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Posted in Moving Tips&Tricks on August 20, 2021
Madison Rogers

Born and raised in Houston Madison is a content writer who loves traveling. She has lived in different states and is always eager to share her knowledge with others.

A Guide on How to Check if a Moving Company Is Legitimate

How to check if a moving company is legitimate should be the first thing that comes to mind if you’re planning to relocate sometime soon. Being reliable doesn’t mean having a colorful truck or an exciting logo, although no customer would mind that. However, to trust people you don’t know with all of your worldly possessions, you need to ask for much more than that.

The credibility of the team should be the main criterion. Luckily, there are a few safe ways to tell if the long-distance movers you’re interested in are legit. Letting this fact slip your mind could easily translate into not taking care of your possessions. So arm yourself with the correct information on time because we all know that only a sequence of small mistakes leads to a bigger one.

How to Check if a Company Is Licensed and Insured?

Like all others, the moving industry is no exception when it comes to fraud. With more than 8,000 companies in the USA only, it’s no wonder there’s a growing number of relocation scams each year. Luckily, for the same reason, there are a few safe ways to determine if the people you’re working with are honest and trustworthy. The insurance status and license are the things to cover first if you’d like to go any further with your search. Here’s how to do it.

Look Up Their USDOT and MC Numbers First

Strange as it may sound, things people forget to do when they move are sometimes the most vital ones, like checking the USDOT and MC numbers with FMCSA. When a mover has a legitimate license and insurance, by obtaining and entering this unique interstate identifier on FMCSA’s registration search tool, you’ll have easy access to all the updated details of the company, as well as to their complaint history.

As far as details are concerned, be sure that the name, address, and phone number you got match the ones given on the website. Also, do not neglect their operating status because only “active” gives you the green light. If you see anything like “unauthorized” or “out of service”, immediately stop wasting time with them.

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Pay Attention to Their Online Presence

Nowadays, even kids in kindergarten know how to use laptops and mobile phones, and pets have accounts on social media. So wouldn’t you find it suspicious if you searched for your mover online and came away empty-handed? No relevant information, no website, no social media platforms. Don’t you think that every real entrepreneur and businessman knows how important it is to have an online presence to get clients? Yup, we think the same. Run as fast as your legs can carry you.

Go Through Customer Moving Reviews

Getting here is a good sign because it means the company you’ve chosen passed all the little previous checks. But we’re not done yet. We promised you something at the beginning, and a top-rated company is where we will get you.

So although you already went through the complaint history on FMCSA, keep in mind that it’s not the only place where people share their relocation experiences. Sometimes, they’ll rather do it on Yelp or Facebook and Twitter, which is why it’s crucial to search for reviews on many places.

Remember, relocating to a new home, especially if you’re relocating to another state alone or if you’re with a newborn, what you want is to avoid relocation mistakes. By googling reviews on time, not only will you figure out if you’re dealing with a shady mover, but you will also know what kind of problems you can expect.

To hear why reviews are vital when it comes to business, don’t miss the video below.

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Make Sure the Movers You Hire Actually Care About Their Business

There are numerous helpful relocation hacks out there, waiting for you to use them and make your move easier. However, with an experienced and dedicated team, you won’t need them that much. After so many years in business, they know every trick in the book, and relocating efficiently comes naturally. When a company cares about what they do and how they do it, all long-distance moving services they offer will be delivered safely and on time. Whether your move requires a single service only, like professional packing or maybe storage service, professionals will approach it the same way as they do with a full-service move.

Ask Around for Recommendations

Don’t be surprised if anxiety about relocating hits you unexpectedly. There are thousands of responsibilities on your to-do list, and worrying about each and everyone is not simple. Yet again, there’s no shortcut to peace of mind. Preparing adequately is inevitable. No matter how insignificant the task seems, do not ignore it because it’s the details that make the difference.

So, just as you take time to figure out how to get a job in a new city, do the same when it comes to recommendations. Take them seriously and go straight to your family and friends who relocated recently. If there are people in your life who do not have a reason to distort the truth, these are the ones. Also, take one more of our tips and go to the folks next door. Ask them the same thing, and some of them will probably have something smart to tell you.

