The Bekins Blog

Questions to Ask Before Hiring Movers

May 19, 2022 | Moving Guides & Tips

Whether you’re about to embark upon your first-ever move or are an experienced mover, finding the right moving company and knowing you’re getting the best service for your money is imperative to ensure you receive the best possible moving experience. Oftentimes, even if you’ve used moving companies in the past and have had good experiences, you might not even know how to keep yourself and your items safe from moving scams or from movers who don’t have your best interests in mind. Hiring movers is something that you should be making an educated decision about.

A lot of families only find themselves moving once and a while, often with years in between their transitions. This can make it easy to be a little rusty on the whole process of moving and how to go about hiring movers for the job. This unfortunately can lead you to use moving companies that don’t have the best service, prices, or overall experiences, even if you think you’re covering all of your bases. 

How to Hire the Right Movers

So how do you avoid using moving companies that aren’t going to give you the best services? Before you sign any contracts or make any deposits, make sure you have the right company on your side with our top questions to ask movers before you use their services. 

  • Do They Have the Right Licenses? 

Always ask your movers for their USDOT number, which should also be listed on their website, to cross-check their licenses with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). This agency regulates all commercial trucks and vehicles, which includes moving companies. Making sure your potential company is FMSCA accredited and licenses won’t guarantee that you’ll receive the best possible pricing or service, but it will let you know that you’re using a legitimate company that isn’t a scam. 

Additionally, don’t just take your potential company’s word for it when they say they’re licensed or accredited with the FMSCA or another agency – always make sure to check for yourself to make sure everything checks out. Use your company’s USDOT number and MC number (which should both be provided to you) and look them up on the FMSCA’s database yourself. Check the information listed under “Operating Status” to make sure it says that your company is authorized. If they’re not listed as authorized or if you can’t find them, odds are this company is a scam. 

  • What Kind of Company is This? 

This wording might seem kind of vague, but what we mean here is to determine whether the company you’re looking at is a broker/brokerage, carrier/van line, or a broker/carrier hybrid. So what’s the difference between these types of moving companies? 

Brokers/brokerage moving companies don’t handle their moves with in-house moving crews or employees. Instead, they outsource their services to other companies that they have partnerships with. Once you inform your brokerage about the details of your move, they’ll notify their partner companies and allow them to place bids on your move.

Using a brokerage has upsides and downsides. Because companies bid on your move, you might receive a pretty good price for your services. However, this also means that the company or crew that shows up to perform your move will be different from the one you initially spoke to, which can be unnerving. It can also result in miscommunication or additional fees on moving day, as the crew who come to perform your move might not have even ever spoken to your original broker. 

Carriers or van lines such as Bekins, handle everything having to do with your moving process with in-house staff and crews, which will ensure you receive a seamless experience free of miscommunication or distrust. Though this may cost you slightly more than using a brokerage for your move, having a trustworthy in-house crew who knows the details of your move, and knowing what your total fees will be before moving day will more than make up for any extra cost. 

Before committing to any kind of moving company, you should always know which kind of company you’re using and how they operate. You should always make it a priority to use a moving company with the right structure and process for you so you’re comfortable entrusting them without your belongings. 

  • What Kind of Coverage/Insurance Does This Company Offer? 

Though moving companies legally cannot offer an official kind of ‘insurance’, you should always check to see what kind of moving coverage your company offers to make sure you’re compensated in the event of damage or loss of items during the moving process. Though no one (especially your moving company!) wants your items to be damaged in any way, it’s important to make sure you’re covered just in case.

All moving companies have to provide you with basic liability coverage, which will be included in your move, regardless of moving package. If a moving company tries to tell you they only use coverage that’s extra in fees or cost and don’t offer the basic liability coverage, they’re trying to rip you off. 

Beyond basic coverages, your moving company should also offer full-value protection, which will cover your items for their current market value. This means that if something happens to any of your belongings during your move, you’ll be completely reimbursed for the total value of the item, no matter what it is. Full-value protection will cost an extra fee on top of your initial moving costs, but the peace of mind is often very worth it for clients. 

  • Does This Company Offer the Specialty Services I Need? 

One of the most important questions to ask your moving company is what specialty services they offer to make sure every aspect of your relocation can be easily handled. Even with regular services that you might assume would be performed by every company, never just figure that you’ll be good too – every company is different, and they might not all offer the services you need. To ensure you’re getting the services you need, make sure to ask your company about their:

  • Loading & unloading procedures
  • Packing services
  • Custom crating
  • Furniture assembly & disassembly services
  • Procedures/services for specialty items like pianos, pool tables, or hot tubs
  • Storage options
  • Vehicle shipping

Because every company is different, never assume or take it for granted that you’ll get everything you need from your moving company. Before hiring movers, research their services completely, and always ask if you don’t see or if they don’t mention a service you need. 

  • Ask About Your Company’s Estimate Process

Many moving companies, especially if they’re not of high quality, might give you an estimate for your move that’s specifically designed to entice you with an initial low price, that can then be added to or increased at a later time without warning – especially on your moving day itself. Hiring movers that aren’t professional can cause cost discrepancies. 

Avoid getting backed into a corner without time to pick another option by excessive moving fees by making sure you’re working with professional movers that offer binding estimates. Binding estimates lock in your price and ensure that you won’t get any expected fees or price increases as long as your move goes as planned and you don’t add anything on at the last second. 

  • Watch Out for Hidden Fees

One of the most important things you can do during your moving research is to check the customer reviews of the moving company you’re interested in using. Look for reviews that mention hidden fees or the company increasing pricing come moving day. Companies could also hide extra fees within a ton of paperwork that can easily go unnoticed. If you notice a trend of reviews saying that they were charged extra fees, try to avoid that company. 

  • How is the Price of Your Move Calculated? 

To make sure you’re working with a reputable company, another good strategy to use is to ask how they usually calculate your total moving cost. Reputable moving companies usually base their costs on the weight of your move, the distance of your move, season, and labor rates. Certain companies might also charge for fuel for extra specialty services. 

If your company charges by how large your move is (not by weight), or by how much room it might take up in your moving truck, it’s a definitive sign of a scam. Additionally, use this information to properly budget and calculate your moving costs to ensure that you’re not overcharged for anything. 

  • Does Your Company Let Your Track Your Delivery? 

When you’re waiting for your items to arrive at your new home, it’s easy to get antsy or impatient, especially if you don’t know where your items are in their journey to you. See if your moving company offers shipment tracking or delivery updates so that you can know where your items are and when they’re due to arrive,

When it comes to choosing a reputable and dependable moving company for your transition, it’s imperative to make sure that you’re asking the right questions and doing your due diligence to ensure you’re getting the best service, prices, and overall experience. Hiring movers is a decision that you should be informed about before making.

Looking for a professional moving company that will always put you and your belongings first? Use Bekin Van Lines as your professional movers to get the best possible relocation, and never wonder whether you’re getting the best deal. Hiring movers has never been so easy. From our customer service to our quick and professional delivery, we’ll make sure you’re confident in our services and satisfied with your experience. 

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