Questions to Ask Before Hiring Movers

Before choosing a moving company, know what questions to ask about their accreditation, process, price, and more.

Molly Henderson

Molly has been writing about the moving industry for more than 10 years and knows exactly what makes a mover great.

 ·  6 min

Preparing to move to a new home requires a lot of time, energy, and effort. Everyone can agree that moving is stressful no matter the circumstances.

Fortunately, for your sake, there are ways to alleviate the pressures. You want to hire interstate movers to help, even if it is just hauling boxes from point A to point B.

Some professionals even help pack every single item of yours, like utensils and other belongings.

What is most important to remember whether you are a first-time mover or have been in the game for quite some time, you never want to relinquish control of every possession.

Take careful thought and consideration in choosing your long-distance movers. A lengthy interstate move may mean that your belongings stay in the movers’ care for days or weeks. Ask important questions before you agree to anything or sign a contract.

After all, you are essentially allowing strangers to pick up everything you own and drive away with it. It’s important to be on the lookout for scams and know what to ask before getting started. 

We have assembled a checklist of the appropriate questions to ask any moving company and storage unit. It starts with experience.

A track record demonstrates a moving company’s ability to deliver the results you want, making it well worth the investment. 

Basic Questions to Ask Before Hiring Movers

How are you regulated?

American moving companies are not regulated by state or local governments. In fact, they are regulated by the federal government through the Interstate Commerce Commission. If you are planning to hire a New York City moving company, local laws may not apply to them, especially when moving across state lines.

Moving companies need to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This is where you can look up the company’s USDOT number and run a background check to see how many complaints they have on file. You might not find smaller local moving companies on that site, but you should still ask for their DOT number.

Are you licensed?

Anytime you make a long-distance move, the moving company should have a US DOT number. This license number is unique to the company and issued by the US Department of Transportation. You can verify your mover’s DOT number by searching it in their database. 

For those moving within their own state, the moving company is required to have a state license. You never want to hire a moving company without a license number. If the name doesn’t match the license holder’s name, that is also a red flag.

Look to hire businesses that have been in the moving industry for years rather than fake moving companies who change names frequently to escape a poor reputation.  

Are you insured?

You want to confirm that the moving company is insured on the same page or website where you verified the license. Don’t ever hire movers without insurance. This will protect your belongings. 

It is also a good time to check and see if your personal items are covered during a move under homeowners’ or renters’ policies. If that is not the case, you should consider supplemental moving insurance.

A couple of good resources are or  

How much do you charge?

There are several factors that contribute to the overall pricing of your move. You want to essentially get what you pay for, so if you hire a well reputable company, it may come at a price. Be on the lookout for low rates because they don’t necessarily mean a low final bill. 

You want to ask how many professional movers and moving crew will be on-site for the job, how they plan on protecting your belongings, and whether there are additional charges for fuel or the building type. Building type applies mainly to apartments that may or may not have an elevator, for example.

It is mandated by law that a moving company can only give rates on the phone, not estimated. It is important to have an estimator from the company meet you on-site or virtually to do a walk-through and give you an accurate estimate.

This would be a good time to also ask if they do binding or non-binding estimates. 

What is your timeline?

You need to know how long the job will take and if the movers will manage to complete everything you need in one day. This question sets you up to make the necessary preparations before the moving company arrives at your home.

If you have kids or pets, you might want to make arrangements for a sitter. 

Depending on the size of your move too will determine when you need to board a flight, when you hand the keys over to your old landlord if you are moving out of an apartment, parking availability, and elevator reservations.

Knowing their travel time is important.

What services do you offer?

You need to know what kind of services the company offers. This answer will vary depending again on the moving company you decide to use.

Be as direct as possible and ask about unpacking and packing services, shuttle services, flight charges, long carry fees, parking issues, storage in transit, furniture disassembly, warehouse handling, and anything else on your mind. Also, ask what services come with extra charges. 

Otherwise, you will have to make arrangements outside the moving company for all of the services required for moving.

What is your cancellation policy?

Any moving company should not request a deposit that exceeds 20% of the total moving cost. You need to make sure it is refundable if something happens, and you have to cancel the move or change the date. It is helpful to know if you will be reimbursed if the company fails to meet your standards.

Do you charge extra fees?

Once again, whichever moving company you use will determine whether or not they charge additional fees. One key component is that the moving company is insured and liable for any damages. Basic liability protection only covers $0.60 per pound per item. It does not allow for damage claims either.

Your selected moving company should be able to offer you full value protection for an extra fee, of course. Anything short of this, and you should either drop the company’s services or purchase additional moving insurance from a third party if the moving company passes all other areas of legitimacy.

Do you handle last-minute moves?

Even though this is far from an ideal situation to be in, some moving companies do offer same-day moving services. Last-minute moving services are much more difficult to come by, and if you do not have a moving company assisting you for a big move, you are in for a long night. With a local move, it might be easier to find a reputable moving company with last-minute movers or, at the very least, storage options. 

Do you sell insurance?

All licensed moving companies are mandated to offer valuation options and released value protection. Every moving company will offer some type of value policy too. This does vary from company to company, so do your research. You should also ask about liability coverage options. Different companies will have other policies regarding what they cover. 

Are you BBB accredited?

A Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation indicates that a business meets the standards and is committed to making a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaint or issues. Customer reviews influence the ratings of a company’s BBB credit report.

You want a trustworthy and reliable company to assist you with your move, so looking for that BBB Accreditation is vital if you want quality service.

How do you calculate quotes/estimates?

One of the most effective ways to save money is to use a reliable moving cost calculator for a moving quote. All you have to do is fill out where you are moving from and the destination of your new home. Select the size of your move, in bedrooms, how many packers you desire, and your move date.

All of these elements help determine an accurate cost estimate from the top movers in the country.

Who has the best moving insurance?

There is no right or wrong answer. You can consider the cost of the policy, how far you are moving, if storage is necessary, the value of your belongings, whether you own items of great value and how the moving company’s reputation holds up.

Does the moving company have questions for you?

Any mover who has pure intentions of doing their best to perform the tasks at hand will be thoughtful enough to ask you questions about any information you may have forgotten to share. It is on the movers to come up with practical tips and suggestions to help you prepare.

This should be the last but very defining moment that you have indeed found the best professional moving company for you.

When you are comfortable enough to make a clear and informed decision regarding the moving company of your choice, you have just tackled the first part of the process.

After your delivery date and everything has been dropped off and delivered to your new home, you are responsible for preparing your new home. You want to think about each item or belonging placement and be patient with yourself and everyone else around you.

If you are having difficulty deciding where to put everything, try to fabricate an idea before setting it up. The main focus is to then place everything swiftly. Try to remove bulky boxes first as they are easier to place, and it frees up space for you to work.

Every move involves a great deal of change. You need to be patient with any news, unexpected events, fatigue, or other problems that may arise during the move.

Getting used to your new home, environment, and town will not happen overnight. It takes a little time to get used to your new situation. Once you have some time under your belt and an established routine, you will feel more at home.   

Molly Henderson

Molly has been writing about the moving industry for more than 10 years and knows exactly what makes a mover great.

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