Howto: Find a Reputable Mover

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

How to Find a Reputable Moving Company [MovingScam.com]
How To Hire The Right Mover [CBS]
(Photo: Beige Alert)

Comments

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  1. How to finda reputable mover? I’ll tell you wherre NOT to look:

    Starving Students of California.

    We made the mistake of using these scamsters…showed up for a move with two guys – one of whom actually worked half the day. The other one sat in the truck drinking most of the time – until he started cadging beers out of my fridge.

    MovingScam is a great site. Highly recommend – unfortunately, they were a good resource for fighting Starving Students after I’d already had them screw up my furniture and charge me for it.

    In addition, Starving Students has several judgements against them in California.

  2. mathew says:

    We did it ourselves using Door To Door Storage. They deliver crates, you put your stuff in, they take the crates away when you’re done. If you need to keep the stuff in storage for a month or 4 while you find a house in your new location, you just pay reasonable storage fees. When you are ready, you call them up and they deliver the crates to your new house and you unload.

    http://doortodoor.com/

  3. Tallanvor says:

    @mathew: As much as possible, this is the type of move I’d recommend as well, these days.

    Just don’t go with PODS. –I got an estimate from them for a cross country move once, and I couldn’t believe it. It was more than twice the comparable rate of other companies that had decent BBB ratings.

  4. missdona says:

    In NY, Flat Rate Moving is fantastic. They might be a smidge pricier than others, but they make up for it in service and honesty.

  5. OnceWasCool says:

    My dad used to say that 4 moves is equal to 1 fire. Meaning, the amount of stuff damaged or left behind in moving 4 times is the same amount lost in a fire.

  6. smunky says:

    I used uship.com to find a reputable mover for a household move from Nevada to New York. I placed my ad, got bids. I picked a mover that had good feedback and also agreed to move my second vehicle on a hitch with my furniture.

    The mover was MTG Transit. They agreed to a pick up date… and showed up 4 days after that. The moving co-ordinator blamed this on the stuff they had to pick up before mine in a southern state. (This is one of those companies that travels all over picking up and delivering)They said they had a customer for a move, and when they got there the customer did not answer the door. After waiting an hour, they called the customer’s backup number which happened to be her daughter. The daughter shows up, cannot get in the house. They call the cops, cops get the door open and they find the lady dead of natural causes. Daughter then asks them to move the mother’s items to storage instead of to another state. Movers tell me this takes a DAY longer than it should have. A whole day?

    They finally get to Nevada, everything seems fine except the tardiness. Takes us about 5 hours to get our stuff in the truck. This is with my boyfriend helping. We are paying them $2800.00 for this move. Then they put our jeep on the hitch, and take off. We expect to see them in 7 days.

    We drive to New York with a few calls from the movers that everything is fine. The day of delivery they call from NYC to say that they are on their way up to Rochester and that they have our Jeep IN the truck. Yes, the Jeep was inside the moving truck. I let them know this was unacceptable etc. They say their ETA is that afternoon. The afternoon comes and goes… they show up at 11:45 at night. Yes, 15 minutes before midnight. And proceed to unload our stuff in the dark. At this time we are so tired of sleeping on the floor that we don’t care. Get our stuff inside and they leave.

    The next morning we wake up to find half our furniture broken or scratched/gouged. I go outside … and the jeep is completely scratched up and dented all over. This jeep was mint when they picked it up. Also, the jeep is a soft top and they put it in the truck and put furniture on TOP of it.

    I immediately called the movers and demanded payment for the damage. They said they would check with their insurers and get back to me. This all happened in May 06. Last I heard from them was August 06. They refuse all calls, closed their business and there is no way to get ahold of them. The jeep has over $1200.00 worth of damage and my furniture is unusable. I’ve tried calling the BBB in their town etc. Nothing so far has helped. :(
    Tried calling uship, and they said they also recieved numerous complaints about this shipper after I called to complain and that they are now banned.

    I have no options. Do you research and do not be like me.

  7. Paul D says:

    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.

    What kind of crap is that?!

