Young Couple Moving In To New Home Together

When I was planning my move from Washington, D.C., to Detroit, I didn’t know how to find a reliable moving company in my area. Since I knew very few people there, I was unsure how to find solid referrals. I didn’t have a ton of furniture but just enough that I didn’t want to sell everything and start over again in Michigan.

I felt like mover hunting was more daunting than other tasks due to a lack of information. At the time, I wasn’t aware of online resources like Angie’s List. Angie’s List is a service listing and review website where you can find a variety of companies in your area. So I ended up finding a small moving company on Craigslist. Overall, the cost and customer service was decent so I was glad that I had a good experience.

Melissa Moravec works as a Detroit-based senior relocation coordinator for the Quicken Loans Family of Companies. Every month she helps dozens of new hires and transferring employees with their relocation needs.

“The majority of the people I support are moving to Detroit, but I often help with moves all over the country, including Hawaii,” said Moravec, who has worked in her role for two and a half years. “I’ve learned some helpful tips just from getting feedback from people after their move.”

Here are Melissa’s five pointers.

 Tip #1: Word of Mouth Rules

The first thing to do is to ask your family members, colleagues and friends whether they would recommend a moving company in your area. You can also ask them for any helpful tips they can share.

“I know a lot of people rely on Internet searches to find a moving company, but I am a firm believer in word of mouth,” she said. “Ask the people you know about their moving experiences; it’s the best way to find a reliable mover.”

Moving scams are common, and you want to ensure the company you work with is legit. Pay a visit to the company to see whether it seems like it’s a reputable establishment. Are the trucks labeled clearly? You can search for your prospective company’s motor carrier license information on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website. Put in the company’s USDOT number, which should be listed on their website or other company-related collateral, to see if everything looks acceptable.

 Tip #2: Assess Your Needs

While a national moving company is best for an interstate move, it may ideal to use a local business for a move that’s across town or within your state.

Determine what you need from a moving company since each one varies in costs, services and claim coverage they offer. Consider: truck size, packing services, moving supplies, long-distance movers or even short-term storage.

“It’s so important to know how fast you’ll need your stuff delivered because this may determine whether you need short-term housing,” Moravec explained. “One guy I worked with told me that his stuff took almost a month to arrive in his last move! So specifically ask for a delivery date estimate so you can plan accordingly.”

Moravec said she’s found that some people don’t fully understand how long-distance moves work.

“Some people don’t realize that some movers load your stuff along with two or three other families’ stuff onto a big truck,” she began. “They aren’t going to trail your family car on the route to your new city. You’ll probably have to wait two or three days for your stuff to arrive on the truck.”

Decide whether you plan to box your own belongings or whether you’ll need the company’s packing services, she said.

“The benefit of using a mover’s packing services is it allows you to use their full insurance protection,” Moravec said. “Then you can get the full coverages in case something gets damaged or broken in the move. They offer it when they do the packing because then they know the quality that went into packing.”

Tip #3: Don’t Rely on Internet Reviews

Moravec suggested not relying primarily on a company’s website reviews when selecting a mover.

“I would be cautious about believing everything you read online. I’ve heard of companies creating fake reviews to make them look good,” she said. “And on the other hand, there are some customers that you can never satisfy. Sometimes those are the ones that write bad online reviews that really hurt the business.”

I do think the company’s website is helpful to start your research but a personal recommendation is always better, Moravec said.

If you can’t get a personal recommendation about a moving company, usually the company is willing to provide references from previous customers. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, do an online search for any negative customer service reports.

Tip #4: Go with Your Gut

It’s a common practice to have a moving agent come to your home to provide a free cost estimate. They’ll come to assess your moving items and create an inventory list. This is when you can tell them that you’ll be moving a boat, a piano or other unique items that require special moving instructions.

“I always tell people to use that initial visit to determine the vibe they get in terms of agent’s attitude and their attention to detail,” she said. “If you have a couple different companies come over, go with the one that you feel most comfortable with and not necessarily the cheapest quote.”

Moravec warns that some companies are just out to make money and that going with the lowest quote may not always be the best idea.

“In some cases they’re moving your family heirlooms and your valuables so good customer service is really important,” she said. “Sometimes I hear complaints about the quality of service. So even if a company doesn’t provide the cheapest quote, I would always go with quality over price.”

Tip #5: Cover Yourself

Once you have selected a company, don’t neglect to insure your belongings, especially if you’re moving long distance, Moravec said.

If you had renters’ or homeowners’ insurance at your old address, that doesn’t cover you while on the road in between homes. Most companies offer several insurance packages from which to to choose.

“Paying for moving insurance may take some stress off of your plate,” Moravec said. “We all know someone who has shared a horror story about things coming up missing or broken. So avoid that if you can.”

The moving company should issue you a bill of lading, a legal contract between the customer and the mover. Your contract should cover rates and charges, the mover’s liability for your belongings, dates for pickup and delivery, and claims protection. Read it carefully to make sure you understand the agreement prior to signing.

Hopefully you’ve gained some new insight to help you choose your next moving company. If you have other selection tips, please add them below.

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This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Hi, thanks for sharing this an amazing blog I really appreciate your point and happy to read this. there are so many companies available, who provide moving services. But my family is planning to move on our new house. We decided to hire a moving company who will help us to shift our goods without any hassle. I choose Vipvan, as they provide us very kind and helpful services. I fully recommend you to hire Vipvan for migration.

  2. If you’re looking for recommendations from your friends Facebook’s new algorithm will enhance your post to show a map of the area your looking for recommendations in. For example, “Anyone know any good movers in the Chicago area?” will show up with a map of the Chicago area and show the post to your applicable friends who might be able to recommend a good mover. We’ve used it before to find movers and painters in our area. So yes asking friends for recommendations is a great thing!

  3. I appreciate your tip about not completely rely on internet reviews but get advice from the previous customers to determine how trustworthy the moving company is.I agree that it is always better to insure our belongings if we move long distance so that we can have peace of mind in case anything happened.Thanks for sharing the good information.

  4. I totally agree with your point no 3 don’t rely on internet review. nowaday many companies ask their employees to write a positive review about the company in order to create fair images of the company in customer mind.

  5. Really useful tips! We are moving in NYC soon and we are looking for reliable moving company that can make our move easy. Thanks for sharing these moving tips with us!

  6. Good information , but over all before moving to new apartaments we should know what things we really need and what things we should throw out. When you do it your moving price will be much cheaper.

  7. To amplify what others are saying about cleaning up first: maybe instead of packing, you might consider doing a de-clutter before the packers come. It’s surprising and illuminating to unpack worthless stuff that you would have taken straight to the curb or the trash if you’d been packing yourself.

  8. My wife and I are planning on moving into our new house next month. We decided to use a moving company because we both work during the week and it would be nice to have somebody help us out while we are busy. Thanks for the tips on what to look out for in moving companies. I like what you said about making sure that you decide whether you are going to pack yourself or have them pack your things, like you mentioned. It is important to find a great company who can handle all of your needs, whether that means packing or not.

  9. I read your informative information and like it. If you’re moving to another state, ask if the company will give you a written binding estimate or, even better, a binding not-to-exceed estimate. Both types of estimates put a guaranteed cap on what you will pay for your move. Keep sharing a good information.

  10. I appreciate your tip on asking other people for references for a good moving company. I would imagine that friends and family could probably give you the name of a reliable company that is close to home. My wife and I are moving soon so maybe we should ask our friends for an idea on who to hire to help us move.

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