How to Find a Good Moving Company
Last updated in April 2016
It’s time to relocate. You assess the situation:
- The days when you could shove everything you owned into the back of a friend’s Subaru are long over.
- You can’t remember how the delivery guys got your sectional through the front door—and can’t imagine how you’ll get it back out.
- You pack three or four boxes, do the math, and figure the job will take roughly 600 hours and 1,200 boxes.
- Your back hurts. Already.
- Your spouse is whining about doing manual labor. Already.
- When you tell friends you’re moving, they break eye contact, grow silent, and slowly back away.
Yep. You’re gonna need to hire movers.
You’ll want to hire a company that provides reasonable and reliable pricing and other helpful information, takes good care of your belongings, takes care of both the home you’re leaving and the home you’re moving into, and does the job on time. Our ratings of area moving companies will steer you to an outfit that can do it. Plan on asking several companies to provide price estimates for your job.
Feedback from Customers
Our Ratings for Movers show how local consumers (primarily Checkbook and Consumer Reports subscribers) we surveyed rated local moving companies. Our survey asked them to rate companies “inferior,” “adequate,” or “superior” on several questions related to service quality: “doing service properly on the first try,” “starting and completing service promptly,” “letting you know cost early,” and “overall quality.” For companies that received at least 10 ratings on our survey, our Ratings for Movers report the percentage of surveyed customers who rated it “superior” (as opposed to “inferior” or “adequate”) on each question. Our Ratings for Movers also report the percentage of surveyed customers who rated it “adequate” or “superior” (as opposed to “inferior”) for “overall quality.” Click here for more information on our customer survey and other research methods.
There are substantial differences in how the companies were evaluated.
In addition to ratings from customers, our Ratings for Movers show counts of complaints we gathered from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for a recent three-year period and the number of complaints on file with the Consumer Protection Division of the Illinois Office of the Attorney General for a recent two-year period. Click here for more information on reported complaint counts.
Certified Moving Consultants
A moving consultant is the person who comes to your home to prepare an estimate and offer advice on packing and other moving matters. To become an American Moving & Storage Association Certified Moving Consultant, a consultant must pass written and practical tests. Certification indicates knowledge but says nothing about whether the consultant practices “lowball” bidding or other unethical behavior. In fact, we find that companies that employ Certified Moving Consultants score somewhat lower on our customer survey than other companies.
Affiliation with Long-Distance Carriers
We have indicated which companies serve as agents for long-distance carriers. Although you might expect long-distance carriers to appoint only the “cream of the crop” as their agents, our customer survey data do not support this theory. In fact, companies that act as agents of long-distance carriers rate lower than independent long-distance carriers or movers that do only local moves.
Ask the moving company for proof that it carries liability insurance coverage for damage to your house, your neighbors’ property, and to any person, and that it carries worker’s compensation coverage—otherwise you could be liable.
In addition, consider only companies that offer the level of insurance you desire against possible damage to your belongings. Some companies offer only limited coverage on local moves—even if you are willing to pay for more.
Long-Distance Interstate Moves
For long-distance interstate moves, there are other quality factors to consider.
Each major carrier uses several local agents and hundreds of driver-operators. While interstate carriers presumably make an effort to maintain overall quality throughout their systems, there is substantial variation.
You can enhance the odds of a successful long-distance move by choosing a high-quality local agent. Although your local agent probably won’t actually haul your goods or unload them at the other end, it is likely to do the packing and may provide help loading the truck. In addition, a good local agent can advise you on how to make your move go smoothly, pack properly, and minimize costs. And your local agent can step in on your behalf if problems occur with the driver or personnel at your destination.
You can get additional protection on long-distance interstate moves by making sure your mover is properly registered and insured. Check www.protectyourmove.gov or call the FMCSA at 800-368-7238 to determine the licensure status of movers you are considering.