Questions to Ask the Movers

Before you even have the moving company do a walk-through of your home, ask these questions while you have them on the phone. This is your chance to interview the company to see if they are going to meet your needs.

  • Registration Number The moving company should have a registration number with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), called a USDOT number (US Department of Transportation Number). If a company only travels within one state, than they may not be registered. You can check online with FMCSA.
  • Rates and Estimates Ask the company what there rate is; most companies will provide a rate per pound and a distance rate. If the company offers a quote based on cubic feet – do not hire them. A company estimate must be based on weight if you’re moving long-distances. For short-distances, some companies will charge a per hour rate. Keep in mind that the moving company must give you an estimate in writing and they must provide you with a copy. The estimate must include all charges and both you and the mover must sign it for it to be an agreement. The estimate must also indicate the method of payment and be dated.
  • Subcontractors Some of the larger movers subcontract to a smaller company. If this is the case with the company you are thinking of using, ask for the subcontractor’s name and if the company uses several subcontractors, ask for a complete list.

If subcontractors are used, make sure you check out the drivers to ensure you’ll still receive good service. Most subcontractors are local movers who have purchased their own truck for transport. We’ve worked with subcontractors before and have had very good service.

  • Additional Fees Find out if there are any additional fees or when additional fees apply. Some companies will charge extra for awkward items, or if the destination does not have easy access, or if the load has to be hand-carried over a certain distance. To avoid such costs, note any larger items and pre-arrange where the truck can park, if there are any stairs, and if you are moving to a condo or high-rise, investigate any possible obstructions such as elevator usage and load restrictions. These extra charges are called flight charges and long carry charges and they should be discussed with your mover ahead of time. If you’re well organized, have arranged for parking and elevator usage, these charges should not apply.
  • Additional Transfers For long distance moves some companies may transfer your belongings from one truck to another. Additional transfers increase the possibility of damage and loss. Keep this in mind when you are choosing your carrier and ask beforehand. Also, if you are moving during the winter or rainy season, find out if the company protects against water damage.
  • Insurance Ask detailed questions about insurance. The moving company will provide insurance at an additional cost. Insurance is usually based on weight, so you will need to assess the value of your goods versus what the insurance policy will provide should your belongings arrive damaged or not at all.
  • Packing/Storage Services Find out how items are protected and labeled. Most companies will shrink-wrap our sofa and provide a free blanket wrap service; smaller companies may charge for his service. Make sure you keep an accurate list of all your items, number of boxes, single pieces and odds and ends.
  • Complaints and Claims Ask the company if they have any unresolved complaints or claims against them. Most will give you a history of complaints and claims, and if they were resolved satisfactory for the client. Ask for Referrals/Recommendations. Most reliable companies will automatically provide you with letters of happy clients. And although anyone with a printer and computer could generate supportive documents, you can usually assume they are legitimate and factual.