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10 Things to Ask Moving Companies

If your employer is handling your move through a relocation program, you may have to use a specified moving company. But if you're choosing a mover yourself, take the time to interview several moving companies and ask for references before you sign a moving contract.

10 Questions to Ask Moving Companies:

  • How long have you been in business? A reputable mover should be licensed, insured, and have been in business for at least three years.
  • Can I get some references? Ask for at least two recent references, and call the Better Business Bureau to see how many complaints the company has.
  • How do you base your estimate? For a local move, many movers base the moving estimate on the hours required times their hourly rate. In most cases, you will be charged for the actual hours worked, regardless of the estimate. For an interstate move, movers base the estimate on the number of pounds you're moving and the distance between the two cities.
  • Are there any added costs? You might incur additional charges if you're moving into an elevator building, if access to your home is more than a specified distance from the truck to the door, or if items must be carried up stairways. What about moving supplies? Are they included?
  • Do you provide liability insurance? Your protection from the movers is limited to a certain number of cents per pound. If you want better coverage, get "full value protection," which covers replacement of the item, minus deductibles.
  • What is your claims process? If damage occurs, be sure to document all damages upon delivery. Filing a claim immediately increases your chance of a satisfactory settlement.
  • What is not covered in the liability insurance? Movers often do not cover: operating condition of appliances and electronics; missing items not on the inventory list; damages not documented upon delivery, and money, jewelry, and other valuable items. Plus, movers may not be held responsible for broken glassware or other fragile items, unless they pack them.
  • Is there anything you will not move? Most movers will not move dangerous or flammable items, or anything that could damage your other possessions if it leaks.
  • Do I have to pay the whole bill up front? If you are paying for your own move, it is very important to know up front how the mover wants to be paid.
  • How much advance notice do you need? Most movers need four to six weeks to plan a move, especially during the busy summer season. If you have less time, some movers can accommodate you with as little as two weeks' notice.
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