A little anxious about hiring some unknown moving company to transport all your earthly possessions to a new home? Follow these steps to finding a reputable moving company and a little peace of mind.
Choose the kind of mover you need, such as a relocation service, interstate moving company, local mover, pack-and-stack service, household shipper or trucking service.
Talk to friends, neighbors and co-workers for personal recommendations and warnings.
The thought of moving your own items can put a damper on the excitement of moving to a new location. For this reason, moving companies offer an invaluable service, relieving you of the energy-draining process of moving. However, before you hire a mover, do your research to avoid inept service and scams.
Ask your friends, co-workers and local real estate agents to recommend some moving companies. You can also check the telephone book for nearby moving companies. Locate your own list of movers and refrain from using websites that offer to find a moving service for you; some of these sites are scams.
After attaining a list of at least three movers, perform a background check on each one. You can do this by visiting the Better Business Bureau’s website. Also, visit moving.org, the American Moving and Storage Association’s (AMSA; see Resources) to see if they are a member of the organization. AMSA’s membership includes a list of over 3,200 professional movers specializing in moving household goods locally and interstate. Membership in this organization means that the moving company has agreed to follow AMSA’s published tariffs (charges, rates and transportation rules) and to partake in its arbitration process. Additionally, see Resources for a list of companies with consumer complaints filed against them.
When you decide to move to a new home or office, you trust the moving company to be dependable and careful. However, if your moving company has damaged your furniture, appliances or other possessions through negligence or recklessness, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Likewise, the company may be liable for expenses you incurred due to lateness or avoidable problems such as transportation. After careful review of the situation and the events that occurred, if you feel the moving company was at fault—and they disagree—you can file a petition in either small claims or civil court.
Document the damage right away. If you witness the movers acting irresponsibly or against your specific instructions, make sure to alert them to the situation at hand. As soon as you are aware of the situation, take photographs of the actions of the movers (if possible) and of the damaged items. Get the names of the movers and contact the company immediately. If you were inconvenienced by other issues such as transportation or lateness, document the date, time and person you spoke to regarding the problems.
Carefully review your contract. If you have used a reputable company, you most likely signed a contract specifying the obligations and limitations. Normally, this contract releases the company from responsibility if the damage was unavoidable or occurred while the movers were careful and exercising due diligence. However, some contracts release the company from all liability. If you did not have a contract—or it was verbal—discuss the situation with your point-of-contact person.
A residential moving company can be run from home, and there are franchise opportunities. Individuals always need residential moving services, so business should be steady.
At first, you will not need to register your business, as you will be a sole proprietor in most cases, although it is highly recommended you do so. Starting a residential moving business can be low cost, requiring little investment.