Moving Tips - How to Pick Movers

By Vanlines.com Staff

  • First of all, even before talking with moving companies, decide what household goods will be shipped and what will be sold or given away.

  • Consider whether you would like the mover to provide packing services, and what other types of additional services you may require.

  • Call or email the movers you are considering for the job and ask for moving quotes. Get involved in the estimating process and try to meet with the relocation consultant to survey your home and prepare a written estimate. Ask each prospective mover how long his or her estimate is valid for and question whether the estimate is a binding or a non binding. For the difference between binding and non binding estimates see VanLines.com's guide on estimates. Never accept an estimate over the phone and do not consider using a moving company that offers you this service.

  • Inform the mover of any possible unusual situations on either end so your estimate can be more accurate. Make the mover aware of any problems that he may encounter at the delivery such as parking problems, road access, street accessibility, delivery time restrictions or if there are any stairs or elevators involved. The cost of your move can increase for such occurrences. Try to reserve a "parking space" for the moving van if your new home is on a congested street. If the moving crew has to carry your load more than 75 feet from the moving van to your door you may be charged for excessive distance.

Some neighborhoods may prohibit trucks over a certain weight. The driver will offload your possessions into a smaller vehicle and the charge for that can be quite high. Advise the relocation consultant if you anticipate this situation arising. In addition, advise the consultant if you are moving to a high-rise building where an elevator reservation is required. This can cause problems for the delivery schedule if the movers do not know about this in advance and additional charges will likely apply.
  • To check the reliability of the moving company you can contact the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) to inquire about the company's complaint record and how these complaints were resolved. Ask your friends, family and neighbors for recommendations and advice on movers.

  • Check for the DOT license number. All movers are required to be licensed however interstate movers are required to meet two additional criteria,

    1. Publish their tariffs or price list and make it available to anybody who request a copy.

    2. Participate in a dispute settlement program and to offer neutral arbitration in the event a dispute arises. A dispute may arise in the event loss or damage happens to a shipment while in the hands of the mover.

  • Ask all movers for references.

  • Be sure to understand the coverage for loss or damage of your shipment. All licensed movers must provide liability for the value of goods they transport. There are different levels of liability that you need to be aware of. You need to understand the amount of protection provided and the additional charges that may apply. See VanLines.com's guide to moving insurance to understand the different options.

  • Ask the mover questions - Use the following as a guide on what to ask.

    1. Are there extra charges if the movers have to go up an extra flight of stairs even if I did not know about it when booking? Many times you may not have enough information at the time of the estimate to be completely accurate however.

    2. What is the estimated delivery time and will the driver notify me?

    3. If I pack myself what type of packing supplies such as boxes are acceptable?

    4. How do I pay? Cash, credit card, check personal or certified?

    5. When do I pay? Cash on delivery?

    6. Will the movers disassemble everything and will they reassemble all items at the destination?

    7. Following the initial weigh in, will there be an additional weigh in to determine actual cost?

    8. If I have purchased liability insurance and I need to make a claim what is the process?

Read this article for a list of common moving mistakes.