Moving sucks, even if you’re trading up. The un/packing, the organization of all your crap, the sound of packing tape being unrolled… I hate it all. I dread it like I dread root canal. At least the dentist gives you Novocaine.
But face it, moving is inevitable. You’re going to move. And if you’re above and beyond the age and demographic when asking your friends to help you move is still socially acceptable, that means hiring movers.
So how do you pick reputable movers who won’t rip you off, abscond with your stuff, or break everything?
• Ask friends whom they used, and how their experience was.
• Ask local real estate agents for referrals. Riskier. Realtors might get kickbacks. Be suspicious.
• Make sure movers will make estimates in person. This means companies that are local, or that have local offices. Have them view everything, including stuff in the basement. Ballpark over-the-phone estimates are worthless, and likely lowballed.
• Get at least three estimates in writing.
• Make sure they’re valuing your stuff, not just measuring how many cubic feet of goods you’re transporting.
• Check each company’s record: Visit MovingScam.com, the just-off-by-one-letter MovingSham.com, and the Better Business Bureau. Membership in the American Moving and Storage Association might be a nice feature to look for, too, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
• Ask for the mover’s DOT number, and run it through SaferSys.org, to see if they’re licensed and insured.
• Ask for recent references. Then call them.
That’s still stressful. It’s work. But cover your bases. This is your entire household we’re talking about. — MARK ASHLEY