    It is always okay to ask friends to help you move; at least in-town. I will always help my friends if I am available. That’s one of many things that friends are for. A six-pack and a free lunch is usually all that’s required in payment. What kind of punk-ass friends do you people have anyway?

    “Oh I’m sorry. I know we’re friends and all, but I just can’t be bothered to lend a hand.”

    I’ve encountered this ridiculous notion before, in a magazine article entitled “50 Things You Shouldn’t Do After Age 30.” This idea that there is a certain age or time beyond which it’s not okay to ask a friend for help is absurd and disturbing in the extreme.

  8. bigvicproton says:

    i used to work moving company complaints in new york state for five years. nightmares. at the very least if your state licenses movers find out who gives them a license and call them up first and see if they can tell you about complaints. if youre going state to state, they need a federal license. not that the goverment will probably help you if you have a problem, but at least you can use this as leverage when they start to hassle you. get at least three estimates, they will be pretty close normally, the one that is low or crazy low, well thats not going to be what it costs in the end…trust me. to be safer arrange to go down and see their office, you’d be surpised, some calls were being voiped forwarded and answered in kiev! very important: anything you sign get a copy of it the second you sign it, else they can write anything they want later and you have no proof! and most of all, anything you cant bare to loose, baby pictures, grandma’s chair, your baseball card collection, pack it and take it yourself. furniture (by the way Ikea does not come apart and go back together, nor does it actually usually survive even being picked up and put down, thats why Ikea is rich and you are not) and appliances you can replace worse comes to worse. take pictures of damages right away, unless you bought insurance (they better give you some proof of this or you just gave them money for nothing) you probably signed away your goods on valuation, something like .30 cents per pound, so have fun in small claims court. but then since you used a licensed mover (you did right?) whoever licences them usually has a legal responsibility to make sure they pay judgements. did they do a good job? well thank god and give them a good tip.

  9. But if you live in the Boston area and need to move a piano, there’s only one acceptable choice:

    http://www.deathwishpiano.com/

  10. kerry says:

    In the Chicago area I always direct people to Joey’s Movers. My family is biased towards them because I was very close friends with Joey’s daughter in middle school. More importantly, though, we’ve been using them for our moving needs forever, and they always do a great job. I used them on my own for the first time this summer when I moved from a 4th floor walkup to a 3rd floor walkup. They got the job done in about 3 hours, didn’t damage anything and were generally friendly and professional. Oh, it was also about 95° outside.
    http://www.joeysmovers.com/

  11. I was pretty happy with the results when I got movers to bid on my job via http://www.citimove.com/

    I imagine I saved a few hundred bucks.

  12. @mathew:

    I have to agree – the portable container route is a great way to move.

    We used ABF Freight for our cross-country move in September. Perfect experience, and very good price.

  13. E-Bell says:

    We used a mover that a friend recommended (Starving Students, in Washington, D.C.) for a local move.

    Though they didn’t scam us, I could not recommend them to anyone. They only showed up with 2 men when they told us it would take 3 (thus, the move took much longer than it should have). They worked slowly (getting paid by the hour), damaged several pieces of furniture, and gave us a lot of flack when we told them where to put the furniture in our new house.

  14. improfound says:

    PLEASE do NOT use movingsham.com. It is not exactly a scam, but it is not exactly on the up-and-up (e.g., it’s anonymously registered). On the other hand, Movingscam.com is an excellent site. Their forums are full of advice, and the moderators will help you if your items are held hostage. There are tons of scams out there, and if you are about to move, this site will save you time and money.

    I used Broadway Express to move from SF, CA to Boston, MA, and it was great. I had to pack my own stuff, but it was cheap and fast.

  15. Canadian Impostor says:

    Haha, I came here to post “Deathwish Piano Movers”. I used to laugh every time I saw one of their trucks, which are black with big gold lettering that says “DEATHWISH PIANO MOVERS”.

