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American Moving and Storage Association. An AMSA provider has passed AMSA background screening with government authorities at the state or federal level, as well as with their Better Business Bureau chapter and pledged to abide by and uphold the AMSA Code of Ethics, a great start for finding a reputable team. Beyond that, make sure you take the time to “interview” a few different service providers to pick the one that best meets your needs.
- How long has your company been in business and can you provide me with references from past clients? RED FLAG: If a mover is unable to provide any information supporting an established business with credible references, you might want to look elsewhere. It is not uncommon to find “movers” who often change names and information to avoid a trail of bad reviews and dissatisfied customers.
- What is your experience level and do you have any speciality experience? If you are relocating to an urban area with walk-ups and freight elevators, or small streets, make sure that your moving company is equipped to handle that. Additionally, if you are looking to hire someone to move large pieces, such as a grand piano, make sure you disclose this information and discuss other options if they are unable to equip your specific needs.
- Are you licensed by the USDOT and insured? RED FLAG: If a company is unable to provide you with documentation of licensing and insurance, chances are, if something goes wrong, the DOT and other organizations might not be able to help you. Always do your homework and make sure that your service providers checkout.
- Are you licensed for State and Interstate Transport? This is key if you are moving across state lines, you will want to make sure that the company you select is licensed to handle a move, whether its across town or across the country.
- What is your insurance & liability coverage for lost or damaged items? Do you offer additional moving insurance? It is SO important to make sure that you understand the liability and insurance policies of your relocation partner prior to your move. By law, your mover should provide you with a document outlining your rights & responsibilities during your move. If they do not, this is a RED FLAG, and it might be best to look elsewhere.
- What is your availability for the time frame I am looking to move in and how firm are your dates? Do you have any consolidation policies and what are your delivery windows? If your moving dates are in a tight window and you don’t have much room for error when it comes to the process, make sure you communicate that and have a discussion about the process, especially if you are moving from state-to-state when shipments might take a few days to reach their destination, as opposed to across town, which might be completed same day.
- What are the restrictions or changes to liability if I am interested in packing items myself? How does this affect the cost of my relocation? Everything is give and take, while it might be a cost savings on the front end to pack items yourself, make sure you understand how that might change the liability and insurance of your items during the process.
- What costs are included in my quote? Are there any other factors that could contribute to the cost that are not listed here? Make sure to ask about rate changes and add-on fees, a reliable company should and would disclose this information to you, if asked, so make sure it’s a part of the discussion. Things like fuel cost, moving extra items from storage or new items purchased prior to the move, peak season rate changes, etc. should be discussed to make sure you get the most accurate picture of what your final bill may look like.
- What supplies and equipment are provided? What items will result in additional charges? Make sure to check and see if prices of packing materials, and speciality equipment are included or if you will incur additional charges after a specific amount of supplies is used. This might also be a good time to discuss the crew size that will be used for your move so you know what to expect on the day of your relocation.
- What forms of payment do you accept and what is your typical payment process? RED FLAG: If a company only accepts cash or demands a large deposit upfront for services, it might be worth looking into other options. This could be a sign that things might go south later on and then you will be out the funds with no way to track it or stop payment if the services end up being fraudulent.
Hiring any type of service provider should be grounds for doing some extra digging to make sure that you are getting the best service possible, but knowing and trusting your moving company is key! If you are unable to confidently turn over your belongings to your relocation company without fear or worry that something might go awry in the process, we suggest getting back to square one and taking these questions along as you interview new service providers.