Questions for Your Prospective Moving Company

By Charlie Morris, CMC
VanLines.com Staff

Once you've requested moving quotes, you'll be getting phone calls from moving companies.

We'll tell you the questions you need to ask, and what else to look for.

With the first call before they come to give you an estimate, ask the movers for basic information about their company – their location, how many employees they have, and whether they're a member of moving associations.

Do the moving companies answer every question? Do they seem interested in winning your business?

After you have narrowed down your list of movers to three or four, have them come to your home to give you an in-home, visual estimate -- it's the only way you'll get an accurate moving quote.

When the moving company consultant visits your home, what do you look for? I worked for over 30 years at a moving company giving people estimates, and I learned a great deal of what it took to build a level of trust with the moving consumer.

Based on that, I came up with these questions -- as well as the kinds of answers you should receive. Don't just look for the "right" answer, look at how the question is answered – a caring salesperson usually represents a caring moving company that you can trust.

1. How long has the salesperson been giving moving estimates?
Experience counts for a lot. So ask them about their background -- were they a driver or did they work in some other aspect of the moving process before being an estimator? The more experience, the more comfortable you will be that you are getting an accurate estimate. If they are unwilling to discuss their experience, take that as a red flag.

2. How long have the movers been around?
If the moving company has been in business for awhile, say a decade or so, it's often a good sign they're doing something right. You should not base your decision on the time in business alone, but it is a good window into the company.

3. When will I get my stuff?
You want the answer to be realistic. For long-distance movers in particular it can be hard to be precise. Most movers will ask for the option of a couple days for the delivery period. Beware of anyone who offers dates that seem just a bit too good too be true.

4. What pricing options or types of estimates does the company offer? You can learn much about a moving company rep – as well as the movers – by how knowledgeable they seem, and how willing they are to explain the pricing options for your move. If someone rushes or seems to not understand the options and how they might apply to your move, you should be concerned. Also about types of insurance that are offered.

5. Does your company do any repeat work for businesses in the area? Lots of people will ask a moving company for references of individuals who have used their services, but let's face it – will they ever give you a bad reference? But if the movers do a lot of repeat work for a business, it is a good sign they consistently do quality work.

6. How will you handle (fill in the blank)? If moving a treasured heirloom or a large, cumbersome piece of furniture, ask the salesperson how it'll be moved. This is another test of the moving consultant's knowledge, as well as a test of how you might be treated. If they take the time to give you a thoughtful and complete answer, chances are good this is a company that cares about the customer and their possessions.

7. The last question is for you: Is the salesperson just telling you what you want to hear? You probably don't want to work with someone who disagrees with everything you say, but sometimes the moving consultant may make a suggestion that's different from what you're thinking. Did what they say make sense? If it did, it's a good sign the salesperson is looking out for you.

Now compare and contrast all the sales people, and don't let price be your only guide; in fact, a much lower price may indicate that something was missed in the process, or indicate you'll get hit with additional charges later. Finally, which moving consultant worked the hardest for your business?