Moving is a fact of life for most people at some point in a lifetime. It is said to be one of the most stressful situations one has to go through. What can make a move even more stressful? A moving company that doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Today’s blog came to be after I read about a sting operation in New Jersey where moving companies were the target. This was not what I expected to read about this morning. It got me to thinking about how the average person who doesn’t have police resources can investigate moving companies. So I want to share with you guys some things I found that you might want to think about when you’re trusting nearly everything you own to a company during a move.
The article from Asbury Park Press, “Unlicensed moving companies nabbed by NJ authorities,” told about a sting operation in which cops were trying to bust unlicensed moving companies operating in New Jersey. I won’t go into all the details, but it was a bit…unnerving to read the part that described “predatory movers” who essentially hold customers’ items hostage and extort thousands of dollars from them.
That’s why you need to do your homework and research a moving company before you book with them. Here are some things to do:
All movers in all states are subject to federal guidelines when moving somebody across state lines, but if you are moving within your state, your individual state has it own set of rules. Different states require different forms of licenses or verification. To check what your state requires, here is a handy guideline. After you figure out what your state requires, ask to see that paperwork from your potential company. It should be readily available. You will want to work with companies with the proper paperwork. I’m not saying ALL businesses without paperwork are predators and I’m not saying ALL companies with proper papers aren’t potential predators…I’m just saying proper paperwork is a good first step in finding a good company.
CHECK FOR REVIEWS/REFERENCES:
The web is a great resource for researching a company. It is incredibly easy to use a search engine to find information about specific companies. If you hear of a company you like, doing something like putting them into Google can yield you pages of results. You can also go to sites like Angieslist.com or Yelp.com to see ratings and reviews about moving companies. Yes, these review sites can be manipulated one way or another, but they’re still a pretty good starting point.
ASK FRIENDS & FAMILY:
Word-of-mouth information is great for the consumer–and usually businesses. Ask around to your friends, family, and co-workers for any recommendations. Usually somebody knows somebody who used a company that they liked/didn’t like. You can find out a lot by analyzing the personal experiences people you know have had with companies.
FOLLOW THIS CHECKLIST: MovingFraudPreventionChecklist
The federal government has put together an incredibly useful resource to help you with the moving process. ProtectYourMove.gov has pages and pages of information for you to sort through. There are videos, checklists, and informational resources on here that can help you to feel more secure when moving.
So do your homework. Don’t just let anybody with a van and a cheap price help you move. You are trusting these people with most of your worldly possessions. You want to make sure this company is a quality operation and will treat you and your things like you deserve. There are many resources at your disposal to make sure you have the best moving experience possible.