Framework for Choosing a Moving and Storage Company

This article’s purpose is to provide you with a framework for choosing amongst various moving and storage companies. It is our hope this information makes your choice easier. This article will begin with the importance of choosing a moving company instead of a third party broker. Then numerous parts of the process will be explained, e.g. where to locate moving companies, the different types of insurance and how to read moving contracts. By the end of this article you will be able to confidently choose the moving company which best suits your needs.

To start, it is important you choose a professional full-service company, and not a moving broker. A brokerage will take the details of your relocation and sell your information to the highest, not the most competent, company. This also means the person with whom you originally talked to will not be employed by the company which arrives on your move day. This greatly reduces the reliability of your estimate. Also, the laws concerning consumer protection, which are designed to help you the customer, within the moving industry apply only to moving companies, not the broker you dealt with. Accordingly, choosing a broker substantially amplifies the risk of your falling victim to a moving scam, and reduces your rights in the event something unfortunate does in fact occur.

Since you now are aware of the importance of choosing a moving company, not a moving broker, the question now becomes: where do you find a suitable moving company? There are several places to search for trusted moving and storage companies. Consumer reviews are often useful in finding direction. For example, the BBB keeps a rating on many local moving companies. You can find these ratings by visiting the Better Business Bureaus website. On a similar note, Angie’s List provides a great place to find unbiased consumer reviews of moving services in your area. Note, Angie’s List does require a subscription, but can be well worth it given the importance of your household goods. These two services should help you weed out the unsatisfactory companies quickly. Within the moving industry, the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) is well regarded for compiling a list of reputable companies. While AMSA’s criterion for eligibility in its list are not fool proof, the ProMover rating they give companies can provide you with a nice place to start looking, but it should not be the only means by which you attempt to find a mover. The phone book, realtors and online are also good places to find many moving companies. Beware, however, because any company can post online or in the phone book, so just because they are there does not mean they are necessarily trustworthy.

After you’ve chosen a few prospective moving companies in your area, the next step is to schedule an in-home visit with one of their salesmen. Be highly skeptical of any moving company which refuses to view your residence for two reasons. First, each relocation is unique and the company ought to see your residence and household goods in order to determine the best way in which to handle them. Second, moving companies are legally required to visit your residence and provide you with an in-home estimate. While you may choose to waive that right, they cannot force you to do so. Thus, if a company refuses to visit, you should take your business elsewhere because of the increased risks.

You should compile a list of questions before the salesperson comes to your home. Below you can find some questions we recommend you be prepared to ask. When the company representative visits, it is important both that you have these questions ready and that you show them your home in its entirety. Detailing the whole house ensures they are made aware of all your special pieces, and this will give your salesperson the best possible conception of what is needed to ensure a successful move. Additionally, it ensures your estimate is accurate. What follows are a list of questions you may use to distinguish between professional moving companies and less trustworthy movers.

1) For what length of time has your corporation been in the industry?

2) Are the movers you employ thoroughly background checked and drug tested?

3) Are you a moving and storage company or a moving broker?

4) Are your moving contracts binding?

5) What are your MC and DOT license numbers? (This ensures their company is registered with the state)