Moving is a significant undertaking and can be extremely stressful. Especially if you’re moving yourself, without a moving company. This is why many people choose to hire a professional, full-service moving company to manage and transport their belongings.

Professional movers can ease and simplify the transition from your old home to the new one. Additionally, they offer services like packing, unpacking, disassembly, reassembly, and even storage.

There’s no precise blueprint when hiring movers, but educating yourself can help you save time, money, and avoid a moving catastrophe.

The following 12 tips will help you consider what to look for when hiring a moving company and how to hire good movers to tackle the details of your next relocation.

1. Understand What Moving Services You Need

The type of move, the size, and distance will determine which moving company is best suited for your relocation. You will need to decide whether you’re seeking a few extra hands to assist you, or if you’ll need a full-service moving company that comes in, packs your stuff, transports it, and unloads it. Remember to keep in mind, the more services or time you need, the more expensive the move will be.

2. Check With References

A smart step to take when hiring a moving company is to ask a friend, family member, or real estate professional for a recommendation. If you know someone who has recently hired a moving company, reach out to them and ask about their moving experience. If they had a good experience, then you might want to consider going with the same company.

You can always trust a first-hand experience more than any online review.

3. Online Reviews

If no one you know of has hired a moving company in the past then you will want to check reviews for companies online. It’s the next best thing. It’s important to know what past customers are saying about the moving services you intend to use. Make sure to find out if the companies are trustworthy, careful, courteous, punctual and affordable.

It’s easy to find customer reviews for moving companies on websites like Google, Yelp, and HomeAdvisor. Also, most moving companies will have reviews on their website and on social media platforms. If the company’s reviews are satisfactory to your needs, then you might want to consider hiring them.

4. Make Sure The Mover Provides A Thorough Estimate

A creditable moving company will take inventory of all your furniture and belongings to determine the weight and bulk of your move. This can be done either in person or through a virtual survey. The estimator should be detailed and accurate; making sure to check all of your storage places such as closets, drawers, cupboards and garages.

Whether you are moving locally (and the cost is based on time) or long distance (based on weight), a mover’s estimated price is based largely on the weight of your belongings and how far it will travel. Be sure you understand this inventory estimate and that it is as complete and thorough as possible.

Here’s a more detailed article on how movers charge for their services if you need a better understanding.

5. Get Multiple Price Quotes and Compare

Accepting the first moving price estimate you receive is often considered to be one of the biggest mistakes when relocating. Some great advice for hiring movers is to get multiple quotes from various moving companies.

Once you end up having several moving price estimates, the easiest part for you will be to select the winning bid, right? Well, it’s not always that easy. Your decision which moving company to go with has to be based on more factors than just the price on the bottom line.

Professional moving services can differ substantially in terms of quality, reliability and rates. Remember to factor in the company’s reputation, any additional service costs and (obviously) the final price. A mindful comparison analysis of both movers and their price quotes is the best way to find the right moving company for your relocation project – and your budget.

6. Avoid Deposits (For The Most Part)

Some moving companies may require a deposit if your move is large (like an 8-bedroom home or 20 unit office building). This is because it will require the movers to tie up multiple moving days and resources. But, for most regular-sized moves, movers shouldn’t require a deposit.

Trustworthy moving companies for regular-sized moves shouldn’t demand a large deposit before your move. But it all depends on how large the deposit is, some movers always require a very small deposit and that’s ok. But, most moving companies bill you once the job is done. If your movers are asking for a hefty deposit upfront, then you might want to reconsider using them.

Also, when you’ve paid nothing or a small amount in advance, you have much more control over the company’s delivery timeframe. Payment will incentivize the company to deliver your belongings as soon as possible.

7. Look for Red-Flags

Regrettably, not all professional moving services out there are honest businesses, and some may try to swindle you. It is extremely important to be cautious when hiring packers and movers. This way you can stay away from deceptive attempts at moving fraud.

Red-flags to look out for include:

  • Low-Ball Estimates. The most prevalent moving scam is the “low-ball estimate”. (a price quote that is significantly lower than the rest) In fact, the price is so low that it looks too good to be true. Well, It is! Deceptive movers use this tactic to secure more moving jobs, and then they increase the prices considerably once they have your household belongings in their possession.
  • They are not Licensed or Insured. You don’t want to hand over your precious belongings to any moving service who is not licensed. Most states require licensing, but a few do not for local in-state moving. A movers license is not just given out to anyone; a company has to fulfill certain requirements to get that license. One of these requirements is insurance. All legitimate moving companies are required to assume liability for the value of the goods they transport.
  • Blank Moving Contract. Never sign a blank contract. Get absolutely everything in writing. The mover’s estimate and any extra fees should be listed, as well as your pick-up and delivery dates. Read your contract and make sure all of your belongings are listed. You can’t file a claim for something that doesn’t appear on the inventory list.

8. Check BBB Ratings

The Better Business Bureau can also give you a good idea of whether the moving company is a good one or a bad one. The BBB Also has reviews you can look at and will give you a sense of whether or not to use that moving company. Understand, movers do have to pay to be in the BBB and not all movers are listed. Just because they are not listed, doesn’t necessarily mean they are not a good moving company.

9. Be Ready For The Movers

Hiring a moving company isn’t just about them coming and them doing all the work. Even though most moving companies have packing services, there are still a few things you need to do to make sure the move goes as smoothly as possible. Check out this Full Checklist on How To Prepare For Movers.

10. Be There For The Movers

On moving day, you or somebody should be there to direct the moving company on where to place items and just answer any questions the movers may have. This will save time and money during your move. If you’re interested in more money-saving tips, check out these Money-Saving Tips For Moving.

11. Make A Claim If You Have A Problem

After your move, it’s important to look through every box and your items for any damage. Damage should be reported no longer than 9 months after the move, but the sooner the better. Movers must accept or deny the claim within 30 days of receiving the damage claim.

12. Ask Questions and be Informed

Choosing the right professional moving company is easy if you are appropriately informed. Ask the contending movers a few fundamental questions and then to choose the one that has given the most satisfactory answers. You may be surprised how many moving companies can easily fail this last test of yours.

Here’s a simple list of questions to ask your candidate moving companies:

  1. How long has your company been in business?
  2. Are you licensed?
  3. What kind of insurance or “valuation” do you offer to protect my goods?
  4. Do you have the required moving equipment to complete the job?
  5. What type of deposits do you require?
  6. What is your cancellation policy?
  7. What steps do you take to prevent property damage?
  8. What is your policy on specialty items?
  9. What will happen if any of my items get broken or go missing?
  10. How do you handle disputes and complaints?

Take some time to gather all of the information you need and make it a point to communicate with each company you contact. Take the initiative and learn as much as you can before you make your final decision.

You can also get a ton more information on moving and hiring the right movers by visiting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) website or the American Moving & Storage Association website. But remember, never fully trust a service that recommends movers without doing your own research into the specific moving companies they are recommending.

Related Questions

How Do Movers Charge & Estimate Costs? (Weight? Volume? Hourly?) – When moving locally, most movers will charge an hourly rate and estimate the cost based on the number of movers and trucks needed for how long. Movers will have different hourly rates for 2 movers, 3 movers, 4 movers and so on. The hourly rate will also increase if more moving trucks are needed. Some local movers may also charge a flat rate. When moving long-distance, movers will charge by the weight of goods, the distance those goods are traveling, and any additional or accessorial charges that may occur…Read More Details on How Movers Charge

What are some tasks I as a consumer must do on moving day? – Although the movers will handle the actual moving of furniture and boxes here are some of your responsibilities and typical things you may want to do on moving day.