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Hiring a Moving Service: What You Need to Know


by: Doresa Banning
01 Dec 2010

Because moving is already stressful, you do not want problems with your moving company. You can prevent potential crises by collecting essential information before engaging its services.

Moving License and Insurance

To know what licenses and insurance your moving company are required to have, determine the type of move you are making. Long-distance moves are typically interstate and further than 50 to 100 miles. Local moves are usually in-state and under 50 or 100 miles.

Long-distance moving services must have a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number and be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which dictates their insurance requirements. Ask the moving company for its US DOT number and the amount of insurance it maintains.

If moving locally, check with your state's commerce or transportation department for its licensing and insurance requirements and obtain a copy of your moving company's compliance documentation.

You can go to the FMCSA website and verify all of the company's data and check that it is permitted to carry household goods.

Moving Dates and Cost Estimates

Ask the moving professionals how much notice they need to schedule a move on a particular date. Your contract should specify a window for pickup and delivery. Ask what happens if the movers arrive at your new home and you are not there. Ask if the company guarantees that its movers will show up at both locations within the delivery window and, if they do not, how you will be compensated.

Obtain a written estimate of how much the company plans to charge you. Local moves are typically charged by the hour. Long-distance moves are charged by the weight of the shipment. Mileage generally is charged at a flat rate.

Moving companies generally offer one of three types of estimates based on the estimated weight of your goods:

  • Non-binding: the cost can fluctuate dramatically (usually upward) if the final weight of your belongings is greater than originally estimated.
  • Binding: the cost is unchangeable even if the true weight of your shipment increases or decreases.
  • Binding Not-to-Exceed: the cost does not increase but could decrease if the final shipment weight is less than estimated.

Make sure you understand what services the estimate does and does not cover.

Sources:
Moving Problems • http://www.moving-company-guide.comhttp://www.moving-company-guide.com/moving-problems.htmThree Types of Moving Estimates • http://www.movers.com/moving-guideshttp://www.movers.com/moving-guides/three-types-of-moving-estimates.htmlThe Proper Licensure and Insurance of Movers • http://www.movers.com/moving-guideshttp://www.movers.com/moving-guides/insure-your-move.html