Rachael Ravner
December 7, 2020
Article type:
Moving Help & Tips
Applies to:
Local Moving

How to Make Sure You Find the Perfect Local Moving Company in Just 4 Easy Steps

Finding the perfect mover for you and your family is all about making an informed decision. Whether you are a first time mover or a moving pro, shopping for a quote is almost always the first step! But are you shopping correctly? How do you know if you are asking the right questions and comparing the right aspects of your moving quote? Let us walk you through what we find most important when shopping and what to look out for in your next local mover. You can also follow along with our handy MOVING CHECKLIST.

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1. Contact Three Movers

First and foremost, before signing any contracts, we recommend you request a quote from at least three local companies in your area. Be sure that when comparing the estimate, each company is quoting for the same inventory. Sometimes, differences in pricing can mean differences in inventory.

This is important, because in theory every mover has the same inventory for the same home but if someone missed something, or has a variation, it can lead to pricing differences that will disappear once you actually move. It's a common tactic by scam moving companies where they show you a lower upfront cost to get your business, but charge more when you actually move. Just because inventories are different though, doesn't mean it's a scam - sometimes it's just a mistake. Speak with the moving company if they missed something on your inventory!

2. Verify Their Identity

Now that you have picked out your top three local moving companies, it's time to ensure that they are reputable companies. Many moving companies are small and operate for just a few months at a time before they go out of business. It's almost always better to use a mover that has been in business longer because they've had time to perfect processes and hire good movers.

The most common moving scam happens when a customer pays for a move upfront and then the moving company magically disappears, taking their money (and sometimes their household goods!) with them. This all too common situation can be easily avoided. Often, verifying a moving company's identity can be accomplished with a quick and easy internet search. Taking a couple extra minutes to verify each company can potentially save you the extra headache later on.

One great reference is the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA). They are a nonprofit dedicated to helping people find and use reputable moving companies (called Pro Movers). They've compiled a list of Pro Movers on their website. Just because a moving company doesn’t appear here doesn't mean it's not reputable, but it's worth doing some extra research before using them.

Lastly, some moving companies that you'll find aren't really moving companies. They're brokers. What this means, is that they take details of your move, charge you, and then subcontract a cheaper mover. This typically means you end up paying more for your move and using cheaper movers who might not have the experience or right equipment for the job. Most of the moving "horror" stories you've heard have probably involved a move broker for this very reason.

To help, here are some questions to consider in order to verify your potential moving companies:

  • Do they own their own trucks?
  • Do they have a physical address?
  • Are they insured and licensed?
  • Have your read through reviews from previous customers?

3. Review The Estimate

Every mover is required to provide you with certain information before your move. Make sure to receive a written estimate with your quote. When reviewing this estimate, some important points to consider include:

  • Are there any extra charges due to my location?
  • Do I have any specialty items that require any extra attention?
  • Is this estimate non-binding or binding? (This means that the price is either subject to change on move day or not.)

4. Review Your Protection

There is more to your moving quote than just the price. You should also ensure that the moving company grants you some protections. Maybe Moving Company 1 provided the cheapest quote, but what happens if they damage or lose an item? Along with comparing the price of each quote, don’t forget to look at their policies for factors such as valuation, cancellation and payment options.

Moving Process

It is important to understand what is expected of you and what you can expect from your moving company. Make sure to know who your main point of contact is (typically called a move coordinator) and how to reach him or her with any questions that might arise.

Some important aspects of the moving process to consider:

"What will my mover not take for me?" Be prepared to take items such as plants, perishable food, open alcohol containers, and cleaning products with you on your journey, as most moving companies will not load these items on their trucks.

"Should I do anything in advance of the move?" If your move does not include packing services, your moving company will only load boxes that are packed and taped shut. Not being fully packed at the time of pick up could result in delays as well as extra charges.

After The Move

When your shipment arrives at your destination, you should inspect and ensure that all of your items arrived in their original condition. The claims process will vary from company to company, but typically you will need to declare broken or missing items within a certain timeframe, so it'll be important that you know what that timeframe is.

At Bailey's Moving and Storage, we believe it is most important that you make an informed decision when shopping for your household goods mover. Our handy MOVING CHECKLIST will help you stay organized and informed throughout your relocation journey.