Moving to a new house means making tons of decisions in a short period. You’ll have to choose the best supplies, pick a moving date, and more. The to-dos on your plate can become overwhelming quickly.
The most important decision is the hardest: choosing the right moving company.
There are thousands of moving companies out there, so there’s no shortage of choices; they all want your business. The moving industry is highly competitive, which is both a good and bad thing.
You’ll have many options, but going through them all is hard. Today, you’ll learn what to ask when hiring movers to ensure you select the best option.
18 Questions to Ask Moving Companies
Here are a few questions to ask moving companies in your area before hiring them:
1. Do You Have Experience with My Move Type?
Ask the moving company if it has experience handling your type of move. For example, you might be moving to a townhouse with many steps and stories, a high-rise apartment building, or into a big city. The moving company needs to know this and be familiar with those requirements.
Movers are generally prepared to handle whatever comes their way. Therefore, they’ll deal with steep stairs, parking restrictions, small doorways, and lack of elevators. However, it’s still helpful to inquire about their experience before signing a moving contract.
2. Is the Company Properly Licensed?
To avoid rogue movers and scams, make sure you know that the moving company is fully licensed. Professional interstate moving companies must have a license number issued by the USDOT (US Department of Transportation). Request that information to check the license number and the company’s history through the DOT.
Local moving companies typically relocate customers in the same state, so state laws and not the DOT regulate them. This means local movers will have a state license. Every state has its own rules and requirements.
3. Do You Have References?
You would check a potential employee’s references before hiring them; the same applies to a professional moving company. Before you entrust your belongings to someone else, ask for references! The moving company representative should be able to give you the information necessary.
However, it would be best if you also did your research. Ask friends and neighbors who they’ve used when looking for a moving company. Word-of-mouth is still one of the best sources to help you find reliable movers with an excellent track record.
Likewise, you should check online ratings and reviews from different moving companies before choosing one. You may also visit the Better Business Bureau website and read about official complaints filed through the FMCSA. These things will ensure you find someone reliable and trustworthy.
4. What Types of Liability Coverage Options Will the Company Provide?
Before you hand your things over, you must ensure they’re protected and covered in case of an accident. The moving company should have liability coverage options, whether you’re moving a few houses down or across the country.
Customers can also buy insurance through a third-party company. However, before doing that, you should check with your homeowners’ insurance policy because you might be covered there.
Likewise, you should check the proof of insurance from the moving company. It will present that information upon request if it’s licensed and legitimate.
Licensed interstate movers must offer two liability types: Released Value and full-value protection. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has defined them as:
Full Value Protection
The mover is responsible for the full replacement value of any damaged or lost goods in the shipment. This is typically the more comprehensive option, but the cost for full-value protection varies between movers.
Released Value Protection
This is an economical protection option because there’s usually no added charge. However, you get minimal coverage. The mover assumes liability for about $0.60 per article per pound.
5. How Long Will My Move Take?
Typically, long-distance moves take seven to 10 days to complete, and local moves take one day. Ask the moving company to estimate how long it might take to ship the belongings and see if it offers guaranteed delivery dates, too!
6. Can You Give Me a Not-to-exceed or Binding Estimate for the Final Moving Cost?
You don’t want extra surprises when getting the bill. Most reputable moving companies offer non-binding estimates, so the estimated cost of the move might change depending on the actual price. That could be a good or bad thing.
You could pay more than your original estimate if the move is heavier or requires more man-hours than expected. However, you might pay less!
Request a binding estimate if you want to know what you’ll owe beforehand. The binding estimate ensures your price won’t exceed the original moving estimate. It also includes add-ons and extra charges you might encounter along the way.
7. Are You a Carrier or a Broker?
If you worry about brokers giving your belongings to another brand, this can be an important question. The broker only arranges to have the shipment transported. However, a carrier will handle everything from start to finish.
8. What Moving Services Do You Provide?
Will the mover provide the moving services necessary? For example, will you require help with packing or need expedited shipping or specialty item moving? Make sure to ask about these things.
9. How Will I Contact the Driver or the Company During the Move?
Will the moving company allow you to call the driver during the move? Many of them will. However, it’s best to ask about the process to understand how it works if you need it.
10. How Will You Handle Damages and the Claims Process?
Professional movers should be able to answer questions about dealing with damages. When you put in a claim, it should be uncomplicated and straightforward.
11. Do You Provide Online Shipment Tracking?
If you’re moving a long distance, you will want to ask about shipment tracking. This will allow you to see where the moving truck or container is along the way.
12. What Is Your Cancellation Policy?
Sometimes, movers will charge fees if you cancel your reservation for the move. Others will let you do it for free if you do so within two weeks of the date. Before signing anything, ask the moving company about the cancellation policy.
13. Are There Potential Charges (Additional Fees) I Don’t Know About? What Moving Supplies Will I Pay For?
Pricing should be transparent here. Ensure there are no additional fees by asking what you will pay for. This can include labor charges, moving supplies, and packing services.
Typically, a reputable company will not have hidden fees. However, you may not realize the expense will add up for a long-distance trip. This will require more packing materials, time, and energy.
14. What Payment Forms Do You Accept?
Movers shouldn’t be charging you in advance or before the move. If they request a full payment upfront, it’s a huge red flag. However, they might want you to pay a down payment, anywhere from one to 10 percent of the total cost.
Typically, movers will accept credit cards, checks, and cash as payment.
15. Do You Offer Storage Services?
If you need to store some of your items before taking them to the new house, ask about storage services. Most interstate movers do offer long-term and short-term options.
16. Do you Provide Discounts?
Typically, a moving company will offer discounts if you’re eligible. The most common ones include discounts for students, military members, and AAA members.
17. Can You Handle Specialty Items, Such as Electronics and Televisions?
In most cases, movers can deal with any items you might have. However, it’s still best to ask and check that they have the equipment, experience, and supplies to handle the job.
18. What Items Can I Not Pack?
Moving companies have strict rules about not packing or transporting certain things, such as flammable items. Therefore, get a list beforehand so you can pack those separately and take them in your vehicle.
Final Thoughts on Questions to Ask Moving Companies
Finding reputable movers doesn’t have to be complicated. However, it would be best if you were prepared. You’ve learned the questions to ask movers beforehand, which will help you.
If you’re ready to start your move, Apple Moving is a great solution. Request a free quote now!
FAQs About What to Ask a Moving Company
What Do I Need to Know Before Calling a Moving Company?
Before selecting a moving company, make sure it is legitimate. You should also ask questions before signing anything, get a written estimate, inquire about insurance, and check everything as fast as possible after the move to see if anything was damaged or lost in transit.
How Do I Prepare for a Moving Service?
Before the moving truck arrives or even before calling a company, create a list of your belongings to know what you have. Take pictures of everything before you move, and ensure you know what to pack.
It’s also wise to keep a day bag for all household members with a few clothing changes, medications, important documents, and more.
What Should I Expect When Using a Moving Company?
Movers are there to disassemble large items, help with packing, use their own packing supplies, and are great for specialty items. You can usually request additional moving services if needed. Ask if the moving companies offer discounts to lower your moving costs.