Back to blogs

What Questions to Ask a Moving Company

Monday, May 1, 2023

After thinking long and hard, you’ve decided to move. Congratulations! Making up your mind about what to do is the first step toward getting it done. 

But then a million questions pop into your mind. Which mover should I trust with my possessions? Will they be able to handle my king-sized bed? And what about my fish tank?

Moving to a new home can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, especially when it comes to choosing the right moving company. 

In this blog post, Shyft will discuss what questions to ask a moving company to make an informed decision and ensure a smooth and successful move. Do your homework thoroughly to avoid moving scams, overcharging, and unnecessary stress.

A couple over 50 posing for a photo in a garden

What to Ask a Moving Company About Experience and Credentials

Experience and credentials are the first things to establish before you hire a moving company. By asking the following questions, you will get a reasonably accurate overview of who you are dealing with. 

How long has the company been in business?

While it is certainly possible for a start-up to offer impeccable service, the number of years in business can indicate a company’s good standing. 

Is the company licensed? 

Ask the moving company whether they are registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and have a number issued by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT). All interstate moving companies should have a USDOT license. Many states, but not all, also require local movers to have a USDOT number, so it is best to check with your relevant state agency.

Is the company a carrier or broker? 

You need to know whether the company you are talking to will handle the move or contract it out to an affiliated mover. Some moving companies operate as both carriers and brokers. They usually have subcontractors to handle the unloading in case of interstate or long-distance moves.

Does the company have experience with your special requirements? 

Make sure to hire the right type of mover if you are moving internationally, interstate, or long-distance, or if you have specialty goods such as works of art that need to be transported at optimal temperature and humidity conditions.   

What about the company’s employees?

You can learn a lot about a company from how they hire and treat their workforce. Are the workers full-time, seasonal, or temporary employees? Are they background-checked and trained? Also, find out whether they are covered by workers’ compensation.

A retired man on a phone discussing his moving options with a moving company

What Questions to Ask When Hiring a Moving Company About Services They Offer

Relocation entails much more than moving your personal belongings from one point to another. You will want your goods to arrive on time and undamaged. To ensure everything goes smoothly, know what questions to ask when hiring a moving company.

Does the company guarantee pickup and delivery dates? 

Movers generally guarantee the pickup date. Many give an estimated delivery date. You should be able to get a reimbursement if your goods arrive late only when movers commit in writing to a specific delivery date. 

What services does the company offer?

A standard relocation package usually includes an in-home estimate, protective furniture wrapping, loading, unloading, and basic liability insurance. Some companies also offer comprehensive moving insurance, packing and unpacking, furniture assembly and disassembly, appliance attachment, and more. These services come with an extra cost.

How do you handle claims and damages?

Accidents can always happen, so find out about the moving company’s claims process. Ask whether your moving insurance covers the items you pack yourself (it usually does not). 

Is there anything you won’t transport? 

Household movers cannot transport certain flammable and dangerous articles. The moving company you are interviewing will be able to give you a list of items that are not allowed to relocate. If applicable, ask about the transportation of pets, plants, and high-value possessions.

A messy room with packing boxes

What Questions to Ask a Moving Company About Pricing and Payment

Cost is one of the main factors when choosing which moving company to hire. Enquire closely about the mover’s pricing policy and payment options.

How do you determine your pricing? 

Local movers usually charge by the hour and the number of workers required for the job, while interstate and long-distance movers base their prices on the weight and sometimes the volume of your belongings.

Are your quotes binding?

A binding quote means that you will pay exactly the amount quoted. Many moving companies will only give non-binding estimates, which means the price is subject to change depending on actual costs. According to FMCSA, the final cost cannot be more than 10% higher than the non-binding estimate. The mover may also charge up to 15% of the original non-binding estimate in case of impracticable operation, for example, if they cannot pick up or deliver goods with their truck and have to find another loading or unloading solution.

What are your payment options? 

Most moving companies accept cash, checks, and credit cards. Some movers require full payment upon delivery, while others are prepared to wait a specific period, usually 30 days.

Do you require a deposit?

Moving companies may ask for a deposit. The amount varies but should not be more than 25% of the estimate. 

What is your cancellation policy? 

Ask how many days in advance you must cancel the move you booked to get a refund on your deposit. Most moving companies have a two or three-week notice policy on cancellations. 

Do you offer any discounts?

Students, military personnel, and retirees have a good chance of getting a discount with most moving companies. Even if you don’t belong to any of these groups, it is a good idea to ask.

What Questions to Ask Moving Companies About Customer Service

You will, of course, want to hire a mover that provides stellar customer service. Here is how to determine whether the company you are considering fits the bill.

How does the company communicate with customers?

It is frustrating to be left in the dark while your life’s possessions are traveling to the final destinations. Ask who will be your point of contact and how they will communicate with you throughout the moving process. Also, ask whether the moving company offers shipment tracking.

Can the company give you customer references?

When looking to hire movers, remember to ask them to provide references from previous customers. Then check their online reputation and whether they had any complaints filed against them with the Better Business Bureau or other organizations.

How to Avoid Moving Company Scams

If you’ve asked all the right questions, noted the answers, and checked online reviews, the chances are high that you’ll avoid a moving scam

Typical signs of moving scams include unusually low estimates, lack of proper licensing, inability to provide references, poor online reviews, unmarked trucks, and an upfront payment policy.

A smiling couple over 50 getting to know a new place after relocating

Shyft Connects You With Reliable Moving Companies

Now that you know what questions to ask moving companies, you may proceed to get several different moving quotes. Generally, each company you short-list will require a home visit to survey your belongings and give you a quote. 

Or you can skip the hard work and let AARP® Moving Services powered by Shyft connect you with the mover that suits your needs and budget. 

AARP Moving Services powered by Shyft is an online platform that helps people over 50 enjoy a stress-free and smooth moving process. 

Shyft has an extensive network of reputable movers ready to bid on your move. This ensures that you get the most competitive pricing. The quotes you obtain through Shyft are binding. What’s more, they are generated without any movers setting foot into your house.

As a cherry on top, all AARP members get a discount of up to $250!

The Ease of Moving the Shyft Way 

A Shyft representative will take stock of your moving inventory without entering your home. Instead, this is done via a video call with the help of the innovative Shyft Next app.  

You do not need to undertake a tedious search for quotes. Simply download the Shyft Next app on your iPhone or Android device and schedule a video call with a Shyft representative online or by calling 1-888-501-3181.  

You will be assigned a dedicated Move Coach who will be your point of contact throughout the move.

The first task of your Move Coach will be to video-call you at the time you set. During the next 30 minutes, you will point the camera on your device at the items you want to move. The Shyft App will create the inventory list, and your knowledgeable Move Coach will advise you on your options and costs. Feel free to ask them all the questions summarized in this blog and any other you think of.

About half an hour after the video call, the Shyft Move Coach will send you your inventory list, containing all your belongings destined for the move and all the services you have requested. The list is typically 95% accurate. You may change it, adding or removing specific items or services.  

When you are happy with the inventory list, your dedicated Move Coach will send it to the secure platform together with all relevant information, but without your details. There, hundreds of verified professional moving companies will bid for your move. This process guarantees that you get the best pricing.

Your Move Coach will then send you three or more top quotes to choose from. When you accept a quote, it becomes binding. The price cannot change, providing you book the move before the quote expiry date and do not alter any details.

Your dedicated Move Coach will oversee the whole process from start to finish. Regardless of which company handles your move, you can call Shyft 24/7. You will work with people who know how to do their job well and are ready to help with everything you need.

The Shyft moving checklist will help you do that, so keep it handy.

Get Free Moving Quotes