“Is it worth it to hire a moving company near me? How can I find movers I can trust?”
You’re not alone in asking these questions. Undoubtedly, you’ve heard of some horror stories/scams that make you wary of trusting any moving service.
The bad news is, some of these stories are true. However, DIY moving is even more likely to be a bad moving experience.
So what do you do? That’s the good news.
You can avoid a bad moving experience without completely avoiding professional movers. All you need to do is ask your moving company the right questions before you hire them.
You’ll find these questions listed in the following guide. Find the best movers in your area by asking these questions.
1. Are You Licensed Through the FMCSA?
The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) is a federal agency that makes sure commercial vehicles operate safely. Thus, an FMCSA-licensed moving company has earned the government’s official seal of approval for safe business practices. In other words, you can trust that they’ll be careful with your items.
More importantly, though, this license tells you that you’re dealing with a real moving company and not a scammer. Here’s how you can check if a moving company has an FMCSA license.
First, find out the company’s government-issued MC number and U.S. DOT number. Then, plug these into the FMCSA website.
On the next page, look for the “Operating Status” section. It will say “Authorized” under this section if the company is licensed.
2. What Liability Coverage Do You Provide?
Even with the best movers, accidents happen. Make sure you know what this will mean for you if it does. Specifically, what type of liability coverage does the moving company provide?
Most movers offer more than one option. In fact, interstate movers are required to offer both Released Value and Full Value Protection policies.
The Released Value policy is included at no additional cost. The coverage is quite minimal, though. Each item is given a minimum reimbursement value of 60 cents per pound.
As you probably guessed, Full-Value Protection means you will be reimbursed for the full value of any lost or damaged item. This comes at an additional cost that’s determined by the moving company.
3. What Is Your Estimate?
A trustworthy moving service will provide you with a written estimate. In fact, they’re required to.
This way, you have proof of the quoted price in your hand if they try to dispute this later. The estimate must be signed by both parties and both must retain a copy.
Furthermore, getting an estimate helps you find out if the mover can be trusted. For instance, if they give you an estimate without coming to your house in person, don’t hire them.
Movers offer pricing based on both the distance of the move and the weight of the items. So, they need to see the items they’re moving in order to estimate a price.
4. How Might the Final Cost Differ From the Estimate?
Receiving a written estimate doesn’t necessarily mean that the price won’t change. The first thing you need to find out about the estimate is what type it is: non-binding, binding, or not-to-exceed.
The riskiest for you is the non-binding estimate. This simply means that the final price could be up to 10% higher or 10% lower than the estimate.
A binding estimate means what it says. The price cannot change, period.
A not-to-exceed estimate means that the price cannot exceed the original estimate. But it can get lower.
To prevent unpleasant pricing surprises, find out if you can get a binding or not-to-exceed estimate. Also, ask if there are any potential fees, not included in the estimate, that might be added later.
5. Are You a Broker or a Carrier Company?
Did you know that the mover you trust/hire might actually hire someone else to move your items? This type of moving company is called a broker. A moving company that utilizes its own staff for the move is called a carrier.
Hiring a broker is usually cheaper. But you’ll want to research who your move is being outsourced to. Some brokers will outsource to any random, inexperienced company that works for cheap.
Also, entrusting your move to a middleman company can often lead to miscommunications and delays. Thus, it’s a much better idea to hire a carrier.
6. What Services Do You Not Provide?
If there are any items your movers won’t move, be sure you find this out ahead of time. First of all, here’s a list of items that no moving company will take.
Beyond that, though, your mover might consider certain items/tasks to be a specialty service. For instance, if you need the movers to pack for you, find out if they provide this service.
Also, some movers won’t accept any large/awkward/complex items, like pianos. So, make sure the company you hire provides all the services you need.
7. Are My Items Guaranteed to Arrive By a Certain Date?
Make sure you know exactly when your items are arriving. Specifically, is the expected arrival date an estimate or a guarantee?
If the delivery date is not guaranteed, then the movers have no reason to care about punctuality. Make sure the mover gives you a guaranteed delivery date in writing.
Always Ask Your Moving Company These Questions Before You Hire
When you’re preparing for a move, the most important step is choosing the best moving company. So, find the best movers in your area by asking these questions. Also, keep this page bookmarked so you can reference it in the future.
Lastly, if you need a reliable moving service in the Austin, TX area, call Muscleman Moving at (512)-298-5311. Go here to learn more about our services.