From the American Moving & Storage Association
Choosing a Reputable and Reliable Company
When the time comes for you to choose a moving and storage company, it is likely that your initial research will be done online. With that being said, however, you should never book a move solely by the price given only online or over the phone. Many consumer groups and organizations suggest you receive at least three written estimates from three different companies before you make a decision on a provider of moving or storage services. Aside from researching online and getting written estimates, asking friends and family for referrals is a great way to get started. Conducting a simple search will provide you with a list of companies to consider for your upcoming needs. Reputation and past experience have a lot of influence on the decision making process.
Reputation and Certifications
The vast majority of transactions in the moving and storage industry go smoothly, however accidents happen, and there are a "few bad eggs" out there that spoil the reputation of the otherwise reputable movers. The American Moving & Storage Association, the moving and storage industry trade association, has a program called ProMover, which was established in order to certify members that have passed a background check and agree to uphold the Code of Ethics. Checking reviews on the BBB and Yelp sites and ensuring the company is a ProMover is a good start to ensuring that you are booking your upcoming move with a reputable company.
It's wise, especially for the first-time-mover, to "shop around" when looking for a reputable moving and storage company. Keep in mind that although there are many estimating tools online for moving and storage services, you should never accept an estimate until a representative from the company has been to your home and surveyed the goods you wish to move and/or store. An on-site estimate allows the moving consultant to complete a realistic assessment of all the goods and whether or not there are extra costs involved beyond what could easily be discussed over the phone or online.
Whether or not your upcoming move is local, intrastate, or across state lines may affect the type of estimate you receive. In addition, local jurisdiction may affect the type of estimate given and valuation coverage that is included within your estimate. Consumers often refer to valuation coverage as "insurance," however there are major differences that will be covered in a future article or you may click here to read about additional specifics provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
After the onsite appointment, you will be presented with a cost to move and/or store your goods. It is, however, important to know that, depending on the type of estimate you are provided, the actual charges can be more than those with which you were initially told. Be sure to ask your professional Moving Consultant to further explain the estimate you receive. This is a very important factor, as it removes the chance for any unpleasant financial surprises to arise.
Speaking of finances, the more packing you do yourself, the less stuff you move, the more money you will save upfront. Charges are based on weight and distance or quantity of movers and how many hours the moving takes. Storage fees are based on amount and duration. Of course when it comes to damaging your goods because of bad packing job, you may end up costing yourself dearly. Packing the items yourself versus paying the movers to do the packing will also is a determining factor of how the valuation coverage applies.
Consideration and Evaluation
Written estimates allow you to compare offers from different moving companies. You may find a very reputable and professional moving company with your first phone call or internet search, but it is always a good idea to make sure you have chosen the best option from those that are available to you. Just because a company has an appealing website, for example, does not necessarily mean that the company is reputable. Be sure to do your research, check the company reviews on various consumer sites, and get all verbal promises in writing.