Long-distance moving can be trying and time-consuming. Finding the right company to support you can make all the difference in relieving stress and making sure that your belongings get to your destination safely, in organized fashion and in the best possible condition. Here are some important tips on how to choose the best long-distance moving company for your needs.
#1: Plan Ahead and Comparison Shop
Easily the most important step in a successful long-distance move is planning ahead. This is particularly true of choosing your mover, a process you should begin at least eight weeks before the move. It’s always good practice to:
- Call at least three potential companies. Just interacting with them and asking basic questions may give you some idea of their customer service standards.
- Get them to supply comprehensive quotes. Long-distance movers typically charge by weight. Ensure that you can give accurate numbers for the weight you’ll be transporting and get a detailed quote from the mover. The quote should be in writing, and should not be provided verbally or over the internet. Make sure you and the mover both understand what is being asked for, what is being quoted and why.
- Clarify what they do and don’t insure. In some cases, for instance, a moving company’s insurance may not cover the breakage of an item in transit that the movers themselves did not pack. Being clear about those parameters from the start can influence how you pack and prepare, so seek out detailed guides to moving insurance.
Once you have quotes in hand and have satisfied yourself that they contain the pricing deals you need, you’re ready to move to the next step.
#2: Check Accreditation
A long-distance moving company has to be properly insured and licensed, cleared for safety practices in both the state of origin and your destination, and have personnel who can clear police background checks. Depending on your destination or departure point, the state may provide resources to help you do this research.
If moving to a city like San Diego, CA, for example, you can contact the California Public Utilities Commission to check if a company’s accreditation passes muster.
#3: Check Reputation
Your starting point for checking a company’s reputation should be your local Better Business Bureau. Companies that have provoked legitimate complaints from customers will have that reflected in their BBB rating. The BBB will also be able to tell you how long the companies have been in business, whether they have all the licensing they claim to have, and whether they have a history of truthfully representing their status with the BBB to consumers.
Other important resources:
- Your real estate agent. If you used Realtors to purchase your new home, they should be happy to help you assess moving companies.
- Friends and family. Word-of-mouth from people you know can be incredibly helpful in getting a practical sense of a company’s service standards.
- Online reviews… to a point. Online reviews can be a helpful source of information, provided you take them with a grain of salt.
Online reviews should be your last stop in checking a company’s reputation. You have to be careful about accepting online claims at face value, as there is an enormous volume of fake reviews online. So, when consulting the online review profile of a company, check multiple platforms like Facebook, Yelp and Google to get a clearer picture and be on the lookout for suspect review tactics, such as “customers” who use a celebrity’s photo as their picture.
If your move is to or from San Diego, you can check these San Diego long distance moving company reviews.
#4: Be Alert for Red Flags
The moving business, like any other sector, attracts its share of scam artists and rogue or fly-by-night operations. Some of the red flags are reasonably obvious:
- The company lacks a real address that you can visit.
- It demands cash or a large deposit before moving.
- Its quoted price seems too good to be true.
- Its quoted price is based on cubic feet rather than weight.
- It shows up to move your goods in a rental truck.
Other cautions are subtler. It’s important never to sign an incomplete contract or a “skinny” contract that fails to specifically list your goods, as that can be a gateway to companies attempting to load the move with spurious charges. Ensure the mover gives you a proper bill of lading.
Finding Further Advice on How to Choose the Best Long Distance Moving Company
State and city governments often provide more detailed resources on selecting the right mover and ensuring you have all the steps of your move covered. For example, if using a San Diego long-distance moving company, consult the CPUC Moving Tips and Warnings Fact Sheet and other resources at its site, and find further tips on how to spot and avoid moving scams through The City of San Diego’s Fraud Prevention paper.
Following the above tips on how to choose the best long-distance moving company is a good way to ensure your moving experience is the best it can be. Start your planning early, get informed, use common sense to your advantage, and your family should enjoy a great long-distance move.