Tips on Choosing the Best Moving Company For You

Moving is a confusing, crazy time. It is also a very important time to stay focused. When hiring your moving company, be sure to ask these questions.

May I have the owner’s name, the official company name and the mailing address?
If something goes wrong on moving day, you want to know exactly who to go to and how to find them. If there is any hesitation on the part of the moving company to release this information, run away. Once you do have the information, check it against the license to be sure everything matches.

Explain the subcontractor policy to me.
Many moving companies use subcontractors when doing cross-country relocations. If this is going to be happening during your relocation, you want to be sure that you have a list of the subcontractors, how to reach them and when they will be handling your belongings, so that you know what is going on during all phases of transfers.

Tell me about additional transfers.
For long distance relocations, some companies may transfer your belongings from one truck to another. This can happen whether or not a subcontractor comes into play. Additional transfers increase the possibility of damage and loss. Also, if you are moving during the winter or rainy season, find out if the company protects against water damage.

What kind of cancellation policy do you have?
If something happens and you need to cancel the relocation, you need to know how not to get charged. For many companies, all cancellations must be submitted in writing no later than 48 hours prior to the first pickup date. There are usually no refunds on deposits or reservation charges, but this varies.

How can I pay for the relocation?
This depends on the payment policy of the company you choose. The vast majority of moving companies (if not all of them) do not accept credit cards as a payment method for the whole job, unless the payment is done in full before the start. You could negotiate with your moving company to make the initial payment with credit card, then pay the rest with cashier's check or cash upon delivery.

How do you handle disputes and complaints?
You’ll need to know how long you have to file a claim, and who at the company you need to speak to if there is an issue. Get a name. When unpacking, note damaged or lost items on the company's inventory sheet, giving detailed descriptions of the loss, and be sure to save the packing materials in case of questions. Usually, the moving company’s liability is based on the insurance you have, which is why it is so important.

Tell me about insurance.
Moving companies offer you free coverage for any damaged goods, but it’s not much, the typical amount is 60 cents per pound. This coverage is a bare minimum and should not be relied upon to cover you for any significant damage. When moving expensive furniture or electronics, it is wise to buy the additional insurance, even when working with a local moving company. Remember, your LED TV might weigh 10 pounds, but it costs much more than $6 to replace.

Do you carry workers’ compensation insurance?
You need to have the proof of this in your hand before anyone from a moving company shifts a stick of furniture. If you go with a low-ball quote from a company that does not have this insurance, and one of the employees gets hurt during load in (or out), you are liable for all their medical bills.

What are the charges for your packing services?
Most moving companies will shrink-wrap your sofa and provide a blanket wrap service, but you need to know (if the moving company is doing all the packing) how moving boxes will be identified on arrival, so they can go in the correct rooms. Be sure price all of packing items out, or you might be in for a big surprise when the final bill comes.