Make Your Move Easy with these Tips

It can be somewhat daunting to choose a moving company to carefully transport your most valuable possessions.  Here are some tips to help you choose the right one:

Only Accept Visual Estimates

Make sure you deal with companies that actually come to your home, assess what you have and it's worth, and give you a proper estimate.  Always accompany each moving company’s representative on their walk-through to make sure the inventory is thorough.

Price Shop

You may really like one company over another but obtaining multiple quotes is the best way to assess the market rates for the service.

Avoid Movers Who Promise a Precise Delivery Date

Most moving companies will provide you a delivery window of when your items will reach the delivery destination.  Be suspicious of companies that promise to deliver on a precise date or time.  Moving companies provide delivery windows specifically because precise delivery dates are often beyond the control of the movers themselves, especially in the case of long-distance moves.

Avoid Dramatically Lower Offers

Try to shop for three or more price estimates.  This is a good way of identifying a company who is providing an unrealistic quote.  Companies who quote a price far below the average are more likely to either provide a final bill much higher than the initial estimate or add on arbitrary fees that will result in an unexpectedly high final total.

Check For Proper Licensing

Make sure the moving company you choose is properly licensed and has a good safety record.  Interstate moving companies are required to be licensed through the Department of Transportation.  If you’re moving within a state, you will want to check with local or state authorities to verify the licensing of the moving company.

Check For Complaints

Try to get testimonials and references.  Also be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau for numerous (especially unresolved) complaints about the company.

Here Are Some Common Questions For Moving Companies:

  • How do they determine pricing?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What extra charges may apply?
  • How do they handle expensive items such as a pool table?
  • Does the company have references or repeat business?

Costs To Expect

Packing Materials

Boxes of varying sizes, tape, bubble wrap, and packing fill are all necessary items for moving.  Be sure you know the cost the company charges for these items.  There can be considerable markups if the moving company buys these items so you may want to purchase them yourself.  Movers may also impose an additional packing fee.

Line-Haul Charge

This is the base charge for the transportation portion of your move.  Line haul charges are based on the distance of the move and the quantity of moved items usually determined by weight.

Long-Carry Charge

The “Long Carry” is an additional charge allotted if there is an excessive walking distance between your home and the mover’s vehicle.

Stair Charge

Most movers will add an extra fee if they are required to carry your furniture and boxes up or down an excessive amount of stairs.  Some movers will charge any stairs in place.

Third Party Charges

Many services involved in a move are not handled by the moving company but rather by third parties.  The company then passes along the charges to you.  Some of these include disconnecting and hooking up appliances, or assembling equipment. 


The moving industry faces high costs for trucking insurance.  Insurance surcharges help the moving company off-set some of the trucking insurance costs.  Note that an insurance surcharge does not offer protection against the loss or damage of your goods.

Valuation Charge & Supplemental Insurance

The valuation charge compensates the mover for assuming liability of your goods during transportation.  Moving companies are required by law to have minimum protection and movers have to offer you the option between different levels of liability as required by federal law.  Some movers may also offer additional insurance as well. 

Hopefully, this will all give you a good view of what to look for when choosing a good moving company.  Good luck with your move!


Michelle Trimmell, RA, MBA