Ask the right questions; avoid unnecessary charges.
The interview process is one that should not be taken lightly. There are many types of moving companies to choose from and not every mover is created equally. Ask the right questions and you can avoid unnecessary charges, damages and scams.
- Do they operate a legitimate business?
Legitimate moving companies should have a real “brick and mortar” office and phone number that you can verify through a number of sources. You an even go as far as to check with your city and state governments to verify that they have a license to operate.
- Can they provide references or reviews?
A little due diligence search with resources like Google, the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List should uncover a mix of reviews to give you a true impression of their business practices.
- Are you working with an actual moving company or a broker?
Many so-called moving companies on the internet are actually brokers, posing as movers that sell your information to third parties. While this practice might provide lower-priced quotes, it does not guarantee quality or control. You should insist on working directly with a moving company so you can negotiate your own pricing and terms of service.
- Do they have FMCSA-issued authoriy?
Moving companies with federally-issued licenses are regulated by law and thus bound by certain standards when it comes to pricing and transport. Contracting with a mover or broker that is not federally-registered is not in your best interest.
- Are they licensed for local, in-state and interstate transport?
Federal law requires moving companies that operate across state lines be licensed with the FMCSA. Interstate moving companies should be able to provide you with a copy of their federal tariff upon request. You can also check with the FMCSA to see if a mover is up-to-date with their operating license.
- Do they belong to the American Mover and Storage Association?
AMSA’s ProMover program certifies household movers and supports government regulations and policies that protect consumers from unethical moving practices.
- What paperwork will they provide?
First and foremost, federal law mandates that every mover provide customers with a copy of Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. If your moving company fails to provide you with this brochure, take immediate notice and double check their credentials. Furthermore, you should insist upon written copies of your Detailed Estimate, Order for Service, Bill of Lading and Inventory forms.
- How do they charge for their moving services?
Be sure to ask about minimum charges and additional fees before you choose a mover. Long-distance moving charges are usually calculated based on weight and miles. Be sure to ask for a full written description of potential charges and services covered by your moving contract.
- What services does your estimate include / exclude?
It is your responsibility to verify the details of your estimate with a mover before you sign a contract. Many times if a move is quoted over the phone or internet, movers will fail to include unanticipated permit, packing, heavy lifting, appliance, shuttling, storage, elevator, stair and long-carry charges. It is always best to invite a professional estimator to visually survey the full-scope of work before you accept a moving quote. In all cases, you can avoid unexpected service charges by disclosing all of the details of your planned move.
- Do they have questions for you?
Experienced movers know better than anyone that unanswered questions result in unexpected charges. Your mover should be asking questions about the contents of your closets, cabinets, garage, attic and basement; creating an inventory of everything they need to prepare. They are trained to uncover details you haven’t even considered yet.