Hiring quality movers is a must! You’re putting your belongings and your homes, both old and new, in the hands of strangers. Having confidence and trust in the men (and sometimes women) who show up at your door is very important for your peace of mind. Here are a few tips so you can be better prepared to spot the bad eggs, and the quality movers, when it comes time to start looking for help on moving day.
Avoid moving companies with a name switch.
It’s easy enough for a company with bad reviews, or a bad reputation, to just switch their name and start over. We’ve seen it happen in our local area, and that’s why we feel the need to mention it in this article. So please make sure to look at reviews on Google and Facebook especially, as bad reviews on websites, unless they are from those sources, can be altered or hidden by a shady company.
Do your research, ask around, and if you feel really hesitant about a company call the consumer complaints hotline at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 888-368-7238, to find out if there are any pending investigations or complaints about the company.
Beware of extra fees
Here at Heaven on Earth Moving Services, we are very transparent about all costs you can expect with your move. There are no hidden fees when you call us, or hidden fuel or labor charges added on at the end of your bill. Unfortunately, that is not the case with all companies, and it is very important to get everything in writing before the movers start the job. Make sure to ask the moving company about any additional fees that may apply to your situation, and make sure there is nothing extra on the contract presented to you at the start of your move. If a moving company isn’t clear about their fees, or they start to nickel and dime you, that is the sign of shady business practice and should be avoided.
Choosing a Mover Based Only on Price – Rouge Movers
The least expensive mover could end up costing you more in the long run. A low hourly rate doesn’t mean anything when the workers are dragging their feet or not handling your belongings with care. If you’re comparing three, or more, moving companies and you find that one mover’s quote is much lower than the rest, this could be a sign that the low-cost mover should be avoided.
Rogue moving companies, companies not operating legally and who are looking to take advantage of vulnerable people, will often try to lure in customers with low costs, special deals, and other enticements such as free services. Despite what they advertise these companies are in it only for the money, therefore they will try to squeeze every penny they can out of your situation while doing a sub-par job with moving your belongings.
How to spot Rouge Movers
- The mover tries to avoid or agree to an on-site inspection of your household and instead only wants to give an estimate over the phone, or worse, only over the Internet. NEVER hire any mover without at least speaking over the phone.
- The estimates they do give sound too-good-to-be-true. This is because they are. These companies get you to schedule with them, only to come up with new ways to charge you on moving day, when it’s too late for you to find another mover.
- The moving company demands cash or a ridiculously large deposit before the move. NEVER book with cash only movers, or movers who require all or most of the money upfront. That is an easy way for them to not show up on moving day and keep your now “nonrefundable deposit”.
- The companies website is too simple and generic. It has no local address, no personal touch or feel, generic moving photos, and no information about licensing or insurance. It’s a “Copy and Paste” kind of website.
- When you call the moving company and there is no personality on the other end. They may answer the phone with a generic “Moving Company”, or “Movers”. They may not care about the small details of your move, and may not ask about the contents or size of your home.
- Right before or during the move they may try to throw in more fees, or not move larger or heavy items unless you pay more. Any extra fees for extremely large or heavy items will be discussed BEFORE your move and will be already on your contract at the start.
- They may show up hours late or not at all, and try to reschedule your move at the last minute with a list of excuses. If you don’t reschedule they might refuse to return any deposit you made.
- They may try to hold your items “hostage” on their trucks unless you pay these extra fees, or you pay for the move in full right then. This is an illegal practice and should be reported to the BBB or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 888-368-7238. No moving company can hold your belongings. If there is a legitimate issue with payment at the end of the move it will be dealt with in other, legal, ways.
- They can’t or won’t show you any of their state or federal licensing information, which should be displayed clearly on their website and in other forms for customers to easily find.
On The Flip Side…
On the other side of things, the highest-priced Moving Company, shouldn’t be written off so quickly. There is usually a reason that the company can charge the hourly rate they do and continue gaining business and operating. They may even save you money in the long run, because usually there are no extra fees involved with a higher rate, and/or their crews are highly experienced, trained, and more efficient at their jobs.
They most likely are experienced in moving special items like antiques, safes, and pianos. You can expect the “white glove” treatment with your belongings. Moving companies at a higher rate will have all of their own equipment, such as padding, blankets, and any tools they might need. They will disassemble and reassemble beds and other items also. They may also hang items in the new house for you. (Now this is to say they should, but make sure to ask when booking, as each moving company has their own way of doing things.)
All of this means more peace of mind and less stress for you on moving day! They may also be a more local company, rather than a nationwide corporate company. That means a more personal experience for you and your family, and a willingness to work with you to make your move the best possible experience it can be.
Get references on movers. Reviews! Reviews! Reviews!
It goes without saying that you should read those reviews! Particularly the ones on Facebook and Google, as website reviews can be hidden, altered, or faked. Be aware of fake reviews, even on Facebook and Google, however. A real five-star review will be enthusiastic, somewhat personal, and descriptive of the service they received.
The same can be said for a bad review. The fake ones are hard to get removed from places like Google and Facebook and can hurt a legitimate moving company. Fake ones are usually left by Rouge Moving Companies (explained above) to hurt the competition and scam customers into hiring their services instead. A fake bad review will usually be short, pointless, and most of all feel faked. A real person, with a real bad experience, will normally vent and explain why.
Overall just make sure to read both good and bad reviews and make sure the good ones far outweigh any bad review(s) that might be there.
If reviews aren’t enough, however, then don’t be afraid to ask any mover you speak with for references. Any reputable moving company will be able to give you a few names and numbers of past clients to call and speak with. You can also call local storage facilities. Nine times out of ten they will have a local moving company that they have experience with and will recommend. If anyone has seen the quality of various local moving companies it’s the local storage facilities.
Avoid a blank, or short, moving contract
Never sign a blank contract. Get absolutely everything in writing. The mover’s estimate or hourly rate, and any extra fees should be listed, as well as your pick-up and delivery dates, start time and end time. Contracts should have all of the mover’s information on it, as well as what the movers are liable for as far as damages.
A short, simple, one-page contract is a red flag for both an inexperienced moving company, and a moving company that might try to throw in something later. It may be a headache to read the fine print, but the fine print is a sign that you’re working with a quality company that knows it’s business very well. They should also have a carbon copy for you to keep with all of the information.
If you want to have more time to go over your contract, particularly the liability portion, and discuss it before the move then simply ask! Most reputable moving companies will have no problem emailing or faxing you a copy of their contract for you to read over.
Finally, Trust Your Gut
If you don’t feel comfortable dealing with a company then trust that instinct and move on. Your gut is usually right! That first phone call will let you know how easy or hard it will be dealing with that company. Moving is already stressful enough, a moving company’s main goal should be making it easier for you.
You want to speak to a friendly, emphatic voice, who can help answer all of your questions and figure out the best course of action. You want a moving company that will work with you, rather than against you, and a company that has answers when things get a little overwhelming.
On moving day you want smiling faces, introductions, and an energetic crew ready to help you with your transition into your new home. That’s exactly what our moving company aspires to do and be. Heaven on Earth Moving Services is here for the customer – you.