How to Pick a Professional Moving Company

When you’re moving, you want to know that your belongings are in good hands. That’s why you can’t just hire any mover — you want to choose the right one. With so many professionals competing for your business, though, how best to choose? Start by figuring out your individual moving needs and go from there.

What Do I Want in a Mover?

Since everyone’s situation is different, it only makes sense that the needs for a mover will vary as well. Some moving companies focus on local moves, in-state, out-of-state, or even international moves. Moving companies who specialize in your type of move will likely have better pricing for your moving project. 

After determining what type of moving company you will choose, ask some basic questions to understand more about their company and policies. Mover services differ from company to company; you might narrow your findings by looking for a certain attribute like insurance, experience, location or availability 

  • How long have you been licensed?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Can you provide references and recommendations?
  • Will you have sufficient employees to make the move? (Particularly important if you’re moving during the peak season.)
  • What kind of liability insurance do you provide? Are your employees covered and to what degree?
  • Who provides services upon arrival at my new place?
  • What is your time estimate on the arrival of my belongings?

A few more questions before you hire a mover company to ask with regard to getting estimates:

  • What deposits do you require?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • Can you provide an on-site binding or a not-to-exceed written estimate?
  • What specific moving supplies will I be paying for?
  • Do you offer any promotions or discounts?
  • How many hours do you expect the movers to take?
  • Do you pack my belongings or do I?
  • What payment methods do you accept?

Beware movers who only accept cash — this could be the sign of an unethical company.

What’s the Process for Hiring a Mover?

The first thing a good moving company will do is take inventory of your belongings in order to give you a proper quote. The type of moving company you’ve chosen will affect what they plan to take with them. Some companies focus on taking care of only  your large, heavy and awkward furniture – ensuring everything makes it to the final destination intact. This specialized service might be more cost effective and perfect for a local move or a move where family or friends are helping with smaller items, but might not be ideal for a larger estate move or an out-of-state transition.

Mover companies will often disassemble large items of furniture for the move and reassemble them at your new home. Specify if you’d like something disassembled or if it’s essential a piece stay put together. Next, the company will do a thorough walk-through of your place to determine what you’re taking and what you’re leaving, so be prepared to let them know exactly what you plan to sell, donate, or leave behind. 

A few words of caution as the process unfolds:

  • Don’t pay a huge deposit.
  • Don’t hire companies that have switched names — they may be trying to duck bad Better Business Bureau reviews.
  • Avoid packing costs by packing your belongings yourself.
  • Beware of additional fees.
  • Get several estimates
  • Don’t sign a blank contract (this should be standard).
  • Make certain that the liability levels carried by the company are appropriate to your needs.

By law, you have nine months to report any problems to the moving company — so don’t hesitate. If you do, you may find yourself out of luck.

What About Delivery?

Of course, your things have a destination: your new home. If you don’t have any questions about the process, you probably should. Here are a few you should ask:

  • When should I expect to receive my things?
  • What are your consolidation policies or delivery windows?
  • Am I able to track my belongings?
  • What if my things get there before I do?
  • Do you guarantee pickup and delivery dates?
  • What is your procedure for handling disputes?

Don’t feel that you need to rush when hiring a mover — take whatever time you need to find the right company for your needs. The biggest isn’t always the best, and the small local guys can do a good job as well. Make sure you are getting the services you need and at a price that fits your budget. It all depends on what you as an individual need for your move.