Find a mover who is local
When a moving company is local it makes it easier for you to check out the company, get references from people and even check out the facilities. Don’t book your move with an Internet broker; most just hand your business over to someone you know nothing about.
Be sure to go with a licensed mover
This is easy to find out. If you are moving within the state, your state is responsible for licensing. Check your state’s website for information.
If you are moving to another state, check with the Federal Department of Transportation to find out if the company is legitimate. Many companies affiliated with a national van line use the van line’s license and insurance when doing interstate moves.
Check with the Better Business Bureau
A responsible mover may have a few complaints lodged against them, the more moves a company handles and the larger the population in their market area, the more likely it is it will have at least a few complaints. But it should show an effort to remedy the complaints. The moving company’s record with the Better Business Bureau should show that it has a satisfactory rating and that it responds to and resolves complaints.
Is the company a member of a trade association such as the American Moving & Storage Association? Are their salespeople certified moving consultants? Are their moving crews certified? What training programs do they have for their packers, drivers and moving helpers? A reputable company will usually be involved in one or more of these types of moving industry groups and have some type of structured training program.
Be sure the mover carries proper insurance
First and most important is workers’ compensation insurance. Without workers’ compensation insurance, if someone gets hurt moving you might be held liable. This type of insurance substantially adds to the mover’s cost of doing business, so it could be the first area an unscrupulous moving company scrimps on.
Talk to a references
Why would they give you a poor reference? Instead, try to find someone who’s worked with the company before, preferably a local company that does a lot of repeat business with a specific mover. If you can’t find anyone, ask the company for the names of three customers they last moved.
Watch out for a bid that is too low
Although it’s important to get a good price for your move, you should treat any low bid with caution. Why are they charging so little? Are they cutting costs in a way that could be bad for you (skipping on workers’ comp, for example)?
Make sure you moving company explains its pricing
Is the move hourly or by weight? The moving charges for most local moves are based on the time it takes to complete the move. Charges on long-distance moves within a particular state are often calculated based on the weight of the shipment.
Make sure the moving company explains to you all or the paperwork
This includes a written estimate that itemizes all services that make up your estimate; get at least three in-home estimates where the moving company can see the actual goods to be moved. An “Order for Service” is the agreement between you and your mover regarding shipment dates, when goods will be loaded and delivered, and estimated cost.