Professional Mover Reviews
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How To Hire a Mover? (2024 4-Step Guide)

Moving into a new home is equally exciting and stressful, but learning how to hire movers can help make the situation quite a bit easier. Whether you’re moving across town or the entire country, having a team of professional movers to give you a hand is a huge benefit.

I’ve spent years as a professional mover, so I’ve seen firsthand how hiring the right crew can drastically change the outcome of a move. To help you avoid those mistakes, I’ve put together this guide to explain all the ins and outs of booking your move, getting quotes, and choosing the best movers

If you’re ready to start today, you can get a free quote from three of our top moving company recommendations below.

Our Top Pick
Best Full-Service Mover

4.4

One month of free storage included with your move

Provides moves in all 50 states

Offers air & ocean freighting

VISIT SITE
Most Transparent Pricing

4.0

Flat rate pricing for all moves

Offers price matching

Expedited moves between big cities

VISIT SITE
Best Cost Estimation Tools

4.2

Top-notch packing services

Nationwide partner network

Comprehensive moving calculator

VISIT SITE

When Should You Hire Movers?

Most reputable moving companies are fully booked a few months in advance, so booking ahead can give you more options to choose from before the big move. Ideally, you should aim to book your move at least two months before your moving day, even if you’re just moving across town. For long-distance moves, you should book at least an additional month or two earlier.

If you try to book your move too late, you could end up paying higher rates or being forced to change your moving date to one that’s not as convenient for you. I’ve even seen it result in someone missing their moving deadline entirely. If uncertain about when to hire movers, earlier is always better.


Rounding Up the Top Movers for Your Needs

We've analyzed dozens of professional moving companies and scored them against each other. Here are our best picks for different situations:


How To Hire Movers (4 Steps)

The company you choose can make or break your move, but deciding on one isn’t as simple as doing a quick Google search. Choose poorly, and you could end up paying ridiculously high rates, suffering damage to your belongingings, or even getting scammed. 

Choose wisely, and you could save yourself some hassle and have a pleasant moving experience. Picking the company that best suits your needs requires research and self-reflection, but luckily the process isn’t as daunting as it sounds.

Understand Your Moving Needs

Before you book your move, consider the best time for your move and what services you’ll need. There’s a big difference between local and national moves in terms of logistics and overall cost. Before researching moving companies, you should ask yourself a few vital questions:

  • How far are you moving?
  • Are you crossing state lines?
  • What is your ideal price range?
  • Do you need packing and unpacking services?

Brainstorm smaller details of your move, as well. For example, if you’re moving locally into a studio apartment on a cramped one-way street, you’d want to consider moving companies with smaller moving truck sizes that can fit down tight streets. There’s no need for a fleet of 18-wheelers if a simple box truck will do. Likewise, if you know you’ll be extremely busy with work leading up to your move, you may want to look at companies offering packing and unpacking services.

Consider your budget before starting your search, as well, to narrow your options. More money may equal more services, but if you’re willing to do some prep work yourself, you can save some cash with a more affordable moving company.

Research Potential Moving Companies

It’s important to research any company before hiring them, but it’s especially true of movers because they handle everything you own. If you need help starting your search, visit the American Moving and Storage Association to get a list of qualified movers. After that, visit each company’s website and social media to get an idea of its services.

If you’re not sure what to look for, I’ve put together a list of must-haves that you can find just by doing an internet search. A good moving company should have:

  • A list of available services
  • Easy access to their contact information
  • A professional image
  • Positive reviews or press coverage
  • Proper state licensing numbers
  • Basic release-value liability insurance
  • A full-value insurance option (for interstate movers only)

Customer reviews are the most accurate representations of a company’s operations, so checking them out before booking anything is important. There are many sites where you can browse customer reviews, but some of the most popular are Yelp and Better Business Bureau.

Get Multiple Estimates

Because relocation can be quite expensive, you might be asking yourself the question: Should I hire a moving company, or should I do it myself? Before you make that decision, you should consider doing a price survey of moving companies. Getting an estimate is one of the most crucial parts of shopping around before booking a move. It helps to call multiple companies and see their rates to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible, but you should prepare beforehand. 

Some companies have online forms you can submit for a free quote, but calling the company directly guarantees higher accuracy on your estimate.

Before calling or filling out forms online, be sure to know the crucial details about your move. These can include:

  • The number of stairs to the front door
  • The number of stairs in the home
  • The length of hallways to the front door
  • The number of bedrooms 
  • A list of heavy furniture or appliances 
  • The number of boxes you’ve packed
  • Your ideal moving date

The estimate itself should be free, but be ready to put down a deposit to hold your moving date.

