Moving is a very stressful and expensive experience, and if you don’t take precautions it can quickly turn into a nightmare. So how do you find a moving company that you can trust with everything that you own, and still feel safe in your decision? While we generallyrecommend moving yourself if possible, or using a you-pack/we-drive service like ABF U-Pack Moving®, we know that sometimes circumstances don’t allow that to work out. If that’s the situation that you’re in, here is some helpful advice to get you on the right track to find a reputable moving company.
The first thing that you should do is put down your keyboard and step away from your computer. While there are some reputable moving companies that have web sites, nearly all of the victims that contact us found their moving company on the Internet. The Internet will come in handy later, but for now let’s start local.
Your next step is to pick up your phone book, or call your local real estate agents and find at least three moving companies that have offices in your area. Try to find moving companies that have been in business at least ten years, and do not hire a moving broker. Current consumer protection laws related to household goods brokers are insufficiently written, and enforced.
Set up appointments for three moving companies to come to your house and do an in-home estimate in the order of your least favorite to your most favorite company. If they won’t come to your house to do an in-home estimate, move on and find another company. Find out up front if the company will be doing the move themselves, or if they will be sub-contracting the job to another company. If they won’t be moving you then you should move on to another company. You should also visit their office and make sure that the company is who they say they are. Check out their trucks and storage facility. Make sure that their trucks are permanently marked with the company’s name. Many rogue movers will show up on the day of the move with a magnetic sign attached to the door of a rental truck, so it’s good to know as much about them as you can ahead of time.
As each moving company gives you an estimate based on what they see in your home. Ask questions about the difference in pricing since it may have to do with what services one company provides that another doesn’t, the amount of insurance included, or valuation of your belongings. Never hire a mover who gives you a quote based on cubic feet. Never, ever sign blank paperwork, or paperwork that hasn’t been fully explained. Read the document, understand it and don’t worry about making the moving company wait.
Also, while you have the sales rep’s attention, get as much information about the company that you can such as:
- Full company name and any DBA names (doing business as)
- How long they have been in business
- Company address
- Phone numbers (local and toll-free)
- DOT and MC license numbers
- Company web site address
- Email addresses
- Get references (and call them)
Now that you have your three estimates, it’s time to get back online. This is where the Internet is a powerful tool for the consumer, and where all of that information that you gathered pays off.
Many states make it easy to search for corporate information online. We’ve made it easy to find each state’s corporation search. Just select the state on our Links page that your moving company is based. If you can’t search online, then call your secretary of state’s office and ask for the articles of incorporation. You can use the Articles of Incorporation that you find to verify how long your moving company has been in business, as well as the company’s address and owner’s name.
Remember those DOT and MC license numbers that you wrote down? Well, it’s time to make sure that your moving company not only has the license authority to perform your move, but if they have the insurance to make it legal! Let’s start by looking up that information.