Get in Touch With ATA

A part of your relocating to another state checklist should also be checking if your movers are members of some national moving associations, such as ATA. They created a protection program, known as ProMover, to help consumers distinguish licensed moving companies from fraudulent ones. That’s why getting in touch with them could speed up this testing process and make it easier for you to decide.

However, it’s good to know there are a number of other associations, as well, and not being certified by any of them should be considered a red flag.

A couple researching cross-country moving company
Contact national relocation associations and dig into other available resources to figure out whether your relocation specialists care about you and their business

Compare Quotes With Other Reliable Moving Companies

Taking this step is crucial not just because of the potential scam but also because, most probably, you’d like to save on relocation costs. Deciphering the quotes won’t be that easy, simply because there’s no one rule by which all the companies are governed. On the other hand, there are some universal signs you will quickly recognize as a warning if you know where to look.

Professional Companies Should Offer an In-Person Inspection Before Giving an Estimate

It appears that deciding where to live is easier than choosing relocation specialists you trust. But you still have to do it, at least if you want to get to your new home safely. There’s one rather useful rule of thumb: something is definitely off if a relocation representative gives you the precise estimate of the move over the phone or via email, without an in-person inspection. Here, both your logic and guts should tell you to be skeptical.

Just think a bit about it. A relocation representative gave you the quote without knowing the exact size of the move. Without going through your home and checking all the bulky pieces you have. Without taking any measurements. Without taking a look at your storage spaces. Without doing any of the important stuff, as a matter of fact. Maybe it’s time to ask for some more quotes.

Check What the Prices Are Based On

As you can see, planning a move to another city means digging into all the tiny details. Accordingly, if you wonder how to make sure a company is legitimate, the pricing structure is a good way. If the first thing you hear is “cubic feet,” “square feet,” or any feet, tell your feet to run away. All reputable relocation companies will charge you based on the inventory list you give them, usually a day before the pickup.

There Should Be No Surprises and Hidden Expenses Along the Way

When dealing with rogue movers, there are many hidden pitfalls you might face. But you’re never really prepared for the financial ones. Both parties should be honest to avoid unpleasant surprises like these because all chances for a budget-friendly move are gone when one of them breaks the deal. And most commonly, these dealbreakers happen due to a lack of information on extra charges. Whether it’s about assembling and disassembling your furniture, heavy lifting, storage fees, or something entirely different, be ready to look further when you encounter these.

A long-distance mover listing the inventory before cross-country moving
Honest companies quote honestly, and you'll easily spot if they're faking it

Double-Check Your Bill of Lading

Every professional will provide you with a contract known as the bill of lading, which must contain all agreed details: estimated price, delivery date, needed supplies for packing your belongings, etc. More importantly, it should be precisely noted that the final price means there are no hidden fees and what services are included in the price. When making a final decision, contact only the ones that provided you with transparent expenses.

Never Sign the Dotted Line Before You Have All the Information

Whatever your reasons to move are, even if you are in the greatest hurry of your life to get somewhere, you can’t ignore the contract by any means – not even the finest print on it because scammers will find a way to get you. Don’t forget to read the contract thoroughly and carefully because there might be some unclear or shady info, or maybe even some missing data. Also, never agree to sign a blank contract, no matter how friendly the people may appear. When they want to deceive you, being nice is all they can be. So keep your eyes open down the road.

Mover and a client closing a long-distance moving deal
Read your bill of lading with utmost care

Now You Know How to Check if Your Moving Company Is Legitimate and Avoid Scammers

So you’re finally there, ready for a big life reset. No need to worry now, because you know how to run a serious background check on a mover you’d like to hire. And when you know all the rules of the relocation game, entrusting your treasured belongings can’t go wrong. There’s no need to let all those fantastic thoughts on creative storage ideas for your new place scatter, or to doubt that making friends in a new city will be impossible. Because nothing’s impossible if you try hard enough. And it’s time to make that phone call and schedule your moving date.

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