When it comes to hiring a moving company, there are many questions you should ask them. From personal recommendations to liability coverage, there are a variety of important questions that should be asked before scheduling your move.
For example, some movers include hidden fees in their initial estimates, like fuel charges or specialty items. If you find a moving company that includes surprise fees, steer clear of them.
1. How long have you been in business?
Some movers lack the experience, specialized equipment, or professional know-how to perform a safe and smooth relocation. Others are just scam artists looking to rip off unsuspecting customers. Hence, ensuring that the moving company you intend to hire is properly accredited and has been around for at least 12 years is vital.
A legitimate moving company should have a good reputation, and customer reviews online. Also, look for a USDOT number and an MC number. A USDOT number is required for interstate moving companies and indicates that the company is operating within the law. In addition, a legitimate mover should belong to a moving association and provide proof of membership.
Ask the moving company about their pricing structure and extra charges for disassembly or reassembly, packing materials, and mileage. You should also find out whether their rates are binding or non-binding and if they include all the expenses related to your move. Non-binding estimates leave room for price hikes, so be sure to get a binding estimate.
Also, find out if they charge for services such as hoisting furniture through windows or in closets and other tight spaces, a shuttle service to move your items from the curb to the truck, and secure and climate-controlled storage facilities. If you need these extra services, make sure that you discuss them with your mover during the on-site review and are clear about what additional charges will apply.
Moreover, find out whether the company has full-time, professionally trained movers or hires temporary workers during busy times (like summer months, weekends, and national holidays). Temporary employees don’t have proper training and can make rookie mistakes that cost you more money in the long run.
2. What kind of insurance do you offer?
If something happens to your items while they’re being moved, it will be important that the moving company you choose carries workers’ compensation and general liability insurance. Fortunately, most professional movers do carry these types of policies. If you’re ever unsure, ask to see the moving company’s certificate of insurance. Some apartments or condo complexes won’t allow movers to work on their properties without a certificate of insurance.
You should also ask if the movers offer any other insurance policies or special services that may help during your move, like custom crating for items with specialized needs, such as fine art. It’s also a good idea to find out how much advance deposit the moving company requires and their cancellation policy. Some companies offer full or partial refunds on deposits if the customer cancels or reschedules within a certain time period.
It’s worth finding out if the moving company offers on-site, binding estimates. If they do, then this means that the movers will visit your home or office and conduct an on-site inspection before giving you a written estimate with clear rates and contact information. This is a good way to avoid surprises with unforeseen additional fees during your move.
You should also ask your movers how they calculate their prices. Be wary of companies that base their estimates on volume or cubic feet, especially for long-distance moves. Additionally, you should avoid companies charging extra for oversized items or requiring additional crew members or specialty vehicles (such as hoists or small moving vans for shuttle services). Finally, be sure to clarify whether the company charges for fuel and any other surcharges.
3. How do you calculate your prices?
Most moving companies will have hidden fees that aren’t disclosed in their contracts or websites. They may also charge for things like fuel or specialty services.
Asking about these additional charges is important because it will help you avoid any surprises on moving days. Additionally, you can use the answers to negotiate with your mover. For example, asking about price matching or offering to provide a discount for moving on a less busy day can help reduce your moving costs.
Another way to prevent surprise fees is to find out if your moving company offers any extra services, such as appliance disassembly and reassembly or boxing and unboxing. These services are usually charged at an hourly rate. Also, knowing how your movers protect and label items is helpful. For example, some companies will shrink-wrap sofas for free, while others might charge a small fee.
It’s also worth finding out if your movers will take care of all the packing or if you will need to do it yourself. Many reputable moving companies will pack your belongings in a safe and secure manner. If you’re packing your belongings, you should use quality boxes and packing supplies. You should also take the time to understand how your movers will protect your furniture from damage, including wrapping it in blankets or stretch wrap.
Finally, finding out if your movers will guarantee a pickup and delivery date is important. This is especially important for interstate moves. Many movers offer guaranteed dates, but it’s important to ask whether they’ll charge extra for a rush delivery or if the dates are flexible.
4. Can you give me three references?
If a moving company can’t provide references from previous customers, you should find a different company to work with. Online reviews are also a good way to check on surprise extra fees, unprofessional attitudes, and other problems customers may have experienced with a particular mover.
Ask movers about their insurance policies and whether they’ll include your company or building owner as an additional insured on their policies (a standard request). This will help you to protect yourself against any property damage claims made against the moving company in the event of an accident during your move.
Find out if your movers will provide the equipment needed to complete the job, including a truck of the right size, moving dollies and straps, quality packing supplies, specialized tools in case of specialty items like pianos or antiques, secure and climate-controlled storage facilities, etc. Some moving companies outsource parts of the job or transfer cargo from van lines they contract with, and it’s important to find out if this will affect your estimate or costs.
Finally, find out if your moving company will give you a binding non-to-exceed estimate and contract. This is usually the best option for a long-distance move, as it provides protection against unforeseen circumstances that can lead to increased costs during your move. This type of contract is typically not pitched by movers during the cost estimate visit, but it’s worth asking about.
5. What is your vehicle maintenance schedule?
A moving company needs to have vehicles that are up-to-date and in good condition. This helps ensure that your belongings will arrive at your new home on time and undamaged. It also helps to keep your movers safe and protected in case of accidents on the job.
Most auto manufacturers have a set maintenance schedule that they recommend. This may include things like tire pressure monitoring, oil changes, and regular inspections. However, there are some situations where your car will require maintenance more frequently than the recommendations from the auto manufacturer. For example, if your vehicle is driven for ride-hailing and delivery, has more than normal idling, or is subject to dirt or dust conditions, it will need maintenance more frequently than a typical passenger car.
Many moving companies offer a variety of additional services to help make your move easier and more affordable. Ask each company about their additional offerings and how much they cost. Some of these services may be included in your base rate, while others may be charged separately. For example, some companies will shrink-wrap sofas and provide free blanket wrap services; others may charge for these services. Also, ask about the extra charges for oversized items (pool tables, pianos, and safes) and if they have a storage facility available.
If you’re doing a long-distance move, find out whether your movers use their own trucks or work with an affiliated van line. Some van lines hire local movers as subcontractors and then transfer the items to their own trucks for the final leg of the journey. If this is the case, you should request a copy of the contract and review it carefully to ensure your items will be protected during transit.