Whether you’re moving to the other side of town or the other side of the country, moving is as chaotic as it is exciting. Hiring a professional moving company can take a big burden off your shoulders — but finding a moving service online isn’t as simple as selecting the first pros that pop up in your search results. We’ve outlined everything you need to know to find a moving service online that will simplify the process from start to finish.
Research Movers Online
Your first step to finding a moving service online is to conduct your own research. Based on how far you’re moving, you’ll need to look for local movers or long-distance movers. Some local services will only move you within the city or state, so they won’t be helpful in long-distance relocation. However, some long-distance moving companies are more expensive to use because they specialize in cross-country excursions, so they aren’t your best option if you’re only moving a short distance away.
You should also try to find pricing information online during this step. Knowing what you can expect to pay will help you narrow down your search to specialists who fit within your budget. Keep in mind that your price will be based on a variety of factors, such as:
- How far you’re moving
- The day of the week you move
- The weight of your belongings
- The speed at which your items will be delivered
- Whether or not you share truck space with other households
Some companies don’t list their prices online at all. You can usually get a general idea of their rates by calling them, but you may need to wait until you meet your prospects in person to get a final price.
Look at online mover reviews
Once you’ve got a list of preliminary candidates, check out their online reviews to narrow down your pool of potential movers. Although it’s generally good advice to weed out the companies that have consistently bad reviews, there’s more to it than looking for only five-star ratings. Keep these things in mind when looking at online reviews:
- You should consider skipping companies with perfect scores but only a few reviews. This could indicate that they’re a new company just finding their footing, and you don’t want your beloved items to be part of their learning curve.
- Reviews from two years ago or longer may not be worth considering, especially for larger companies. If reviews from the past few months are consistently strong, they may be a reputable company worth interviewing.
- No reviews is bad news. The company may be brand new and inexperienced, or they may have changed names because their business was doing poorly and they wanted a fresh start. The thing about moving companies is there are a lot to choose from, so it’s worth finding one with experience rather than settling for one that’s just getting up and running.
Meet with potential movers
Once you’ve weeded out the companies that aren’t worth meeting in person, you can set appointments with three or so that you’re interested in working with. You’ll learn about what services they offer, what to expect throughout the moving process, and what you’ll pay for each service.
Your appointment should discuss:
- Which specific services they offer and at what price, such as packing, loading and unloading the truck, unpacking, and vehicle shipping.
- The equipment they provide, such as dollies/hand trucks, ramps, protective padding for floors, and cushioning to protect large objects.
- Their business licensing. Ideally, you should work with a company that is a member of the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA). Long-distance movers should also have a US Department of Transportation (USDOT) number, which comes from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). All of these credentials ensure that a moving company has taken the proper steps to establish themselves as a reputable business and to make sure your belongings are cared for from start to finish.
- Their insurance coverage. Moving companies should come with liability insurance, which holds them responsible for damaging your belongings. There are many levels of coverage, so you need to know exactly how much they’re willing to take responsibility for. Additionally, the company should have workers’ compensation and liability insurance that covers any injuries their employees sustain. This protects you from being held responsible if an accident occurs.
- Whether they work with subcontractors. You don’t need to rule out a company that does, but you do need to know what measures they’ve taken to ensure their reliability. At the very least, they should have a criminal background check, references, and proof of work history for every contractor.
- Where your items will be stored if they’re being held at any time during transit.
- How long the move will take.
Be sure to discuss any other details you’re not totally clear on. This is also a good way to get a feel for how comfortable you are talking to your moving professional. You may not work with this person on moving day, but your rapport should make you feel confident they’ll reduce your stress level when it comes to moving, not add to it.
If at the end of your conversation you decide the company doesn’t seem like a good fit, you can simply thank them for their time and let them know you’ll follow up if you decide to take next steps. For companies you are interested in working with, request a binding written estimate. It should include every cost you’re expected to pay, including labor, shipping, and materials, and every charge should be laid out in a clear way. Be sure to review this contract in detail with your movers before signing. This will ensure that you’ll get a firm final price, and you won’t be surprised with any undisclosed fees. You’ll be in business once you’ve both signed it.
Finding a moving service online makes hiring the right company easier than ever, but you’ve still got some work to do to make sure you choose the right professionals. Do some preliminary research on what your options are, check out online reviews, and meet with qualified candidates in person before you make your final decision. These steps add a bit more to your moving to-do list, but they help ensure your move will go as smoothly as possible.