Tips for Choosing a Mover

The vast majority of professional moving companies are reputable, honest, and dependable. Many are family-owned businesses who have made a long-term investment in their community, and their best source of new business is a satisfied customer.

A good mover enjoys working with an informed customer. The secret is to make sure the mover you choose is a good mover. Don’t be afraid to ask questions — and get everything in writing!! Remember that prices too good to be true probably are. Legitimate business people have legitimate expenses, such as license, taxes, insurance, employee wages, benefits, and quality equipment. A legitimate mover must consider all those things when determining the price for service … and so should you.

Check around.

Ask friends, relatives, and business colleagues about movers they have used and liked. Be careful about relying only on references provided by the mover (would they provide a bad reference?). Never, ever, do business with a company with only a phone number…and especially if you found them on the Internet. After all advice against it, if you feel you still want to go with an Internet mover, make sure when you visit the movers’ websites that they
SHOW a physical location (and not merely an 800-number) — just in case you need to track them down later.

Stop by (unannounced) to see their place of business. (Another good reason to use a mover from your community.) Look at their equipment and buildings. Are they clean and well maintained? This is particularly important if you’re placing your goods into storage. How about the employees? Are they neat and clean? Are they
answering your questions or giving you the bum’s rush? Observe moves in progress — are the movers careful with the property they’re loading? Remember, you’re entrusting all your worldly goods to the care of these people. Is your instinct a good one?

For your own protection, be sure the mover you hire is licensed. By law, the mover must show its license numbers in every advertisement. Our office can help you, or you may contact the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Division of Motor Carriers (502-564-4540) to verify the license and insurance and check complaints that may have been filed about movers in Kentucky.

Who will be responsible?

Hiring an unlicensed person to do your move can set you up for grief — you will have no recourse if things go wrong. If anyone is injured (workers or others) or if anyone else’s property is damaged during the move, you could be liable. An unlicensed mover is breaking the law — is that who you really want to trust with all your
personal possessions? So avoid the cheap guy on the grocery store bulletin board or in the truck rental agency. It isn’t worth it.

Be sure you know the actual name of the company you hire.

A mover’s van line affiliation is only significant as part of a larger network across state lines. Nearly every van line agent is an independently owned company (like a franchise.) On local moves and moves within the same state, each mover is responsible for its own business and should be licensed independently. Every van line agent has a “local” company name behind it, too. That’s the name you want to know.

Require a written estimate.

That means the salesperson should visit your home to look at everything you want to move. Filling out an Internet questionnaire is NOT adequate. The sales person should ask questions about your new home, too, including stairs, elevators, low trees, etc. Be sure to show the mover everything you will be moving. The ease of your move and the final price will be determined by all these things, so don’t hold anything back. You should want to meet a representative of the company before you hire them.

An estimate is not a guaranteed price.

If you’ve been forthright about details, a good mover will come very close to the actual final price. State and federal law require your mover to provide to you a free written estimate. Even if you agree to a telephone estimate be sure the mover follows up and provides you with a written estimate. Don’t let the same salesperson give you an estimate from more than one company — think about it: how reliable would it be?

Consider more than just the rate.

The lowest estimated price doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the best move, nor does it mean that is the actual price you will pay. If you are quoted a price significantly lower than your other estimates, or if they throw in a lot of “free” things, be careful about choosing that mover. The service and overall quality of your move could be
reduced, too.

Loss and Damage Protection.

Be sure you understand the type of loss and damage protection you agree to in your bill of lading (which is your contract). Basic moving rates only cover a minimal amount of protection, because every customer has different needs based on the nature of their possessions. Some customers need $500,000 of coverage, while others might need only $500, or even no extra coverage. Extra coverage (based on your own needs) will cost extra. This coverage may be in the form of insurance, for which you should receive a certificate of insurance, or in the form of “valuation,” which is increased liability assumed by the mover.

Be aware of the law.

Regulations for moving within the state (intrastate) are different from moving from one state to another (interstate). All states have their own requirements for intrastate moves, and some are more stringent than others. Check with the state movers’ association or the state regulatory agency for more information.

What about storage?

If your mover is taking custody of your property to place it into storage for you, be sure you know specifically where the storage will be. Inspect the warehouse. Are they taking good care of other customers’ property? Is the warehouse licensed? A good warehouseman will not suggest long-term storage of your property in an unused trailer — the risk of loss or damage is too great. Never allow a mover to place your goods in a self-storage (mini warehouse) or public storage facility in the mover’s name. If the mover doesn’t have a licensed warehouse (in his/her own name), it is against the law to be performing warehouse service.