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 choose 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 needs and going 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. However, there are some basic questions that everyone hiring a mover must ask:

  • 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?

A few more questions to ask with regard to getting estimates:

  • What deposits do you require?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • Can you provide an on-site binding written estimate?
  • Do you offer any promotions or discounts?
  • 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. 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 leave behind.

A few words of caution as the process unfolds:

  • Don’t pay a huge deposit.
  • Avoid 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.
  • 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?
  • 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 guys can do a good job as well. It all depends on what you as an individual need for your move.