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Moving is a stressful and complex task, but hiring movers can transform it into a smooth and hassle-free process. Experienced professionals can ensure the safety of your belongings while reducing your burden and saving you time. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to hire movers, from researching reputable moving companies to comparing quotes and preparing for moving day.
Start Your Research
The first step in hiring movers is to do some research. Follow the steps below to vet moving companies and narrow down your options.
Compile a List of Movers
Start by asking friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers who have recently moved for their recommendations. Ask a trusted real estate agent about the best local options, and read through some online roundups of the best long-distance moving companies, depending on your needs.
As you come across the names of different moving companies, write them down. Note important details you uncover during your research, including pros and cons.
Check License and Insurance
To avoid moving scams, verify the license and insurance of any moving company you consider hiring. Here are a few resources to help you check their credentials:
- BBB website: Review the company’s profile on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, including its rating and accreditation.
- Company website: Check the company’s website for licensing and insurance information, including any certifications or accreditations it holds from industry associations.
- FMCSA registered mover database: Use the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) database to confirm that a mover is properly registered with a valid U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number.
- SAFER system: Look up the company’s safety and compliance records in the FMCSA’s Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) System.
You should also review the FMCSA’s pamphlet, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.” This pamphlet explains federal regulations and what you can expect from a legitimate full-service moving company, which can help you spot red flags.
Read online reviews from a variety of sources to gauge each company’s expertise, customer service, and professionalism. The BBB website is a good place to start. When we research companies, we often use Yelp and Google Reviews. Trustpilot is another excellent resource, though some companies may not yet have profiles on that site.
As you read through customer reviews, look for patterns. A single bad experience could be a fluke, but if multiple customers mention similar or identical issues, be wary. Pay particular attention to reviews that give the company two, three, or four stars, as these reviews may present a more balanced perspective than one-star or five-star reviews.
Gather Multiple Moving Quotes
Whether you are planning a large interstate move or moving to a new neighborhood in the same city, we recommend shopping around before you choose a moving company. Follow the steps below to ensure you find the best movers for your needs.
Create Your Moving Inventory List
A moving inventory is a detailed list of everything you plan to take with you to your new home. Creating this list will help you assess the size of your move and any additional services you need. Moving companies use your moving inventory to calculate the size, weight, and fragility of your belongings—which in turn will help them provide a more accurate quote.
Ask companies what services they offer and how they calculate their pricing. Long-distance movers, for instance, may charge based on the size, weight, and distance of your move, while local movers typically charge a flat hourly rate. If your move involves stairs, long carries, or bulky items, ask about any extra fees that may apply. Find out whether they require an up-front deposit and what payment methods they accept.
You should also ask a few questions about the company’s experience and policies. Find out how long the company has been in business and whether they use subcontractors. Request references and a copy of their cancellation policy. Ask about transit time, shipment tracking, and delivery dates. If you have a fixed move-out or move-in date, make sure they will be able to meet those deadlines.
Request a free quote from at least three different companies. Some companies offer instant ballpark pricing online, but a binding estimate will be more accurate and detailed. To receive a binding estimate, you will likely need to schedule a virtual or in-person consultation. However, some companies only require a written moving inventory.
Compare Pricing and Services
Once you have your moving quotes, spend some time comparing the pricing, terms, and services offered by each company. Account for any additional fees and surcharges, as well as their cancellation policies and claims process. Consider their customer service, professionalism, and level of expertise, too.
Factor in Moving Insurance
Finally, factor in the cost and value of moving insurance. Federal law requires that all interstate movers offer two types of valuation coverage: complementary released-value protection and full-value protection for a fee. Some companies may also offer more comprehensive insurance through a third party. Ask for a written explanation of each company’s coverage options so that you can compare them.
Prepare for the Move
Regardless of which professional moving company and services you choose, you need to take a few steps to prepare for the move. Add these tasks to your moving checklist:
- Declutter your home. Go through your home room-by-room and get rid of items you no longer need or want. This step is important regardless of whether you self-pack or pay for professional packing services.
- Label boxes. If you are packing your own belongings, make sure to label each box clearly. Note the contents and the room it belongs in.
- Make a plan for specialty items. Decide what to do with any high-value or fragile items. Which pieces will the movers handle, and which will stay with you? Communicate your instructions to the movers.
- Pack a box of essentials. Set aside a box or suitcase of essentials, such as a change of clothes and basic toiletries. Keep these items with you instead of on the moving truck.
- Have a tip ready. Decide beforehand whether and how much to tip your movers. You can make adjustments on moving day if necessary.
Don’t underestimate the value of hiring professional movers. Although a DIY move may lower your moving costs, letting professionals handle the heavy lifting will save you time and stress. An experienced moving company will have the equipment and expertise to handle your move safely and efficiently.
To ensure that you hire the right movers, spend time researching your options. Read online reviews, verify credentials, ask questions, and compare quotes to find a reputable moving company that fits your needs and budget.
Hiring Movers FAQ
What is the average hourly rate for movers?
The nationwide average hourly rate for movers ranges from $100 to $150 per hour, according to Thumbtack. Many local moving companies charge a flat rate per mover per hour, while long-distance companies typically charge according to weight and distance rather than by the hour.
What are the common reasons people hire movers?
Here are a few common reasons people hire movers:Avoid potential injuriesBenefit from professional expertiseEnsure the safety of belongingsSave time and effortStreamline the process
Do I need to tip movers?
Technically, no, you do not need to tip movers. However, our research has revealed that it is a common practice. As long as you are satisfied with the service provided, we recommend that you tip your movers to show appreciation for their hard work and professionalism.