Moving is always difficult, but hiring the wrong moving company can add to an already stressful situation. In order to minimize the chance of an unexpected problem, it is important to hire a skilled and experienced moving company. Investing some time to research different movers can help lower costs and protect your valuable belongings. Here are the top 10 questions you will want to ask your moving company before signing a contract.
1) Is the company a mover or a broker?
Brokers play an important role in the industry by helping match customers with the best movers. However, brokers rarely provide firm estimates, and they are not responsible for any loss or damage resulting from the move. Carefully scrutinize the contract to identify all of the parties involved.
2) What about the moving company’s experience?
Experienced moving companies develop sound and reliable business practices. Look for a published policy that outlines how the company conducts a move and handles delicate valuables. Business customers demand exceptional service, so look to see if the moving company has any active corporate accounts.
3) What do online reviewers say about the company?
The internet is an excellent source for checking a moving company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Other consumer oriented websites like Epinions, Yelp and Citysearch provide a glimpse into experiences other people have had with the company.
4) What is included in the rates?
A reduced rate is not always indicative of a low final bill. Some movers manipulate rates and inflate the bill with hidden added costs. It is important to determine if fuel charges are included and whether rates vary by the month or days of the week. Always know in advance exactly how much your final invoice is going to be.
5) What are the payments terms, and what form of payment is accepted?
Small moving companies often have cash flow issues. Be wary of movers that ask for a large non-refundable payment up front. It is advisable to avoid moving companies that only work on a cash basis. Always determine the deposit amount and whether it is refundable. Credit cards are a preferred payment method since they add an extra layer of protection for the consumer.
6) Does the moving company provide consolidation options?
If you are planning to move to another state, ask the mover if they offer consolidation rates. Consolidation is a process that involves combining the belongings of several families onto one truck. While consolidation can save you a lot of money, it may lengthen the delivery schedule.
7) What is the delivery schedule window?
Moving companies rarely commit to a specific delivery date for long distance moves, and they like to maintain as much flexibility as possible. Most people prefer to arrive at roughly the same time as their belongings. Establish a delivery window with the mover and make sure it is part of the contract.
8) Is the moving company licensed?
A moving company that provides interstate services should have a U.S. DOT number. The mover’s DOT number can be verified online at the United States Department of Transportation website. If the company only provides local moving services, they must be licensed by that particular state.
9) What about insurance?
It is imperative that the company you choose is properly insured. Most movers only provide basic insurance to cover your personal property. Before you commit to a contract, determine the true replacement costs of your belongings. The standard coverage of 60 cents per pound is usually inadequate, so you may want to purchase additional insurance from the mover or your own insurance company.
10) Who is responsible if something is broken or missing?
Damage and breakage is common in the moving business, so determining liability in the event of an accident is important. Some companies balk at assuming liability for items that were poorly packed by the customer.
Moving with Confidence
You can take the stress out of a complicated move with upfront planning and research. The more you know about the moving company and its policies, the better chance you will have of a enjoying a positive outcome.
Read more helpful tips on moving here.