So what’s the first step when moving? Choosing the right moving company. Make sure the movers you hire are trustworthy experts that will treat your belongings with care. Wondering what to look for? Here’s a checklist to help you narrow down your search:
How to Choose a Mover:
If you’re looking for a moving company to move you from state to state (interstate moving), your moving company should have a US DOT number, which is a unique license number issued by the United States Department of Transportation. Make sure your mover’s DOT number is valid by searching it in this database. Before the US DOT number was created, there was the ICC MC number. Every moving company does not need to have this number, but if they do, that means they are well established and have been in business since at least 1995.
Moving companies moving you within a state (intrastate moving) should have state license numbers. In California, this would be a Cal T number. You can search a Cal T number in this database.
Also, verify that a company is insured on the same website you use to check their license number. Never use a moving company without a license number or insurance.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a private, non-profit organization that monitors businesses and rates them on a scale from “F” to “A+” based on their practices. They are a well-known and widespread organization that consumers can trust when searching for a moving company. It’s important to check your moving company’s rating and how long they have had their rating. A moving company that has had an “A+” rating for a substantial amount of time is a solid choice.
Using a well established moving company is your best bet at getting stellar service. Not only does practice make perfect, but years of experience are proof that clients keep coming back for more. A company with over 20 years of experience isn’t there to turn a fast buck but is in business to keep moving you, your family and your referrals.
Thankfully, no one wins awards and accolades for overcharging. If a moving company has a great reputation, that means they don’t slap you with a bill the size of a moving truck after the boxes have been unpacked. People don’t write five star reviews when they think they’ve overpaid. No hidden charges. No rip-offs. A great reputation is really the best way to make sure you’ll be getting a great rate.
A moving company shouldn’t charge you for the privilege of possibly earning your business. A free on-site estimate is your chance to meet someone from the moving company in person prior to the day of the move. It’s a chance for you to get all your questions answered about your unique move. No two moves are identical, and the on-site estimate is your chance to learn exactly what is included in the price. Who really wants surprises on moving day? With accurate estimates, you can choose a moving company that’s the right fit for you.
A moving company might tell you they’re the best, but why should you take their word for it? Ask for proof! They should be able to provide a gazillion letters of recommendation, video testimonials and client reviews so you can hear directly from people that have used them in the past. Check out reviews on external review sites like Yelp and the BBB, as well.
Doing this research also helps you get the best price price for your move. People don’t give five star reviews to a company that ripped them off. Ask the moving company to provide proof they are the best. If they can’t prove it, chances are – they aren’t.
Awards are another way to check that a moving company’s reputation is the real deal. If a company is being honored for customer service, green initiatives, growth, philanthropy and/or as a great place to work, you’re on the right track to finding the best moving company out there. If the company hasn’t won any awards, chances are they won’t be winning any awards from you either.
Does your moving company have a recycled boxes program? Do they use recycled packing materials? How about a whole fleet of biodiesel moving trucks? Is their office and warehouse eco-conscious? A moving company that cares about its carbon footprint cares about more that just getting you from point A to point B. If they care about taking care of the environment, chances are they care about taking care of you too.
Moving is never a one-size-fits-all deal. Shopping for the right moving company isn’t just about finding out the hourly rate of x-number of movers and a truck. It’s about having the moving company listen and learn about your exact move. A good moving company wants to hear all the details of your move. They will create a plan of action for moving day. Together you’ll decide the exact right number of skilled movers and the correct equipment needed to make sure your grand piano makes it down the staircase in one piece.
What? They don’t even know you have a grand piano? They didn’t even find out about the stairs? They don’t know what’s going to storage? Find a moving company that will work with you to customize your move. A customized move saves you time and money.
Is your moving company looked to as “The Moving Expert?” Do they have a lot of buzz around their name? If big names in press like NBC Nightly News, Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, The Robb Report and Vanity Fair ask them for moving advice, you can, too. Experts aren’t born overnight; they have a long established track record for excellence. With a proven history like that, you know you can trust them.
It’s not vital to choose a moving company with a passion for giving back, but it sure is a good sign. A moving company that is active in the community plans on being part of the community for a long long time. If they are community-conscious, they are probably consumer-conscious too. A moving company that believes community counts thinks about people not as numbers but as people. You don’t want to be just a number, do you?