Choosing the best moving company
Moving is a daunting prospect by itself. Add to that the time and effort needed in choosing the best moving company, and you almost get yourself a nightmare. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In this article, we’ll provide you with some helpful tips and suggestions on how to choose the best moving company for you.
Gathering information on the best moving company
First, you need information. Ask around. Check with your friends and coworkers. Is there a reliable moving company that they used and are glad to recommend? Next, contact your local real estate agent, and ask the same question. You can also look in the phone books for nearby located moving companies. Don’t assume the corporate companies are the best. Investigate every company you come across.
Usually, people are not encouraged to look online because of various scams that happen. If you do find a moving company you like online, make sure to check its reliability.
At this stage, don’t settle for the first company you like. Get at least three of four companies to do an in-person estimate.
Screening the moving company
There is a number of steps you can take to make sure that the moving and storage Miami company is a “real deal”. The first step would be to go online and look for reviews, as well as doing the background check. Next, call or go to the website of Better Business Bureau and check for information about the company. There’s also American Moving and Storage Association (moving.org) which you can call or e-mail. Remeber, the AMSA membership is voluntary, which means that you shouldn’t rule the company out if it’s not a member. But if it is, that means it has agreed to abide by AMSA’s published tariffs and to participate in the arbitration program.
Once you have screened your Miami movers, it’s time to call them for the in-home estimate. Do not use the online estimate website, because no one can really know the cost of your move without going through your stuff.
Watch out for red flags during this process. Take note of how professional the workers are. Were they on time? Do they have confidence in their work? Be careful of the companies that want a money deposit – if people are hungry to get the money before the work, it might not be a legit business.
A moving company will give an estimate. Ask if they will give you a binding estimate, or even better – a not-to-exceed estimate. A thing to remember is that an interstate mover is allowed to charge for binding estimates, even though most of them will not. Even though non-binding estimates are legal, the U.S. Department of Transportation moving guide notes that the final cost of the moving will probably be higher than the estimated.
Show the estimator everything you will be moving – things in your backyard, attic, and basement included. While they are in your home, get as much information about their company as possible. Here’s a list of must-have information after they left:
- The full name of the company, as well as the address, e-mail and contact phones.
- The moving company’s references (their names and contact information).
- USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) license number.
- MC (motor carrier) license number.
Federal law also requires any interstate mover to provide you with a U.S. Department of Transportation booklet “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”.
What is an estimate
When signed by you and the moving company representative, the estimate may serve as your order for service and bill of lading. These are the basic documents a mover provides, so make sure the words “written binding estimate” are on the top, while the company’s signature with a date is at the bottom. If you are moving to another state, the estimate should state what kind of goods you’re transporting (their quantity and type), the distance to their new location, the date when your things need to be picked up or delivered, as well as other expenses covered by the moving company. Some companies offer additional insurance as well, so make sure to talk to the company representative about the costs of it.
Even if the moving company doesn’t offer a binding estimate for an in-state move, you should still get a written estimate with their hourly rates and other costs (packaging, tolls, driving time etc.)
Review and compare
Now that the in-home estimates are done, you are free to review all the costs and compare the bids. Be wary of the companies with extremely low prices. Then think about the highest ones – what makes the costs jump up? If you have any questions, contact the companies and ask.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate the prices. Moving has become a competitive market, so many moving companies will try to work with you to set up a better bid.
After that process is done, and you have picked a company that soothes you the best, time to examine it even more thoroughly.
Examining your chosen moving company
Now you need to confirm that your company had the license and insurance to move you legally. Visit the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and do a search using the USDOT number the company has provided you. Here you can get a lot of information about the company. Make sure to check whether the name and contact information provided is correct. If you are moving out of state, check whether they have marked the Interstate field under Carrier Operation. Take note of their Inspection/Crashes section as well – you do not want a company with an alarmingly high accident rate. Each company needs to have both bodily-injury and property-damage (BIPD) insurance of at least $750,000, as well as cargo insurance filed. You can check for both in the bottom table.
Finalizing your decision
At the end, after the moving company you have chosen checks out, contact them to confirm the dates and details of your move. Again, make sure to get a signed order for service and a bill of lading. At the moving day, get a copy of mover’s inventory list, check the USDOT number and the name on the company’s truck, and get contact information for during the move.
Hopefully, with these tips, choosing the best moving company for you will be as painless as possible.