Do Your Homework when Choosing the Right Moving Company

Moving is stressful, and many people assume that hiring a moving company will alleviate some of the complications, since many moving companies will even pack your boxes for you, if you so desire. In the space of a day or two, your entire home can be packed, loaded on a truck, and moved to your new location – maybe a week, if you are moving out of state. Some Movers will even store your belongings for a short time, if there is some time between closing the sale of your home and closing on the purchase of the new home. While using a moving company can take some of the pressure off, you still need to do your due diligence when choosing the right company, to avoid causing unnecessary anxiety and stress.

Try to choose local companies that have a local presence. Reputable national companies will likely have local offices and operations. They will come to your home and evaluate the job in person to give you a more accurate quote. Once you have a list of companies, pay close attention to their reputation. Research online reviews, but ignore testimonials posted on their website – these are often curated to only display the favorable reviews. Check Yelp!, Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, and the Department of Transportation (they have a handy Mover Search Tool), even Facebook.

Pay attention to word of mouth feedback as well, via your friends, co-workers, and family who have moved recently. Most companies will have a little bit of negative feedback – mistakes happen, things don’t always go as planned, and sometimes, the customer exaggerates or is in error. What you want to see is a greater amount of positive feedback over negative, and look for the company’s response, if any, on how they may have rectified the negative situations.  Your Realtor® can also be a great source of information on local moving companies, since their clients and colleagues will alert them to companies that behave in unprofessional ways.

Once you have weeded out companies with negative feedback, focus the next step on at least three of the strongest candidates. You want to get quotes from at least three companies. This is where choosing a company with a local presence can be of value. Local companies will actually send someone to your home to evaluate the job before providing a quote. This provides you with greater accuracy than estimates through online-only companies. Once you have the quotes, you’ll want to look beyond the cheapest rate. Unfortunately, some companies will deliberately low-ball the estimate in order to get your business, then they will encounter some “unforeseen circumstance” that will require more money. When this happens they will often literally hold your belongings hostage until you pay up. This article on details one such experience from a family that learned some hard lessons about the moving process.

Evaluate the contracts closely, and know what is included in the estimate and what is not. It could be different for each company, which can also impact the quoted estimate. Know under what circumstance they can charge you more than the estimate and what recourse you have to dispute or challenge cost overruns. Also avoid companies that require large up-front payments. It’s customary to pay part of the fee before and part after your belongings have been delivered. This protects you from unscrupulous companies that collect the fee, but then never show up to do the work.

Moving is a stressful enough, without the added worry and hassle of dealing with movers who use nefarious tactics to extort more money from you while holding the contents of home hostage…or dealing with movers who are just inept or that lack customer-focus and are hard to work with. So do your research and choose wisely. The right mover CAN bring you a lot of peace of mind and remove some of the burden of moving, as long as you do the work necessary to properly research your options.

Let my team at Keystone Realtors® meet all your real estate needs. We have a fully vetted list of local contractors with strong reputations that can help you with all aspects of your move.  Paul Phangureh has over 16 years of experience in buying and selling in the Santa Clara and San Mateo County areas, specializing in the high-end, luxury market, as well as commercial and multi-use real estate. Visit our website at for listings and information. You can contact Paul at 650-924-2544, or email at

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