11 Things to Look for in a Moving Company
Everyone has to move sometime or another, but seasoned moving customers are well aware that not all moves run smoothly. Professional movers can speed up the moving process, but choosing the right company is also important. If you don't do the research beforehand, a bad moving company can make your moving process even more of a headache. Just as each moving company will differ in their services and prices, it’s extremely important to know what to expect on moving day. So you’ll want to do your homework and research as many vendors as possible.
When researching, keep an eye open for scams and rogue movers, as they will never have your best interest in mind. Once you have a list of movers, here are 11 things to consider when looking for a moving company:
1. Get a Complete Estimate
Any estimator that does a quick walk-through of the building will not catch all of the details when giving you the quote. When calculating, they should ask questions about what exactly you will be bringing with you to your new location. Just be prepared to answer the questions regarding which items will not be going on the truck and will need to be decommissioned:
- Thrown away
- Left behind to new owners
- Given away
- Transported yourself
Chicago Office Movers can help you with decommissioning items to local non profit organizations.
2. Choose a Company with One Name
You might be surprised to find that a number of companies operate under various names to avoid being assessed by the Better Business Bureau and other online review platforms. Make sure the company has an address that is local and information about their licensing and insurance.
Check for any other name the company “does business as” in addition to their state and federal license numbers. Also make sure to check their online reviews, reviewing any complaints and compliments about them.
3. Never Pay a Large Deposit
While some can’t be avoided, reputable moving companies will not require a large deposit before moving. The service – at least the majority - should be paid at the end of the move. Otherwise they may disappear with your belongings and you have a lawsuit on your hands. When you do pay, use a credit card to protect against possible fraud.
4. Create an Inventory
When walking through your home, the estimator will take an inventory of all your items and furniture to determine the bulk weight of the home. They should also be thorough and check all storage areas, including drawers, desks, lobbies, bookcases, and filing cabinets.
A significant factor of the moving cost will be the overall weight of your belongings as well as the amount of space it will take up on the truck. When presented with the estimate, look it over carefully and make sure you understand everything on it.
5. Look at Reviews
More and more potential customers are trusting online reviews as if they were recommendations from their friends and family. A reputable moving company will have an overall high rating, provided that they have served their customers well.
When researching these reviews, you will find that few to none will have a perfect score. This is OK. Some customers just can’t be satisfied. But it will be up to you to decide which company to hire based on what others have said.
6. Be Aware of Extra Fees
Keep in mind that many moving companies – even those that are reputable – will add on additional fees for specific cases. Things like going up and down more than one flight of stairs, narrow streets, truck transfers, and moving to or from 2-story homes are all likely to result in additional fees. However, this should be noted in the initial estimate, so you won’t come across any surprises when you get the final bill.
You can also call the company ahead of time if you are unsure of whether or not something will incur an additional fee. Just keep in mind that all movers are different; therefore, while one company may include going up multiple staircases in the service, it may be counted as extra in another.
7. Be Aware of the Packing Process
Keep in mind that if you decide to pack your items yourself, the mover is not responsible for any damage to them. But if the mover does packing and things are broken in the process, they should be covered under the mover’s insurance policy.
Before hiring the company, ask about their packing experience and the materials they use to protect items. This will be helpful to know when they pack up your inventory, machinery, or special equipment.
8. Know Your Moving Contract
While some companies vary, there are generally 3 different kinds of moving contracts:
- Binding Estimate. This includes a guaranteed price for the move that includes all additional fees and requested services. If you want to add on additional services after the contract is made, these fees need to be paid within 30 days after the move.
- Non-Binding to Exceed Estimate. This prevents the company from charging for overages to the original quote they provided. The estimate given is the maximum you will need to pay for the services provided.
- Non-Binding Estimate. This means the mover cannot charge any more than 10% above the original estimate. Just know that the overage must be paid within 30 days of the move.
9. Report Any and All Problems
It’s understandable that not all damage to your items will be noticed right after the move. But you are given 9 months to report any damage or other problem to the moving company, as well as to file an insurance claim. So if you open any box a year later and find something shattered, it’s too late.
On moving day, open as many boxes as you can after they arrived at the new location and be thorough when checking for damage. All problems should be listed in details on the mover’s copy of the final bill, and make sure to check it for any changes before signing it.
After making your claim, the mover has 30 days to acknowledge it and 120 days to deny or accept charges for it.
10. Never Sign a Blank Moving Contract
Rogue moving companies may present you with a blank moving contract before adding services and charges to it. Never sign it. Everything – and absolutely everything – must be listed in detail, including extra fees, pickup, and delivery dates.
Always read your contract carefully, checking that all of your items are listed, before signing. If a computer wasn’t listed on the inventory form before the driver pulls out of your garage or parking lot, you shouldn’t expect it to be in the box. You also won’t be able to file an insurance claim for it because it wasn’t listed on the contract.
11. Choose Insurance and Protection Plan
Reputable moving companies will offer a number of insurance plans you can add on to protect your belongings. This way the moving company will assume liability for the value of your belongings moved. Be sure to take a detailed estimate of the overall value of your items before choosing the insurance coverage.
Choose a Reliable Moving Company
While some moving companies can offer better solutions for customers than others, it’s crucial to find a reputable moving company that keeps your best interests in mind. From start to finish, the service should be professional, friendly, and financially accurate. Remember to always stay on the lookout for red flags such as asking you to sign blank contracts, missing items from the inventory, and “rough” estimates.
Work with Chicago Office Movers
If you live in the Chicago metropolitan area and are looking to move your business, check out our professionals at Chicago Office Movers. Our union movers are dedicated to professionalism while keeping your best interests in mind. We understand that many items and furniture within a business are fragile as well as the information that must be kept confidential. As we conduct hundreds of moves every year, we know the best ways to make the process as smooth as possible.
In addition to our services, each of our movers is background-checked, trained, certified, and experienced to provide you with the peace of mind you need during the transition. Our staff will also be able to handle all aspects of the moving process for you, including move management, packing, furniture assembly, decommissioning, and more.
Our union movers will work with you every step of the way. This includes providing additional information like answers to frequently asked questions, a Commercial Moving Timetable Checklist, what to expect from the process, and more.
For more information regarding our commercial moving services or to schedule a free estimate, give us a call at (312) 244-2246.