1Are your movers insured?
If it states so in the add, ask them to have their insurance company send you a copy of their binder. The moving company should have no problem with this request ( you should ask for a copy of the Cargo Insurance and General Liability Insurance ). If they hesitate at your request, remove them from your list.
2Ask them if they are a registered moving agent in your state?
They should be able to give your their registration number. If they can’t or won’t give you a certification number, scratch them off your list. It is important that they are registered for a couple of reasons. For instance, in Texas the TxDot keeps track of a movers insurance and they also can arbitrate any claims of damage between you and your mover. Most states also require a USDOT number for safety concerns.
3Have you checked with the Better Business Bureau in your area?
Although the mover does not have to belong to the BBB, they should answer any complaints registered at the BBB. If the mover had not taken the time to answer any concerns sent to them from the BBB, how well do you think they will satisfy your concerns? Don’t worry if the company hasn’t bothered to “pay” the BBB to be a member…just that they have a clear record.
4What kind of estimate are you looking for : Binding or Non-Binding?
If you are looking for a Binding Estimate, make sure you compare “Apples to Apples”. When you contact the movers to get your estimate, give the same inventory list and condition statement to compare bids. This means have a written list available and include information on assembly, disassembly, glass, marble, stairs, long walks, mileage between the two locations and if there are any extra stops ( storage, ect. ). If the company has a web page available with an inventory submission, use that list for all your submissions. Be sure to ask about any discounts available after you have received your bid. Most movers will give you this information to get your business. Also ask if they move a certain number of boxes for free with that bid? Usually you will catch them off guard and can get 15 to 20 moved at no extra cost ( as a courtesy ).
If you are looking for a Non-Binding estimate, your will be shopping hourly prices for the most part. Stay away from a single price to move a place if you gave no information. For instance if they tell you it normally cost $250.00 to move a average three bedroom house, what does that really mean? The movers can tack on assembly, disassembly, walks, mileage, fuel costs, items not included in “average three bedroom”, ect. An hourly price gives no real final price but may be all you can do in some situations. If your are moving into or out of a storage facility, this can sometimes result in a lower cost that a GUARANTEED PRICE. Storage is usually an easier move and takes less time than a house/apartment to another house/apartment move. Just make sure to ask if there is an arrival fee or a minimum number of hours that must be met? Arrival fees can really hike up the price on a per hour move, proportionally more on a small move. You should be able to get a minimum of two hours or less. There can be special handling fees for pianos, safes, organs, big screen televisions or pool tables. Sometimes you can avoid those charges by asking for an extra man at a different hourly price. The hourly price will be higher but the job will be done faster and you will not incur the surplus charge.
5Is it important that the company takes credit cards?
Yes. This usually shows that the company has an established place of business and has a good credit rating. Credit Cards companies give credit charge ability to companies that have a real physical address ( not a post office box-another reason to avoid a moving company ). They also do a background check into the company and its officers. You also have another way to file a claim when you use a credit card. If you have a legitimate gripe, you can file a claim with your credit card company and get results. You do not automatically prevail, but the moving company will have to supply documentation as to the disposition of your claim. You can use this info to your benefit.
6Did you get referred by a friend whose was happy with the moving companies service?
This goes without saying. Do not rely totally on the recommendation, but in case of a tie-it might help.