Before hiring a moving company: 5 key questions to ask

Hiring a moving company to help you transport your belongings literally takes the weight off your shoulders. But before you sign on the dotted line, you must know what you're paying for or else risk a costly surprise at the end. Here are five key questions to ask.

Before hiring a moving company: 5 key questions to ask

[Image credit: iStock.com/AndreyPopov]

Relocating usually turns into a hectic process for those involved. Fortunately, you can make your life a little easier simply by knowing what questions to ask of a moving company if you're thinking about hiring them. Why? Simply put, they can help ensure you're getting a fair deal.

1. Are the quotes binding?

Far too many people think they're getting an amazing deal on their move only to be hit with hidden fees from the moving company later. This can often be prevented by simply asking if a quote is binding.

  • Moving companies will sometimes provide preliminary quotes over the phone, but since the company has yet to see what they're up against, these quotes aren't necessarily binding.
  • Additionally, brokers cannot provide binding estimates, so it's important to inquire whether the person you're talking to is a broker.

2. Will my belongings be transferred to a different truck?

On top of extra fees, which may accompany a long move, some moving companies will also transfer items from one truck to another for a long-distance relocation.

  • Unfortunately, transferring belongings to another truck heightens the risk of damage occurring to your items. This should be avoided if possible. Keep in mind that sometimes it may be unavoidable, depending on the circumstances of your move.

3. Are my possessions insured?

If your possessions aren't insured then any mistake on the part of the movers that leads to damaged items – or even a loss of all of your belongings – means you likely won't receive any compensation.

  • There aren't many good reasons, if any, to hire a moving company that doesn't have insurance. In these situations, it's best just to move on to the next phone number on your list.

4. Are subcontractors used?

Some larger companies subcontract their moving work out to smaller and lesser-known movers. This doesn't have to be an automatic disqualification from hiring a particular company, but if they do use subcontractors, it's important to get the information of that company.

  • This information will allow you to check into the company and ensure they have a good track record before entrusting everything you own to their hands.

5. Can you refer me to prior customers?

If a moving company has a history of satisfied customers, they should be able to provide contact information for those individuals.

  • It's one thing to look at reviews online because some companies (not all) actually post fake reviews. It's another thing to speak with actual customers willing to share their experience.

Although not asking this question doesn't necessarily mean that a move will go poorly, it's far better to be safe now than sorry later.

Moving from place to place is something that people rarely get used to. This makes it no surprise that many don't know what to ask when interviewing a potential moving company. Fortunately, the aforementioned questions are a great starting point to hiring a reputable company that will take care of you and your belongings.

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