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How to Choose a Moving Company That's Right for You

by: Jim Sloan
01 Dec 2010

If you are one of the 40 million Americans planning to move this year, there are a few simple steps you can take find the best moving company possible.

Finding a reputable and reliable mover is not as easy as checking the Internet or the Yellow Pages. Although the vast majority of movers are honest and dependable firms, there has been an increasing number of "rogue" movers operating in the U.S. These companies perform shoddy work and in some cases actually hold a family's possessions hostage until you pay additional fees to have your furniture and household goods delivered.

Steps for Finding the Best Moving Company

  1. Ask friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers for recommendations.
  2. Check with the Better Business Bureau to find out if any complaints have been filed against any of the movers.
  3. If moving from one state to another, check to see if your potential moving companies are registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by going to the FMCSA Web site,
  4. Make sure the moving services you are considering have physical offices. Internet-only moving companies are often just third-party operations employing rogue movers. When you drive by, look at the condition of the premises and the condition of the trucks. The trucks should be permanently marked with the company's name.
  5. Make sure the companies you're considering have been in business for a while. Some experts recommend only hiring moving companies that have been in operation for at least 10 years.
  6. Once you have a handful of potential movers, get at least three estimates for your move.

Evaluating Estimates from Moving Services

The estimate should be free, and a company representative should come to your home. Never accept sight-unseen estimates given over the phone or the Internet.

Carefully examine each estimate; charges should be based on weight, not volume, and include any additional services you requested, such as packing services, packing help or storage. Never sign a contract with any blank spaces on it, and be suspicious of a company that asks you to do so. In fact, the best moving companies will walk you through a detailed, standard estimate.

What to Expect from a Moving Company

Once you've settled on a company, make sure it's registered with the American Moving and Storage Association. Members have agreed to a code of conduct requiring timely service and quick responses to claims.

Your moving company should also have a Department of Transportation number. Ask the mover for it. You can use that number on the FMCSA Web site to ensure the company has the required levels of insurance.

Finally, ask your moving company for an "order for service," which lists all the services the mover will provide and the dates your possessions will be picked up and delivered.

Moving? Protect Yourself from Moving Fraud • http://www.protectyourmove.gov • Federal Motor Carrier Safety AdminisWhat About Estimates? • • MoveRescueSearch By Company • http://www.fmcsa.gov • Federal Motor Carrier Safety AdminisPromover Search • http://www.moving.org • American Moving and Storage Association

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