12 Super-Important Questions to Ask Your Movers
Choosing the right moving company often ends up being the difference between a smooth, trouble-free move and a difficult and painful house moving experience where problems just seem to come one after the other.
Needless to say, which professional relocation partner you pick will prove pivotal for the success of your upcoming residential move. Therefore, preparing a few essential questions to ask movers will enable you to select the best one for your unique set of house moving circumstances.
Read on to learn the top 12 questions to ask movers so that you can make the informed decision that’ll work best for you.
Evaluate professional moving companies using the following sample questions:
- How long has the moving company been in business?
- Is the moving company properly licensed?
- Is the moving company a ProMover?
- Just how experienced is the moving crew?
- Does the mover have the necessary moving equipment?
- Does the moving company offer on-site, in-person estimates?
- What extra services will the mover offer you?
- What hidden costs can you expect from the mover?
- What type of insurance does the mover offer?
- Does the moving company request a deposit?
- What will the moving company do to protect your belongings?
- How does the moving company handle disputes or complaints?
1. How long has the moving company been in business?
One of the very first questions to ask moving companies is just how many years they have been in the moving industry. As a rule of thumb, hiring a moving company that’s been around for many years is a sign that they must have been doing something right – otherwise, they would not have stayed competitive for so long, and most likely would have gone out of business if they’d offered low-quality services.
A moving company’s long history cannot guarantee excellent moving services like the ones you’re looking for, but their longevity will be a strong indication that the relocation experience they have gained through the years will be beneficial for you.
Be extra cautious if you choose to hire movers that are relatively new in the business as they have not had enough time to prove their worth.
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2. Is the moving company properly licensed?
Another question you must ask your moving company is whether they are properly licensed to do business in the country. Interestingly enough, irrespective of their answer, you still need to verify their legitimate status online. Why? The last thing you’d want is to deal with unlicensed rogue movers that tend to have only one thing on their mind – to find a good way to scam you.
All professional interstate moving companies must be licensed by the U.S. Department of Transportation and will have a license number – known as a USDOT Number – that will prove their legitimacy. Make sure you check each interstate mover’s license number here.
Local moving companies (instate movers), on the other hand, are not regulated by the Government but by the state, so they usually hold state licenses. However, moving regulations and license requirements vary from state to state.
Do NOT hire the services of a moving company if they cannot prove that they are properly licensed.
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3. Is the moving company a ProMover?
The questions you ask moving companies all have one purpose in common – to evaluate the movers so that in the end, you can pick the mover that best fulfills your requirements, meets your expectations, and fits your budget.
One of the recommended questions to ask potential movers is whether they are ProMovers. The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) has established a ProMover certification program that guarantees that their members have passed a rigorous background check and agreed to uphold AMSA’s Code of Ethics.
It’s about reputation, reliability, and trust – hiring a ProMover basically means that your items will be in good hands since the moving company has passed successfully an industry certification program on best practices.
Also, ask your movers if they are members of the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Ideally, BBB-accredited moving companies should abide by the BBB Standards for Trust so that you can trust their professional moving services as well.
4. Just how experienced is the moving crew?
One of the things to look for when hiring a moving company is the extent of their experience. The thing you need to know before you agree on a specific mover is whether their employees work permanently for the company (properly trained and background-checked moving experts) or whether they are just temporary workers with little or no experience in the moving industry.
During the peak of the moving season, some moving companies hire temporary inexperienced workers due to the high demand for movers. As a result, the risk of property damage or personal injuries on Moving day will be too high even though you’ve hired the services of a professional mover.
Don’t forget to ask the moving company whether the crew that will be packing and moving your things will comprise of experienced professional movers – you definitely don’t want amateurs to be handling your prized possessions.
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5. Does the mover have the necessary moving equipment?
When paying professionals to help you out with your house move, you want to be certain that they have the proper moving equipment to handle your specific type of move. This is especially important when you have special items and you’d like the mover to be able to protect them and move them safely to the new home.
Assuming that your movers have basic moving equipment such as a truck of the right size, furniture dollies, appliance dollies, moving blankets, furniture sliders and all the necessary packing supplies, you may need the pros to have special hoisting equipment or more heavy-duty dollies for transporting extra-large and extra-heavy things such as a hot tub, a heavy safe, or a pool table.
Don’t underestimate the complexity and danger of moving bulky furniture pieces or household appliances either. You just need to know that your mover has enough trained staff and the right moving equipment to complete the job as scheduled.
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6. Does the moving company offer on-site, in-person estimates?
Now, this is a really important question to ask your mover: will they come to your home for a visual inspection of the things you’re moving with you to the new address? And although it’s phrased as a question, you shouldn’t accept NO as an answer.
