(BBB) – May is National Moving Month, and it is usually the beginning of a very busy season. Movers are one of the top categories of companies searched on the Better Business Bureau website, which features more than 20,000 moving-related companies. Whether moving near or far, it is important for movers to choose a company whom they can trust.
Better Business Bureau offers the following tips on preparing for a move, finding a trustworthy moving company, and avoiding scams:
Do your research. Lookup Business Profiles for moving companies on BBB.org. The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) and Canadian Association of Movers (CAM) also identify movers that have pledged to uphold high standards of trust and to resolve complaints quickly. Many movers that are BBB Accredited Businesses are also AMSA ProMovers or CAM Members. Note the length of time a company has been in business and read reviews from previous customers.
Verify the mover’s claims, credentials, and professional memberships. Scammers and fly-by-night operators won’t be able to substantiate a good reputation. Ask for proof of licenses, insurance, etc.
Get it in writing. Get three written estimates from different movers based on visits to your home. Though most professional movers do give quotes over the phone, it’s still a good idea to get written documentation of all the services you are receiving. If an estimate seems too good to be true, it likely is. If at any point the services change, whether on your part or the part of the professional, ensure that these changes are documented and understood by both parties.
Talk about the money. Find out how and when payment is required. Many companies require up to a 10% deposit to secure your moving date and require payment before your belongings are delivered. Find out what your payment options are and what method of payment is available. Let your bank know that you are in the process of relocating in the event they notice increased or unusual charges on your credit card.
Prepare for damage. Even though trustworthy movers are trained to handle your belongings and your home with care, it is difficult to move an entire household without at least some damage. Be sure to inquire about inadmissible and non-protected items, such as hazardous materials, jewelry, currency and others. Determine what is covered under your homeowners’ insurance policy and what is/is not covered under your replacement valuation protection. If you are arranging for other workers to be in and out of your home, consider documenting the conditions before and after access, in the event any property damage takes place.
Protect your possessions. Make sure that your mover provides full-value protection insurance for any lost or damaged possessions. Note that insurance is by the pound, so expensive items such as a flat-panel television may need additional replacement cost coverage in case they are damaged in transit. Find out what your household insurance will and won’t cover during a move.
Take your valuables with you. Cash, coins, jewelry, photographs, and important papers should be taken with you or shipped separately using a shipping service with tracking numbers and insurance.
To find a trusted moving company near you, visit BBB.org/near-me/moving-companies.
For tips on spotting a moving scam, read BBB’s Moving Scams.
If you would like to report a scam, call 256-533-1640 or go to BBB Scam Tracker.