If you’ve decided that moving and packing is too much to do, you can hire full-service movers or movers that will do the heavy lifting for you. Full-service movers will do everything, from packing to loading. If you choose to only rent a truck and movers, they will just do the packing for you.
Here are a few things to ask yourself during your search for movers.
What type of mover or moving company are you looking for?
Are you doing a local move or a cross-country move?
Do you want a full-service company or one that only moves your boxes into their truck?
Are you planning on hiring movers with their own truck to help with the loading?
Search reviews and user complaints.
The best mover recommendations come from your friends and family, but if they don’t have any suggestions, another option is to scout for reviews and complaints yourself.
Search Yelp, Google, Trustpilot and social media pages.
Many professional moving companies are also members of organizations like the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), which requires a background check and annual reviews for every company.
Make sure the movers in your area are licensed and accredited.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) offers many different resources to help with your move.
Check with the U.S. Department of Transportation to ensure the company has proper registration.
Are they accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
AMSA can help you find a certified ATA ProMover.
Be on the lookout for companies that go by multiple names since they may be trying to circumvent bad reviews.
Make sure the moving company has dedicated customer support.
In a perfect world, your move will go smoothly, and you’ll never have to deal with any kind of customer service issues. However, if you receive damaged items or don’t receive other items at all, you’ll want to have someone who can help you solve these issues.
Ask the moving company how they handle customer complaints and if they have a customer support line you can speak to if you need any help with items during your move.
Get moving estimates from your top moving companies.
Many moving companies allow you to do a general moving estimate directly on their website, but you will also want to have someone do an in-person survey of your items for a more accurate quote.
Since moving services are based on how much stuff you have and how long it will take to move that stuff, a reputable mover will inventory your items before giving you an estimate. If your movers try to give you a price without seeing your items, and they don’t seem interested in an in-person survey, that is a red flag.
There are three types of agreements that moving companies use: binding, non-binding and binding not-to-exceed estimates.
A Non-binding agreement is a projected estimate of the overall costs based on your inventory. The overall costs could be more or less than the quoted amount.
This type of agreement is good for helping you figure out a base amount of money to save, but you’ll want to secure an official binding agreement closer to your move to have the most accurate price.
A binding agreement is an agreement that you must pay the quoted transportation amount, even if you end up having less or more stuff.
It’s important to note that only the overall weight cost is binding and that any additional services will cost more.
A binding not-to-exceed agreement is more commonly used for long-distance moves. It means that if your items end up exceeding the established weight limit, you won’t have to pay more. But, if your things end up weighing less, you pay less for that smaller weight.
Seeing your items in person is the only way for a moving company to offer an accurate evaluation of your goods. It should be a detailed back-and-forth between you and the mover as you inventory your items, not a quick walk-through.
Don’t pay a large upfront deposit or the entire amount before the goods are delivered.
Some companies will request a small deposit, but they should not ask for the whole amount until your furniture is delivered to your new home. A typical deposit for a local move can range from $100 to $500 but will be more for out-of-state moves.
The deposit should never be more than 25% of the total quote. And you should consider paying with a credit card to further protect yourself from fraud, not in cash.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created a Rights and Responsibilities When You Move document
Read the final contract and inventory list before signing.
Make sure all your items are listed on the contract. If your flatscreen TV is missing from the agreement, and it’s also missing once you’re at the moving destination, you won’t be able to file a claim about it since it wasn’t on the final list.
What sort of questions should you ask a moving company?
Once you’ve found a few moving companies, you should interview each one to make sure your moving goals align.
Consider talking to 3 to 4 different companies for the best competitive pricing.
You should make sure your chosen moving company covers everything you need.
Do you want them to disassemble your furniture and reassemble it at your new home?
Will the movers need to navigate stairs or is there an elevator? (Yes, some moving companies will charge a fee if they must wait for the elevator.)
Do you need your movers to temporarily hold your goods for a few days, or do you need longer-term storage for a cross-country move?
Do you have special or large pieces of furniture that may need to be wrapped or handled with more care than other items?
Are there some items in your home that might not fit through doors, like a piano or antique furniture set? If so, your movers may need to set up a hoisting system through a window.
If your home is in the city, the movers may have to park several blocks away and carry items into your residence or the moving van. If they do this, you may be charged a long carry fee.
Do you need your items delivered on a specific day?
Are your items in different parts of the city, or do you need them dropped off at other parts of the city? For example, if you need your furniture picked up from your storage unit, but also need the movers to pick up a few items from your old home, you can utilize split pickup and delivery.
All of these will likely incur additional charges, so it’s important to figure out what you need beforehand so you can budget for your move.
Ultimately, the interview is a chance to get a feel for how transparent the movers are.
Discuss any potential hidden fees that might come. And remember, quality movers come at a price, but they should give you peace of mind that your items will get to their destination intact—or have solutions in the event an accident occurs.
How many years of experience do the movers have?
Is anything included in the move? E.g., moving boxes, furniture straps, etc.
How long has the company been in business?
Are there any hidden fees you should know about?
What maximum distance will movers carry items before they charge a long-haul fee?
What happens if you need to settle a dispute?
What are their state and federal license numbers? (These may also be listed somewhere on their website, but they are good to have on hand to check accreditation or complaints.)
Moving insurance should be included in the rudimentary price, but it is usually very basic. If you have delicate or difficult items to pack, consider purchasing upgraded insurance for better peace of mind.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Finding a Moving Company
How do I know if a moving company is reputable?
When you’re looking for a moving company, you should always try to
make sure the company you hire is legitimate. Here are five ways to see if your moving company is reputable:
Check the the U.S. Department of Transportation website to ensure the company is properly registered. A reputable company will either have their U.S. DOT number displayed on their website, or they will give it to you when you ask.
See if the moving company is accredited on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. You can also peruse customer complaints and see if the company works with its customers to solve issues.
The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), was absorbed by American Trucking Associations (ATA) in 2020. They created ATA ProMover, which helps you find certified movers in your area.
Check local reviews on Yelp or Facebook. A strong social presence with an active community can help you figure out how the company reacts to bad reviews.
Ask friends and family if they have worked with any moving companies in the past.
How much does a moving company cost to hire?
If you’re moving locally, expect to pay an hourly rate of about
$24-50 per hour, per mover. As an example, if you have a 2-bedroom home, and
you decide to hire three movers, you’re looking at about a 6-hour move. The cost would come out to about $900 for that move.
If you’re looking to do an out-of-state, you’re looking at a set price of approximately $2,000-6,000.
Do you pay movers before or after?
When you hire a moving company, you will generally pay your movers
after they have moved everything, not before. Sometimes, movers may ask for a deposit, but this shouldn’t exceed more than 25% of the total quote.
Are you expected to tip movers?
It is a good practice to tip movers once they have successfully
moved all your items, especially if they moved everything without incident or were required to extend their moving time past the initial estimate.
Consider tipping $4-5 per hour, per mover. Another method to tipping is tipping $5-10% of the total moving cost and dividing that number between all your movers evenly.
What is the best day of the week to move?
“Best” will differ for everyone but expect to pay more during prime moving times like holidays or summer, during the weekend and after work.
The most affordable moving times will be the second or third week of the month, especially September through April, during the weekday from 8 am-10 am.