How to be on the alert for bad moving companies

It’s not as if moving weren’t already stressful, but getting screwed by a moving company is the cherry on top of the sundae. Yet year after year complaints flood into government regulatory offices and review websites about how families’ belongings were damaged, or the mover held their stuff for hostage if they don’t pay a “surcharge,” you get the picture. Keep in mind that most movers are on the up and up, and if you have a legitimate problem, you will not generally have a problem. Still, you will be entrusting thousands of dollars of your belongings to someone who is essentially a stranger, so you should do at least a little investigating.

Here are a few things to look for when looking for a mover:

  • If you are moving out of state, your candidate moving company must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They have a pretty cool search feature that will give you the scoop on who’s gotten a lot of complaints and other relevant information
  • Beware interstate movers who give estimates without seeing the project first. There is not way a mover can know how much to charge a client until he sees how much work his crew will have to put into it (how many big items are there? Are there stairs? How much stuff has been packed, etc) This is not as much of an issue with local movers. For example, since the distance is not so far, you or the local mover will not incur and significant costs penalties for a job that takes a little longer. Nevertheless, if there is any doubt in your mind, any reputable mover will come out to have a look.
  • Make sure that your mover has the proper insurance for moving. All movers are required to have insurance, but don’t expect a 100% replacement cost. If full replacement is a necessity, you may purchase supplementary insurance through the mover to cover the difference. You may also purchase your own insurance if you feel the need.
  • Be alert to movers who demand full price up front. No reputable mover should demand the entire amount.
  • Inquire as to whether the mover hires temporary of permanent employees. This should not necessarily be a deal breaker, but generally it is better that a moving company employ a force, as opposed to contract workers. However, there are a significant number of moving companies that hire contract or temporary laborers, but the hire the same ones all the time, which is the next best thing to having a regular salaried workforce.

Remember, for interstate movers you are allowed to view a cope of