Moving is a big change in life, and chances are that you’re going to be distracted by many things while you’re doing it. That’s why hiring reliable delivery movers are essential to your peace of mind, but how do you find reliable people? I’ll show you.
1. Get Recommendations From People You’re Close To
Seriously, does anything work better than suggestions from people you already trust? Family and friends don’t hold back when you ask them for recommendations, especially if they had a bad experience with someone. This can help you determine who to avoid or who to research in more detail. Either way, this is always a great first step.
2. Make Sure You’re Not Talking To A Broker
Some people hire brokers instead of delivery movers and don’t even realize it.
Moving brokers can’t transport your belongings. Instead, they book a time for your move and then sell that time to an actual moving company that they choose. In most cases, you have no control over their choice, so you won’t be able to ensure that the delivery movers are trustworthy.
Furthermore, cost estimates with brokers can be wildly inaccurate. Many of them give you a low estimate to make you think you’re getting a good deal, but the cost goes up if the moving company demands it when it’s too late to change companies easily.
3. Make Sure They’re Registered
All reputable movers are registered in at least one database, but this is where things get tricky.
Interstate movers are registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, where you can check information like their registration status and type of business. Registration is required for interstate movers, and they should be able to give you a Department of Transportation number so you can look them up.
In-state movers aren’t part of the federal database, though, so you won’t find them even if you check. Instead, you’ll need to look for your state’s registry of moving companies. These are usually easy to find online, but if you’re having trouble, consult your state’s Department of Transportation (or the equivalent, if your state calls it something else).
4. Check Their Insurance
Reputable moving companies have proof of insurance known as an Insurance Certificate, which their insurance provider issues. Reputable companies will provide these on request, and some will do so even without being prompted.
If the company hesitates to provide this information, that’s an instant red flag, and you should stop talking with them immediately. Do not accept any statements like “We’ll provide that on the day of the move.” There’s no reason to wait, especially because reputable movers will always have a copy of that and can send it through email long before they show up in person.
5. Locate Their Headquarters
The most reputable moving companies have a physical office somewhere. You can skip this step if the headquarters is inconveniently far away, but try to visit them if possible.
While you’re at their office, evaluate them as you would any other business. For example, is the office clean and tidy, or dirty and disorganized? Similarly, are the staff there friendly and knowledgeable, or disinterested and reluctant to talk?
Try to get a look at their moving vehicles, too. The occasional dings and dents are typical for moving vehicles, but they should look well-maintained. If the vehicles seem older and worn-down, that’s a sign the company may be struggling.
6. Consider Online Reviews
Some people select delivery movers exclusively based on online reviews, but we don’t recommend that. That’s why this suggestion is so far down the list instead of being closer to the top.
To clarify: Online reviews are extremely useful. If you see that a company has a 2/5 rating and a ton of complaints with the BBB, you know to stay away. On the other hand, if a business has an outstanding rating and no complaints, they’re probably trustworthy.
Look for the bad reviews, too. Any company passed a certain point should have at least a few bad reviews hanging around. Statistically, it’s a lot weirder if they don’t have a few incidents where customers like you weren’t satisfied.
If a company has hundreds of reviews and every single one is positive, that’s a caution sign. It doesn’t mean you should dump them right off, but it’s a little suspicious that nobody’s ever had a bad experience with them.
To a lesser extent, consider the dates of the reviews. Recent reviews are fundamentally more useful than older ones. If a company had a lot of problems in the past but has done far better lately, that’s much more trustworthy than the other way around.
7. Get A Proper Estimate
There are two primary components to a proper estimate.
First, they need to do an in-home estimate. While over-the-phone or email estimates are possible, those only reflect the typical circumstances and don’t take your unique circumstances into account.
Realistically, most movers can pack a typical house in 6-12 hours, but this can extend over as much as several days if you have a huge home or a lot of delicate things that need special care.
Second, a proper estimate includes a cost breakdown for the move. The most reputable companies charge by the weight of what they’re moving, not the space that things occupy. Charging by space is easily abused through various ways of calculating it, and it’s illegal in many areas.
If possible, try to get quotes from several different companies. While each company will probably provide a different estimate, most of those should fall within the same general range. Any deal that’s too high or too low compared to the others is inherently suspect.
8. Know Your Rights
This mainly applies to interstate moves, but local companies may have state requirements for the same thing. A reputable interstate moving company must give you a booklet titled Your Rights And Responsibilities When You Move.
This is a federal booklet that details things like your mover’s liability, claims, paperwork, collection of charges, and other details that apply to the move. Most companies will provide this booklet to you no later than the day they do an in-house estimate.
Providing this booklet is required by federal law, so any company that doesn’t is probably trying to evade responsibility, and you should not trust them. Reputable companies are always up-front and transparent.