Moving in, to, or from San Diego is a huge process. The right mover can make your experience easy and enjoyable, allowing you to focus on your family and your new home. With the wrong company, it can become a hassle, endanger your belongings, and even turn into a legal issue. To help you avoid any moving pitfalls, and make your moving experience as easy as possible, here are a few tips for choosing the best movers in San Diego.
Start with Recommendations
Before you touch your computer, talk to people you know who have moved in the last few years. Family and friends will give you the details on their companies, and advice on what to look for and avoid. If a close friend highly recommends a company, it’s probably worth looking into. (Note: Don’t sign up with a company just because a friend liked them. They may not be right for your situation!)
Online Moving Company Reviews
Online reviews can also be helpful when choosing a moving company in San Diego. If a company has no reviews, or a low overall rating, there’s no reason to waste your time. When looking at online reviews, find a company with a good amount of reviews (at least 20-30) from a variety of people. Look at the overall comments, and any patterns that come up. For instance, if people are very impressed with the mover’s professionalism, you’ll see phrases like “courteous,” “easy to work with,” or “made life simple” come up.
If you’re still not sure, you can also ask the mover for references. Any reputable mover should be able to provide references from real customers, who you can speak with about their experience.
Look at Local Moving Companies
Local San Diego moving companies are usually your best bet, because they know your area. They understand the streets, and the neighborhoods. They’ve worked in your area before. They’ll be able to provide better estimates on their timing and delivery; plus, if they provide storage, you know your possessions will still be nearby.
Local companies have an added benefit: you can go right to them. We all know not to trust folks on the internet, so why should moving be any different? Each year, hundreds of people make the mistake of signing up with a company they’ve only ever talked to online or via the phone. This is a big mistake, and it’s one of the main sources of moving scams that create a bad name for the whole industry.
Get Multiple Moving and Storage Estimates
Never simply go with the first offer, and always question the lowest offer; there’s usually a reason they’re so cheap or quick to make a move. When you’re looking at San Diego movers, we suggest getting at least three estimates before making your choice. These estimates should happen in person; a phone-call estimate can be wildly off-target, which can cause problems later on.
When the mover visits your home, they should be asking plenty of questions. If they just want to drop a number and leave, they are not the company for you. They should ask about your moving date, what the new location is like, if you have basement storage or special objects (like pianos) that need to be moved, and more.
Pay attention to the estimator; they will give you an impression of what the rest of the company is like. They should be polite, pay attention to details, and answer any questions thoroughly. If you aren’t connecting with them, they might not be the right movers for you.
The mover making the estimate shouldn’t be the only one asking questions. You should have a list of questions ready to go. Don’t know what to ask? Here are a few to start with:
Are there any extra moving fees?
Most movers will charge extra for packing your things themselves, and that includes labor and materials. There are 2 levels of mover packing: full packing and a partial pack. A full pack means they come in, wrap all your possessions and box it up! A partial pack could be for a room that’s especially difficult, like the kitchen, or awkward items you aren’t sure how to pack yourself.
The benefit of having your movers pack your things is that everything they pack is covered by their insurance. This means they are liable for anything that they pack that breaks or is otherwise damaged. Moving companies can’t offer that same protection for the things you pack, because they can’t guarantee the quality of the packing.
Other things that cost extra may surround your house’s architecture and the street it’s on. Stairs and elevators, especially when moving to or from an apartment, are often added to your cost “per flight” of stairs. If your new home is on a narrow street or has a small driveway, you may have to pay a fee to have your belongings moved to a smaller truck. Always ask about any additional fees before signing any documents.
Is Your San Diego Mover Licensed and Insured?
Your mover should be able to provide their business’s information and credentials easily when asked. Since California requires movers to have a PUC License, make sure to ask for that first. You can then use the following resources to verify your movers are legit.
- The Better Business Bureau (BBB): The BBB has reports on upwards of 20,000 moving companies. In addition to review, the BBB will assign each company a grade; it will also feature any complaints received about a company.
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): Search a company’s USDOT number for detailed information about their business, license and insurance, truck numbers and more. You can also call their complaint hotline at 888-368-7238 and inquire about your company to see if they have any existing complaints.
- California’s Moving and Storage Association: You can use this site to verify your mover’s business address, name and contact information.
Who Works for Your Mover?
Like anyone else doing work in your home, you need to make sure that a moving company’s workers are people you’re comfortable with. Employees should be subject to background and drug tests, have experience moving, and treat your belongings with care.
For example, at Move-Central, applicants go through a rigorous application process before being selected. They must have experience not only in moving, but also providing excellent customer service. Additionally, every applicant is subject to background checks and drug tests, to make sure your moving team is reliable, responsible, and easy to work with.
Storage in San Diego
Are you moving to a smaller place? Are you using temporary housing? There are plenty of situations in which you might need your belongings stored temporarily. One benefit of having a full-service moving and storage company is that they own their own warehouses. Instead of having to pay separately for moving and storage, everything is filed under one company. Plus, it means the same people will have an eye on your belongings the whole time, until you need them again.
Make sure that the warehouse a moving company uses for storage is secure, and that they inventory each of your belongings, so nothing goes unaccounted for. Plus, ask if they will wrap larger items, such as furniture, to prevent damage throughout the entire process.
Never Pay A Big Deposit
No mover worth their salt will ever ask for a big deposit before the move. If a moving company is making this request, it’s time to talk to someone else. There are 2 main reasons to do this:
- It weeds out the scammers. A huge deposit can be a red flag for companies that will take your money, and perhaps your stuff, and run.
- Keeping your money in your pocket ensures a timely delivery. If a moving company has already been paid, they can end up keeping your belongings in storage limbo for far longer than you anticipated. They have no incentive to be timely. With a small or nonexistent deposit, you give the movers an extra reason to get your belongings to your new home on time.
Finding the Best San Diego Mover for You
I hope you find these tips helpful as you prepare for your move. Remember, moving should be a time when you can get excited about your new home, not worry about the moving process! If you need a moving company in San Diego, or have any other questions, give us a call, and we’ll be happy to help.