Looking for Movers? What to Ask.

Looking for Movers? What to Ask.

Before you settle on any single moving company to handle your relocation, you need to know a couple of things.  The questions below are a great way to start narrowing your search as you prepare to move your home or office.  If you don’t like the answers you get, you know to cross that moving company off the list!

1. What’s your registration number?

Any reputable moving company should be registered with the FMSCA – the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as well as the DOT (the Department of Transportation).  They should be happy to give you their USDOT number.  Be sure to note that some moving companies that operate within only one state may not be registered.

2.  What about rates and estimates?

The movers should be able to give you their rate over the phone – this will usually be a rate per pound and distance.  Avoid companies that provide rates based on cubic feet.  For long-distance moves, the estimate you get should be based on weight.  For short-distance moves, the company may charge an hourly or flat fee.  Ask if they provide binding or non-binding estimates.  In order to get the most realistic estimate, have the moving consultant come to your home.

3.  Do you subcontract any services?

When you call a moving company, they may actually be a moving broker, so find out.  Brokers tend to subcontract the work to actual movers.  This is usually fine, as long as the movers they hire are reliable.  Ask if you can get the names of their subcontractors.  This information should never be withheld.

4.  What about additional fees?

Like many services, moving companies may have additional fees depending on any given service.  Ask about these upfront.  For example, the movers may charge extra for large or awkward items, such as a piano or extra-large copying machines.  Moving companies may also charge extra for stairs and other extras like tolls and fuel surcharges.

5.  Can you tell me about additional transfers?

If the move is across state lines or over a very long distance, the moving company may transfer your shipment from one truck to another.  This is what is known as a transfer.  Transfers come with the added risk of damage or loss, so it is good to know if this is a possibility ahead of time.  Also ask if the movers protect against water damage.

6.  What about “insurance?”

Moving Companies offer valuation coverage which consumers refer to as “insurance,” however they are differrent.  Moving companies do not sell insurance, they sell valuation coverage and in most jurisdictions, a minimum amount is included in your price.  The more detailed questions about valuation coverage you ask, the better.  Moving companies will provide some within their fees, but it is usually very limited.  For an additional fee, they will provide an increased amount based on your individual needs.  Find out if you need additional coverage and ask about what their policy includes.

7.  Do you provide packing and storage services as well?

Some moving companies aren’t full-service which means they will only load, transport, and unload your shipment – they will not pack up your home or office.  Full-service movers will do the whole nine yards and may even provide storage solutions if you need extra time between your old location and the new one.

8.  Do you have any references?

Most reliable moving companies will be able to provide you with a long list of references and referrals.  Just ask.  Online is probably the most convenient and most heavily used, however you should consider the sources as well.  BBB is a great place to start.

Jon Huser