So you’re moving into an apartment and trying to find a mover that is reliable, affordable, and respectful. That’s the dream move. While there are a variety of factors that can affect your experience, here are some steps you can take to help increase the chances of finding that perfect mover.
At the end of the article, we offer helpful bonus tips like finding out if your move is Google Guaranteed. Spoiler Alert: This is a new program offered by Google that may help limit your financial downside.
STEP 0: Plan Logistics
First, before you can pick any mover, you need to know when you plan to move (i.e. what date), how much you will have (usually measured by number and size of boxes), and to where you are moving. Now, you can begin researching movers and creating a list of movers. When you think you found a few that may work, consider these steps.
STEP 1: Get a Feel For The Website and Business
Today, most professional businesses have websites to make it easier for customers to learn more about their products and services. If they are interested in good customer service and demonstrating their trustworthiness, there’s a good chance they will work hard to develop a good website. Here are some things to look for –
- Does the website look dodgy? Does it seem trustworthy?
- Does the company provide a physical address and local contact number that someone is available to answer?
- Is the company listed on Google Maps?
- Can you go to Google street view on Google Maps to verify the business address and see that the correct sign is present?
- Does the website look well organized?
- Does the mover belong to any reputable professional organizations?
The answers to these questions should give you a better understanding of the moving company. Of course, not all movers have professional websites, and not all great websites mean they are great movers. You are just looking to get a general feeling for the business.
STEP 2: Call to Discuss Your Move
One of the best ways to get a feel of a company is to call them directly to explain your move. Here’s some questions to ask. You’re looking for the answer but also how kind and professional they sound as opposed to rude and abrupt. A good mover should really guide you through this, but you will also need to advocate for yourself.
- What is the process you have for generating a quote?
- Once the quote is given, is it guaranteed or can it increase or decrease? What is the maximum amount it could increase by?
- What is included in the price? What is excluded in the price?
- How many people will be assigned to my move?
- How many hours should the move take?
- Are the movers full-time employees of yours or are they part-time contractors?
- Does the company have its own branded trucks?
- How many different moving crews do you have? This is a good question because your move is really dictated by the specific moving crew. If it’s a huge company with lots of moving crews, you may get a great one or a bad one.
- What is involved from the time of this call until the day you pick up and move?
- What paperwork will I need to sign?
- Do you have all the necessary licenses? This is a mandatory requirement in most states and locales. Check the license number on the respective local and state website to verify the mover. If your move is an interstate move, you will need the moving company’s US DOT # and Motor Carrier (MC #). From the website you can also check to see if they are registered to do interstate moves and see how many consumers have filed complaints, (complaints are viewable by category). When looking at the number of complaints, consider the size of the company’s fleet. The larger the fleet is, the more moves they likely will make, increasing the chance that something will go wrong.
STEP 3: Check Online Reviews, Website Testimonials, and Better Business Bureau Ratings
A reliable and professional mover will generally have an online presence today, so check their online reviews. Here’s what to look for –
- Check the company’s online reviews on sites like Facebook, Google, Yelp, and Angie’s List – make sure not to look only at the rating star but also the number of reviews to get a feel of their experience.
- Visit the BBB website to check the company’s rating and to see if there are any specific complaints filed against the company, what the nature of the complaint was, and how the company responded. Use judgment to determine how credible the complaint seems and if and how the company responded to it.
- Check the company’s testimonials on its website to see what kind of reviews have been left for them online.
Finally, once you complete all these steps, do a general online search of the ‘company name’ + ‘city’. You may find more information about the company from consumers, which could be useful when deciding whether to go with them.
STEP 4: Get References from Past Customers
Once you’ve finished your online checks and calls, it pays to check the references of past customers. Make sure you ask the company to provide these to you.
Follow these steps –
- Call the references and find out how satisfied they have been with the moving service provided.
- Check with friends and family if they’ve heard of the mover or know anyone that has used them in the past.
- Find out whether the company is experienced in providing services to the specific zip code you are moving to.
STEP 5: Find Out Pricing Policy and Insurance Provided
Before finalizing, be sure to get the price in writing and signed for by the company. Understand by how much (if any) price could increase and exactly what the terms are for that increase. Be sure to ask if extra costs for supplies, gas, tolls, or anything else that may arrive.
Also, ask if the company provides or offers any supplemental insurance for your things during the move. Some may and some may not.
- You may be able to book a mover through the Google Guarantee program. If you follow the guidelines of the program and aren’t satisfied with the service provided per the terms, you may be able to actually get some of your money back from Google (subject to a limit). This could give you some additional financial peace of mind. Keep in mind there are terms and conditions to this program so be sure to understand those first.
- Call your credit card and renter’s insurance company to see if they offer any insurance protection while your goods are in transit, and what the stipulations and limits of coverage may be.
Of course, you must do your research.