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6 Tips for Hiring a Moving Company

A smiling woman, packing a box. A man is behind her lifting a box.

Once you find your “Home, Sweet Home,” you’re faced with a task that few people find sweet: Getting all your belongings from old home to new. But where do you start?

First, consider your options. Full-service movers provide transportation and load and unload your belongings. For an extra cost, they can provide extra services like packing and unpacking, furniture disassembly and assembly, and more. If your budget is limited, you can rent your own truck or shipping pod and hire labor-only movers to load and unload your things. Or, of course, you can move everything yourself.


If you opt for a full-service mover, the following tips will get you on the road (and into your new home) before you know it.

  1. Create a list of candidates by asking friends for referrals, checking with the Better Business Bureau, or reading online reviews.

  2. Consult the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website for registration, insurance, and complaint information on each company. If you’re moving to another state, only consider companies that are registered with the FMCSA and assigned U.S. DOT numbers.

  3. Find out whether the companies are brokers or carriers. Brokers outsource the actual moving process, while carriers manage all services themselves. When talking to a broker, ask: • Are you registered with FMCSA? • What moving companies do you work with? • Are these moving companies registered with FMCSA? • Do you have written agreements with the movers you use?

  4. Get estimates from at least three companies. These should include in-person or video inventories of your belongings.

  5. Choose the right moving insurance. Full Value Protection covers the replacement value of anything lost or damaged in transit, but Released Value provides compensation of only 60 cents per pound, which is unlikely to cover even a fraction of your replacement cost.

  6. Make sure you get these important documents: Written Estimate: A binding estimate is a guaranteed maximum cost, unless something changes with the move. (For example, if you add items or if there are more stairs than spelled out in the estimate.) A non-binding estimate gives you an idea of the cost but can increase by as much as 10% during the actual move. Bill of Lading: This contract and receipt for your belongings should be provided before the mover leaves your old home. Inventory: The mover will prepare this list of your belongings as they load them, but you should create your own inventory and take pictures of items as you pack.

A checklist for before you move in. 1, transfer utilities. 2, paint and make minor repairs. 3, deep clean and disinfect the whole house. 4, change locks and install your security system. 5, set up mail forwarding with the post office. 6, cancel auto-scheduled deliveries or change your address with the provider. 7, check smoke detectors and install new batteries. 8, replace air filters. 9, locate necessary functions


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