Some moving companies may offer you cost estimates over the phone or by e-mail without actually seeing in person your home and things you’re moving. In the majority of cases, such moving quotes end up being rather inaccurate in the end.
Ask your movers to visit your home for a visual survey. Request a binding estimate in writing that will describe clearly the services offered by the company and will reflect much more accurately the total cost of the move. As a rule, you should stay away from non-binding estimates even though they are issued by movers for free.
7. What extra services will the mover offer you?
One of the essential questions to ask movers when getting estimates is what additional services they will offer you so that they can complete the move as scheduled. Note that some of those extra moving services may be required for the successful completion of the relocation (furniture disassembly, for example), while other accessorial services you yourself can request from your mover (packing or unpacking, for instance).
Good full-service moving companies should be able to offer you the extra services of packing, unpacking, disassembly and reassembly of furniture, hoisting, wooden crating, temporary storage, and more.
Do ask your moving company in advance what additional moving services you should expect to be charged for. The charges for all services should be included in the binding moving estimate you have received after the on-site survey by the professionals.
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8. What hidden costs can you expect from the mover?
You may have loads of questions for your mover but one you should not forget to ask is about the hidden costs that almost always turn up in the end when it’s time for you to pay the moving bill. That’s why it’s imperative that you speak with your moving company about all possible hidden fees and charges, again in advance.
Your mover may choose to charge you extra for handling extra-bulky items such as a piano, a pool table, hot tube, a metal safe, or even a very large furniture piece. Your mover may charge you an elevator fee – a one-time fee of around $75 if the building elevator is out of order or is missing in action. And if your professional movers cannot park the truck close to the entrance of your home, you’ll probably be charged a long carry fee to having the pros carry your stuff all the way to the moving vehicle.
Other hidden costs include a move cancellation fee, a storage fee, an express delivery charge, an extra stops charge, a travel fee and so on.
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9. What type of insurance does the mover offer?
Understanding your insurance options is an important aspect of your residential move so it should be one of the mandatory questions to ask when hiring a moving company.
In the majority of cases, you will receive a free basic coverage called Basic Limited Liability Protection as soon as you sign the Bill of Lading. You shouldn’t get too excited though because that basic coverage is de facto non-existent – would you be satisfied to get around $20 as compensation if your movers broke your big plasma TV? Of course not.
Instead, ask your moving company about you purchasing real moving insurance that will cover you adequately in case of damage or loss of one of your belongings. Such protection is called Full Value protection and entitles the mover to reimburse the replacement value of whatever’s been damaged or lost.
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10. Does the moving company request a deposit?
Most top-rated moving companies will request that you pay a deposit when you book their services. Moving company deposits are needed so that the mover can be sure that the customer won’t back in the last minute, thus disrupting their busy schedule and affecting other customers as well.
Therefore, the purpose of a deposit when hiring a mover is to compensate the company for any incurred losses should the customer cancel the booked move for some reason or another.
Every moving company has their own policy when it comes to booking deposits. So, don’t hesitate to ask your mover to give you more information about what you should expect to pay and the amounts they request.
Generally speaking, a booking deposit should not be more than around 20-25% of the total estimated cost of the move. Don’t ever pay the full price up-front or give a moving company a large deposit – you should only pay them in full when all your things have been delivered safely to the new address, with no broken, damaged or missing items whatsoever.
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11. What will the moving company do to protect your belongings?
You may have many questions to ask when hiring movers – mostly about making sure that you’ve made the right choice when it comes to the professional moving company. In fact, that’s a crucial decision that you shouldn’t just leave things to pure luck but do a thorough research on potential movers.
Another super-important question to ask your relocation partner is what measures they will take to protect your household items during the move. Ask them to be more specific in their answer, don’t just accept generic and rather meaningless replies in the lines of “Don’t worry, we know what to do.”
You’re paying those guys to do a good job so demand more details about how exactly they will keep your things safe and what they will do to prevent property damage of any kind. If you’re not satisfied by what you hear, then you can as well look for other professional movers in your area – ones that seem more trustworthy.
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12. How does the moving company handle disputes or complaints?
Last but not least, ask your moving company how they handle complaints or disputes in case there happen to be any problems with your move. Top-rated moving companies have Dispute Settlement Programs that should help you work out an agreement with the pros to resolve possible disputes during or after the move.
Federal Regulations require that professional moving companies have arbitration programs for resolving disputes when it comes to property loss and damage, as well as disputes about overcharging. So, don’t hesitate to ask your mover what specific steps they’ll take in case of a dispute between you. If you like what you hear, then that’s probably the right moving company for you – after all, house moves are rather unpredictable and anything can happen while your items are in transit between the two homes.
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Published at Wed, 19 Jun 2019 14:18:16 +0000