Chances are you’ve heard some terrifying moving stories from friends, family, or from the news. Hearing these stories can make you think twice about hiring a professional moving service. After all, how do you know they won’t try to charge you more money after they already have your belongings in your possession? Or what if they end up losing or breaking a bunch of your valuables? There are so many risks involved with hiring movers that it might seem easier to just do it yourself. Of course, this comes with its own risks as you might get in an accident, you could injure yourself, or you could damage your old or new building and have to pay a repair fee! It seems like there’s no winning.
Luckily, your moving experience doesn’t have to be stressful and you can avoid a bad moving experience. With that said, this will require some time and planning on your part. However, it’s worth the effort and the headache that you’ll save yourself. Here are three simple ways you can avoid a bad moving experience.
Do Your Research!
In this day and age, there’s no reason why you can’t look up the information on the moving companies you’re interested in hiring. The first thing you should do is look up the company’s website. Check to make sure they list basic information such as address, phone number, hours of operation, and so on. See if they have a fleshed out FAQ that provides detailed answers. If there’s hardly any information on the site, it’s a good sign that they either aren’t professional or they are scammers.
You should also check to see if they have the appropriate licenses to operate as a moving company. Reputable moving companies will list their Department of Transportation license directly on their site so you can easily look them up to make sure they are in good standing. Some states require additional licenses. For example, in New Jersey, movers will need to be licensed by the State Division of Consumer Affairs.
Don’t stop at the website though! You should look up reviews and the online reputation of the company. Check Google and Yelp for user reviews to check the moving experience from actual customers. You should also take the time to look up information on the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints lodged against them. You should also check in with family and friends if they have used the same moving service to get their insight.
Once you narrow down your choices, ask all of the moving companies for personal references from recent customers. Moving companies NJ residents trust should have no issue providing this information. When talking to the customers on the phone, ask questions! Common ones include:
- Was the moving crew on time?
- Were they friendly and professional?
- Was anything broken/damaged/lost during the move? How did the company react to these issues?
- Did you have any add-on services and what was your experience?
- Were there any surprise costs?
- Would you move with them again?
You might have heard the saying, ‘there are no stupid questions.’ This is especially true when you’re moving. If you’ve never used a professional mover before or this is your first time moving, you should ask as many questions as possible. Don’t worry about being annoying. If you’re working with reliable movers, they’ll be more than happy to answer you. Of course, you can always check out their FAQ on their site to get a general idea in terms of pricing, cancellation policy, etc. With that said, if you really want to ensure they are capable movers, you should ask the same questions on the FAQ to the customer service representative to make sure the answers line up. Some scammers will copy the FAQ from reputable companies to fly under the radar.
If you’re stumped on questions, ask the following:
- Do you have storage capabilities?
- Do you provide packing services?
- What is your rescheduling/cancellation policy?
- Can you provide a certificate of insurance for my building?
- Do you provide an arrival window?
- What other fees might be added to my final bill?
- How long will my move take?
- Can you provide references?
- Are my items protected by insurance while in transit?
- How will you protect my floors/walls when moving in and out of buildings?
- Is the estimate you provide binding?
Top-rated movers (like NJ Movers) will be able to answer your questions without any issues. In fact, they’ll be more than happy to volunteer as much information as possible so that you can feel totally at ease with your move. If the company you call tries to duck your questions or gets angry with you, do yourself a favor and find another one.
Make Sure They Have the Proper Insurance
In addition to having national and state licenses, you should also check if your moving company has insurance. One of the many benefits of hiring professional movers is that they are held liable if an accident happens instead of you. While they will all do their best to avoid problems, there’s always the chance that something could go wrong. If you do a DIY move, you will be the one to pay for any damages. In some cases, you might not be able to move into your building if you don’t use a professional because the building management company wants to protect their assets from being damaged. Many of these buildings won’t let you rent out the freight elevator without a certificate of insurance. That means if you show up without one, you won’t be let into the building and you’ll have wasted a day and money on a truck rental. To avoid these issues, it’s best to hire pro NJ movers from the start.
While you don’t have to get too into the weeds when it comes to learning all about their insurance coverage, you should check to make sure your movers have:
- Cargo coverage
- Automobile liability
- General liability
- Worker’s compensation
Most buildings will require the movers to have at least $1 million in coverage for general liability, automobile liability, and worker’s compensation. For umbrella liability many buildings ask for around $5 million in coverage. You can check the mover’s certificate of insurance (COI) for the types of coverage they have as well as the amount. In addition to looking at their insurance, you should also check to make sure their policy expiration date comes after your move and that the name of the insured matches the name of the moving company you are using. Some scammers will forge or copy another moving company’s COI to appear more legitimate. Speaking of insurance, trustworthy moving companies also provide general moving insurance for free. . While it won’t cover much (it’s $0.60/pound of damaged or lost item), it at least shows that they take their job and your belongings seriously.
If you have a lot of valuable items, your best bet is to pay extra for the full release value. Just let your movers know if you have items that are worth more than $5 per pound so they can note it in their files. This step is necessary as moving companies can deny a claim if they didn’t know the damaged item(s) were extremely valuable.
The above steps can help you weed out obviously bad moving companies from the start. Still, many scammers have become more sophisticated and the red flags might not be so obvious. Some other signs that you’re not dealing with a reputable company include:
- Slow responses to your questions
- Incomplete, incomprehensible contract
- Large deposit or upfront payment
- Prices are significantly lower than other companies
Not all unsatisfied customers were scammed. In fact, there are also plenty of occasions where a customer might misunderstand certain charges. IFor example, some companies charge a long carry fee. This is an extra charge for when the movers have to walk over a certain distance from the front door of your house to their truck. The distance varies and not all companies charge this fee. Another example is a materials charge during a move. This might pop up if the movers had to pack some of your items like vases, lamps, etc. that you did not pack.
Moving doesn’t have to be a total pain. Sure, you’ll have to still pack, clean, and purge your apartment, but there’s no reason you need to stress if you hire professional movers. We here at NJ Great Movers strive to provide you with a seamless and stress-free experience so you can focus on enjoying your new apartment.
Is NJ Great Movers Licensed?
Yes! Our USDOT number is 3547419 and our NJ license is NJ 39PC00128701
The moving company I hired asked for a really big deposit. Is this normal?
No! Most moving companies will ask for a small initial deposit (NJ Great Movers charges $100) and will collect the rest once the job is completed. If they are asking for a large amount upfront, run away!
I don’t have that much stuff, should I just DIY?
That’s up to you! If you’re only moving a handful of light boxes and some clothes, you’ll probably save a lot of money just renting a small van. However, if you’re moving heavy boxes, furniture, etc. It’s worth it to hire movers. You’ll save a lot of time and stress. Plus you won’t run the risk of injuring yourself.