Advertiser Disclosure

How to Find Moving Help You Can Trust

Male delivery coworkers unloading sofa from moving van near house
Westend61 / Getty

If you’re asking yourself, “How do I find the best moving companies near me?” you’re not alone. Should you find local movers or go with one of the large moving companies? How do you choose a mover and how do you make sure they’re trust-worthy?

Stop worrying and start deciding with our list of moving tips below.

Tips for finding movers you can trust

You don’t want to be stuck paying movers that handle your belongings carelessly or don’t show up to moving day on time. So, take the time to really think about what moving service you really need and do your research.

1. Ask around

Good news travels fast. Ask your friends and family, your neighbors, and your real estate agent for a referral. If anyone has worked with dependable local movers in the past, it’s a good way to find out.

2. Read the reviews

So you Googled “best moving companies near me” and think you found a winner. Try again. Drop in the word “review” to the end of the company’s name. Are there more positive or negative reviews? Is it a question of customer misunderstandings or something bigger? Dig into online reviews to whittle down your list of potential moving companies. The Better Business Bureau and Yelp are good places to start.

3. Check the USDOT number for interstate moves

All moving companies are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to be registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for interstate moves. FMCSA has a search tool online to find up-to-date registered movers as well as a complaint history.

4. Sign a contract

“This is common sense,” said Justin Lavelle, scams prevention expert and chief communications officer at Been Verified, a background check service. “Get everything in writing to protect yourself from hidden costs. Extra fees should be outlined in the contract so there are no surprises on moving day.”

It’s also a good idea to use a credit card to pay for the move instead of cash, so you can dispute any fraudulent charges.

5. Get at least three quotes

MYMOVE recommends comparing estimates from at least three moving companies during your search. It’s not all about finding the cheapest price, either. It’s a good idea to talk with each company on the phone to get a feel for how comfortable you’ll be working with them. Many movers will even provide an in-person consultation or video call to give you a more accurate estimate.

6. Ask questions and look for red flags

When you’re consulting with a potential mover, be sure to come prepared with plenty of questions. How long has the company been in business? Can they provide any references? Does the quote include extra charges and potential fees? If they’re not able to walk you through any concerns you have, it might be a sign that you’re better off with another company.

7. Verify the address

Every accredited moving company should have a physical office location you can find on their website or a business card. Search the address in Google Maps to double check that it’s registered under the moving company’s name. If you can’t find an address, or if a residential address is listed, you might want to re-consider.

Options to get the moving help you need

1. DIY move

Of all your options, moving your things yourself is one way to make sure that you maintain complete control of the process. But, moving yourself from one place to another is the most exhausting option. First, you line up the moving truck, pay whatever deposits the moving service requires, and then pick it up. After that, you need to pack it, drive the huge truck, and unload all your things within a short window of time. Take too long and you’ll pay more than expected.

2. Rent a moving container

For a non-rushed move, consider a moving container. Many of these companies offer week-long packing periods. If you need more time, pay a little more, and keep packing on your terms. This might be exactly the type of help moving that you’ve been looking for.

When your pickup date arrives, the moving container company will grab your pod and take it away. Where it heads next is up to you. The company could take it to their own on-site secure storage until you’re ready for delivery. Or you can have it hauled to your next location.

You can even keep some moving containers locked and in your front yard — that way you have access to your most precious belongings while you move.

3. Freight trailer moving company

If you pack it, a freight trailer moving company will carry it. Fill the trailer with your stuff in the allotted time, then the company will head back to pick up and deliver the trailer to your new home. You get to skip the fees of having someone else do the packing while avoiding driving a large truck yourself. Just make sure you read reviews about how freight trailer moving companies handle the trailers.

4. Full-service moving service

Skip the hours of packing and figuring out where to put everything. A full-service moving company does everything for you, from packing to lifting; driving to unloading. Like you would while shopping for anything, do your research. Look at reviews of the moving company and see how they are rated on customer service, efficiency, and care. Also, ask about pricing and make sure you understand your moving quote. You don’t want to be stuck with unexpected fees when the job’s done.

5. Ship your belongings

College students and studio apartment dwellers don’t need massive moving operations. When you don’t have much stuff or need to fly to your new home, it may be more cost-effective to ship your things. Pack up your books, clothing, and personal mementos. Compare the rates of the usual shipping services to see where you can save money. Just know, some items could get lost or damaged in transport. Make sure to keep your most precious valuables with you when you move.

The bottom line

Moving should be exciting. Don’t let the stress of organizing your move take away from feeling good about your fresh start. Finding a trustworthy moving company doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

For help moving, consider your circumstances and your budget. Total up the time and energy you will spend moving when deciding on the right moving services for you.

Moving FAQs

Q:

How much should I tip movers?

A:

Whether you provide lunch for your movers or not (and you should), you are expected to tip the moving crew. A gratuity is rarely built into a moving contract. Plan to tip 5% to 10% of your moving costs and divide it by the number of crew members. If the moving company was awful, but the actual moving crew was excellent, set your irritations to the side. Focus on the hardworking crew and tip well.

Q:

How do you know if a moving company is a scam?

A:

If you don’t know anyone in your network who has used a particular company, it doesn’t mean it’s too good to be true. Ask about licensing and insurance. Look for the company on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website. Has the moving company registered with the Department of Transportation (DOT)? It’s one way to make sure the company you choose will have your best interest in mind.

Q:

What is Replacement Value Protection?

A:

Replacement value protection is extra insurance coverage. This supplemental insurance better covers broken or damaged items. If moving destroys some of your stuff, Replacement Value Protection gives you better protection. You’ll receive more money back than you would from general insurance. It will cost extra, but for long-distance moves, it may be worth a look.


Related Articles

Moving Trends: What the Data Says About How Americans Are Moving

How many Americans move every year? About 43.6 million Americans move each year, according to recently released Census Bureau data from 2015 to 2019. That comes out to about 16% of the country.  Most of those movers didn’t go far. 59% stayed in the same county, 24% moved to a different county in the same […]

Read More
10 Tips for Handling Stress During a Move

Moving is stressful. No matter how many times you do it, it’s still a huge undertaking to get your life boxed up and loaded onto a truck. One survey even found that moving was more stressful than a breakup or switching careers. To help make the transition a little easier, try out some of these […]

Read More
What to Do if You Have Trouble Sleeping in Your New Home

The average person spends about 37% of their day sleeping, but about 70 million Americans still suffer from chronic sleep problems. And in the chaos of moving, good sleep is often one of the first things to go. In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of the most common sleep issues affecting movers, along […]

Read More