also Read: Top 4 Affordable Movers
7. Get A Detailed In-House Estimate:
What exactly determines the cost of your move? You guessed it right! The bulk and the distance of the move are the two major factors that will decide the final cost of your move. A good mover will ensure that they send over one of their employees to provide you with an in-house estimate, especially if it’s a full-service move.
But why do you need an in-house estimate? The answer is simple. In order to obtain an accurate quote from the mover, the mover must be able to create an accurate inventory of all that you own. The mover doesn’t want to undercharge you, nor do you want to be overcharged for your move. A good mover will send one of its employees to walk through your house and inspect each and every corner so as to arrive at a near-accurate quote. Plus, a good mover will also explain the breakdown of the estimate so that you know exactly what you are paying for.
Conducting a virtual estimate isn’t as preferable as an in-house estimate, but outright refusal of a good estimation process is a red flag.
8. Written Quotes And Binding Estimates Are The Way To Go:
Movers can provide you with three types of estimates, namely, non-binding estimates, binding estimates, and binding not-to-exceed estimates. If the mover offers a non-binding estimate, it means that the company can jack up the price of your move on the day of your move. They will push you into situations where you won’t be able to do anything but pay the increased price.
Companies who insist that their customers accept this kind of an estimate often lure customers in by advertising lower estimates. However, on the day of the move, they end up charging their customers several extra fees. Non-binding estimates are often accompanied by hourly rates for smaller, short distance moves. Basically, no binding estimates don’t always mean bad news but take the insistence of a non-binding estimate into consideration with all the other factors when finalizing movers.
If the company offers a binding estimate, you have to pay the exact amount specified by this initial estimate. Of course, this is subject to certain things, like having a finalized inventory. But if the company realizes that your stuff is bulkier than they initially thought, they can’t charge you extra on moving day. Similarly, if you realize that your stuff doesn’t weigh as much as estimated by the company, you still can’t pay less. The initial quote that you get is what you end up paying.
Good movers often offer a binding not-to-exceed estimate to all their customers. With this, the customer gets a fixed estimate. The mover cannot increase the prices on the final day. However, if the customer’s belongings don’t weigh as much as initially estimated, the moving company will reduce the price of the move. Do not hire movers who do not offer binding or binding not-to-exceed estimates for long distance moves unless they’re a popular company of great repute.
While you’re at it, please make sure that the company offers you written estimates and not verbal estimates. You can hold them accountable only if you have written estimates. If a mover refuses to give anything in writing, simply walk away. Similarly, don’t sign any blank contracts at any cost. If your mover asks you to sign a blank contract while assuring you that they will fill in the rest of the details later, beware! The mover is probably trying to scam you. Good quality movers do not engage in any such suspicious behavior at any point in time.
9. Avoid Paying Large Deposits/Cash:
A good quality mover won’t insist that you pay a large deposit before you move. Paying a large deposit at the beginning gives you no control over the move. Once the movers receive a major proportion of the quote, they might start giving you trouble.
For instance, they might mess up your moving schedule or work haphazardly. In the worst-case scenario, they also might hold your stuff hostage until you cough up more money. If you wish to have control over your move, make the payments only after you receive the delivery of your furniture. You will know if a moving company is rogue if it is demanding a large deposit at the very beginning.
Similarly, try to make all your payments using a credit card. A good mover will never demand that you make all your payments in cash. Good companies will offer you multiple payment options. It is advisable to use credit cards while making payments so that you can safeguard yourself from scammers.
10. Inquire About Insurance/Coverage Before Hiring A Mover:
All good movers always assume the liability of your belongings while they move them. In fact, the FMCSA rules state that all movers must offer two basic coverage options to all their customers. These coverage options are full-value protection and released-value protection.
A Full-Value Protection Plan makes the mover liable for replacing or reimbursing for your belongings that were damaged by their employees during the move. However, you might have to pay some extra fees to avail of this option.
A Released Value Protection Plan makes the mover liable for paying you 60 cents per pound of item that is damaged. This is a very basic plan that’s also very economical in nature. Please note that this plan should be included in your quote. A rogue mover might ask you to pay extra to avail of this plan so it’s important you know that you don’t have to pay a single penny for it.
If a mover refuses to assume the liability of your belongings, you can immediately refuse to work with that mover. That’s because the mover might be trying to dupe you. Secondly, even if the mover isn’t rogue, you will face a monetary loss if the mover ends up breaking and damaging your stuff during the move.
Also Read: Need of A Moving Insurance?
What To Ask A Mover Before Hiring Them?
Here’s a list of simple questions that will help you to determine whether a mover is good or bad. Keep this list of questions with you whenever you meet a mover as it will allow you to make the right choice for yourself.
- Are you a licensed mover? Can you show your USDOT and MC carrier number?
- Has your company been accredited by organizations like AMSA and BBB?
- For how many years has your company been in business?
- Can you provide the permanent business address of your company?
- Have you ever changed your company’s name in the past? Why?
- Can you provide us with the contact details of at least three of your past customers?
- Does your company offer a binding estimate? What is the breakdown of your estimate?
- Will your company send someone over to generate an in-house estimate?
- What are the payment options?
- What are the cancellation policies?
- What kind of valuation options does your company offer?
- What should I do if some of my items get damaged or go missing?
- How do you handle the complaints from your customers?
- Can you provide everything you’ve said and the details of my move in writing?
What To Look For When Hiring A Moving Company?
Here are some of the extremely basic but equally important things that you must look out for while hiring a moving company.
- Check whether the company is licensed, accredited by reputable organizations, and insured.
- Check whether they have enough experience.
- Check whether they have received good reviews on various platforms.
- Check whether they have resolved the issues faced by their past customers.
- Check whether their prices are transparent and fair.
What Is The Cheapest Day To Move?
You should know that if you are trying to save some money, always choose to move on weekdays. It is a well-known fact that you will get better rates whenever you move on the weekdays as opposed to moving on the weekends.
Although scammers out there will try to dupe you, you can always beat them in their own game by being extremely cautious. Knowing how to differentiate between good quality and bad quality movers is something that comes in handy whenever you have to choose a mover. If you read up enough and do your research well, you’ll easily be able to find good quality movers for yourself. Do keep in mind the above-mentioned tips and tricks to hire good quality movers whenever you’re up for your next move.