two cross-country movers smiling and carrying household objects

How to Choose a Moving Company – Necessary Steps When Hiring Movers

Posted in How-to,Moving Essentials,Planning the Move on August 20, 2021

By Gemma Collins

Deciding to hire movers is the first step in the process of how to choose a moving company. A few factors determine the quality of a business, and you have to take certain steps to check those factors. It’s not difficult to verify a licensed mover, but it requires time and effort, so be prepared for that.

The Most Important Step On How to Choose a Moving Company – Research

Before you make any decisions about hiring a solid mover and creating a household inventory list, you have to do vital research. If it were as easy as typing “How do I choose a reputable moving company” in your browser and going with the first result, there wouldn’t be any need to explain the importance of vetting and verifying information. It would also lead to you potentially never trusting a relocation company again.

The best way to find relocation companies that combine great quality and affordability is to do thorough checkups that show they’re not only licensed but good at what they do. Knowing your mover is legitimate is sure to verify you have excellent reasons to move.

Ask Friends and Family for Recommendations

Talking to friends and family might be the most solid advice, especially if you’re relocating to another state alone and want all the support you could get. Before you start learning how to live on your own, start by asking the people in your inner circle about their relocation experiences and opinions on relocation businesses.

Of course, focus on getting advice from people who have moved once or twice. They’ll also provide insight into other aspects of the process that you may have overlooked, like how to pack fragile items or that you might need a relocation binder to make your move easier. Leaving home is difficult, and any relocation hack and extra information could turn out to make relocation day, as well as any other day afterward, better.

Popular Businesses With a Lot of Reviews Are a Good Start

There’s a big difference between a long-lasting business that has twenty five-star reviews and one that has hundreds or thousands of reviews of all ranges. Relocation scams typically happen when a person sees exclusively positive reviews without a lot of explanation or vague comments. A scenario like this could mean they post the comments themselves, but also that the business in question simply doesn’t have a lot of experience (they recently opened up, for example.)

Any business with years of experience will have a mixed bag of reviews, and they also won’t refrain from posting every comment, even if it’s a negative one. Reputable businesses understand they can’t please everyone and accept that flaws are part of growing and becoming better.

Check out the video below to learn how to spot fake reviews and what to look out for when reading them.

Licensed Movers Give You Estimates In-Person and On Time

Do you know that organizing your move is possible in the company of relocation experts, too? They won’t just give you long-distance moving tips, but they’ll also be there if you’re feeling like you can’t see the benefits of relocating anymore. The new home is waiting for you, but you still need to say goodbye to the old one, and relocation professionals understand that. They’re human, after all, just like all of us.

How do they help you move to a new home before relocation day? They come to your house and estimate the value of your household goods a few weeks before relocation day. After taking a long look at everything you want to pack and bring along, they give you an estimate of the relocation costs based on the amount, value, and weight of all items.

Now, if you want to move efficiently, you should allow relocation professionals to come to your home and make sure everything you want to transport is good to move. They’ll inform you of anything that isn’t allowed for transportation, but they might also give you some tips to make the process better than you expect.

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How to Spot a Scam – A Few Red Flags

So, with all this info in mind, what sort of behavior can show you that it’s better to choose a different mover? Here’s a short list of red flag behaviors:

  • They don’t want to give you a cost estimate or give you one that’s vague and indirect,
  • They don’t come to your home to estimate the value of your items or transportation costs,
  • If they don’t contact or speak to you a few times before relocation day, they’re sure to be scammers,
  • They ask for payments in advance or cash-only payments,
  • They don’t mention or provide relocation insurance,
  • They show up in a storage truck different from the old one or one that doesn’t have a relocation firm’s markings,
  • They’re rude or unprofessional,
  • They’re not licensed.

The last point that mentions being licensed means a lot for checking someone’s legitimacy and professional background. You can wish for a stress-free relocation, but the part before relocation depends on you and your choices. Make sure you understand the red flags when they come up.

a mover and a customer making an inventory list for moving across the country
If relocation professionals don't visit your home for an appraisal, they're not a serious firm

Don’t Skip Looking Up Their USDOT Number

Businesses with official transport vehicles for either passengers or non-living cargo have to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Service Association, also known as FMCSA. Whether the firm is old or new, everyone has to go through the registration process and get their official USDOT number. If this info is new for you, the USDOT number is a unique identifier for each firm, and the FMCSA monitors them through it.

