Don't Move Without Reading These Tips For Choosing A Moving Company

Landing that big promotion and moving your family halfway across the country can be exciting and frightening at the same time. The last thing you want to do is to add stress to an already emotionally-trying situation. That's why knowing how to choose a moving company is so important to both you and your family. Follow these guidelines for hiring movers that will make your life easier, not add to your worries.

Ask for Recommendations

Ask co-workers, friends, neighbors, and family for recommendations for movers, but remember to weigh their recommendations objectively. If Aunt Betsy never has a good word to say about anyone, her claims that her mover was horrible may be a reflection of her attitude, not their professionalism. Likewise, if that sweet co-worker who thinks everyone is a doll tells you she knows a wonderful mover, she may not be the most reliable source. Ask what they liked about the mover or what specific concerns they had to ferret out more information.

Check the Mover's Website

Once you have several movers to consider, it is time to venture onto their website to find more information about them. Here's what you should look for:

Length of time in business: Generally speaking, movers with several years' experience are a better choice than a new company that has just opened its doors. Years of experience also lets you know the business is established in your area and typically has more experience moving families to a new location.

Licenses: A reputable moving site will list its licenses and memberships to professional organizations. While the absence of licenses on the site doesn't mean the company is not licensed, it is a good indication of how seriously the moving company takes its business practices.

Contact Information: Look for a business phone number and a professional e-mail address. If the company lists a residential number for contact or has a generic e-mail address, it may be a fly-by-night business that you'd be better off avoiding.

Overall Impression: Professional websites are aesthetically pleasing, well organized, and use appropriate language, which includes proper spelling and grammar. If the site looks like someone's 10-year-old threw it together, they probably did. The lack of professionalism on the website is likely to carry over to the business, too.

Get Estimates

Once you have checked out the movers' websites, you should have a list of three or four movers who meet your approval. Now's the time to give them a call and ask them to come out to give you an estimate. Be wary of movers who insist on estimating the move by phone. This can lead to some unpleasant surprises when the mover actually arrives and discovers the job is significantly different than what he envisioned. Ask questions and show the movers everything you expect them to move so both of you have a solid understanding of what the job entails. This informal estimate will allow you to compare prices before making a final decision.

Compare Prices

Chances are all the estimates will fall within the same ballpark, but you may have one that is significantly lower than the others. Resist the urge to automatically choose the lowest price without exploring further. You may discover that the price is lower for a legitimate reason, but it may also be lower because the services you will receive are inferior or because the mover intends to inflate the cost once you have made a decision to hire him. Call the movers to discuss the estimate, if you have questions, or to inquire about the discrepancy in price.

Get A Contract (Written Estimate)

Movers offer three basic types of contracts (referred to by the mover as an "estimate") depending on the mover and the situation, says Angies List. Make sure you understand which type of estimate your agreement is before you sign it.

Binding Estimate: This type of agreement describes all the services the mover will provide and all the property that will be moved. The amount of the estimate does not change as long as the scope of the services stays the same.

Non-Binding Estimate: This type of agreement provides you with the cost the mover thinks you will incur based on an estimate of the weight of your property and the services he expects to provide. The cost may change due to added weight or additional service needs.

Guaranteed-Not-To-Exceed: This agreement means you will pay the cost of either the binding estimate or the real cost of the move, whichever is lower.

Choosing a mover wisely will protect both you and your family as you make the big move to a new location.