In 2019, nearly 31 million people moved — with over a third of those choosing to hire professional movers to do the job for them. But when hiring the pros, how do you know if a moving company is legitimate? It’s up to you to decide whether you should move yourself or hire movers. But working with a reputable company to do the work for you might be one of the best things you can do for yourself. By taking a few early precautions before you even start packing, you can make smart decisions and not be scammed by a rogue moving company.
Check with the ATA
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is an industry organization that represents private van lines and independent moving companies. In 2020, the ATA created a Moving & Storage Conference to advocate for safety and security within the industry. It’s important to note that not all high-quality, reputable movers are members of the ATA Moving & Storage Conference, but if they are, you can be sure they’re dependable.
Ask the Right Questions
When determining what the best moving company is for you, you’ll need to ask some specific questions to avoid moving scams. Some suggestions:
- How long have they been in business?
- Are they licensed, insured and bonded?
- Can they provide references for previous moves?
- Are they able to provide federal and state Department of Transportation license numbers?
- Pro-Tip: If a company will provide you with their licensing numbers, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website. Here, you can confirm that the moving company has provided accurate details about its size, address, history, insurance and licensing.
Research Reviews and Complaints
A smart step is to visit the Better Business Bureau website to determine if there are any consumer complaints about your potential movers and what their overall BBB rating is. Additionally, comb through reviews from previous customers on Google, or through sites like Yelp and Facebook. While community-based review aggregators are not always 100% reliable and could be filled with shills creating falsely positive reviews for the company, it should be able to provide a general snapshot of what you might be getting yourself into.
Ask Your Network for Recommendations
Most people know at least one or two friends or family members who have moved with a professional moving company. Reach out to your network either in person or on social media to ask for recommendations from people whose opinions you can trust and count on.
Watch Out for Warning Signs
Unfortunately, there are always people looking to take advantage of others — and some of them have gotten very good at it. Before you decide to hire a mover, be on the lookout for a few red flags that could signal trouble ahead:
- The low quote. If a quote seems too good to be true, chances are it is. Disreputable companies may make you an offer you can’t refuse in the hopes that you won’t, but when moving day arrives, your movers and your deposit are nowhere to be found.
- Asking for a deposit. While some moving companies may request a deposit, the majority of them will not. Instead, you’ll be asked to provide payment upon final delivery and completion of services.
- A low profile. If you find the name of a mover that seems generic, or if it’s hard to find any information about them online either through a website or reviews, chances are something shady is afoot and they should be avoided.
A great place to start looking for a professional, scam-free moving company? Atlas! We have a track record of professional service dating back to 1948, and all of our agents are happy to provide key information such as insurance details and FMCSA registration numbers when asked. To learn more, get in touch with your local agent today!