There are a lot of great professional and licensed moving companies that provide nothing less than first class relocation service. However, as a consumer, it is up to you to conduct the proper research to find the best relocation company for your move.

Is the mover licensed with your state's Department of Transportation (DOT)?

Reputable movers are always licensed with the Department of Transportation. Be sure to check your mover’s license certificate and call the DOT for verification.

What kind of estimate does the mover offer?

Binding. The mover offers a guaranteed price, within a small percentage of deviation, that is based on a complete list of items to be moved and the type of service performed.

Non-binding or hourly rate. This is not an estimate at all, only a price list. These rates are based upon the movers’ previous experience of jobs similar to yours.

Not to exceed. This moving quote is binding only on the mover. The final price for the move cannot exceed the estimate figure; but if the move comes in under the estimated amount you pay the lesser price. Your mover cannot give you a binding estimate over the telephone or the Internet. For a more accurate appraisal, a professional move estimator needs to physically look over every item that you wish to have moved. In addition, know (1) which items you are packing, (2) which items the mover is packing, (3) which items need to be picked up from a storage facility and (4) what packing supplies you’ll need from them. Most importantly, make sure the movers know the exact destination. Once the inventory is completed, your mover will be able to give you either a binding or a “not to exceed” estimate, which can be relied upon.

Take advantage of free moving estimates, and get them from several reliable movers. Having several free estimates will give you a very good idea of how costly your move will be. Keep in mind that certain movers offer unguaranteed estimates that are outrageously low, and then hand you a large bill when the move is complete. In order to avoid this predicament, always make sure that any estimates you receive from movers are either binding or include a “not to exceed” clause. For more information about getting a good estimate and calculating the cost of your move, see our Tips on Getting a Good Move Estimate. Keep in mind, however, that moving is about more than getting the best price; it’s about arriving at your new house safe and sound.

Have a lot of complaints been levied against the mover?

As you might expect, movers receive complaints. Although some are justifiably petty, beware of any mover who has received the same complaint from a number of customers, whether about price, the handling of household goods, or punctuality. Your local Better Business Bureau and your state’s DOT can give you information about how a mover resolves complaints.

Was the mover recommended to you?

We all know that the best recommendations for any mover comes from satisfied customers. However, this is not a substitute for your own research. Ask each of your prospective movers for references from previous customers and for documents on their history of service.

Is the mover a member of a local trade association?

Local trade associations maintain high standards and can give you detailed information about companies’ business practices. In the case of a dispute, you will have a higher power with whom to air your grievances. One such trade organization is the All States Movers Conference.

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