The Right Move

There are plenty of moving companies out there

Searching for a mover? Ick.  The thought of it is enough to send us careening toward a Netflix marathon and a bottle of cabernet.  How do we know we’re getting an honest one?  Or, what if we pay too much?  Like a grand too much?  Well, don’t worry, because we’ve done the heavy lifting for you.  Here are five tips to help you find an upper echelon mover, one who’ll keep all your beautiful Anthropologie pieces in one piece and get your belongings to their destination on time.

Get recommendations.

Ask your co-workers, friends and local real estate agents if they know of someone.  Then look in your local phonebook for moving companies that have offices near your home.  Don’t get sucked into those websites that offer to help you “find a mover”.  And don’t assume that big companies are best.

You’ll want to get in-person estimates of how much your move will cost.  Have someone to come over, examine every closet and every room, and then give you an estimate.  And you’ll want to get at least three to four in-home estimates.  Shop around.

Do an initial screening.

Just like with new boyfriends, go online and do a quick background check (NOT kidding re: the boyfriends. Who hasn’t googled their dates?).  Go to the Better Business Bureau’s website ( and/or call the American Moving and Storage Association (, 703-683-7410,  If the company is a member, it has agreed to abide by the organization’s published tariffs and participate in its arbitration program.  If the company isn’t on AMSA, don’t rule them out.  AMSA is voluntary and if the company checks out in all other ways, they’re probably a perfectly acceptable option. Online reviews offer some of the best feedback and general information around.

Ask questions.

Give the estimator as much information as possible.  Show him or her everything that’s going to be packed, including the backyard, attic and basement.  Make sure to tell them about any special conditions your new home may have, like elevators or stairs.  Here’s the information you need to gather before the estimator leaves:

-Confirm that their company will be moving you themselves, and not contracting the job out to another mover.

-Find out how long the company’s been in business (Ideally, you want to go with a company that’s been around for a while).

-Obtain their company’s USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) and MC (motor carrier) license numbers.

-Request names and contact numbers for the company’s references.

-Obtain the company’s full name and address under which it does business and any other relevant contact information like email addresses and websites.

Compare the estimates.

If there’s one bid that’s much lower than the others, be wary.  For the high bids, look and see where the extra costs are coming from.  And if you get several reasonable bids, don’t be afraid to negotiate and get the best possible rate.

Check them out one last time.

There are  movers out there who solicit business illegally, so make sure your moving company has the license and insurance and conducts business  by the book.  Go to, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website and search for the company’s USDOT number.  You’ll be shown information on the company, including how many trucks and drivers the company owns, its safety rating and whether or not it holds a  license to carry “Household Goods,” (which you definitely want it to be).

Finding a mover can be daunting, but if you do your research and keep the tips above in mind, you might be able to save some money—and hopefully some family heirlooms.

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Natalie Holtz
Natalie Holtz is an avid blogger and freelance journalist living in San Diego. Her work has been featured in regional magazines and by online publications such as WordPress' Freshly Pressed, Elephant Journal and Quarterlette. Inspired by her real estate-saavy grandmother, Natalie dreams about owning a house with a clawfoot bathtub and a garden. She is also passionate about empowering others to live their best lives through her writing. For more on Natalie, visit her blog
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