To verify if the mover you chose is legitimate, our tips are to go to FMCSA’s website and type in the firm’s identification number. This way, you’ll be able to see their history of relocating, potential errors, fines, or mistakes, if there have been any in the past, and reviews and ratings of their work. If you try to verify your mover and learn they don’t have a USDOT identification number, that means they’re unlicensed, and with that, not legitimate.

a girl sitting outside and looking up long-distance movers online
The perfect way to verify your mover is to look them up on official websites like FMCSA

Search For Cross-Country Movers That Can Provide Every Service You Require

Standard services of most relocation companies are – relocation, packing services, free use of storage units for a month, and relocation insurance. When you ask any firm about relocation essentials, they’ll typically list those options and provide information about services you can add for a specific cost. As we already mentioned, an estimate is a vital part of this service, too.

For example, the standard relocation insurance rate is the same for every firm – 60 cents per pound of damaged goods. This information is available on the official FMCSA website. Professionals also bring their packing paper and other supplies, and the best part is they pack the relocation truck for you, so you don’t have to bother. If they say they need more money or ask for higher tips for loading the truck, that’s a bad sign.

Do You Need Your Cars Shipped?

Moving cross-country might mean you want to get some car shipping service, too. You can hire a different firm to do that part, but it’s best to go with the one doing your relocation for you. Many of them offer car transportation and a selection of trailers, storage, and delivery methods. Another great way of how to pick a moving company is to check if they provide options for car delivery and shipping.

Typically, relocation firms offer enclosed and open trailers for transportation and door-to-door and terminal-to-terminal options for delivery. These are standard options to look for when booking a move. Additionally, car insurance is mandatory with this type of transport, and it may be redundant to say that if none of these options come up, ask about them or just find another mover.

Will They Disconnect and Reconnect Your Appliances?

This part might as well be considered a trick question. Relocation experts typically don’t want the responsibility of connecting and disconnecting appliances for their customers. Most of them will emphasize that they don’t assume liability for those actions, meaning you have to do it yourself before they arrive and after they leave. If they offer to do it for you, they may ask for additional compensation and pile up your expenses on something licensed relocation companies never do.

Do You Know About the Items Relocation Experts Never Transport?

There’s a list of hazardous and flammable materials that no mover will want to move for you. Some examples of those items are:

  • Gasoline,
  • Propane canisters,
  • Oxygen bottles,
  • Firearms and other weapons,
  • Fireworks,
  • Paint and paint thinners,
  • Lighter fluid,
  • Nail polish remover,
  • Cleaning chemicals.

These are the typical hazardous items movers don’t want to transport because they can cause irreversible damage during transportation. This doesn’t mean that you should take it upon yourself to move them; just leave them behind. In addition to dangerous items, no mover will want to ship food. That’s something you’ll have to pack into a personal bag.

The moral of this story is that if a relocation business doesn’t emphasize the listed items as forbidden or packs them anyway – you should be careful. This means they don’t know or don’t care about the safety regulations that are there for a reason.

a woman checking a bottle of a household chemical, preparing for cross-country moving
You can't transport or use storage for hazardous chemicals, so you should throw them away or leave them behind before the move

Avoid the Cheapest Companies, Since They Aren’t Always the Best

Many people who want to move wonder how to find a moving company without breaking the bank but getting great cross-country moving services. While we wouldn’t recommend you go for the cheapest possible option, we wouldn’t insist you spend thousands of dollars just to move across the country.

Why do we insist on not hiring the cheapest long-distance movers? Typically, when you pick the cheapest form of moving across the country, the services are minimal and potentially awful. You should check the standard relocation prices in the industry during the research phase. Understandably, you want to move for the smallest relocation budget possible, but it’s more worthwhile to do it with quality.

The answer to how much relocation costs depends on the things you require from the companies. You can always look up “What are the top-rated moving companies” and trust the first five results on the front page of your browser, but you have to pay attention to the areas they service as well as the number of reviews, as we already mentioned. A nice balance between quality and price can be found if you stay realistic about the costs and requirements.

a man sitting in front of boxes, holding a dollar sign and a small house cut out, ready for moving cross-country
One of the main tips for ensuring your movers are legitimate is to compare their prices with others

Trust Yourself to Make a Good Choice When Picking a Cross-Country Moving Group

It’s normal to wonder, “how do I find trusted movers” even after all the info we presented. While there are perfectly easy and quick ways on how to select a moving company, there could still be some doubt here and there. Maybe you’re preparing your home for sale or planning the move-out cleaning schedule but still can’t convince yourself that you chose the right relocation professionals. If this is the case, then call them up and cancel.

There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind and going for something new if things feel off. While vetting and verifying a firm seems like enough reason to choose them, you should also feel good about them in your gut. If you don’t, then make the necessary changes and make your move perfect. Trust that your intuition is the best method for trusting anything and anyone.

Gemma Collins