  16. HerasmusBDragon says:

    I’ve used MovingSham recently, and would strenuously not recommend it. If you look closely, MovingSham has generic information that can be found in many other places. Their Blacklist is only a list of press releases from the Department of Transportation, but by the time these come to light, the movers have quit and started a new company. MovingSham does not accept complaints itself, has no method of contact, and they hide who owns the site. I tried to ask for more movers to contact me after I’d only heard from one self-service mover, and found I couldn’t get to them. I also find it distasteful that MovingSham formats itself around the “Find A Certified Mover” service and still digs on MovingScam for taking referral fees. How hypocritical! And the sole mover that contacted me after I first visited MovingSham? It’s the same one that investigations revealed own MovingSham. MovingSham is no better than all those websites that pass you around to the scammers this article seeks to educate consumers about, it just dresses up in sheep’s clothing to look like it cares. In the end, its only purpose is to sell your move. Please do NOT call it a consumer education tool, and I’m ashamed to see it painted in that light. The best information, if you want to go straight to the source, is run by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: http://www.protectyourmove.gov

  17. simpleguru says:

    I rented a U-Haul and hired movers off Craigslist. They were great, and we saved a fortune.

  18. Chris B. says:

    I live in the far west suburbs of Chicago and used Two Men and a Truck for my last local move. They charged by the hour but the rates were pretty reasonable.

    Because I’m naturally skeptical, I expected to see lots of smoke breaks and resting. I figured it wouldn’t be too bad since I was only using them for the big stuff – I’d take care of the small stuff and boxes myself.

    They got there exactly when they said they would, advised me on the plan of attack, then ran from the truck to the house without stopping. They were clearly trying to save me money.

    When all the big stuff was in, one of them suggested that they could fit the rest of the small stuff in just a few minutes and it would save a lot of time. I agreed. I think it cost an extra $60 but it saved a full day.

    The guys were equally as diligent at the other end – they never stopped. I even offered them water bottles and they set them in the cab of the truck for after the move.

    Needless to say, I gave them a good tip and have recommended them to my moving friends.

  19. teddybear16 says:

    If you want a great moving company, I’d recommend Starving Students. They provided exceptional service. The guys that came by were Levi, Marty, and Guillermo during my move from Burbank to Sherman Oaks in May of this year.

    I have used several professional movers over the last 25 years, and this experience made me want to take the time to convey how impressed I was. Each one of them made a significant contribution to making sure a difficult situation resulted in success.

    Levi clearly understood and accepted his responsibility to me as a customer. It was very evident that he wanted to make sure everything was handled properly, professionally, and safely. He had great attention to detail, and was very effective in communicating with his helpers. I was impressed with his integrity and his personal investment in the outcome.

    Marty was very helpful and personable, even under stress. At one point, it appeared to all present, including myself and my friend who was helping out that my large couch would not make it past a certain turn where a stairwell met a hall. We all agonized about how to get the couch in and were in agreement that the mission needed to be aborted short of throwing cables over the railing down to the courtyard far below. However, Marty did not give up and was able to engineer a solution that resulted in me having my couch and the building remain intact. It is this kind of persistence, attitude and problem-solving that makes someone an indispensable asset to all.

    Guillermo Rodriguez was equally impressive. His work ethic was astounding. He even cut his lunch short to get back to work. His efforts were tireless and efficient. He too solved a major issue when my large bed needed to be disassembled in order to transport it. He did an excellent job without any visible frustration. Throughout the move, his positive attitude and good nature made it a pleasant experience.

    I told all three of these guys that I have no idea how anyone can do this kind of work day in and day out. I could barely stand doing this once every ten years! People like this deserve the utmost respect because theirs is often a thankless task when in fact their services are some of the most important in our society.

    I couldn’t thank these gentlemen enough for making a very difficult transition in my life, at a time when I have been very ill, pleasant and successful.

    If you want competent, personable and trustworthy individuals, I’d recommend calling Starving Students.

  20. Tonguetied says:

    LOL, so the very first post on this is by Liberal Cajun on 03/21/07 who says to avoid Starving Students and the last post (before mine) is from teddybear16 on 07/16/07 who recommends Starving Students…