What to Look for in a Moving Company

The right people can make moving day so much easier...

Moving from one home to another is not something that we usually enjoy. Taking inventory of our belongings, discarding things we no longer want or need, packing up the things we want to keep and hauling them to another location can be very time-consuming. Just the thought of having to move can be very stressful.

Sometimes it's necessary to move across the block, across town or even across a country or two. We might be starting a new job, or just feel the need to be closer to friends and family. Whatever the reason, moving can be difficult, but fortunately, you don't have to the hard work all by yourself.

There are many moving companies that are experts in securing and carefully packaging up your belongings for your move. You can find more information about these companies at sites including North American Van Lines and others. If you don't have the time or abilities to move everything that you need to by yourself, hiring a moving company is your best bet to get the job done.

With that in mind, here are a few helpful hints for selecting the right moving company for your needs:

1. Look at what they have to offer. When it's time to make that big move, you have to decide what's important for you during the transition. When researching moving companies, investigate each one of them carefully. You may find yourself asking questions like:

  • Does the company have a moving truck that will comfortably fit all of your belongings?
  • Can you call their office and actually talk to a live person to schedule your appointment?
  • Do they have any sort of delivery guarantee?
  • Do they offer packing supplies as part of their service?

The more satisfactory answers that you receive for these questions and any other concerns you may have, the better the odds are that you've found the right moving company for you!

2. Read reviews. The moving industry is very competitive. People often review some of the more popular moving companies online. Read as many reviews of the moving companies you are considering as possible. Doing this will give you more insight as to how each company operates and their levels of customer service. You might even find some additional advice for your move that you hadn't even thought of.

3. Ask around. Sometimes, the best advice you can get about a moving company is from your friends and neighbors. If you know someone who has used a moving company recently, invite them over to share their experiences with you about working with that company. Find out all that you can about their experience. This can prepare you for any additional questions to ask before hiring them. You can also find out extra information that the companies may not advertise on their website or marketing materials.

4. Proper licensing and insurance. NEVER under any circumstances hire a moving company that isn't insured or licensed. If you do, you are the only one liable for the property being moved if it ends up lost, damaged or stolen. Each state has its own licensing laws and requirements, so research the ones in your state carefully. Every intrastate moving company is required to register with the United States Department of Transportation, which provides them each with their own unique USDOT number that is available for public review. You can also review other sources like the American Moving and Storage Association's list of professional movers and with the Better Business Bureau.

5. A good track record. If you want to hire a company you can trust, look at their past experience. There's nothing wrong with new companies or independent movers, but if you're concerned about your belongings being moved safely and on time, then you need to hire someone who has proven that they get the job done right. Feel free to ask the company for information on their service records.

6. Insist on a walk-through. Before hiring any moving company, have a thorough walk-through with an estimator. The person giving the estimate should ask thorough questions about the items being moved as well as any items that will be left behind, sold or donated. They should also be able to answer any questions or concerns about the move that you may have.

7. Read the contract carefully. Before you sign, make sure that you review the moving contract very carefully. Look for things like additional fees, mileage and other expenses, and anything else that sticks out. NEVER sign a blank contract, because they often end up costing far more than you initially expected. Review the binding, non-binding or non-binding to exceed estimates word for word to spell out any additional charges or to see the maximum amount that you will need to pay. Also, check the fine print for any time limits in which you can report a claim for any damages that may occur.

8. What's the liability? Each moving company is required to have a level of liability for any damages that may happen during a move. Moving companies either have an alternative level of liability or full value replacement liability.

- Alternative Level of Liability costs the least, but also provides the least protection for your belongings. At this level, the moving company is only liable for a small fraction of the value of each item. The responsibility for the rest of the replacement cost belongs to you.

- Full Value Replacement Liability is more expensive, but it ensures the most safety. These contracts state that your items are either restored to their original condition if damaged, replaced at equal value or pay you the cost of the items being restored or replaced. This is usually the standard option for most moving contracts.

If any of your items are damaged or broken following your move, read your contract carefully to determine the type of coverage that you have and how many days you are allowed to submit a damage claim.

These are just some of the many things to consider when hiring a moving company. This is a big decision, no matter how near or how far you are moving away. Don't trust the safety of your belongings to a company that you know absolutely nothing about. Do your homework, review all the pros and cons and select a moving company that will take the stress and worry out of your move.

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