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If you poll your friends about their experience with “professional” moving companies, you’re likely to hear an array of horror stories.

The movers showed up 24 hours late.
Many of your things were damaged, and no one in “customer service” is returning your phone calls.
The movers held your belongings hostage on a truck.
The company double- and triple-charged you.
The movers got lost in transit—and so did your things.

These stories, unfortunately, have happened to people who’ve used cheap movers. There are many moving scams. Don’t become the next victim. Do your legwork to make sure you find a reliable moving company that will safeguard your belongings and deliver them where they need to go. The potential risk for property loss – or worse – is just too great not to take these extra steps.

 

1. Do your homework. The best way to find out about moving companies in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland is to ask your friends about recommendations. They will tell you all about the good, the bad and the ugly. Be sure to listen carefully to the friends who have had bad experiences and avoid those companies (see opening of this article!) Once you narrow down your choices, check with the Better Business Bureau and make sure the moving companies are accredited by that organization. If the companies have complaints filed against them, then cross them off your list.

As an extra step of due diligence, go online and research various professional and self-move services. Find out what people are saying about the companies you’re thinking of hiring.

You also can call or e-mail the American Moving and Storage Association to read the moving company reviews and see if the moving company is a member. If it is, this means the company has agreed to abide by the organization’s published tariffs and participates in its arbitration program.

2. Call the company and ask about the movers. Where do they hire their movers from? Are they professional, full-time movers? Does the company employ its own staff – or does the company use day laborers? If the moving company has its own employees, find out about their training and whether they’ve been drug tested and passed appropriate probationary periods.

If the company offers training and has a fleet of trusted employees, you can feel confident that it takes moving seriously and is committed to doing right by its customers.

3. Double check and triple check. Once you’ve narrowed your choices, make sure the companies you’re considering are incorporated in your state and confirm how long they’ve been in business. Companies with longevity are usually a good choice because it shows their commitment to customer satisfaction, the moving business and their employees.

4. Question the lowest estimate. Less-than-reputable companies have been known to lowball estimates as a way to get your business. If the price sounds too good to be true, it usually is. These companies often will pad the bill on the back end. Or the low estimate could mean you’re not getting a professional crew. An estimate that is substantially lower than all the others is a red flag.

5. Make sure the company is licensed, bonded and insured. Visit state and federal government sites to make sure the company you choose has licenses and insurance. Again, this is another way to determine whether the company you hire is legitimate and reputable. But further, you should know that the reason they are licensed is to protect the customer you!). For example, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will enforce a moving company to arbitration should an issue not be resolved with the two parties. Last, Protectyourmove.gov is a great website to check to see if a mover is both licensed and insured with DOT.

Moving is stressful, and you might be inclined to bypass these steps to save yourself time. We advise you not to. Find the company that values your belongings just as much as you do. A fully licensed and bondend company, Lloyd’s Transfer and Storage employs full-time moving staff that are trained to protect your belongings, to show up on time, to ensure 100% customer satisfaction.