Choosing a mover can be intimidating work. After all, you’re putting your belongings entirely in someone else’s hands. While it’s nice to have faith in your fellow humans, the truth is that there are lots of moving scams in the U.S. Before you trust a company with your goods, do your homework by asking the questions below, and always try to select a company that has been used already by someone you trust.


Image by Morgan at flickr.
Image by Morgan at flickr.

Are you an online broker?

Why ask: While you may think you’re dealing with a particular moving company, you may actually be talking with a third-party company (a broker) that will give the job to another moving company for a commission. Brokers leave you with no control over which company ends up moving your things. Even worse: If a broker isn’t able to sell your move, you may end up with no mover on your moving day! Learn more about moving brokers at Protect Your Move.


Do you have a brick-and-mortar business?

Why ask: Some supposed moving companies may have an attractive website with a “Contact” page, but no physical existence. Avoid companies that lack a physical address and phone number.


How long have you been in business?

Why ask: It’s wise to hire a company that’s been in business for at least 10 years. Verify length of business and rating at the Better Business Bureau.


What are your USDOT and MC numbers?

Why ask: For interstate moves, make sure the operating numbers given by the company match the searchable database available at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA website.


Are you licensed and insured?

Why ask: Professional movers should be licensed by their state, and bonded and insured. Ask what type of insurance the mover provides: declared value, lump sum value or full value. In addition, check with your insurance agent to see if your belongings are covered during the move.


Will you do an on-site inspection of my goods before providing the written estimate?

Why ask: Moving scams often involve a too-good-to-be-true estimate given online or over the phone without a personal visit. Always ask for a written estimate given after a visit to your home or business.


What payment is required in advance?

Why ask: While it’s acceptable to pay a small deposit to hold your moving date, you should never be asked to pay a large sum or the whole amount in full.


Finally, remember to read the FMCSA’s red flags of moving fraud and know your rights before hiring a mover. On moving day, make sure you receive and carefully review the Bill of Lading, the contract you sign before allowing anything to be loaded. Whew. You’ve done your work, so enjoy the happy move!