Not all moving companies are created equal. Some skimp on necessary insurance coverage, some deliver damaged furniture, and others are scam artists who prey on movers. And there are some that deliver fully on all their promises and provide an amazing customer experience. But a nationwide poll of Angie’s List members found that nearly 40 percent of movers encountered a problem during their recent move, from damaged goods to hidden fees.
Follow these key steps to ensure your moving company is reputable:
Before hiring a mover, the first thing to do is check their Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. The BBB assigns businesses ratings from A+ to F based on multiple factors, including number of complaints, years in business, transparent business practices, licensing, and more. The BBB’s website also includes customer reviews. Make sure your moving company has a high BBB rating. Ask the moving company for any DBAs (“does business as” names) they may use and check those names on the BBB website as well. Be wary of any moving company not rated by the BBB.
You want to ensure your mover knows how to properly pack your valuables and avoid damages. Ask moving companies if they have received certifications from the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) or if they are AMSA members. This national trade association for the professional moving industry is comprised of moving companies that have undergone a background check and uphold high standards of conduct. These companies stand out as legitimate businesses from the scammers and frauds.
Legally, every moving company must assume liability for the value of the goods they transport, and they are required to offer two types of insurance coverage. Never hire a moving company that doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t discuss your coverage options with you.
The first type of coverage is “released value protection,” which means the mover assumes liability for 60 cents per pound, per item. The item could be a tattered blanket or an heirloom table; if it is damaged, you will be reimbursed 60 cents per pound. This is the most economical option, but may not be enough coverage depending on the type of furniture or possessions you are moving.
The second type of coverage is “full value protection.” This coverage is worth the additional fee if you are moving expensive items. If an item is damaged or lost, the mover will repair the item, pay for the cost of repairs, replace the item, or pay for the cost of replacing the item.
Even if you think you have found your ideal moving company, ask for estimates from at least three different moving companies to compare costs. If a company’s quote is significantly less expensive than the rest, check the fine print of the estimate for possible hidden costs. And most moving companies offer free estimates – if one tries to charge you for an estimate, move on to the next.
A reputable moving company should provide you with references upon request. Make sure the references are from customers who used the company within the past three months. Call these references and ask about their experience with the company, any issues they encountered, and any helpful tips they can share.
The great thing about the Internet is that you can find just about everything, including company ratings. Search sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google for other customer reviews or third party business reviews.
Legally sound moving companies following the appropriate laws should be transparent in their business practices and should be willing to answer your questions openly and directly. Avoid working with a company that hesitates to provide references, refuses to disclose proof of insurance, or is impossible to find online or on the BBB.
You chose to hire a moving company because you didn’t want to worry about the stress and time of packing, moving, and unpacking your belongings. By working with a reputable company, you can focus on getting to your destination and settling into your new home rather than worrying your move will be handled correctly.
Featured photo provided by Allied Van Lines