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9 Things to Check When Choosing a Moving Service

Moving Checklist 101

Moving to a new home is no small feat. There are a lot of (pardon the pun) moving parts in relocating your life. It can feel a bit stressful when you start to create your to-do lists and count down to moving day but it doesn’t have to be.

Moving companies are a vital part of taking the pressure off your shoulders. They’ll bring their expertise to ensure your things are shifted smoothly, so you can get back to being excited about this new chapter of life. But how do you pick the right moving company for you?

couple searching for a mover

No matter where you live, a quick Google search will show you that finding any moving company is no issue. But finding the moving company? That may feel a bit more challenging. We’re here to help, with 9 things to check when choosing a moving service.

1. Inventory review

In order to send you an accurate quote for your moving expenses, your moving company will need to know what it is that they’re moving. A reputable moving service will be thorough in collecting information on what you have that you’re taking with you.

When you’re talking to a moving company about your move, they should ask plenty of questions to be sure they have a clear picture of what is involved. This not only includes how many rooms and the size of your home but specialty items as well. They should ask whether you’re bringing appliances or large, bulky, or awkwardly sized items such as pool tables or large pieces of artwork. These things will require special equipment and know-how, and a professional mover will want to come prepared.

With this review should also come questions about the access of your current and future homes. Your mover will want to know if they’ll be navigating stairs or complicated entryways, and where they’ll be able to park related to your entryway.

2. No upfront charges

A reputable mover will never ask you to pay a large sum upfront. If a mover requests that you pay a deposit or in full before your move, be wary. You should confirm the quote and that all charges are included, and only pay upon the successful delivery of your items.

3. A comprehensive walkthrough

This recommendation is often more relevant for long-distance moves but valuable for everyone. If your mover comes to perform a walkthrough, be sure they are thorough. If your mover shows up and quickly passes through your house then draws up your estimate, they are liable to take the same approach to the move itself.

moving man with clipboard

Your mover should do a complete walkthrough of your home, including confirming which items are coming with you and which are staying behind. If you’re planning to sell, give away, or donate items, be sure you’re clear on what proportion of your belongings those are, as it will affect your mover’s overall obligation.

4. Brand consistency

We hate to say it, but there are untrustworthy companies out there. This means you’ll need to do your due diligence to ensure you’re weeding out the fraudulent businesses.

Some companies manage to avoid assessment from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) by using a variety of names to conduct businesses. With any mover you’re considering doing business with, confirm that they have a local address. Check their license and insurance information. Call their office number, and see how they answer. Did they use the full company name when picking up the phone?

5. Check references

Online reviews are a great place to evaluate a moving company. Check third-party sites such as Google Maps and Yelp to see what others say about what it was like to work with the company. Take the time to read multiple reviews and look for trends, whether they’re positive or negative. If you see that people found surprise fees or unreliability in a mover, that’s a red flag!

6. Service expertise

There are a large variety of movers available, each with their own skillset and capabilities. It’s important that the one you hire has expertise in meeting your specific needs. Full-service movers will do more than just shift your things from point a to b. They’ll also take care of your packing and unpacking, and disassembling and reassembling of your furniture.

If you have large or bulky items, find a mover that has specific knowledge and equipment for moving these items with care. This includes things such as pool tables, pianos, heirloom furniture, and large pieces of artwork. While movers may have the know-how to move your big sectional sofa, they may not know how to handle your grandmother’s curio cabinet safely.

7. Avoid surprise fees

While hiring a mover may seem like a cut-and-dried feat, there are some things to be aware of. By the time you confirm your quote, you should be sure that everything is included. Movers may charge by the amount of time and manpower necessary, but some factors come at an additional charge.

woman seeing surprise fees

If you live in a two-story home or an apartment without elevator access, there may be an extra fee for the work that goes into navigating things like stairwells. If you’re living on a narrow street which makes it impossible for a moving truck to arrive at your door, this may also involve a surcharge. Your expert mover should ask the right questions to understand these things, so make sure they do.

8. Understand insurance and valuation

Any reputable moving company must accept liability for the value of your belongings. As with any type of insurance, however, there are multiple levels of coverage. It’s important to be aware of what your mover offers, and how your things will be covered on the day of your move.

Full value protection is the most comprehensive coverage. If your item is lost or damaged, the mover is required to either repair the item to the original condition or replace it with an equivalent item. They may also have the option to fund the repairs or the purchase of a new item.

Alternative liability is a more economical option but is limited in its coverage. This liability is calculated based on the weight of the items, and the mover will assume liability for $0.60 per pound, per article. This means loss or damage claims are settled based on the weight rather than a specific value.

Ask questions to be sure you understand just how your items are covered, just in case.

9. Sign a detailed contract

A lot of the above tips boil down to this one: make sure all of the details are thoroughly covered and your contract takes everything into account. If you’ve discussed an aspect of your move with the moving company, make sure it’s not left out of any contract you sign. Ensure their fees are transparent, and that the contract has an itemized list of all that is included.

About the author

Unpakt Team