Selecting the right moving company is a critical step. You’ll want to be sure you understand all the costs and options involved. Start by asking friends and families if they have any recommendations. Plan to interview at least two companies for estimates, which should be cost- and obligation-free. Your buyer’s representative may also be able to suggest reputable moving companies in your area.
Deciding which moving company is right for you involves three key steps:
Step 1: Arranging the interviews
Call movers and schedule interviews as soon as you know when the actual move might take place, especially if you’re moving during a peak moving period, which includes:
- The first or last few days of each month—this is when most closings take place
- Holidays—especially those coinciding with school vacations
- Summer months—since most families try to schedule a move between school years
Step 2: Conducting the interviews
Moving companies should agree to visit your home and provide a written estimate. Ask whether this estimate is binding or non-binding, so you know whether they will still honor it later, when you actually make your move. Also insist that the estimate provide as much detail as possible, so you can make better comparisons with other estimates.
Local moves. If you’re moving within a local or regional area, the estimate will probably be based on an hourly rate, depending on how many workers are needed and how much time it will take to pack (if you want this done for you), load, transport, and unload your possessions at the final destination. Interviewing at least two companies will give you a more accurate picture of just what your move will entail and how much it is likely to cost.
Out-of-state moves. If your move is out of state, estimates will be based on the distance of your move and the projected weight of your shipment. To provide you with an accurate estimate, movers will need ample time to walk through your home and inspect each room, as well as all storage areas, viewing everything that will be going to the new location.
Many factors can influence the price of your move, including how many optional services you require, such as:
- Packing and unpacking—Are you willing to do this yourself, or would you prefer to pay professionals to pack some or all of your loose items?
- Boxes—Most movers will sell you new boxes. Prices vary by company. Ask about used boxes, since some movers offer these too at a reduced cost.
- Special handling—If you have unique, heavy, or delicate pieces, such as a piano, large exercise equipment, or antique furniture, you may need to pay more for special handling.
- Special packaging—Movers may recommend that certain pieces be packed in wood crates. Check the cost versus the advantages of this choice.
Insurance. Most movers have some level of liability insurance. You may, however, want to investigate additional insurance coverage, since it’s not uncommon for objects to be damaged during a move.
If you want these or other services, make sure you tell each moving company to include them in their estimate.
Step 3: Making your selection
Several factors will affect your final decision:
- Price—While this may seem straightforward, it may take some effort to accurately compare prices, since weight estimates will likely differ by mover, as will prices on individual services.
- Availability—If you move during a peak time, you may find yourself coordinating your move with your mover’s schedule, rather than your own.
- References—Request and contact references beyond the letters of recommendation that you should be offered in the interview. If you want to do a little more research, call the Better Business Bureau or the State Attorney General to see if any complaints have been filed against the company.
- Customer service—The person who provides your estimates will probably be your key contact leading up to and during the actual move. Are they experienced, confident, a good communicator, and seemingly interested in satisfying your needs?