Empire Movers Blog
How to hire a reliable moving company in 11 easy steps
April 11, 2018
Finding a reliable moving company, one that will take care of your belongings and won’t destroy your budget, is not an easy task. The entire process can take up a lot of time. And it’s necessary, since it’s the only way to make sure that you won’t lose money and you will avoid scams. Fortunately, if you’re disciplined and if you follow these 11 steps, you will be able to save time, save money and hire the right movers.
Get recommendations from friends and family when looking for a reliable moving company
When looking for movers, you should always start with people you can trust. And if you can’t trust your friends and family, then who can you trust?! Ask them to help you out, but don’t stop there.
Also give that old phone book a look and see if there are any moving companies close by. Visit them and ask for an estimate. This is the best way to find the right mover for you.
Do the research yourself and you won’t regret it. Remember, there are many companies on the internet that offer to find the right movers for you. But they might not really have your best interest at heart. Avoid them and you’ll definitely avoid scams.
Stay safe. Do an initial screening
Once you have a list of recommended movers put together, you can do background checks for each of them. The internet will come in handy here. You can visit the website of the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) or reach out to the American Moving and Storage Association (www.moving.org, 703-683-7410, firstname.lastname@example.org). They will help you find out if a moving company is a member. If it is, you can be sure that it’s also trustworthy. Empire Movers is a proud member of AMSA. We are fully licensed and insured (US DOT 1795794, NYDOT 37873, MC 728255 – long distance moving license).
The rule of 3 – Always choose at least three companies
Once you start checking your list, make sure that you end up with at least three companies that you can call for in-home estimates. This way you can compare prices and save money. But remember that the final cost of the move can exceed the estimate.
You can ask if the company will offer you a binding not-to-exceed estimate or a written binding estimate, as they will both put a guaranteed cap on what you will pay for the service. But in case they won’t, remember that the final cost of the move depends on a lot of things, such as the time needed to do the job, the distance, the number of items and more.
Show the estimator everything you want moved
You might not be comfortable with the idea, but it’s for the best. Take the estimator on a tour of your home and show him everything you want moved. Go through every closet, the basement, attic, backyard.
And don’t forget to also tell the estimator about any conditions at your new locations. These include stairs, elevators and more. If you offer your movers enough information, they’ll be able to do their job better. Not to mention that you’ll also find out if they’re capable to do the move or not. Some companies aren’t, and they will contract the job to another mover. This is something you want to avoid, especially if you want to hire a reliable moving company.
In addition to giving the estimator all the information he requires, also make sure to collect some information of your own, such as:
- The company’s full name
- Its address, phone number, website and e-mail
- Names and contact information for the company’s references
- USDOT and MC(motor carrier) license numbers
- The U.S. Department of Transportation booklet called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.” All interstate movers are required by Federal Law to provide their clients with this guide.
Look over the estimates one more time
The estimate is a document that, when signed by you and the representative of the moving company, can also serve as an order for service and bill of lading. Any honest mover will give you this document, together with the inventory list created when your belongings are loaded.
These documents are important. And this means that any details they may contain are also important. You need to make sure that the words “written binding estimate” are included in the document. It probably goes without saying, but you should also check to see if the mover’s signature and date are present at the bottom of the document.
All the details of the move have to be included in the estimate: the type of move, the type and quantity of goods, the distance, the pick up and delivery dates as well as any additional services.
You can’t get a binding estimate for an in-state move, but you can and should get a written estimate. It will set out the hourly rates and any additional costs.
Finally, if something bothers you about the estimate, call the company and sort things out. Don’t just expect that things will take care of themselves, or it will be really hard for you to find a reliable moving company.
Don’t be afraid to tell estimators that you’re doing your homework
Tell them that you’re also talking to other companies and that you’re doing your own research. This way, they will be more honest and they may even make you a better offer.
Once you have all those estimates, put them together and get a piece of paper and a pen. Compare them. Get all the pros and cons down and afterwards study them. Pick the moving company that best suits your needs.
Make sure the moving company is licensed and insured
Unfortunately, there are some movers out there who work illegally. You want to avoid doing any business with them. Once you settled on a moving company, you can visit the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and enter the company’s USDOT number. If the number is correct, you will receive a lot of information about the company, including its contact info(you can check to see if it’s the same with what they gave you), details about drivers and equipment, accident history, insurance data and more.
If this information is too much for you, don’t hesitate to call the FMCSA and ask for help. They will help you find a reliable moving company.
Don’t forget to also call the FMCSA’s Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline. Their number is 888-368-7238 and they’re open 24/7. Ask them to tell you about any complaints the company might have had.
Select the mover
Once the first 9 steps are complete, you can choose a mover. At this point, you can rest assured that you’ve hired a reliable moving company, one that is honest and capable.
Get a written copy of the mover’s inventory list
You’ve selected the mover, but there’s still one more step to take. On moving day, you have to get a written copy of the mover’s inventory list. This way, you won’t lose anything. And if an accident happens, you’ll be covered by the insurance. Additionally, provide the movers with detailed directions for getting to your new place and ask them to give you a phone number, so you can reach contact them throughout the move.