Taking the right steps when hiring a moving company can save you from a big headache. Often, consumers find themselves in a rush to get things moving and overlook the importance of doing thorough research to choose the best service provider.
Unfortunately, rogue moving companies do exist and many people fall victim to moving scams every day. Here are some simple ways to avoid moving scams and hire a quality moving company.
1. Ask For A Recommendation
Not sure where to start your search? Consumers often seek the guidance of family, friends and colleagues when searching for a reputable service provider. Knowing someone that can vouch for the company you are evaluating, ensures a great deal of trust that you might also have a positive experience.
If you don’t want to leave your chances up to online search, ask people on social media if they can recommend a good moving company. Try and gather multiple recommendations and go from there.
2. Do Your Research
Unless you are a previous customer, it’s likely you don’t know much about the companies you are looking to hire. Start by looking at their websites. Ask yourself what you like, and what might be a potential red flag.
If you feel the company could be a contender for your business, extend your search to online reviews to read what others have experienced. The company may have reviews on their website, but it’s important to seek feedback from other platforms such as My Moving Reviews, Google Reviews and the Better Business Bureau.
Consider visiting consumer protection sites such as protectyourmove.gov and movingscam.com. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call and speak to someone. You will find the answers you need and get a glimpse of their customer service.
3. Get An In-Home Estimate
Did you know the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires moving companies to provide a free, in-home estimate? Reputable moving companies will insist on performing an in-home survey to assess the extent of the job to be performed and to give the most accurate estimate possible.
Sometimes, companies will offer the option of a virtual survey. This constitutes as an in-home survey and may be a more convenient option for you.
4. Verify The Company’s Credentials
Unfortunately, many rogue moving companies attempt to appear legit, but can fall short. Check to make sure the company has an online presence – if you can’t find a website, reviews or any record of them as a legitimate business, that’s a red flag.
Certified moving companies that perform interstate (moves between states) must also have a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number. This information should be clearly displayed on their website and paperwork. USDOT numbers are not federally mandated for local movers, however, 38 states currently require movers to conduct local business with a USDOT number.
Determine if your moving company has a USDOT number here. If you are moving in Texas, movers must have a TXDMV number. During your research, verify this information. Although it’s not a legal requirement for reputable movers, some companies will belong to the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA). These business certifications can add another level of security when choosing a service provider.
5. Pay Attention To Payments
How a moving company require payments can say a lot about their business practices. Rogue moving companies may ask for a large deposit up front, before any services have been performed. If this is something a company is asking you to do, beware.
This is not a standard practice and should be viewed as a red flag. For interstate moves, you can expect your credit card to be charged once the shipment is loaded on the truck.
No one wants to fall victim to rogue moving companies. Use precaution and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right about the company you are hiring, you’re probably right.