Make the right decision when choosing your mover!
While always a factor in buying anything, do not select a mover on price alone.
Ask friends, coworkers, and your real estate agent. You can also find prospective movers in your area by contacting the California Moving and Storage Association (CMSA) on-line or by calling 1-800-672-1415.
Read Yelp reviews, especially the “not currently recommended” reviews. Those reviews are excluded for a variety of reasons especially those posted by a Yelp novice or infrequent contributors to Yelp. Those reviews are just as helpful to read as they took the time to praise or rave about the company.
Get at least 3 in-home surveys
When you have a list of recommended movers, go online to do a quick background check. See if they give a location that is local and check that location. Is it just a mail box drop box or do they really have an office and warehouse. Drive by and visit their offices or even just use Google maps to ensure that they are professional movers and not just a couple guys running a business out of their apartment or a broker that is really in Florida.
Make sure you show them EVERYTHING – this includes the closets, garage, rafters and any outside storage area. The surveyor should also note items they they will not be moving. Make sure you tell the estimator about any conditions at your new home that might complicate the move, such as new flooring, stairs, elevators, a steep driveway, or a significant distance from the curb to the closest door.
Ask questions and take the time to discuss your move needs, concerns and wants. This is also a great time to ask about ways to save money on your specific move needs. Also, if you are not comfortable with the sales person, you should probably not hire the moving company he is selling. This person doesn’t need to give you warm-fuzzies but you should feel confident that he and the company will stand behind their work and the estimate.
Read the fine print
Look for what is not included in your move costs as much as what is included. The moving company you select will be sending movers into your residence to handle and move your personal possessions. The lowest price, especially if it is far below the average price of other movers, may be a red flag. Be careful! Don’t move priceless heirlooms on the cheap!
For an California in-state move, you may not be able to get a binding estimate, you should still get a written estimate that sets out the hourly rates and any additional costs you may incur (for supplies, tolls, driving time, etc.) that has a “Not to Exceed” that sets a maximum cost for your move. This document also called, “An Important Notice about Your Move” needs to list everything that is included and excluded in your estimated maximum move cost.
If you’re not sure about anything in the estimate, call and ask. And have the company send you a revised written estimate if necessary―don’t just take someone’s word for anything.
Make sure your mover is legal
Do they have a license number on their web site? Be sure you check that the mover is licensed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) when you are moving within the state of California. This license number is a Cal-T (6 digit number) and is to be shown on all documentation and advertising materials. Please feel free to call the California Moving and Storage Association (CMSA) or the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to check license status. The CMSA consumer hotline number for calls within California is (800) 672-1415. Never move with a mover whose license is non-existent, revoked, and or suspended. You can verify their current status on-line at https://apps.cpuc.ca.gov/apex/f?p=203:35:0::NO:RP::
If you are moving out of state, Go to safersys.org, the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and enter the company’s USDOT number and click on “Search” (you can also search by name or MC number).