How to Find the Best Residential Moving Companies in Your Area

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 29 October 2019 01:54

When you're searching for the best movers for your relocation, you need to be picky. Use these tips to help you find reliable residential moving companies.

An estimated 35.5 million Americans pack up and move to a new house every year. In 2017, 62% of those people still had an address in the same county while 34% moved out of the county, either in the same state or out of state.

No matter how far your upcoming move is, comparing residential moving companies to find the best local option is an important part of the process. You're trusting all of your belongings to the movers, so you want a company that'll care for it as you would.

Start your search early to give yourself plenty of time to research the options. You'll also need time for in-home estimates from multiple companies so you can do comparison shopping.

If you're not sure where to start, take these steps to find the best local moving company for your move.

Ask About Residential Moving Companies

As you get ready to sell your house, start asking everyone you know for moving company recommendations. Start with your personal contacts, including friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers. Another good resource is a real estate agent, who likely has contacts in the moving industry or can offer recommendations based on their client experiences.

Look for people who actually used the company they recommend, not just suggestions for companies they know. You want that firsthand experience to get accurate information about the mover.

Get details about the promptness, professionalism, and overall quality of the company. Ask if there were any problems and how the company resolved them. See if your acquaintance would use the same company again for a future move.  

Check Out the Services

You'll find a range of services offered by moving companies. Some do just the basics of loading the truck and moving your belongings to your new home. Others offer full packing and moving services so you don't have to do anything.

If you have large or specialty items, such as a piano, pool table, or valuable artwork, look for a company with experience moving those items. Look at the systems they use to move specialty pieces, such as hoist systems or disassembling larger pieces.

Other companies may offer additional services, such as cleaning after they empty your home. Some movers have their own storage facilities if you can't move into your new home right away.

Consider the extra services you might need to ensure the company you choose can provide everything. Look at the additional costs for those services.

Read the Reviews

Check out common review sites to look for red flags about the moving companies you're considering. Look up the company's score on the Better Business Bureau. Check both the overall rating on different sites and the reviews left by customers, which gives you firsthand insight into what it's like to work with the company.

No company is perfect, so even the best moving companies may have a few negative reviews. Some people are also very picky and complain about anything, so a few rogue negative reviews may be due to those situations.

Look for a pattern of repeated behaviors, such as chronic lateness, unexpected fees, or damage to personal items. If these things happen repeatedly, it's best to look for a different company.

See how the company responded to any issues if possible. Some review sites let the business leave a response to reviews, so you can see if the company is apologetic or rude.

Get Multiple In-Home Estimates

An in-home estimate is the most accurate way to compare the pricing of each company. The mover needs to see what you have to price the move. Line up in-home estimates with at least three moving companies to give yourself options.

You'll get the most accurate numbers if you tell the movers everything that's going during the estimate. Don't forget to show the estimator the out-of-the-way areas and items, including things in your attic, backyard, garage, basement, and storage shed. Have your home tidy and organized so they can see everything you have for better accuracy.

A detailed estimate should include all details of the move, including:

  • Items being moved
  • Distance of the move
  • Pick-up and delivery date
  • Optional services you choose
  • Supplies provided by the mover

Ask about extra charges for things such as lots of stairs or heavy furniture pieces. Companies often charge for anything that makes the move more complicated.

Get Proof of Insurance and Licensing

Any company can say they're licensed and insured, but you can't be sure unless you see the proof. Ask to see documentation proving the company is fully insured. This protects you and your belongings should something go wrong.

Licensing for companies that only handle moves within the state can vary. Some states require licensing while others don't. Most intrastate movers fall under the jurisdiction of your state's Public Utilities Commission or Department of Transportation, so check with those entities to verify your moving company's validity.

If you're moving out of state, the company must be registered through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration through the U.S. Department of Transportation. The mover should have their number on their website, but you can also look up companies on the DOT search tool. You can also see complaints and safety issues for the company through this tool. 

Use Your Judgement

Trust your instincts when reviewing companies, and be aware of red flags. One major red flag is a moving company not providing a physical address or using a residential address. You want a professional, established business, and that means having a physical commercial location.

Another issue is a company that wants a large deposit for your move or one that wants you to pay with cash. Most movers accept payment upon delivery with no deposit required. A company that wants a deposit may be scamming you.

Always pay with a credit card to give yourself some protection should the company back out. If you pay cash, you have no recourse should you find yourself getting scammed. 

Don't underestimate your own gut feeling about a moving company. Consider the interactions you have with people at the company, from your initial call to the walk-through estimate. You want a company that treats you with respect, acts professionally, and doesn't pressure you.

Compare Estimates

Sit down with all of your in-home estimates to compare the costs and what's included.

You're not just looking for the cheapest option. In fact, an estimate that's way lower than the competitors is often a red flag. Moving is expensive, and you want to save money, but you also want to know your belongings and your new home will be protected.

If one bid seems a lot higher than the others, look at the details to see if there's something extra you're getting for that price. It could be an optional service that you don't really need, or you might want the service and find the extra cost is worth it. A company with a higher bid may also be willing to work with you and lower the price a little to stay competitive.

Dig a Little Deeper

When you think you've found the most reliable movers, do one last round of research to verify it's the best option. Your initial screening likely looked for major issues. Now you want to look at the smaller details, especially if you're deciding between two companies.

Scour the websites of the finalists to see how long they've been in business. A quality, reliable moving company should have plenty of information on their website about the company itself and their moving services. If the website is thin on information or looks scammy, consider other options.

Be wary of a company that has changed names. Businesses sometimes change names if they have a poor history that they're trying to escape. If the company has gone by other names, look for online reviews for the previous name to see if there were repeated issues.

If you have any lingering questions about the company, moving process, or estimate, contact the mover to ask. The person you talk to should be able to answer your questions or find the answers quickly. A company that doesn't seem to know basic answers may be inexperienced or disorganized, two things you don't want when they're handling all of your possessions.

Another thing to look for is professional accreditation or trade association membership. Most of those associations require companies to meet certain requirements to display their logo. 

Review the Written Contract

Don't let a company move your belongings until you have a written contract to cover all the details. Read through the information to ensure you understand what you're committing to with the company. Take your time reviewing the details, and consider it a red flag if the company pressures you to sign immediately without looking over the documents.

Make sure the mover completes all information on the contract. You should never sign a contract with blank spaces in it because they can add details later. Question any details you don't agree with before you sign the paperwork.

Find the Best Move for You

Paying a mover is a major expense so it's not a decision to make quickly. Taking time to research and find the best residential moving companies in your area protects your investment and ensures your precious belongings arrive in one piece.

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Stacy Stein

stacy is a real estate writer, and she would like to real estate, business-related topics, she would like to go out with her friends. she studied business management from California University and she presently lives in California.  



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