What is the right choice of a moving company? All of our clients are faced with the same important question, when it is time for them to relocate. The question of putting good faith in hands of strangers who will carry your intimate outfit pieces, precious jewelry , expensive gear and tech, or one of a kind work of art – must be taken seriously, as not only financial yet also your sentimental wealth might get severely damaged, if a poor choice of movers was made.
And we do not want that to happen to our clients, to your neighbors, to anybody who is about to move across town or state. Our BML experts have compiled these 5 OBVIOUS SIGNS, easy to detect upon hiring a moving company, BEFORE your move even started!
#1 License and Insurance, please?
Let’s start with basics that every legitimate moving company must have and present to every customer – license and insurance numbers. If your potential movers-to-hire don’t have it, that is a red flag.
Depending on the area of coverage that moving company is registered to operate in, following licenses are required to be obtained:
- US DOT number for moves between states (interstate). This number indicates that the moving company currently meets all requirements of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) standards and regulations. Check this number online.
- MTR Number of State Household Moving Permit for moves with a state (for California, this permit is issued by California Public Utility Commission ( CPUC ) and can be checked here.
These licenses indicate that a company if fully qualified to carry household goods from point A to point B. Its staff is aware of all precautions and procedures associated with the process of relocation. To ensure the safety of process even further every moving company is required to have at least these 2 insurance policies:
- Cargo Insurance – basic insurance required to protect goods from loss, collusion damages, or theft while in transit. This insurance however does not cover damage of goods during moving service performed. Please see Full Value/Released Value Protection in Sign #5.
- General Liability Insurance – also basic insurance required almost for every registered business entity that covers costs of bodily injury, property and advertising damage claims against your firm.
Make sure your next potential movers can provide BOTH license and insurance numbers even before the quote process is initiated. Most moving companies have this information posted on website, included in template emails and paper docs. If your prospect movers hesitate of sharing this information or if it is obscured, cross their name off the list, save yourself.
Best Movers League license and insurance information is posted here and available for public. Let’s move to sign #2!
#2 NO Website, Physical Address, Reviews, Online Presence.
Another obvious easily spotted warning sign is either lack, or complete absence of online presence of the company. In the world, hard wired to internet a business without basic website is a non-existent business. Moreover, legitimate moving companies strive to allure as much online traffic as possible by creating easy-to-book online instruments like BML instant Quote and making their client’s experience easier and more convenient. Lack of online presence on the other hand can ruin the business in no time – if no one can find you, no one will book you. And for rogue movers no online presence means no platform to complain on! So if your future moving company does not have at least website, yelp account, facebook page, etc – raise your concern.
Same goes for physical address of the company. Every registered moving company is obligated to have a physical address, through which it can be reached via standard mail. No address provided is another red flag to raise.
You can find Best Movers League Contact information on our “Contact Us” page. Our next rogue company warning sign #3, which most clients unfortunately fall for is unbelievably cheap prices.
#3 Too Good To Be True Prices
Let’s be honest, cheaper prices are enticing. And incredibly cheap prices are deceiving. Alas, current legal state of moving business due to its complexity leaves some wiggle room for bandits to exploit and intentionally advertise cheaper prices to clients only to double or triple it, when it is time to pay. Hidden fees or under-estimates are most known tricks we currently find in the industry. Beware of companies hesitating to provide information on their additional fees, if any (fees for tape, shrink wrap, stairs, steps, long walks, etc).
How about phone/online estimates? While most local moves are priced with hourly rates, interstate moving estimates are based on weight of goods. Of course, the rouge mover will promise you just a few hour of work or a couple of hundred pounds of weight of your move. But once your stuff is in the truck, and actual move takes 3 times longer or becomes suddenly way heavier, the price gets legitimately increased 3x, to your complete surprise, that is where hair start to turn grey.
While under-estimates are easier to spot for small moves (studio, 1-2 bedroom), If you have 3+ bedroom size or long distance move ahead, make sure to request visual inspection and get Binding Estimate with Not-To-Exceed price. Chances are, rogue movers will decline to provide it.
With Best Movers League our onsite estimate are free for any long distance or 3+ bedroom local move, within Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange County area.
#4 Blank Trucks, Questionable Uniform, Fishy Looks
Every legitimate moving company is required by law to indicate their business name and license numbers on every truck, in readable font and format. Usually this information is written on both cabin doors of the vehicle. Besides legal requirements, it is also expected from a customer-oriented moving company to present their crew to the customer in a way that reflects company’s integrity transparently – either branded t-shirts, partial or full outfit, or badges, branded paper docs, etc.
If your chosen moving crew shows up driving an unidentified truck with no license numbers, does not show any signs of association to a moving company like uniform, company business cards with movers name, company documents, etc – have a second thought! You might want to call off this crew and shop around more.
#5 NO Bill of Lading, Valuation Coverage
Right before your hired moving team starts loading stuff in a truck, the important document must be presented called Bill Of Lading. This document is a contract, receipt, and record of your moving agreement with the company, which usually includes detailed information about services, rates, dates, client name and addresses, insurance coverage information and options, and other legal information. Bill of Lading must be signed by both leader of the moving crew and the client, TO START the move.
What about insurance protection of your precious items? While interstate moving companies are obligated to provide two liability options for each move – Full Coverage Protection and Released Value Protection, most moving companies serving locally will only provide the latter. Under Released Value Protection, the mover assumes no liability over 60 cents per pound per article. So if your 2 pound $200 LED screen monitor is broken, you would receive about $1.2 of compensation. That’s for cons. This value protection is provided for free for a legitimate moving company. That’s for pros.
Most reputable moving companies however, provide referral options of 3rd party insurance companies for their clients, of top of basic released value insurance. Rogue movers will not mention, nor offer either upon booking or going over bill of lading.
If you have encountered a moving crew without a bill of lading or any coverage options provided, this is a dead-end. Time to turn around! Find out more about Valuation and insurance on FMCSA website.
Make the Safe Choice.
At Best Movers League we make it our number one priority to create easiest, safest and most convenient moving solutions for our clients. This vow manifests in our transparent instant time and price estimates, empowered by thorough and continuous support of experienced BML agents, always ready to help and one call away!