Moving to a new home or office space can be stressful. Chances are, you have a lot more items than you realized. Some will be heavy, others fragile, and a few pieces will be both. It’s not easy to play Tetris with all those boxes and bits as you wrangle them into a rented van. Even worse, when you get to the new place, you’ll have to do the whole process in reverse.

A moving delivery service company lets you skip these steps. It’ll save you time and may also save your valuable items. After all, experienced and reliable companies know how to package things securely and get them to you quickly and in perfect shape.

However, not every moving delivery company will give you a great experience. It pays off to do a little research into who is available. You want to find a service that can be trusted with business equipment, delicate family heirlooms, bulky furniture you can’t afford to replace, and more. So what makes a moving delivery service a reliable one?

Look Local

This is more of a general goal than a hard-and-fast rule. Moving delivery services with a branch that’s local to you will have an edge over the competition. Their drivers will know traffic ins-and-outs that don’t show up on the GPS. There’s less chance of them getting lost or being late. Meanwhile, businesses that are located far away or ones that you find operating just on the internet are more likely to be scams.

Check the Website

A moving company that cares about their customers will have a user-friendly site. It will be easy to navigate. You shouldn’t be bombarded with pop-ups, ads for other businesses, or CAPTCHA around every corner. The site will clearly describe what services they offer and how to contact them or get an estimate. If the site looks unprofessional, there’s a good chance the service will be, too.

Look for Credentials

Reliable moving delivery companies will be licensed, bonded, and insured in your states. If you’re moving between states, also look for a number that’s issued by the Department of Transportation. If a delivery company is hesitant to give you this information or you can’t find anything specific on their website, that’s a red flag for their professionalism. Sure, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get bad service. However, you’ll be missing out on important legal protections if the worst does happen.

Once you have those credentials, verify them. This usually involves just a quick call or search, such as through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website.

Read the Reviews

Reviews aren’t a completely accurate snapshot of a company. Most of the reviews you’ll see are from people who either had a great experience or those who are quite unhappy, with little middle ground. However, you can pull some valuable information out of these reviews.

Look for common trends among both high and low star reviews. If multiple customers comment that their items were clean and scuff-free on delivery, there’s a good chance that the company packages things with care. If a number of people note that the truck arrived late, don’t count on this business with tight deadlines.

Another thing to look out for is how the company handles unhappy customers. After all, accidents and miscommunications can happen. Do you see anyone note that there was a problem but the moving service worked with them to find a solution? Are there amended reviews that mention customer service reached out and made things right? These are the marks of a business that cares about their reputation and customer experience.

Ask for Estimates

Try to get at least three written estimates for the move. Is anyone especially cheap? That may be a yellow flag. You could get hit with hidden fees, no-show trucks, and overall sloppy service.

While you’re at it, try to get those estimates in-home. An associate who just chats with you over the phone or texts you a price range won’t understand the full scope of this job. This is especially important for big moves or if you need complex and delicate equipment transported.

Read the Fine Print

Ready to contract with a moving delivery service? Read everything before you sign and put a deposit down. Is the contract clearly worded? Does it describe exactly what the service is and when it will happen? Is there clear language on how disputes will be handled?

The representative you’re working with should be able to explain anything that you don’t understand. If you still don’t understand every point in the contract, you may be in for a headache. It’s better to walk away than get saddled with an unreliable delivery company. A more professional outfit will make moving day a smooth, low-stress experience.