Whether you are moving across town or to a new community, choosing a mover is one of the most challenging decisions. Hidden fees can quickly inflate your monetary commitment. A dropped refrigerator can mar your new kitchen floor. Moving companies range from family affairs with flat bed trailers to national companies with large branded trucks. Even do-it-yourself options are often more expensive than hiring a moving company.
The first step in choosing a company is looking at available companies. Using your favorite search engine: Google, Yahoo, Bing or Duck, Duck, Go, search for the names of moving companies in the Tuscon area. There are the organic listings, which are the traditional listings, and the mobile listings which shows three companies and can be opened to show an extended list of options. Google lists over 100 moving companies in the immediate area.
When narrowing down the choices, ask neighbors, colleagues, even your local cashier for recommendations. Nothing can replace personal experience. Look through the yellow pages and the Internet to find movers near your zip code. The closer the moving company, the lower the passive cost of them reaching your home or company. Companies that refer customers to select companies can be helpful, but make sure you book with the actual company as the referring companies are not bound by the same regulations as the moving company. As you examine the Internet listings, your first stop should be the About page. This is where you will learn the background of the movers and their mission statement.
After you have amassed your intermediate list, do a quick background check. Look for positive Google+ reviews, check Yelp for local reviews, the local Better Business Bureau would also have a list of any complaints filed through their site. You can also call or email the American Moving and Storage Association for more information.
Make sure the moving provider is bonded and insured. As for a written document that outlines the complaint process, their policy for replacing damaged items, not just the items they are moving, but also your existing house and items (like the scraped kitchen floor.)
After you have selected three or four finalists, have them come buy for an in house estimate, unless you have a smaller project, then a phone estimate, should suffice, if they email or fax a signed contract that guarantees the offered price. Clarify whether the time covered in the move is door to door, or if there is an additional cost for the time from their office to your residence. Make sure the person giving the estimate knows any complications they may encounter at the destination. Are there stairs, narrow halls, low ceilings.
Make sure you have the following when you have finished talking to the estimator:
- The company’s full name and any other names under which it does business.
- The company’s address, phone numbers, and e-mail and website addresses.
- Names and contact information for the company’s references.
- USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) and MC (motor carrier) license numbers.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation booklet called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.” Federal law requires any interstate mover to provide you with this guide, which is the official rule book of the interstate moving industry. For in-state moves, movers are regulated by the state’s department of transportation or its public utilities or commerce commission. Some states publish their own moving-guide pamphlets.
Make sure you get a written estimate that sets out the hourly rates and any additional costs you may incur (for supplies, tolls, driving time to and from the mover’s facilities). If you’re not sure about anything in the estimate, call and ask. And have the company send you a revised written estimate if necessary―don’t just take someone’s word for anything.