Hiring any type of service provider can be a daunting prospect. Depending on the service provider you need, from plumbers to electricians to movers, both skill levels and licensing requirements vary drastically.
Many, if not most, of these industries have very little regulation, so it can be difficult to determine in advance whether the person you are hiring genuinely has the credentials to do a good job. People get ripped off just as frequently by big companies as by small ones. When it comes to service providers, you don’t always get what you pay for, and there are rarely any refunds if you don’t like the service provided. In fact, moving fraud is quite common, so it’s important to do your due diligence before hiring a mover.
Here are five tips to help you find a legitimate moving company.
1. Ask for recommendations
Asking for recommendations is one of the best ways to find a legitimate mover. When you ask, however, also make sure it is a company the person has actually worked with personally and not just “a buddy of mine owns a moving company” type of recommendations.
If they haven’t used the company’s services personally, take their recommendation with a grain of salt.
2. Check online reviews
While online reviews are not always foolproof, they can be a definite red flag if there are too many poor reviews. Keep in mind, however, even complaints are not necessarily a guaranteed deal breaker as even movers have competitors that can sometimes play dirty by leaving bad reviews for competing companies.
Some companies also pay to have people write good reviews as well, so good or bad reviews are not an automatic green light or red flag, just one of many things to pay attention to.
3. Ask for and check references
Keep in mind, when you ask a business for references, they may or may not be legitimate. Once again, asking for and checking references is important but on their own, they are not foolproof.
They are one of many places you want to source information to get a full picture of just how reputable the movers are.
4. Ask for estimates
At minimum, you should get at least three estimates and compare both costs and services. While you shouldn’t always just go for the lowest estimates, you shouldn’t necessarily just go for the highest either.
Some shady companies know there are plenty of people who think that if they pay more, they get more. In addition, sometimes, you may get a significantly lower bid because they are offering far fewer services.
Once you figure out you actually need those services, they will charge you far more for them individually than you might have paid in a package deal with another company.
5. Check their licenses and insurance
Some states do not actually require licenses, so if you are moving in a state that doesn’t require it, not having it is not necessarily a red flag. What they should have, however, is insurance.
In Minnesota, for instance, movers are required to register with the state and provide proof of insurance, but this is not true in every state. Interstate movers, however, are required to be licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association and should have a US DOT number. Sites like Cheap Movers Minneapolis can help you verify which companies are actually licensed in your area.
You should also check to see if the mover has a dispute settlement program and familiarize yourself with the information contained in the booklet Your Rights And Responsibilities When You Move, published by the Federal Government.