Time To Start Packing: 10 Questions to Ask Your Movers

A new chapter of life is right around the corner, and it’s time to hire the movers to get you there. Whether you’re relocating for family, work or something else, moving can be a stressful and uneasy time, especially when it comes to hiring professional movers. 

Without an in-depth knowledge of the moving industry, it’s easy to get stuck hiring substandard movers — the industry is rift with misleading pricing, unreliable labor and — potentially — even uninsured operations that can leave your move up-in-the-air and feeling out of control. 

At Handled, we’re in the business of helping the world feel at home, which includes the journey from one pad to the next. That’s why we’ve compiled the top ten questions you should be asking your moving company before signing on the dotted line.

Question 1: Is your company accredited?

Prior to scheduling a move date, it’s important to ensure that your moving company is licensed and insured. Before your entire life gets packed into boxes, knowing the company you work with is up to the task is priority number one. Licensed and insured movers give you peace of mind and protection against anything that might happen on moving day, not to mention liability coverage for damaged items during the move. 


Pro tip: if you really want to know what you’re talking about, inquire about their licensure through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is the government agency regulating all commercial vehicles. 


Question 2: Tell me about your business.

How long have you been in business? How do you hire labor and are your workers background checked? Are you verified locally or nationally? You need answers to these questions before going any further with the booking process. Knowing the reputability of a company, including how they handle claims, cancellations and any liabilities helps to ensure a smooth process for everyone involved.


Pro tip: Get all information about cancellations and claims in writing so that you can refer back to them, if needed. 


Question 3: What is the final cost? Are there additional fees?

Nobody wants to be stuck finding out that the price has doubled — or even tripled — half-way through a move due to additional fees or changes. Double-checking the agreed-upon price (and getting it in writing on a signed and dated contract) means a no-worries move day, no matter how long it takes. Company estimates are generally based on weight and distance, and quotes must be established prior to your date of move.


Pro tip: Be wary of any movers who give vague numbers, aren’t upfront about their add-on fees or require hefty deposits. 


Question 4: Will you pack for me?

Packing is a great add-on service to consider if you don’t feel like getting caught up in a mountain of boxes and a back-and-forth conversation questioning every item you own. Packing service takes the guesswork out of whether to keep, donate or sell each individual item and streamlines the process without emotional attachment. 


If you opt-out of hiring packers and go the DIY route, be sure to establish what packing supplies, if any, your company will provide. Most moving companies will, at minimum, bring moving blankets and shrink-wrap to protect furniture. 


Question 5: Can you provide references and reviews? 

Reviews are a great way to establish just how honest your chosen moving company has been about their pricing and promises. Previous customer reviews give a window into the claims process, surprise additional fees and reputability of the company as a whole.


A great moving company should be happy to provide references and direct you to their customer reviews. It should also have a good social presence and response rate. 


Question 6: How much packing do I need to do prior to movers arriving?

When your moving company arrives, you need to be ready for them to start loading the truck. While your boxes might be packed and ready to go, be mindful to empty any storage drawers, including think TV cabinets, dressers and desks. This not only allows your moving crew to streamline the process, but also minimizes the potential for lost items and damages to your belongings. 


Pro tip: be sure to ask your movers what items they won’t move. Live plants, trampolines, antiques, pianos and artwork often require a third-party specialist.  


Question 7: Do you offer tracking or guaranteed delivery dates?

Spare yourself the week of sleeping on an air-mattress and ask if your movers offer guaranteed delivery dates or delivery windows, as well as shipment tracking on your move. On long-distance moves, truck transfers are common. It’s important to know how many times your belongings will switch hands.


Question 8: What is the claims process in the event of loss or damage during the move?

A good moving company will offer basic belongings insurance or additional valuation protection to protect against any damage or loss along the way. It’s a good add-on to consider. Research different protection models (like added valuation vs. insurance) options to fit the cost and weight of your move, and take a look at additional protection on expensive or important items that you’re moving. Ask how much time you have to report a claim, and what sort of evidence is required for a claim to be considered. In some cases, the window for filing a claim is just a few days after delivery, which may not give you time to inspect your inventory thoroughly for missing or damaged items. 


Pro tip: Ask your homeowners insurance about moving insurance —  some policies offer coverage that could supplement what’s offered through your chosen movers. 


Pro tip: Ask your movers if they offer full value protection or moving insurance, and how each of those compare to the federally-mandated Minimum Liability Valuation Option (which values your belongings at .60 per pound — good luck replacing anything you own with that.) 


Question 9: Do I need a parking permit?

If you’re moving from an apartment, skip the headache of finding a spot for your truck on moving day and inquire early about how your company handles parking and loading. Your movers should be able to provide important information about how they handle parking, as well as offer additional information on who to contact in your pick up city if a permit is required. 


Question 10: What if I want to cancel?

If something comes up and you need to cancel or postpone your move, will you get stuck owing thousands for a move that won’t happen? Get the moving company’s cancellation policy in writing, along with important information like agent names, conversations and promises made on how a cancellation is processed. Find out your options and jot down who to contact and what the deadline in the event you need to cancel or postpone a move. That way, you’ll be prepared for any situation. 


Choosing a company to help you relocate can feel like a task above any other, but with these questions in your back pocket, you’ll be ready to dig deep on finding trustworthy, reliable movers to streamline your big day. 


Ready to get started? We’re an experienced moving concierge and can head you down the right path. Learn more.

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