Choosing a moving company is about more than just staying within budget. It’s about finding competent movers you can trust to safely pack and transport everything you own. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and easy guide on how to pick the ideal company for your needs. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to selecting the Southern California moving company that’s right for you!
1. Get Referrals
While relying on the internet or local advertisements is a great way to find and choose a moving company, referrals are often best. Friends, family members, co-workers, and even your real estate agent can offer insight on a moving company they’re familiar with, sharing their experience with you and helping you overcome the first obstacle to finding the right movers for your needs.
2. Read Reviews & Testimonials
It’s important to know what to expect from any moving company you’re vetting. Read as many customer reviews as you can, both the positive and the negative. This will give you an in-depth look at the type of experience the company provides, its services, and its strengths and weaknesses.
3. Get Multiple Estimates
Always get multiple estimates for your move. We recommend getting at least three estimates from reputable moving companies in your area, based on those you’ve already found through referrals or online. In-person estimates are best, but whether this is possible will depend on covid-related restrictions and your unique situation. Make sure any estimates you receive are thorough and offer varied pricing depending on the final weight of your belongings.
4. Only Choose a Licensed & Insured Moving Company
Make sure the moving company is licensed and insured. Particularly for an out-of-state move, your moving company must be registered with the government and have a valid U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number. Visit Protect Your Move, a website that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains to provide free resources and tools for consumers to protect themselves from moving fraud, for more information and to search for a registered mover.
5. Verify the Company’s Address
It’s a good idea to check the moving company’s address. Get a business card or find the company’s address on their website and look it up online. You’ll want to make sure the address is registered under the moving company’s name.
6. Keep Your Eyes Open for Scams & Red Flags
According to the FMCSA, thousands of Americans fall victim to moving fraud each year. Common moving scams include overcharging, delivering severely damaged belongings, and holding belongings hostage to force additional payments from customers.
There are a few red flags you can watch for:
- The moving company gives you an estimate without seeing your property.
- The moving company demands a cash payment, payment upfront, and/or a large deposit.
- The moving company will not provide a written estimate.
- The moving company does not have a standard moving contract for you to sign.
- The moving company does not have a valid address registered to its name.
- The moving company cannot or will not provide license or insurance information.
- The truck that arrives on moving day is a rented moving truck, not a company-owned vehicle.
If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s time to look for a different mover. You can also report moving scams by filing a complaint with the FMCSA.
Qualities to Look for in Your SoCal Moving Company
More than 35 million people move every year, according to the FMCSA, which has led to the growth of the moving industry. Unfortunately, that opportunity has attracted both legitimate moving companies...and, let's say, less reputable moving companies. The best thing you can do if you're planning on hiring a moving company is know how to spot a fake.
Here are the green flags you should be looking for when you choose a Southern California moving company:
This one is a no-brainer. Moving experiences have a way of making us passionate—both in a good way and a bad way. If your moving company has a lot of good reviews, those reviews are probably sincere and a sign that the mover does good work. If it has a lot of bad reviews, you should probably read them to see what their experiences were like.
The best moving experiences are the ones that offer peace of mind, and good insurance is all about peace of mind. Check your moving company's insurance policy. How much does it cover? Does it seem fair? Does it seem like the process is straightforward? How much preparation does a claim require?
Check out their positive reviews—do any of them mention filing an insurance claim? A positive review that involved an insurance claim is a hint that their insurance policy is fair and responsive.
Every mover who moves across state lines is required to register with the Department of Transportation. If your prospective mover is legitimate, they'll have a unique USDOT number that you can run through an FMCSA database. If they don't have a USDOT number but they're offering out-of-state moving services, run as far away as you can.
For moving companies that only handle moves within the state, licensing will depend on the state.
Less reputable moving companies will take your money and hire strangers off the street to serve as the "moving team." These people aren't vetted or trained, but some moving companies will call them their "team" when the company knows them as well as you do! The best way to avoid companies like this is to find moving professionals who are part of a permanent moving team.
- Check the staff page—is it a full team of people with names and photos?
- Check their reviews—do any of them call out movers by name? Do the same people get mentioned more than once?
When the movers are actually part of the team (not just people hired for the day), it's a sign that you're dealing with a quality moving company.
A high-quality moving company has been around for longer than a year. Are some legitimate companies young? Sure. But a lot of 'companies' will spring up overnight, take your money, move your stuff badly (if at all), and then disappear. As soon as you try to file a complaint, they'll be in the wind.
The best way to avoid that is to hire a company that's been around for a few years. Affordable Quality Moving & Storage has been around since 1996, which is more than enough time to prove that we're a legitimate business with a legitimate service. That's the sort of staying power you should be looking for.
Never trust a company that does moving estimates over the phone. There are too many variables involving your move that can't be described over the phone. The square footage of your home, how much stuff you own, how many boxes you'll need, and other important factors can only be decided in an in-home estimate.
Company-Owned Trucks (Not Rented)
This goes back to those companies that form overnight, hire people off the street, and haven't been around for longer than a year. If you hire a professional moving company, you should expect to see a company-owned truck show up in your driveway on Moving Day. Ask your prospective moving company if they have company-owned or company-branded trucks. Better yet, look at the company's website.
Physical Warehouse or Storage Area
A physical warehouse with a real address is another indicator that you're dealing with a legitimate moving company. Even if the company doesn't have a warehouse, they should have a real address—not just a P.O. box!
Learn How Our Southern California Movers Can Help You
In the end, you’ll need to make your own choice about which moving company is right for you. At Affordable Quality Moving and Storage, we can offer you the assurance that we are licensed, insured, and fully qualified to handle any local, long-distance, interstate, and even international move. Our movers are experienced and understand the importance of keeping your belongings safe and sound. Whether we’re packing and unpacking, moving, and/or storing your belongings, you can count on getting quality service at an affordable price.