There are thousands of moving companies across the country, and many offer both residential and commercial moving services. These moving companies might specialize in local moves, long distance (interstate) moves, or even international moves. Despite what you may assume, not all moving companies are the same, and this short guide was designed to help you choose from among the thousands of moving companies and increase your odds of finding a moving company that will work best for you.
Features and Services to Look for in Moving Companies
As mentioned before, not all moving companies are the same, and it makes sense to find a moving company that specializes- and has legitimate experience- in your type of move. For example, moving companies that specialize in commercial moves probably have more experience in the timing of these moves to minimize downtime for the business. International moving companies probably know how to work with customs to get your belongings to their destination faster. What’s important is to match a moving company with your situation- don’t just read and believe what’s on the moving company’s brochure.
Besides the obvious actual transportation of your goods, there are other services that you might find useful. Here are some questions to ask your prospective moving companies:
- Do you offer a packing and unpacking service?
- Do you supply packing supplies, and at what cost?
- Do you offer short or long-term storage in conjunction with the move?
- Are there any moving guides that might be helpful in the move?
- What are your liability limits and what is the claims process?
This last question is important as damaged and lost goods are the most common complaints lodged against moving companies. Make sure you understand EXACTLY how items will be accounted for and what happens if your items get broken or ‘lost’. It is quite likely that something will be damaged, so understand the claims process up front, instead of just hoping that nothing will happen.
The best way to find the best moving company for you is to start with what your needs are (of course). Since you already know the starting and ending points of your move and what needs to be moved, you should focus your initial search on those moving companies that specialize in your type of move.
Once you have narrowed down a few moving companies that seem to fit your needs, it’s time to get some quotes. Getting quotes online can be a good way to get a rough estimate of your costs, but the best quote will come from a representative of the moving company that actually visits your home or business and inspects the items that will be moved. Interstate moving companies are more highly regulated than local moving companies, so the price variance among interstate or long distance moving companies might not be that great. There are other regulations imposed on interstate moving companies that relate to how quotes can be given, so when you do get a quote, make sure to ask and understand whether the quote is binding or non-binding. Interstate moving companies also have requirements for claims handling and other administrative concerns.
Quotes for local moves can vary much more than that of interstate moving companies because there is usually little or no regulation. There is probably more of a risk of ‘shady’ moving companies in local moves, so pay extra attention to the moving contract and don’t accept anything verbally that isn’t also put in writing. Asking anyone you know who has recently moved if they would recommend their mover is a good way of ensuring good service. Absent that, see if you can get references from the moving company of people that you can actually talk to about their recent moving experience.