Originally published January 1, 2014. Now updated with FREE printable to use when interviewing potential moving companies.
Did you know there’s a fool-proof method to hiring a moving company?
Moving is a stressful time. Hiring a moving company can either alleviate a measure of stress or add to it – depending on how you go about it. Follow these tips and you can feel confident in your choice.
Your search criteria will probably be based on price and locale. It may be based on recommendations by friends, family, co-workers or your real estate agent. Or it may be based on any number of other factors.
Regardless of the reason, you’ll be best served by getting several written estimates before making a final selection. For accuracy, this should be done with a visual survey of the contents to be moved. And make sure the written estimate includes the USDOT and MC number (see questions 8 & 9 below).
Note – it’s not recommended to use a household-goods brokerage service specialized in finding a moving company for you as they are not regulated by the laws that movers must follow.
In addition to a written estimate, you’ll want to interview the moving company.
A series of interview questions
- What is the company’s address, phone numbers, e-mail and website addresses?
- What is the company’s full name and/or any other names under which it does business?
- How long has the company been in business and are they incorporated in your state? Note – you can confirm the information they provide by checking your Secretary of State’s office. This can usually be done easily online using their searchable database feature.
- What are the average years of experience of their drivers, movers, and packers?
- Are their workers bonded?
- Are they licensed with the state’s Department of Transportation?
- Are they licensed for interstate moves?
- What is their USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number?
- What is their MC (motor carrier license) number?
- Do they offer storage?
- What insurance is included? Note – Check your own homeowner policy to see what’s covered so you’re not needlessly duplicating insurance coverage.
- What names and contact information can be provided for the company’s references?
Want help with interview notes? These questions are available as a printable for your convenience.
Once you have several written estimates and interview notes in hand, what’s next?
Research each company thoroughly
You can start with the Better Business Bureau at http://www.bbb.org.
Next, check the consumer advocacy sites such as http://www.movingscam.com and http://www.ripoffreport.com I personally visited the former after the fact, to file complaints. I wish I’d known about these sites ahead of time.
Then verify the company has the legal authority to move you. Go to the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at http://www.safersys.org.
- Either search using the USDOT or MC number and company name. You’ll be able to authenticate the company’s name, address, and phone numbers.
- Make sure the company is not:
- listed as out of service;
- that they’re authorized for hire;
- that they can operate interstate;
- that they can carry household goods; and
- that their safety rating is satisfactory
- You’ll see how many trucks and drivers the company operates and employs, and you’ll want to assure yourself that the number substantiates the amount of business they claim.
- Further, since a moving company is required to have both bodily injury and property damage insurance as well as cargo insurance make sure the search report shows this insurance on file.
You can also call the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline at 1-888-DOT-SAFT (368-7238).
And finally, since governmental laws affect movers, check out these sites:
- http://www.moving.org – the national trade association of household goods movers
- http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov – To download a copy of the official rule book of the interstate moving industry. The booklet is entitled, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”. Statewide moves are usually regulated by your state’s DOT. Some states publish their own moving-guide brochures.
Once these steps are completed, you’ll no doubt be ready to hire your movers.
Visit the home page of this series, The Ultimate Movers Guide for more tips with any other aspect of moving or packing.
P.S. How have you decided what Movers to hire? Is there anybody you don’t recommend?