A reputable moving company makes an inventory of all your belongings and determines the size and weight of your move. The estimator should be thorough and check all of your storage areas such as cabinets, drawers, garages, and bookcases. Much of the price of the mover is based on the weight of your belongings and the space your goods take up in the truck. Make sure you understand this estimate and that it is as accurate as possible.
An estimator who does a quick walkthrough without noticing what you plan to move is no good. A good estimator will ask questions about what you want to take from your current home to your next home. So make sure you're willing to tell the estimator what items you don't want in the truck - the items you plan to give away, donate to charity, sell at a yard sale, or leave behind for the new owners.
Reputable movers will not demand cash or a large deposit before moving. You only have to pay on delivery. If you pay in advance, you have no control over when you will see your belongings again. When you pay, you use a credit card to protect against potential fraudulent activity.
Some companies avoid being rated by the Better Business Bureau by doing business under different names. Make sure the company has a local address and information on permits and insurance. Their employees must answer the phone with the full name of the company.
Check for other names the company "does business" with, as well as their state and federal license numbers. Search online to see if there are any complaints about the company.
If your friends and family don't have recommendations, get a list of reliable movers from associations such as the American Moving and Storage Association and state movers associations.
Ask any mover you speak to for references. Tell them you want a list of three customers from your area who have moved in the past three months. Call those customers and ask direct questions about their experiences.
If you pack your things yourself, the mover is generally not responsible for damage to it. However, if you let your mover do the packaging, you could be paying inflated prices for boxes and packaging materials, not to mention time and labor. If you decide to have the movers package, ask about the packer's experience. Most packers are careful, but you want to avoid the chance of slamming someone who can throw everything they can into a box with little regard for breakage.
Do you live in a two-story house or are you moving into a house? Moving to or from an apartment on the 10th floor? If this is the case, you will likely be charged extra for the movers who have to take stairs and elevators. Do you have a narrow street that cannot fit a moving van? Expect an additional charge for transferring your belongings to a smaller truck for delivery. Ask your mover about any additional costs that may apply to your situation.
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