Moving to a new state is exciting, but it can also be extremely nerve-wracking. Aside from the fact that you’ll be in a new place, you also have to worry about moving your things to your new house. How do you carefully move years’ worth of furniture, knick-knacks, souvenirs, and countless other stuff in your old house that you hold dear? What about your car or your dogs or that antique cabinet?
In 2012, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) received over 7,000 complaints about moving companies in the United States. Most of the complaints were about movers mishandling and losing the customers’ possessions. Other reasons include arriving late, charging for unworked hours, and charging more than the initial estimate.
Moving is stressful enough without movers losing or breaking your stuff or charging more than what was in the contract. It’s important to vet the moving companies before making a down payment. Here’s how.
Read Reviews and Ask Referrals
Start by reading reviews about Allied Van Lines and other movers in the local area. Check if there’s an association of local movers in your area so you can ask about a particular company. You can also reach out to family and friends to get a referral. If you know a real estate agent, they can also point you in the right direction.
Choose at Least 3 Companies
Don’t settle for the first company you see with a good review. Choose at least three movers to give you an in-person estimate. Movers cannot give you a thorough assessment without seeing the things to move, but once that is done, you can get a rough estimate of how much you would have to pay.
Ask the movers to provide you with their credentials and verify them with the proper agencies. The department or ministry of transportation of every country will usually issue a license number to identify commercial vehicles used by moving companies. In the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues motor carrier numbers for buses and trucks. You should also check if the company is licensed to operate in your destination state, if you’re moving across state lines.
Check If the Insurance Is Still Valid
The mover should have valid insurance because the policy will cover anything that might happen to your stuff. If they lose or damage your things, the insurance will foot the bill. That provides a level of protection to customers who naturally want their stuff to arrive safely in the destination state.
Visit the Company Address
It would do you good not to work with a home-based mover. Although home-based businesses are legitimate, they might not have enough manpower to do the job well. You can learn a lot about a company when you visit the actual office. Make sure to squeeze a visit into your schedule. If possible, ask to see the equipment they will use for the move.
Look for Experts
What are you moving exactly? If you are moving a car or a valuable painting, you need a moving company that specializes in transporting high-value items. Make sure the company is aware of the value of the item. Do not under-declare the value of the item because that will be the basis of any insurance claims in the future. If you are moving vehicles, look for a company specializing in this service.
Watch Out for Large Deposit Requirements
Most moving companies will ask for a small deposit. The rest of the payment will be made after delivering your belongings. That is why a mover asking for a large deposit should be a red flag. If you have to put a deposit, charge it to your credit card so you can contest the charge if the company mishandles your belongings.
Listen to Your Gut
How did you feel about the company when you visited the office? Note how the movers are with their customers. Do they seem rude and unprofessional? No matter how great their offers are, don’t accept them if you are uncomfortable with them. The most important thing with moving is the trust between the mover and the customers. You need to be able to trust the moving company to transport your belongings safely.
Choosing the best moving company should be tactical and practical. Don’t let your emotions be a part of the process. Look at the number of positive reviews, as well as the inclusions in the amount they’re charging. Numbers speak well when it comes to picking the best mover to whom you can entrust your possessions.