How to Choose a Reliable Moving Company

How to Choose a Reliable Moving Company
  • Opening Intro -

    Moving is a very stressful and expensive experience, and if you don't take precautions it can quickly turn into a nightmare.

    So how do you find a moving company that you can trust with everything that you own, and still feel safe in your decision?


While generally you can often move things yourself, or use a you-pack/we-drive service, sometimes circumstances don’t allow that to work out.

Finding a Reputable Moving Company

While there are some reputable moving companies that have web sites, nearly all of the victims of moving scams found their moving company on the Internet. The Internet will come in handy later, but for now start local when moving.

It is suggested you find companies in your local area or call your local real estate agents and find at least three moving companies that have offices in your area. Try to find moving companies that have been in business at least ten years, and do not hire a moving broker. Current consumer protection laws related to household goods brokers are insufficiently written, and enforced.

Set up appointments for three moving companies to come to your house and do an in-home estimate in the order of your least favorite to your most favorite company. If they won’t come to your house to do an in-home estimate, move on and find another company. Find out up front if the company will be doing the move themselves, or if they will be sub-contracting the job to another company. If they won’t be moving you then you should move on to another company.

You should also visit their office and make sure that the company is who they say they are. Check out their trucks and storage facility. Make sure that their trucks are permanently marked with the company’s name. Many rogue movers will show up on the day of the move with a magnetic sign attached to the door of a rental truck, so it’s good to know as much about them as you can ahead of time.

Make Sure to Complete a Thorough Investigation

As each moving company gives you an estimate based on what they see in your home. Ask questions about the difference in pricing since it may have to do with what services one company provides that another doesn’t, the amount of insurance included, or valuation of your belongings. Never hire a mover who gives you a quote based on cubic feet. Do not sign blank paperwork, or paperwork that hasn’t been fully explained. Read the document, understand it and don’t worry about making the moving company wait.

Every moving company is required by law to provide you with a “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” booklet. If they don’t provide you with this choose another company.

When conducting your interview, get as much information about the company that you can such as:

  • Full company name and any DBA names
  • How long they have been in business
  • Company address
  • Phone numbers
  • DOT and MC license numbers
  • Company web site address
  • Email addresses
  • Get references

Once you have obtained three estimates, go back online. This is where the Internet is a powerful tool for the consumer, and where all of that information that you gathered pays off.

You Have Many Online Resources That Can Help

Many states make it easy to search for corporate information online. We’ve made it easy to find each state’s corporation search. Select the state on that you’re moving company is based. If you can’t search online, then call your secretary of state’s office and ask for the articles of incorporation. You can use the Articles of Incorporation that you find to verify how long your moving company has been in business, as well as the company’s address and owner’s name.

Additionally you can use the DOT and MC license numbers that you wrote down. This will assist you in determining that the moving company not only has the license authority to perform your move, but if they have the insurance to make it legal.

SaferSys is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) web site to search for motor carrier license information. First click on Company Snapshot in the center of the page. In the center of the next web page, you’ll see a search area. Put in your company’s DOT license number, and click ‘Search’. If the DOT number that they gave you is accurate (which it better be or it’s time to move on again) you’ll be presented with a screen with lots of information.

You Should Also Check Their Inspection and Insurance Records

This lists their inspection record as well as the national average. If your company’s average is much higher than the national average, or if they have been in business for three years, but don’t have any inspections, then something is not right.

Next it’s a good idea to check their insurance. At the bottom of the SaferSys report there is a link titled ‘FMCSA Licensing & Insurance site’. This should bring you to a screen that gives you two options to view the company’s insurance details. Let’s go the easier route and click on the button labeled ‘Screen’. Again, you’ll be presented with the moving company’s name, address, and legal name.

Check 3rd Party Resources

You should make a quick check with the Better Business Bureau as well. The BBB is a business with members that pay them dues. Contact the BBB office and ask them about the number of complaints that your company has on file. Don’t take a ‘satisfactory’ rating at face value.

One last check you should do is to call the FMCSA’s Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline at 1-888-368-7238 and ask them about the complaint history of your moving company.
Post a message on the message boards and ask if anyone else has had any experience with the company. The message boards are very active, and chances are that someone will respond quickly to your questions.

Finally, if anyone other than the moving company that you hired shows up on moving day, fire them on the spot.

If you find yourself in need of choosing the right moving option for you, here is some helpful advice to get you on the right track to find a reputable San Jose moving company.



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