When you have kids, pets, or a busy job, moving can be a bit overwhelming. Relocating all your possessions on your own can seem daunting, and packing everything safely may be one of your top concerns.
For a little help, you may be considering a professional moving company to pack and relocate all your possessions to your new home. But, while shopping for moving services, you may find it difficult to separate the scams from the legitimate businesses.
To determine if a moving company is genuine and to protect yourself from potential dangers, use the following tips as you search for the best movers.
When searching for a moving company, ask your close friends and family members. They may be able to offer a few reputable suggestions, and they can tell you what they may or may not have liked about their movers. You can also ask your realtor if he or she knows a few good moving companies. In that line of work, real estate agents may know a couple dependable options.
But if you don’t have anyone to turn to in your local area, you can get a list of reputable movers from national movers associations, such as State Associations of Movers and the American Moving and Storage Association.
Make Sure the Company Has History
To keep moving and make a profit, most scammers will set up shop under one name, do business, and then quickly disappear to work under a new name. To ensure your moving company is legitimate, look for some kind of history. It’s best to find a company with at least 10 years of experience in the industry.
Check if they have a lengthy history of reviews online, and ask the company for three client references that have been moved locally in the last three months. When you contact these references, be sure to ask them several pertinent questions to verify the company’s legitimacy, including what they didn’t like about the service.
And when you call the company, check to see if the movers answer with the full company name instead of something generic like “moving company” or “movers.” Ask them for their DOT and MC license numbers to verify they are actually licensed professionals.
Get an On-Site Estimate
When you ask for an estimate, a reputable mover will come to your home to take a look at all your possessions and ask thorough questions.
They may take a look in your pantry and cupboards, and they’ll steadily move from room to room to see what you’re planning to move. To get a better idea of what they’ll be packing up and moving, they’ll also ask what you’re getting rid of and what else you may be purchasing before the move.
So, if a mover offers an estimate over the phone without even looking at your house, move on to another mover. And if they simply glance through each room, you may want to look for a different option.
For the best results, get estimates from at least three different movers and compare the prices. If you notice one is considerably different from the other two, ask the movers why this may be and what kind of charges affect the overall estimate. Sometimes, if an estimate is significantly disparate, you may be dealing with a fraud.
Don’t Trust in Cubic Feet
When getting an estimate, ensure the movers are basing their prices off weight and not cubic feet. Professional movers only consider weight, so if you see cubic feet as part of the estimate, it’s time to look for a new mover.
Check the Location and the Trucks
To ensure a business is legitimate, check that they have a physical address. You may want to take a trip to their establishment to verify the address is correct, and if you get the chance, inspect the facility to ensure everything is branded properly.
Look at the trucks to see if the logo and company name are permanently marked on the exterior. Some scammers tend to use a rental truck with magnetic signs slapped on the doors.
Look for a Booklet
Moving companies are legally required to give you a booklet about your rights and responsibilities when moving. If they don’t give you one or don’t have one, you may want to keep searching.
Don’t Sign a Scarce or Incomplete Contract
If you see blank spaces on the contract or the contract is under two pages, the movers may be scamming you. All your possessions should be included on the agreement, and the contract should be at least two pages in length.
Avoid Upfront Deposits and Cash Payments
Movers should never ask for an upfront deposit, so if a moving company is pressing for one, move on. And if you can help it, try not to pay with cash. You want a dependable record that you made the transaction, just in case anything goes wrong.
When you depend on a moving service, you’re entrusting most, if not all, of your possessions to the movers. By using the tips above, you can ensure you’re putting your belongings in good hands.
For your next move, consider Bekins. We’ve been in the business since 1891, and we use our considerable experience to move your items safely and efficiently. If you ask, we’ll happily provide our credentials and recent references.