Depending on the move, hiring a professional moving company can be affordable. Be sure you know how to evaluate moving companies, including what to know before hiring movers. Make sure your moving experience goes smoothly by asking your potential moving company some simple questions.
What questions should you ask a moving company?
1. How do you charge your fees?
An important question to ask a moving company is how they charge. Almost all movers charge by the hour, and most require a minimum (often four hours). That seems fair. But some start charging the second they leave their headquarters, so you’re paying for travel time, not move time. Find out if your movers start charging when they arrive at your home or leave their office.
2. Will you provide all the equipment?
An important question to ask movers is who will bring the moving supplies (e.g., moving pads, dollies, etc.). Some movers advertise that it brings company supplies at no extra charge. If you don’t see it in writing on a mover’s website or brochures, then ask.
3. Are you insured?
Another important question to ask movers is if they have insurance. When a professional mover is insured, they’ll provide compensation if they damage anything during the move. Your renters insurance or homeowners insurance won’t cover damage caused by movers. So, you’ll want to make sure your belongings are protected by the moving company’s policy. For interstate moves, companies are required to offer two insurance options: full value protection and released value (also called basic carrier’s liability) protection.
Movers may carry different coverage amounts, so be sure to get the details on just how much protection they offer. Similarly, before you sign anything, ask to see your contract a day or two before you put pen to paper. And, of course, check on the mover’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau®, Angi®, and other reputable consumer advocates. Learn more about how insurance covers moving and storage units.
4. How do you handle loss and damage claims?
Your mover should outline how they manage the claims process before they move your stuff. For interstate moves, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governs moving companies. According to their regulations, you have nine months to file a claim in writing, and they have 30 days to acknowledge your claim and 120 days to handle it.
5. Are you a mover or a broker?
For moves across states, you might work with a moving broker, a company that books your move and then sells it to a moving company. The FMCSA requires brokers to register with their agency and use moving companies that are also registered with FMCSA. If you’re working with a broker, understand your rights and how they manage the moving process.