Make sure they are fully licensed and insured
Just because a company has a website, a phone number, a crew, and a logo doesn’t mean that they are licensed and insured to handle any or all types of moves.
If a representative from a company you’re considering hesitates to provide their information proving their licenses and insurance are active, that is definitely a red flag. If they can’t provide said information at all, you should definitely disqualify them from getting your business.
Whenever we’re looking for services that involve people handling our cherished belongings, we want to know that those involved have the backing of credible institutions. Because as much research as we do on a company, we need all the assurance possible.
For that reason, when you’re shopping for movers check a company’s site for accreditations. Nationwide Movers and Storage for example belongs to the American Moving Association among others.
Other notable organizations are the International Association of Movers, FIDI, and the various state moving associations throughout the US.
Walkthrough – estimator
Most if not all moving companies should offer to have an estimator visit your home for a thorough estimate. At your estimator appointment, be sure that they take notes on your items, and asks questions on what you plan on taking to your new home. An estimator that isn’t thorough is a huge red flag.
A good practice is to also specify to the estimator what items you don’t plan on bringing to your final destination.
Just like when you get hired for a job, you as a client should ask for references for the moving company you end up choosing. While any reputable company should have positive reviews on Google or Houzz, they should also have past customers they can put you in touch with to speak on their experience with said moving company.
Get quotes from three different companies
Good things always come in threes. That’s why you should aim to get quotes from at least three moving companies. That way you have better confirmation on the real price of your move if two companies are too similar or different in price.
Not all moving companies are equal. Some only service local moves, some only are licensed for long-distance moves. Others don’t have moving supplies for sale, others might only provide manual labor.
For an easy way to check what a mover is licensed for, check the US Dept. of Transportation’s directory.
Therefore make sure to ask or check that your moving company offers all the services you need. This means you should do a check on what exactly it is you need for a stress-free move beforehand.
What is their service area?
It may seem like a minor detail, but it would be a shame to secure a low-cost price estimate only to find out last minute that one or both houses are outside their service area. That could result in paying extra for your move since you are now left with less time to secure a move date.
Nationwide Movers and Storage for example covers all of the Chicago metro area, in addition to the entire Midwestern United States.
Be wary of large deposits
In the moving industry, the common practice is to be paid for a job once delivery is complete. Large deposits before hand (cash or otherwise) are something to avoid, as you still haven’t had your things delivered to their final destination in suitable condition. And it could be hard to get that money back if a job is completed at sub-par quality.
It is, however customary to tip in cash either at the end of a job, or once the truck is loaded and ready to depart the point of origin.