It’s a big question, how do you ensure the movers you hire are professional, reputable, and provide an excellent service? There are alot of fraudulent and inexperienced movers, hiding under the guise of an LLC status, that would not be in your best interest to hire. We have even heard rumors of moving companies that will hold a customer’s personal belongings hostage until a certain amount is paid, usually much more than previously agreed upon. In this article we will discuss what you should be looking for when considering hiring a professional moving company and the common moving scams to avoid.
Reviews are the first step when trying to determine if a moving company is reputable or not. Most, if not all, companies conducting business should have an online presence somewhere on the internet. This includes Google, Yelp, Bing, Thumbtack, third-party site, etc. These platforms also provide an integrated review system that allows past customers to leave remarks on the quality of service provided to them, whether positive or negative. This will be your best source for unbiased and informative information on the prospective moving company you may hire.
We recommend sticking with a company with between 4-5 stars and at least 30+ reviews posted. This ensures reviews are actually from the customers themselves, and not self-generated, and customers have had an overall positive expierence. A couple, and only between 1-3, negative reviews shouldnt immediately dismiss a company from consideration. No company is perfect and how they respond and handle negative feedback may give you a better insight into the company than the review itself.
The right questions
Reviews are only the first step when determining whether a moving company is reputable or not. You should also call your prospective company and get as much information as possible. But what information do you need in order to make that determination? Below is a list of questions to ask any moving company prior to hiring them.
1. Is your company registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation and assigned a USDOT number, if so, what is their USDOT number.
All moving companies conducting business within the U.S. are required to register with the U.S Department of Transportation and meet certain insurance requirements. This is for the consumer’s protection.
2. Is your company fully insured, and if so, through what insurance provider?
Any reputable moving company will be fully insured in accordance with USDOT standards, as well as to the standards of your specific state, which vary.
3. Are there any hidden or extra fees?
A red flag when hiring a moving company is hidden or extra fees, added at the end of your move, that you were not aware of prior to your move. This is why it is essential to be aware of all hidden or extra fees before you hire any movers.
4. Will I receive a copy of any contracts and a receipt at the end of my move?
Should anything go wrong during your move, despite your best efforts, it is essential you have copies of all contracts signed as well as a formal receipt that displays the amount paid to the moving company.
5. What are your rates, crew size, and truck size?
You need to also gather basic information from your prospective movers so that you can compare rates between other movers to ensure you are not being overcharged. This includes hourly rates for varying crew sizes as well as prices for different sizes of trucks, depending on how many items you need moved. Also, keep in mind that the cheapest rate does not always result in the best labor.
6. What tools and protective equipment will your movers utilize during my move?
Your movers, if professional and reputable, will utilize basic safety equipment when moving your items. This includes hand-dollies, floor-dollies, furniture pads, furniture wrap, and tools. Make sure to ask your movers what safety equipment your movers will utilize prior to your move.
Licenses, Accreditations, and the BBB
Professional movers can, or are required to, apply for certain licenses to ensure they are meeting certain industry standards. For example, in Texas, all Moving Companies are required to register with the Texas State Department of Transportation, register all vehicles, and meet certain insurance requirements. This is for the consumer’s protection to prevent fraud and potential moving scams.
Moving companies can also choose to apply for certain accreditations to show potential customers that they go above and beyond industry standards when performing moves. Companies can apply to the American Moving and Storage Association, as well as similar groups, and display the associated badges.
The Better Business Bureau, known as the BBB, is a third party consumer reviewing platform that holds itself to a high standard of integrity. Any established moving company should have a grade, assigned by the BBB, as well as documentation of any open cases or claims made against the company.
Ask your friends and family for refrences
One of the best ways to ensure you hire a high-quality, professional, and reputable moving company is to ask your friends, family, and associates for a reference to a company they have utilized in the past. Having someone who has direct experience with a company, whether good or bad, will be able to provide you with valuable information when making your decision of who to hire when choosing a moving company. If someone you know had a positive experience with a moving company this is especially useful as it gives you a definite company to consider and narrows your search.
Common moving scams and what to do if you are a victim
Scammers are constantly coming up with new ways to separate people from their money. Unfortunately some of these scam tactics have spilled over into the moving and transportation industry. Moving.com has made a helpful list of common moving scams that have been reported throughout the industry, you can access that guide here.
If you are the victim of a moving scam make sure to report it to FMCSA, a reporting department for the USDOT. Also make sure to leave a negative review and report to the BBB to ensure others do not fall prey to the same scam.