When hiring professionals to do a job for you, you expect professional attitude, professional services, and professional results, right? You assume that you’re working with experts who know their stuff and can easily handle the challenges they’re presented with. You believe that you’re dealing with licensed and trustworthy specialists who provide quality customer service at fair rates.
In the best case scenario, you’ll be right – there are many reliable professionals out there who will do such a good job that you’ll never regret the money for hiring them.
In a not-so-good scenario, however, you may hire incompetent people who just lack the professional know-how, rich experience, or proper equipment to perform quality work.
In the worst possible scenario, you may fall victim to scam artists who want to deceive and rip off their customers.
So, how can you avoid these last two disaster scenarios? How can you make sure you hire qualified and experienced specialists? Especially when it comes to a big and important endeavor, such as moving house, when professional assistance is so sorely needed?
When looking for moving professionals, you will most certainly want them to take good care of your items, work in a safe and efficient manner, and charge fair prices for their services. The only way to make this happen and ensure a smooth and trouble-free relocation is to hire a qualified, experienced, and reliable moving company.
How to know if your chosen movers are trustworthy?
To make sure that you’re dealing with qualified professionals, you need to confirm that your chosen movers are properly licensed and well recognized for their quality services:
1) Verify your movers’ licensing credentials
Professional movers are required by law to be registered and authorized to transport household goods and perform moving services:
# Intrastate moving companies need a state license with the State Department of Transportation or Bureau of Consumer Affairs in order to operate legally;
# Interstate moving companies must have a USDOT number issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
So, to make sure that your chosen movers are properly certified and insured, you need to find out if they have a valid USDOT number or state license. Go to the FMCSA official website (or your state’s government website in the event of a local move) and enter the USDOT number (or MC number) of your chosen company. All the available data will be displayed – if the “Out of Service” field says NO, the “Household Goods” field says YES and the safety ranking is at least SATISFACTORY, you can rest assured that you’re working with a legitimate moving company.
2) Make sure your movers are fully bonded and liable for damage
Upon signing a contract with a certified moving company, you automatically receive basic liability protection. It comes for free but covers only $0,60 per lbs per item and does not allow punitive damage claims. Such a limited coverage may not be enough to ensure your peace of mind and you may want to go with another insurance plan that works better for you.
A reliable moving company will offer full value protection – it incurs an extra charge but under it the movers assume liability for the full cost of repairs or the replacement value of any goods that have been damaged or gone missing while in their custody.
What’s more, a properly insured moving company will provide workers’ compensation and public liability insurance, so that you won’t be held responsible for any accidents or personal injuries that may occur on your property during the moving process.
3) Find out if your chosen moving company belongs to a movers’ association
Membership in a well-known and esteemed moving organization, such as AMSA, guarantees that the company abides by the federal laws, meets the quality standards held by the association, and has agreed to participate in arbitration programs.
Each US state has at least one association that represents the movers located in it (such as the California Moving & Storage Association or the Florida Movers and Warehousemen’s Association). These non-profit organizations have established certain standards for their members in order to help improve the moving industry and promote fair business practices. If a moving company violates the code of ethics set by the organization or uses illegal practices, it will lose its credibility and benefits of being a member of that organization.
Therefore, if the company you consider hiring for your move holds accreditation from a reputable movers’ association, it is a guarantee of reliability and professionalism.
4) Check the company’s business rating
Positive ratings and awards for service are among the most significant proofs of reliability and high quality a moving company can get. So, to find out what kind of company you’re dealing with, you’re advised to:
- Verify its accreditation;
- Check its rating with the BBB;
- Find out if it has won any awards or accolades for service;
- Ask for references and recommendations.
5) Research the company’s online profile
The Information Age has made it really easy to research a moving company and get feedback from people who have already worked with it:
- Read moving reviews left by previous customers of the company you consider hiring for your relocation – reputable websites such as Yelp and MyMovingReviews contain hundreds of customer testimonials, attesting to the movers’ excellent services or denouncing their lousy work. (RELATED: How to spot fake online reviews about moving companies);
- Visit the company’s website and look for evidence of trustworthiness and competence (or the lack thereof) – a well-designed site that contains detailed information about the company will be an indication of reliability and transparency, while a poorly–built site that lacks a license number, physical address, or contact information should be a warning sign to stay away from the company (SEE ALSO: The red flags of moving fraud);
- Check the company’s social media pages;
- Research the database of ProtectYourMove.gov, MovingScam.com, and other consumer protection sites to check your chosen company’s complaint history or call the FMCSA’s safety violation and consumer complaints hotline to ask about complaints against your potential movers.
6) Verify that the company has a legitimate place of business and visit the mover’s office in person (if possible). This will allow you to get a good idea of the general working environment in the company and check their facilities (specialized equipment, truck fleet, storage units, etc.).
7) Examine the movers’ paperwork
Make sure the moving company has provided all the required documents (order of service, Bill of Lading, valuation addendum, inventory lists, receipts, etc.) and read them very carefully to confirm that the details of your move are clearly and explicitly stated in the papers. Do not sign the moving contact unless you understand and agree with everything written in it (pay special attention to the small print).
If the moving paperwork is full and clear, then you’re most probably dealing with honest and respectable professionals.
How to know if your chosen movers are experienced professionals?
To make sure that your potential movers have the expert skills and professional know-how required to perform a smooth and problem-free relocation, you need to find out if they have proper training and sufficient experience:
- Check for how long the company has been in business – The longer the movers have been in business, the greater experience they will have in dealing with different kinds of obstacles, unforeseen circumstances, specific requirements, and other moving challenges. Besides, if a moving company has remained competitive for many years, this means that it has proved to perform well;
- Check if the moving company has enough full-time employees to handle the moving jobs – Request a professional moving crew for your relocation – properly trained and skillful workers who will know how to handle your belongings in a safe and efficient manner. Understaffed moving companies often hire temporary workers (especially during the busy summer months) who lack experience and may make severe mistakes or even ruin your move;
- Check if the company has moved special items before – If you have a piano, pool table, hot tub, expensive artwork, antique furniture or any other highly treasured and difficult-to-move items, you’re going to need movers who have a lot of experience in relocating such delicate and valuable goods;
- Check if the company has the necessary specialized moving equipment – No matter how skillful and well-intentioned your chosen movers may be, they won’t be able to do a good job without the necessary equipment – quality packing supplies to ensure the best possible protection of your items during transit, specialized tools to perform any necessitated extra services (such as furniture disassembly, for example), a rope-and-pulley rigging system (in case hoisting is required), a moving truck of the right size to accommodate your household goods (in excellent condition and available on your preferred moving date), a climate-controlled and well-secured storage facility (in case storage-in-transit is required), etc.
If everything checks out, you’ll be sure that your movers are properly licensed and highly experienced specialists who are really good at what they do – just the qualified professionals you’ve been looking for. Then, you can rest assured that your relocation will be a guaranteed success!