Online estimates are convenient because they don’t involve scheduling but are often not very thorough. They may only include a checklist-style inventory of your items and a short description of what the access to the building is like. However, in-home estimates are the best way to gauge the items in the home, the access, and the move length. In-person estimates prevent the movers and the customer from being blindsided on the day of the move, so if a company doesn’t at least offer you the option of an in-home estimate, you may want to look elsewhere.

Today's Homeowner Tips

Be sure to mention any stairs, elevators, or parking situations when filling out information for an estimate. These may seem like small details, but bad access can add hours onto a move if not disclosed beforehand. You can never be too thorough when providing information, so try to be as accurate as possible.

Once you get a moving quote, compare it with competitors and check if anything stands out as odd. If you’re curious about how moving companies calculate their costs, this video can help shed some light on their process.

Confirm Your Mover’s Credentials

To protect yourself against scams, it helps to do some digging on a company before you book. This process includes verifying that your company is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for interstate moves and that the company has a real physical address. 

There’s no bigger red flag than finding out a company doesn’t exist in real life, so verifying the address is crucial. Every moving company needs an office and a parking lot for their trucks, so they should be easy to spot when browsing Google Maps or driving down the road.


Our Reviews of Professional Moving Companies


What You Should Know About Mover Qualifications

A company is nothing without its employees, and movers are no exception. Here are a few things that often get overlooked when choosing a mover.

Training

Most moving companies don’t require any prior experience with moving during their hiring process. Since it’s a physically demanding job, strength usually takes precedence. This hiring process can result in a largely undertrained staff, but many reputable companies train their employees thoroughly before their first day on the job.

It can be hard to tell if a company has well-trained staff from the outside, but customer reviews can give an accurate glimpse of how professional the movers are. 

If they’re wrapping furniture correctly, using bubble wrap or blankets on fragile items, and loading the truck without damage, that’s a good sign that the workers have a basic understanding of how to do their job. I’ve seen moves go very differently simply because of the crew’s talent, so choosing fully-trained movers is essential for a good move.

Licensure and Insurance

Every moving company needs some form of license and insurance coverage to operate as a legitimate business. All interstate movers must register with the U.S. Department of Transportation, but instate qualifications vary from state to state. For example, in Pennsylvania, movers must be licensed with the state’s Public Utility Commission and display their PUC number in advertisements.

The way to make sure a USDOT number is valid is to simply visit the FMCSA website and look up the moving company by name or enter the provided USDOT number on the company’s website.

Similarly, federal law requires all moving companies to offer basic release-value moving insurance. This is a bare-bones policy that doesn’t provide the best coverage – typically between $0.30 and $0.60 cents per pound. However, it’s usually included for free, so ensuring the company provides it is crucial. 

Interstate movers must also offer full-value protection, which usually costs up to 1% of the total value of your belongings. If they don’t offer you both full and release-value coverage options, that’s a big red flag.


What Are Common Services a Mover Offers?

Loading and unloading. This is simply putting your belongings on a truck, taking them to your new address, and dropping them off in your new home. It’s what most people think of when they think of movers.

Packing and unpacking. This means providing all the boxes and tape, wrapping fragile items in bubble wrap, packing and labeling the boxes accordingly, and organizing your items in your home after the move. If you don’t have much spare time, you may want these services.

Storage. This is moving your items into a storage unit provided or coordinated by the movers. You may need this if you don’t have a new home lined up yet but need to move out of your existing home.

Assembly and installation. This is extra labor like putting furniture together or installing a TV on the wall. You may want this service if you’re not very handy with tools.


Which Factors Are Most Important When Choosing a Moving Company?

While it may be overwhelming to consider all the factors involved in hiring movers, a few rise above the rest. These are some of the most important things to research during the hiring process.

Type of Move Needed

It’s important to hire a moving company specializing in the type of move you need. You wouldn’t want to employ full-service international movers if you just need to move your studio apartment across town. Similarly, local companies don’t always have the resources to handle large moves across state lines. Be sure to verify your needs with your company including any specialized requirements such as options for moving gun safes, before booking.

Cost

Moving company costs can vary wildly, ranging from a few hundred dollars for a small local move to several thousand for a cross-country move. Budgeting can be tricky, but cutting down on extra fees can be a simple way to stay within your means. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, just pick the simplest option to save on your hourly rate.

