The moving company you choose can make or break the ease of your move. Moving with a company that is knowledgeable, honest, and experienced is generally a much better experience than moving with one that lacks these qualities. However, it can be difficult for homeowners and renters to discern these qualities when hiring a mover. In 2009 alone, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported 8,400 complaints against moving companies. Common complaints include lost items, damaged items, and increasing prices after providing estimates.
To ensure the best possible experience for your money, always follow these five rules for hiring a mover.
1. Check Movers’ Grades
Contact the BBB at BBB.org to see if the moving company you’re considering for the job has any complaints against it. The BBB also issues letter grades to businesses. Grades read like a school report card, with “A” being the highest grade a company can receive, and “F” being the lowest.
2. Request Interstate Licenses
Aside from the various regulations that local movers must comply with, interstate movers must also comply with federal regulations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues licenses to interstate moving companies. Clients should always request to see licenses when hiring a mover for these types of moves.
3. Look for the ProMover Seal
The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) issues a seal of approval to moving companies that operate within a set of basic and honest business principals. The ProMover seal is the letter “M” above ProMover. Approved moving companies usually display the seal on their website and advertising materials. AMSA’s goal is to protect individuals from unlicensed and unregulated companies (referred to as “rogue operators”) within the moving industry.
4. Get In-Person Estimates
Leave enough time before your move to receive estimates from several different companies. Experts recommend that individuals looking for a mover should get at least three in-person moving estimates. In-person moving estimates are firm, legally-binding estimates, while phone and online estimates are not. A legitimate moving company will not issue a firm estimate over the phone or online. If an estimate is increased, many unethical moving companies will even hold the client’s household goods hostage until the increased rate is paid.
5. Know Your Rights When Hiring a Mover
Movers should know their rights when it comes to their goods and their move. If you are moving across state lines, research your rights as a client of a business, and specifically as a client of a moving company. Look at the rules for both states. An educated client is always much more difficult to take advantage of.
Following these simple rules when hiring a mover can have a huge positive impact on any move, no matter the distance. Whether you’re moving across town or across the world, take steps to protect yourself and your family from unethical and dishonest business practices. While many professional moving companies are more expensive than unregulated movers, the saying “you get what you pay for” applies to choosing a mover. Your property is too important to trust to an unregulated, unlicensed, or inexperienced moving company. By doing a bit of research, you can choose a trustworthy company and avoid a potentially scary situation.