How to Choose the Right Moving Service For Your Needs

by Sarah Stasik
Moving company worker in uniform packing stuff, holding gun roller dispenser and sealing full cardboard box with adhesive duct tape. Moving house, relocation, package, lorry delivery service concept

Hiring a moving company can be a big expense. While homeowners and renters may know there's value in handing off these physical, time-consuming jobs to pros, they also want to know they're getting their money's worth. More than 60% of Americans who hire movers also end up owing more than they were quoted, which can be an inconvenience when you're trying to balance multiple expenses as you move house.

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When you take the time to choose a moving company that's ethical and provides the right types of services for your situation, you increase the chance you'll be satisfied with the service.

What Are the Different Types of Moving Services Available?

Moving services run the gamut from full-service movers to single-service, a la carte options. Here are some common types of moving services you might consider:

Local Movers

These moving services focus on relocating your items from one home to another in the same neighborhood or city. Typically, when you work with such companies, you get the services of a few people and a truck for several hours or a day. They may charge by the hour, by weight, by the volume of items moved or via flat rates.

Long-Distance Movers

These companies specialize in relocating you to another city or state. They understand how to abide by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration laws, and they typically don't charge per hour, as teams could be working on your move for days.

International Movers

Reputable moving companies that deal in international moves understand how issues like customs or overseas shipping impact the moving process, and they may be able to help you cut through the red tape involved in such a move.

Packing Services

Professional packers help you pack up all your belongings, ensuring they're well-protected and appropriately contained for a move.

DIY Rental Services

You can also purchase supplies, such as boxes, tape and other packing materials, or rent trucks and other equipment needed to handle a move yourself. 

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What Questions Should You Ask When Considering Different Moving Services?

Once you determine what type of moving services might be right for your situation, take some time to research moving companies that may be able to help you. Ask questions to help uncover potential red flags and understand which service might be the best option for you. 

What Type of Moving Experience Does the Company Have?

Look for a company that has moving experience that matches your needs. If your move includes a grand piano, you may want movers with experience handling instruments, for example. 

How Many Movers Will Be Available to You, and For How Long?

Choose a company that provides enough time and manpower to ensure your items are moved carefully. You might also want to ask if the movers will put furniture and boxes in rooms for you or if they'll only place them randomly in the new home.

How Does the Company Charge for Its Services?

Moving companies might charge by the hour, volume, weight, number of truckloads or mile. Often, they use formulas that combine several of these considerations. Ensure you understand how the movers arrive at your quote. 

Is the Quote Binding, or Could You Owe More (or Less)?

Ask about how the company determines charges on the day of the move and whether you'll be able to approve any overages.

What Insurance Coverage Is Available?

Find out whether the moving company is insured and bonded and whether it covers any items that might be damaged during transport.

To better understand whether a moving company provides ethical, high-quality services, do additional research. Reading reviews online and checking the Better Business Bureau listing for a moving company can help you identify reputable moving companies. 

Other Services Offered by Moving Companies You Might Want to Consider

Some moving companies offer additional services that can make the process easier for you. Common options include:

  • Helping you pack
  • Packing and shipping specialty items
  • Driving your extra vehicles to a new location
  • Helping you unpack or set up a new home

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