Insurance Coverage

Moving insurance helps protect your belongings in the event that something gets damaged. Every licensed company offers basic released-value coverage, but it usually only covers up to 60 cents per pound. If you want to cover the actual cost of your items, you should purchase full-value coverage or third-party insurance.

Services Offered

Every moving company varies in their services, but it’s important to pick a company that does everything you need. Before you book a simple load and unload, consider the benefits of packing services.

Reputation

A company’s reputation can make a big impact when deciding who to hire. A professional image goes a long way if you want to be absolutely sure about your decision before the big move.

Customer Reviews

Reading customer reviews is crucial for getting an insider look at how the company treats its customers. Remember, firsthand accounts are the best way to get an idea of what a company is like, and sites like Better Business Bureau were designed to help consumers get the full picture.


Which Moving Companies Service Your State?

Depending on where you live, you may have different options for professional movers to pick from. Me and my team have analyzed top companies specific to each state. Use the tool below to find your state:


What Are Questions To Ask a Mover?

These are all common questions I was used to hearing as a mover, so feel free to ask companies you’re considering. They also yield important information you’ll need to make the right decision.

How long can I expect the move to take? You’ll want to be sure the mover gives you an accurate ETA on the full moving experience, including any drive time and unloading at your destination.

Are there any items you can’t move? This is an important question if you own any specialty items. Pianos and gun safes are two items that not every company is capable of handling.

How many workers can I expect on the crew? It’s important to know how many movers will be helping you. If you have a three-bedroom house and they only send two movers, that’s unusual.


What Are Some Red Flags to Look for When Hiring Movers?

Although most movers with good reviews are legitimate, it’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for scams. Knowing the signs can help you avoid a moving disaster. 

One of the biggest red flags is when companies require a large deposit or up-front payment for the move. While it’s true that most companies require a deposit to hold your moving date, it typically won’t be more than a few hundred dollars. If a company demands full payment up-front, it’s almost certainly a scam that could result in a last-minute cancellation.

Likewise, if a company gives you an estimate that seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Today's Homeowner Tips

Some moving companies will offer a low non-binding estimate to secure the deal, then show an entirely different estimate with extra fees later. When in doubt, trust your gut.


So, How Do You Hire a Mover?

When hiring movers, I always start by evaluating my own needs and deciding what services I want in a company. Then, I do some digging and check online reviews of local moving companies. Once I find a few decent candidates, I scan their websites and call for free estimates. After I get a look at the numbers, I double-check all their credentials and pick the movers that are most qualified and reasonably priced.

Fortunately, Today’s Homeowner has made the vetting process a lot easier. Check out our top moving company picks below to get started more quickly.

Our Top Pick
Best Full-Service Mover

4.4

One month of free storage included with your move

Provides moves in all 50 states

Offers air & ocean freighting

VISIT SITE
Most Transparent Pricing

4.0

Flat rate pricing for all moves

Offers price matching

Expedited moves between big cities

VISIT SITE
Best Cost Estimation Tools

4.2

Top-notch packing services

Nationwide partner network

Comprehensive moving calculator

VISIT SITE

FAQs About How To Hire a Mover

What is the cheapest day to hire movers?

Although there’s no specific day of the week that’s inherently cheaper than the others, it’s generally true that weekdays are easier to book than weekends. Some companies also offer more reasonable rates during certain seasons, but don’t expect a huge discount on moving costs based on the day of the week.


Should I get insurance for my move?

If you’re moving across the country, purchasing full-coverage moving insurance is worth the money for the peace of mind it offers. All interstate movers are required by federal law to offer full-value and released-value liability protection options, and local moving companies typically offer both as well.

Full-value coverage comes at a price, but it’s worth purchasing to protect your belongings for interstate moves. However, if you’re just moving across town, that’s a bit of a gray area. Basic released-value coverage doesn’t provide much, but if you’re tight on money, it can be an affordable option for low-risk moves.


How much do you tip a mover?

If you’re happy with the safety and efficiency of your move, you should tip each mover at least $10 per hour worked. If they did anything that was above expectations, more is fine. Many companies factor tips into their workers’ wages, so tipping isn’t just encouraged: it’s necessary.


How do I choose a reliable mover?

When researching movers, ensure they have the proper licensing for your state and offer moving insurance. Most local companies have their state license numbers on their website, and all legitimate interstate movers are registered with the USDOT. You can usually verify their information online.


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