Best Moving Companies for Your Money

August 30, 2010

The best moving companies for your money aren’t necessarily the cheapest. When it comes to moving you have to consider not just the hourly rate of the movers but also their level of experience and the speed with which they work.
Since you’re trusting them to load and move all your belongings you want to make sure you’re dealing with a reputable moving company that hires quality movers.  Here are some of the things to look for when you’re screening moving companies.

Best Moving Company Practices

Try and find out a little bit more about the moving company before you sign the paperwork and turn your items over to movers. Some of the things to look for when comparing movers include:

  • License with DOT: The best moving companies are licensed with the Department of Transportation. Check with the moving company’s home state to make sure there is a license.
  • Presence with the BBB: When moving, it is a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureaus about the company in question. Carefully read reviews and identify problem companies.
  • Physical address: The best moving companies have physical addresses that you can visit, and speak with actual people. Be wary of a mover that only has a P.O. box, or that does not have a place for you to visit.
  • Clear about moving services: The best moving companies are clear about what included in the base price, as well as what is extra. Find out how the moving company charges for services (by weight or by space taken up), including whether a certain number of moving boxes are included, whether you get free days of moving storage, and find out what items cost extra.
  • Satisfied customers: You can get recommendations from friends and family, whether you are using local movers or you are making a cross country move. Look online for reviews as well. The best moving companies have reasonably satisfied customers, and that is something to look for.

Moving Companies and Hidden Charges

When choosing a mover, it is important to realize that the cheapest moving companies are not always the best. These companies may offer what seems like a great deal, only to cut corners — or slap you with hidden charges.

Some of the short cuts that movers might take include not packing your items carefully, which can lead to costly damage or even loss. Some moving companies are lax on security, and your items can be stolen out of the moving truck. Even more costly can be the charges that start to add up with some moving companies. Some charges to watch for include:

  • Packing materials: Even if the mover quotes you a price that includes a packing service, the quote may not include the cost of the packing materials, such as moving boxes and tape, used by the company. Make sure your quote includes the cost of packing materials. You might also be charged for moving blankets and other padding.
  • Stairs: Most moving companies charge for moving things up and down stairs. Make sure you let movers know how many stairs you have in your old home and your new home, and tell them to include these charges in their quotes.
  • Distance carry: If a mover has to carry items a distance from your home to the truck, you will be charged. You may also be charged for shuttles if the moving truck can’t get close to your residence.
  • Surcharges: Find out about gas surcharges, as well as charges for going over the quoted weight. You should also look at all the fees for lading and other charges. Find out policies moving companies have for surcharges, and be prepared.
  • Moving storage: If you items arrive before you are ready for them, you may be charged a moving storage fee. Find out what this fee is, and when the moving company begins charging it. Watch out for scammers that hold your items hostage until they are paid an extra amount.

Fixed Rate Moves

There’s a new trend in the local moving industry where some companies are offering fixed price moves. When you schedule your move you give them a list of all the items you need moved and they’ll quote you a fixed rate. Whether it takes them 4 hours, 8 hours, or even longer to move your stuff, the rate they quote you is what you pay.

The benefit of this approach over hourly rate movers is that you know up front what the move will cost you. It also prevents moving companies from inflating the cost of the move by taking longer than it really should pack and haul your household. Hopefully these tips on finding the best moving companies will be useful, good luck moving!


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Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

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