There are a lot of great moving companies out there, but a moving business can also be a guise for a scam meant to extort money from innocent people by holding their belongings hostage. There are some tried and true ways to avoid having this happen to you. To keep your move stress-free and honest, keep an eye out for the following red flags when you’re vetting movers:
If you're hiring a mover for an interstate move, they’ll need a US Department of Transportation (USDOT) license. For local movers, requirements will vary based on your state. Some states still require movers to hold a valid license from the USDOT, but not all do. Check with your local or county consumer affairs office or your state attorney general’s office to know the rules in your area.
Once you know if your state requires movers to have a USDOT license, you can check for a list of registered movers to ensure your chosen moving company complies.
If you’re moving internationally, be sure to ask if the company is registered with an international movers’ federation. If they are registered with a federation, ask to see proof of that membership as well as the company’s Federal Maritime Commission number.
Long-distance moves can be within the same state, but often this term is used to mean a move that crosses state lines. If that’s the case for you, you’ll need to take extra steps to ensure your moving company has the licenses needed to transport your things from one state to another. Local moving companies may need licenses but have fewer requirements than long-distance movers.
It’s okay to be overly skeptical if you ask a mover if they handle long-distance or interstate moves and you get an answer like “We can” or “That should be fine.” There are specific rules around interstate moves, and your mover should be confident in their answer, indicating that they’ve done this before and have the required certifications and licenses.
Smaller moving companies can be great to work with when you hire movers. However, you may want peace of mind with a recognizable, big-name company for long-distance moves.
Be sure to research long-distance move insurance options. Be clear that your goods must be insured from the start to the end of the journey. Be sure to ask your moving company for a free moving valuation. Finally, always ask for three different cost estimates. An in-person estimate not only provides you with financial considerations, but allows you to evaluate the professionalism of the company. Once you choose a moving company, you have made a commitment. It makes sense to do research up front to make the move safe and efficient.
The worst-case scenario when you hire movers is paying a large upfront deposit and then your belongings disappear. Calls and emails go unreturned for days or weeks, and finding an address for the company is difficult or impossible. Some scams demand more money for the safe return of your property, which could be damaged if you even get it back.
Taking the precautions we’ve outlined will help you avoid this situation. Still, suppose you have a bad experience with your moving company. In that case, you can take steps to help others avoid having the same experience as you:
Below is a handy list of times to get in touch with moving companies to have the smoothest moving experience.
As you’re planning a long-distance move, consider all the options available.
Hire professional movers for everything.
This is the easiest option. Having pros move your things frees you to travel to your new location on your timeline. Maybe you take a vacation on your way or visit family or friends!
However, having professional movers take on an end-to-end job is the most expensive option. Your property will be out of your sight and control during the move and you’ll need to pay for third-party insurance.
Rent a moving truck and pack it yourself.
If you’re looking for the cheapest way to move long distances, this is it! You get to keep your things with you during your whole move and if you plan your route well, you can make some fun road trip stops.
While this is the least expensive option, you’ll need to invest the time to load your moving truck, which is a labor-intensive job. Plus, someone needs to drive the truck, which can be an experience if you’ve never driven a large vehicle before.
Rent a moving truck, but hire movers to help load and unload.
This option allows you to leave the heavy lifting to the pros and since movers charge by the hour, if you’re well-organized, you can have them in and out in a few hours for a reasonable price. Movers also come prepped with plastic wrap and will disassemble furniture like your bedframe or dining room table if you don’t have time to do it yourself.
If you choose this option, make sure you label all boxes by room so you can avoid a chaotic unpacking experience. Remember, you’ll still need to have someone onboard used to driving a large moving truck and you won’t have the same flexibility to travel on your schedule since you’ll be paying by the day for your rental truck.
Hire furniture movers and drive the smaller items in your vehicle.
This option allows you to hire out moving the cumbersome things, saving your time (and your back) and if you coordinate with your moving company, you can have all your furniture delivered when you arrive, making the move-in process more pleasant.
Be aware that long-distance furniture movers charge by weight, so if you have lots of heavy wood furniture, it can get costly. Also, fragile items, like glassware, need lots of packing material, so they don’t break during travel. You might end up with more boxes than you can fit in your vehicle.
Coerced, intimated, and lied to. However you chose to move, do NOT move with Save on Moving Inc. Doing so, you will find that their business practices are not just misleading but fraudulent and that their staff is not just discourteous but thuggis...
Are last movers did not show we called Jeffrey's moving company they showed up 90 minutes later and saved the day thanks Jeffrey's !!!!.
If there was a no stars I would have selected that. I had to have them pack and moce to storage and my new home. They didn't care about what they were doing. Just throw everything into boxes. Including medication without asking about it. I had to tell th...
we moved from Redmond washington to Sacremento California it was a successful move at a great price will use Jeffrey's in the future! Thank's Jeffrey's.
Jeffrey's moving company did a great job on are move they packed and moved are 2000 sq. ft home and moved us Enumclaw Washington to fruitland Washington very impressed will recommend to all we know!!!.
moved my 5x15 storage to Portland Oregon good service good price.
First of all the guy was late and had to call the movers few times see where they were. The guy told me if I wanted 4 movers to do the job faster it was more money but I said OK. But only 2 movers showed up and late. The movers did not a very good job mov...
Jeffrey's moving company great movers I was very Impressed with are move will definitely recomend to all I know. chris
Jeffrey's moving company came and unload are 26 ft truck into are new home here in Issaquah Washington tri-level home everything tooken up with out a hitch was very happy with crew will use again Ardith P.
We used Jeffrey's Moving Company to move items from our home to a storage unit for $325... Three months later it is now $625 cash. We had a few extra items left so it was agreed on that those items would be moved the following morning. My daughter went...
When are last moving company didn't show up we went on line and found Jeffrey's moving company, they came within 2 hrs. of are call unloaded are 26 ft. penske into are new home they saved the day will use again. Mike M