This guide will help you familiarize yourself with the better practices of reputable, pros movers so you’ll be able to recognize the companies that will do their best for your move. While you may have heard some stories about consumers burned by unprofessional movers, the reality is that the relocation business is comprised mostly of good, solid companies who pride themselves on customer service.
Regulations of Movers Company
One of the most pervasive rumors about the moving business is that it’s an unregulated industry that doesn’t adhere to standards or checks and balances. While it’s true that regulations vary from state to state — and that unethical businesses sometimes skirt the law — the moving business is, in fact, regulated. Interstate movers, for example, are required to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a division of the United States Department of Transportation. The FMCSA helps consumers distinguish between pros movers and unregulated ones (usually referred to as “rogue” movers), requiring moving companies to register. The FMCSA has also implemented regulations to protect consumers from fraudulent practices.
The ProMover certification
Because they know that their industry sometimes gets a bad rap, companies themselves also take steps to regulate their industry and maintain a high reputation with consumers. One way for a company to do this is to obtain the “ProMover” certification.
Created by the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), the national trade organization for the moving business, the ProMover designation is similar in intent to an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
To earn this certification, a company must:
- Be in compliance with state incorporation laws.
- Sign a contract pledging to adhere to state and federal laws and AMSA’s Code of Ethics.
- Be screened for felons.
By holding ProMover companies to strict standards, AMSA promises that any company with the designation provides high-quality customer service. Every ProMover company is reviewed yearly. If a company fails to meet standards, it loses its designation. AMSA recommends that consumers only deal with ProMover-certified moving companies.
Learn the facts
Once you’ve done some research and found professional movers that represent the highest standards in the industry, it is good to learn some facts about the types of practices that reputable companies employ.
The following points will help you learn some facts about legitimate moving companies and what to expect from them:
- These movers will offer an estimate. Pros movers will be happy to come to your home and do a free walk-through to determine how much your move will cost. Note that there are different types of estimates (binding and non-binding), and you should be aware of the type of estimate you receive since this designation affects the final price you pay. (For more information on types of estimates, see our Moving Terms Dictionary.)
- These movers will require a contract to protect both their and your interests. Once you choose a mover, you should complete a signed, written contract that includes pick-up and drop-off dates for your belongings, as well as documentation of how many items are involved in your move (either how much they weigh or how many linear feet of space they will take up on a moving truck).
It is also important for you to know reasonable industry practices and be an informed consumer about the moving process:
- Understand insurance coverage for moving. When dealing with moving companies, it pays to read the fine print on your contract to understand how much insurance coverage you’re getting. Be aware that, if you pack yourself, your items may not be protected from damage unless the moving company plays an obvious role in their destruction.
- Understand reasonable moving company fees. If there are difficult logistics involved with your move — like needing to use a smaller shuttle vehicle to get items from the larger moving truck to the front door, for instance – expect to pay extra for these inconveniences.
Remember that it’s in a moving company’s best interest to treat you well as the consumer. Don’t hesitate to ask questions of your customer service representative about any and all aspects of your move.