Whether you are moving locally down the street or across country to another state, it is important to hire an established professional and reputable moving company, like Movegreen, that can be entrusted to move your belongings with care.
The moving industry is ripe with fly-by-night scam artists that are looking to make a quick buck and take advantage of their customers. If you follow these 8 easy tips, you will have more success in hiring a reputable professional moving company that will make your move stress-free and painless.
1. Unprofessional Operation
When you are interviewing prospective moving companies, be sure that they operate like a professional business. This includes basic checks like:
- Does the moving company have a physical business address or is it just a PO Box?
- Do they have their own branded moving trucks?
- Do they legitimate company email addresses, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, or are they using a generic free email address such as @gmail.com or @hotmail.com.
- If you meet with them in-person, did they provide you with professional business cards with a legitimate logo?
If your prospective moving company does not have all of these things, they may still be a legitimate business, but it is wise to investigate further.
2. Not Insured
Ask the moving company you are considering hiring to provide proof of insurance. If they are insured, they will gladly provide this info. If the company is reluctant or they act like it is a nuisance to dig up the information, be alert.
Professional moving companies need to be insured not only to
protect themselves from potential lawsuits but also to be able to reimburse
customers if belongings are damaged in the process. If a company cannot provide
proof of insurance, you can put your money on the fact that they will not pay
you back if they lose or damage your goods.
3. Not Properly Licensed
Moving companies need to be licensed with each state having different provisions.
If you need to hire movers for an interstate move, they must be licensed within compliance to the United States Department of Transportation as well as Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is the primary agency charged with the duty of protecting interstate moving consumers. Ask for the moving company’s U.S. DOT number so you can look them up in the FMCSA database.
If you are making a local move and moving within the same state, your moving company is not required to be licensed by the U.S. Department of Transportation but instead by the state. This means that if you are moving to a new place in the same state, you need to check instead that they are properly licensed within your state. Most reputable moving companies prominently display this information on their website.
4. All Estimates Are Non-Binding
If a prospective moving company only offers non-binding estimates to clients (instead of binding or binding not-to-exceed estimates), do not walk but run the other way. A non-binding estimate is a quote that is based on an estimated weight of your goods, but the final price will likely change due to the actual cost.
Rogue movers are notorious for giving a smaller quote then waiting until all of your belongings are loaded on the truck to notify you of a (significant) price increase. By offering only non-binding estimates, rogue movers make it easy to hook you with a low-ball estimate while later hooking you with an astronomically high bill when all is said and done.
Instead, look for moving companies that offer binding estimates or binding not-to-exceed estimates, each of which offers an initial price quote that is not to be exceeded.
5. No Valuation Coverage
Valuation coverage is helpful when it comes to protecting your belongings. Interstate movers are required by law, according to the FMCSA, to offer two types of liability options, including Full Value Protection and Released Value. Valuation coverage holds the mover responsible for at least part of your load. If a moving company does not offer this, it is safer to scratch them off your list of potential businesses to hire.
6. Bad Reviews or Complaints Filed
Most businesses have a bad review or two. It is impossible to please everybody and let’s face it – some people simply cannot be pleased. But an onslaught of bad reviews is something you should not ignore when it comes to hiring a moving company. Check the prospective moving company on review sites and look up their Better Business Bureau rating.
It is also wise to look into a moving company’s official complaint history by looking them up at the Better Business Bureau or by looking up their U.S. Dot number with the FMCSA.
7. No Bill of Lading
Arguably the biggest red flag of all is if a moving company won’t provide you with a bill of lading. A bill of lading is an official contract between you and your mover that is required by law to be given to you before a shipment is made. When the move takes place, the person loading the truck should provide you with one. If they do not, do not hand over your belongings to them.
8. Payment is Required Up Front
If payment is demanded up front, regardless of the amount, be leery. Movers are traditionally paid after a mover’s possessions are shipped to their destination. Rogue movers are known for taking money from up-front payments and running. If you want to see your items at your new location, don’t pay anything upfront unless they check out with the BBB and FMCSA.
Contact Movegreen Today
Be sure that your items are moved safely and efficiently with a professional moving company like Movegreen. We are the premier eco-friendly moving company in Southern California with locations in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Orange County. We specialize not only in short local moves but also long-distance, interstate, and even international moves. Contact Movegreen today to find out how our professional moving services can make your next relocation successful and stress-free.