How To Know If A Moving Company Is Taking Advantage Of You

Moving is full of big decisions and consequential tasks. Everything from packing to the physical movement of your belongings from one property to the next ranges from difficult to next to impossible for many homeowners. This is made far worse if you are working with a moving company that isn't taking care of your needs and interests.

Most businesses across the country are upstanding members of the community. Movers are no exception, and most outfits will help you with a great many tasks that constitute the moving process. However, some movers incorporate hidden fees, poor service, and a lack of care into their business model as a result of aggressive profit chasing.

Pony Express Moving Services notes that it can substantially add to the stress if you hire a moving company with an apparent positive record, yet the service you actually receive is a single mover with a small van. Problems with your moving company are compounded by the fact that most people in the midst of a move are working against a very real time crunch. A delay or setback in packing and moving can potentially spell disaster for the entire project.

A bad experience with a moving company sets you up for a rough start when the move should signal a fresh experience and the excitement of a new home. Look to these features to avoid being taken advantage of when moving.

FMCSA licensing is an essential feature of reputable movers

Movers that have been in the business for years are always going to carry relevant licenses and maintain their insurance, business documentation, and more without issue. One of the easiest ways for you to check on the licensing and legitimacy of a moving company is to look for FMCSA licensing, according to The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry, and movers fall within the purview of this charge as a result of their primary function as a business working toward the transportation of goods. A license through this regulatory body signals that a business is legitimate and in good standing with the appropriate authorities. notes that information about licenses and other essential details about the company should be easy to find at the bottom of the brand's webpage. If you can't find these details, then you may be working with a sham business or a fly-by-night operation that won't take good care of your belongings or end up leaving you in a lurch after you've paid for the service.

Quality businesses will never try to hide information about their compliance with the law, regulatory authorities, and insurance coverage details. These pieces of added information make a brand more trustworthy, not less. If you have been speaking with a company that doesn't advertise these details, then you should likely look elsewhere for moving services.

Check the measurement a mover charges by reports that most moving companies will estimate and ultimately charge based on a measurement of weight. Weighing the truck before loading your belongings and then again once it's been packed up is the industry standard for pricing. Movers offer estimates in one of two ways through this method, based on federal law (via Movers can provide a non-binding estimate, which gives them wiggle room on the price if it turns out that the weight of items exceeds (or turns out to be less than) the initial estimate. However, the revised price cannot rise by more than 10% of the original estimate. Another option is with a binding estimate, which serves as a wholesale price for the job. These estimates are a guaranteed rate for agreed-upon services.

Some companies may try to provide you with a contract that offers a maximum price; although, with the addition of hidden fees for a number of tiny details, the total cost of the move can skyrocket if you hire an unreputable company. The means by which weights are taken factor into this equation as a central component because one trick that a mover can pull on you is to offer an estimate based on cubic foot or square foot. A size estimate turns the tables on the client and provides movers with a considerable amount of wiggle room to increase the price.

A very short or non-written contract

With any kind of business arrangement between client and service provider, a written contract is an essential element. When hiring a mover, the contract will help you understand your responsibilities as the client, as well as the services that you will receive in return (via Primarily, a contract will outline how much (and when) you'll pay the mover for their assistance. It also sheds light on any packing and preparation responsibilities that you might have before the movers take over the project of relocating your belongings.

A verbal contract should always be avoided, but short or otherwise non-specific contracts are also potentially problematic. A short contract likely doesn't include all the necessary language about remedying damages through insurance or other means, timelines for pickup or delivery, and other essential details. also notes that a blank contract may also be a tactic used by shady moving businesses. This approach is just asking for trouble because it doesn't spell out details on the pricing or how the calculation is to be done. With a contract that doesn't list out exactly what is to be expected from each party, there is ample opportunity for the mover to take advantage of you and raise the price for services substantially.

Unreliable movers won't have a large online presence

Olde World Movers report that moving companies are often fixtures of a community. People are constantly moving and, as a result, they rely on the services of local professionals on a regular basis. This means that moving companies must maintain a significant level of visibility in order to attract new clients. The world has become increasingly digital over the last few decades and an online presence is a must for virtually any type of business. If the moving company you are working with doesn't maintain a website, or their page looks incredibly dated or poorly constructed, it's possible that you're working with a company that might not have the best reputation around town.

The same can be said for online reviews. It's a good idea to look into a number of different review sites and aggregators to gain a better understanding of a moving company's track record. These days, there are many paid reviews and those that are totally bogus appearing across the internet, so reading a large sample size of reviews made across multiple months or years is the best way to gain a clear understanding of the type of company you are looking at. It's also important to read positive and negative reviews to gain insights into patterns within the company's service. Many reviewers might note a lack of care for belongings or there may be a common theme surrounding price rises that appear after careful inspection.

Skipping an in-home estimate is a big red flag

An in-home inspection is one of the most important things that a moving company can perform for you. This allows a mover to take stock of the items that will be moved. An in-home inspection is essential to the accurate estimation of price and other elements of the move (via Movers may charge extra for packing materials, moving items from upstairs in a property, or having to carry boxes across a parking lot. It can be impossible for a mover to understand the number and type of additional elements that exist in your home without seeing them firsthand. The inspection process gives movers a better sense of the job that needs to be done and will help you avoid the potential for significant price increases later on as movers tack on additional charges for seemingly small details.

If a mover won't come to your home to inspect the property and your belongings that will be transported, then you may be dealing with a company that often intentionally leaves open the possibility of levying additional hidden fees.