Arguably, the biggest mistake you can make when moving is doing it yourself. Hiring a quality mover makes your move easier, quicker, and safer.
With professional moving help, there’s less of a chance that you or your items will get damaged. And, usually, your items are insured against damages, anyway.
However, you’ll notice that we said “quality” movers. Hiring an untrustworthy moving company is even more dangerous than moving on your own. In fact, a lot of “moving companies” you might hire are actually scammers in disguise.
So then, how do you spot a reliable moving company among the frauds? Use this checklist, that’s how.
The following guide makes it easy to avoid scams and find trustworthy movers. Protect your items, your budget, and your sanity by following these steps.
Table of Contents
1. Use Only Local Movers
The biggest moving scam of all is when individuals pose as a moving company and advertise their services online. Once you agree to hire them (at a suspiciously low quote), they hire someone else to move your items.
That is, they advertise your moving gig in the local wanted ads. Anyone who shows up gets the job.
These laborers aren’t licensed movers, mind you. They’re simply unemployed locals who are trying to make some easy cash. As such, these strangers will not handle your items with care and might even take some of them when you’re not looking.
And that’s not even the worst part. You’re then told that your items won’t arrive at your destination until you pay in full. But the price is now 3 times what the original quote was.
Desperate to get your stuff back, you pay the price. Then, the “company” is never heard from again.
Fortunately, this scam is simple to avoid by verifying a local moving company’s address before you hire. That is, visit the location in person and get their business card.
2. Check Their Reputation Through Official Sites
It’s also a very good idea to check the local mover out on official business review websites. For instance, the Better Business Bureau can tell you about any legal issues or other bad business practices they’ve been party to. Consumer Reports might have something helpful to say about them as well.
You can also check if they’re a member of the AMSA (American Moving and Storage Association). To earn an AMSA certification, moving companies must adhere to strict codes of conduct and professionalism.
3. Beware of Name Changes
If a moving company has recently changed its name, beware. This is a trick that disreputable movers often try to pull. After they are reported to the BBB for misconduct, they change their official business name to cover their tracks.
Typically, these alternate business names are also listed on the BBB’s report. But it can take time for this updated information to appear. If the name change happened very recently, it’s possible that the BBB is not yet aware.
4. Read Online User Reviews, Too
Next, it’s also smart to hear from the actual customers who have used the service before. Do this by viewing user reviews as you perform a local search online for moving companies. Google, Bing, and other search engines make it easy to access this information.
Check Yelp and other business review sites, too. You might also find reviews of the business on the website of local newspapers, radio stations, and TV channels.
By comparing all of these reviews, you’ll get a pretty accurate idea of how reliable the moving company is. That is, if most of the reviews are positive, there is little reason to worry.
Also, a few complaints are no big deal. But take note of any specific problems that are brought up by several customers.
5. Get Personal Recommendations
Next, you don’t only have to trust the testimonies of strangers. Ask people you know if they’ve used any moving companies in the area. Find out which ones can be trusted and which should be avoided.
6. Get 3 or More Estimates
Never trust any estimate that you don’t receive in person. The movers must be present in your home to determine the cost of your move. Specifically, they need to take into account the size, weight, and amount of all the items they will be moving.
This also means you need to unlock all your doors to make sure they see everything. Plus, make the movers aware of any items that are staying in the home. This usually includes large appliances such as the stove.
Besides this, always get at least 3 in-home estimates. This way, you can compare prices and choose whichever moving company is cheapest.
7. Beware of Upfront Deposits
Most genuine moving companies won’t ask you to pay a deposit upfront. Besides tipping your movers, you shouldn’t need to pay anything until your items arrive at their destination. This way, the movers won’t delay in getting your items to their destination.
8. Understand What You’re Signing
Never agree to anything unless you get it in writing. In other words, don’t sign a blank contract.
Also, understand what type of contract you’re signing. There are, specifically, 3 kinds of estimates.
A binding estimate is an estimate that cannot change, either higher or lower. A non-binding estimate means that the final cost could increase up to 10% higher than the original quote. Lastly, a non-binding to exceed estimate means that the final cost might get lower, but cannot get higher, than the original estimate.
Find Quality Movers With This Checklist
Avoid the dangers of moving scams and DIY moves. Follow the steps in this checklist to find/hire quality movers.
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