Whether you’re signing a new lease or a mortgage on your dream home, the real work begins when you put your pen to the paper. This is the time when you sit down on your phone, scoping Craigslist ads for some cheap moving companies or hoping you’ll find the very best moving company from searching terms like “best movers near me,” or maybe even just “moving companies.” To sift through the numerous results and ads for different moving companies, it’s best to arm yourself with the knowledge that will help you choose the movers who will offer exceptional service at the best price.
The choices are nearly endless when you start the search for your perfect moving company, and there’s a lot that goes into making the choice. Some companies will hire out a crew to help you load and unload your belongings. Others might specialize in full-service moves, vehicle-moving or long-distance moves, but they won’t touch the small jobs. Follow this guide so you can know what questions to ask your moving company during the estimate, and how spot a fraudulent company before you hire them.
Read All The Reviews You Can Find
Google, Facebook, the Better Business Bureau and Yelp are the most reputable and well-trafficked review sites. Not all reviews carry equal weight, but it helps to read as many reviews as possible. There’s always bound to be a person out there who had the same needs as you, so reading more reviews will give you the best perspective. It’s also best to give more weight to the four-star, three-star and two-star reviews. If a company has mostly poor reviews, you might not want to risk your belongings, even for low prices. You also want to avoid companies with a straight five-star rating. That company might have hired someone to write fake reviews.
And if you do see a company with a suspicious rating, research to find out if they recently renamed their company. In order to avoid previous complaints and reviews filed with the BBB, some companies will change their name. Just a small amount of research could pay off in avoiding companies with bad reputations.
Check Their Website For Professional Endorsements
Moving companies with great reputations will put their endorsements front-and-center. Look for an A+ from the Better Business Bureau or a Certified ProMover badge from the American Moving & Storage Association. These are recognized industry standards, and it shows that the company has been recognized for their performance and customer service. When choosing the best movers, look for these recognitions.
Choose A Company Who Answers Their Phones
If you can’t talk to a real human when you call, hang up! When choosing the best movers, make a note of how you are treated during the sales process. Professional moving companies will answer their phones and be ready to help you with your questions and concerns during every phase of your move. The moving company you choose shouldn’t let you get tangled up in phone trees when you have a question. And if the line goes to voicemail, it could mean the company is too small to fully staff their office, which means they might not have the resources to be able to handle larger, more complex moves.
Ask For An In-Home Estimate
When you ask for an estimate, the company should send a representative to your home. This is when the company takes an inventory of your belongings, and it is how your move will be quoted. Ask whether the estimate will be binding or not. Not having a binding estimate for your move is like inviting hidden fees.
Ask Questions and Check That The Estimate Is Thorough
Once a representative has come to your home, make sure they do a thorough walk-through of every nook-and-cranny of your home. This includes the attic, basement and other storage spaces. Ask lots of questions and figure out what type estimate they will be putting together for you. Anything that gets left off your moving quote can add up to unexpected fees on moving day. Here are the types of estimates you might be offered and what you should look for:
- Non-Binding Estimate: This is a normal estimate. This estimate is free, and it leaves you open to additional fees if the nature of your move changes due to unforeseen circumstances. These must be presented in writing, but this is not a contract.
- Binding Estimate: This is a safer route and allows you to budget. The estimate is agreed to by you and the company that you will not pay more than estimated for your move on moving day. Any additional services or fees incurred must be approved by you, and will be billed after your goods are delivered. Your company will also reserve the right to refuse service on moving day if it believes your shipment is different than what was estimated. This must be presented in writing and given along with your bill-of-lading, and this estimate is a contract between you and your mover.
- Binding Not-To-Exceed Estimate: This is the most thorough, and safest, estimate for your move. It means that you will only pay the quoted amount or less. The amount on your bill-of-lading cannot exceed the amount quoted, and if the cost of the move is less than estimated, you will pay the lower amount. Some movers will pay a small fee for this service, but it can end up saving you big money, and headaches, on your move. This is a contract between you and your mover, and you must be presented with a copy.
Never Pay A Large Deposit For Your Move
This is a classic technique of fraudulent moving companies. They ask for a large deposit up-front, and you might never hear from them again. This also leaves you with little to no control over how your belongings are treated during shipment. This is never something that a reputable moving company will ask for. If you are asked to put down a deposit for your move, look for another company.