Moving house is a process that involves a long set of decisions that need to be made in a very short span of time.
From settling for the most convenient moving date, to choosing the best supplies, the amount of tasks that await can without a doubt be overwhelming.
One of the most important decisions many people gloss over only to regret later is that of choosing the right moving company.
Choosing a mover may seem straightforward, but this is one of the hardest decisions you will be confronted with when planning for your move. That’s because no matter how well you are prepared, your choice of mover can make or break the move.
In this article, we outline five important questions you need to ask prospective movers to ensure you’re hiring the right fit for you.
- Are you properly licensed?
There is no shortage of movers out there masquerading as “professionals”, but in real sense they are briefcase companies.
The first thing you need to check with the mover is if they’re properly licensed.
If it’s a local mover – i.e. movers who provide moving services within the precincts of the state – they need to hold a state license.
If you’re looking at moving companies that provide long-distance interstate moving services, the licensing of these falls under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Transportation, so they need to have a USDOT license.
The USDOT even provides a resource that allows you to crosscheck the mover’s license number and even view their complaint history.
- Are you experienced with my type of move?
It is not every day that you will come across a mover who turns you down because they do not provide the type of service you’re looking for.
Some types of moves are very specialized and can only be trusted with experienced hands.
For example, if you are moving art pieces or antique items, you need a mover who has a track record of handling these types of records. The same goes for items like pianos, pool tables, or Sub-Zero and Viking refrigerators – or even handling moves in townhomes with multiple stories or high-rise apartment buildings.
Just because a company provides moving services doesn’t mean they are well equipped to execute these types of moves. A mover should be able to handle everything that comes their way, which is why you need experienced hands.
Asking is not enough as many can easily say yes – you need to enquire about some instances where they’ve been involved in that specific type of move.
- Do you have references?
Before signing up with the cheapest mover you come across, it is important to ask for references.
These are people you will be entrusting your entire personal possessions with, so they should be in a position to provide all the information you need. If not, move on to the next one who can.
Some movers have online references on their websites, but anyone can cook up some nice lines and post them as previous customer reviews. What you need are credible references.
A good way to gauge this is to check out what previous customers have to say on their social media pages. You can also check reviews on established sites like Yelp or even Google reviews.
Alternatively, if you have friends or family who have used the mover you’re considering, seek out their opinion and hear what their firsthand experience was like.
- What coverage options do you offer?
Moving companies offer an insurance-like service called mover’s coverage that covers the cost of your items should any misfortune (loss or breakage) befall them during transit.
Every mover is mandated by law to provide basic liability coverage without any extra charge. It insures your items based on weight, although this is a very negligible figure ($0.30 per pound and $0.60 per pound for local and interstate moves respectively).
The mover should, however, be able to provide you with alternatives beyond the basic coverage. These include, for example, full-value protection and third-party coverage options.
- What type of estimate do you provide?
The downside of signing up with the cheapest mover you find is that you risk coughing up more down the line.
Unless the mover offers you a binding estimate, the cost they initially quoted is bound to increase when the job is done, a pretty common ploy by some characters.
A binding estimate means the company cannot sneakily bump up the moving cost provided the move proceeds as planned and you don’t throw in extra items at the last minute.