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Five Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring Movers

Updated: May 26, 2022

You may have just bought a new home, taken a job across the country, or have decided that it is time to downsize your current living arrangement. Whatever the major life event maybe that is driving your relocation, one constant is the need to move all your possessions from point A to point B. Perhaps you can start packing early, wrangle enough family members to help, and rent a truck from your favorite moving chain, but in reality, the need to hire movers may not only present the most viable option for accomplishing the grueling task at hand but the only option to avoid a catastrophe on moving day. 

 

Hiring movers to lighten your load can alleviate a great deal of stress and anxiety associated with moving. While there are many moving “companies” eager to win your business, there may be only a select few within your area that should be trusted with moving your belongings. Compiled below is a thorough yet succinct list of mistakes to avoid when hiring movers to help with your next move. We hope you’ll find it helpful in avoiding hidden moving charges or even more serious setbacks.

Underestimating the Time and Effort Required to Move

Naturally, moving is a physically demanding and time-intensive task. As soon as your moving date is set (or even before then) you should take a brief inventory of your belongings and decide whether you do need to enlist professional help. While doing it yourself may be cheaper, a common mistake is underestimating how much you must move. A reality check is needed. If you have lots of loose, small items, DIY is plausible, however, if your abode is filled with large and heavy furniture, call for help (not just your brother-in-law with a truck!).

Don’t delay in making calls and getting quotes from potential moving companies. Once you’ve determined you need to hire movers, it’s best to call immediately to begin the estimate and quote process. This is important for a few reasons. You must consider certain seasons are busier than others. Summer brings along with it more home sales and college students moving in and out of campus. This will book solid many moving businesses during the peak period of late April-September, so if your move needs to occur during warmer weather, call as soon as you can. MovingLabor.com elaborates on this little-known phenomenon here with additional insight for scheduling peak month moves. Although great movers may be able to make a last-minute schedule change, waiting to find help until it’s too late will sometimes attract inexperienced or unestablished moving businesses. 

stylish living room interior design 2022 05 26 05 54 39 utc

Packing and moving take time, even when done by the pros. If you can hire the movers of your choice, you must also have realistic time expectations for your move. If you are looking to have a packing service included, you may find a business will need more than a single business day, especially if you have a large home. That’s why it is also important to go through the walkthrough and estimate process with your potential mover so that they can provide you with not only a price for your requested service but a timeframe in which you can expect all services to be rendered.

stylish living room interior design 2022 05 26 05 54 39 utc

Underestimating the Time and Effort Required to Move

Naturally, moving is a physically demanding and time-intensive task. As soon as your moving date is set (or even before then) you should take a brief inventory of your belongings and decide whether you do need to enlist professional help. While doing it yourself may be cheaper, a common mistake is underestimating how much you must move. A reality check is needed. If you have lots of loose, small items, DIY is plausible, however, if your abode is filled with large and heavy furniture, call for help (not just your brother-in-law with a truck!).

Don’t delay in making calls and getting quotes from potential moving companies. Once you’ve determined you need to hire movers, it’s best to call immediately to begin the estimate and quote process. This is important for a few reasons. You must consider certain seasons are busier than others.

Summer brings along with it more home sales and college students moving in and out of campus. This will book solid many moving businesses during the peak period of late April-September, so if your move needs to occur during warmer weather, call as soon as you can. MovingLabor.com elaborates on this little-known phenomenon here with additional insight for scheduling peak month moves. Although great movers may be able to make a last-minute schedule change, waiting to find help until it’s too late will sometimes attract inexperienced or unestablished moving businesses. 

 

Packing and moving take time, even when done by the pros. If you can hire the movers of your choice, you must also have realistic time expectations for your move. If you are looking to have a packing service included, you may find a business will need more than a single business day, especially if you have a large home. That’s why it is also important to go through the walkthrough and estimate process with your potential mover so that they can provide you with not only a price for your requested service but a timeframe in which you can expect all services to be rendered.

If you can hire the movers of your choice, you must also have realistic time expectations for your move.

Misunderstanding the Estimate Process

One of the biggest mistakes that can be made in the process of hiring movers is misunderstanding the estimate process or avoiding it altogether. There are three main types of estimates offered in the moving industry: over the phone, virtual, and in-person. An over-the-phone estimate is generally a phone call from a moving company where you will describe in detail the inventory and layout of your home. While it is convenient, you also run the risk of not describing things accurately, or even worse, forgetting things if not at home while on the call.

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Virtual visits are similar, but using modern technology, movers can see via video chat what they will be expected to move when the day arrives. Both estimates are faster and more convenient than the option of an in-person survey, however, they do run the risk of being less accurate (and could cost you more). The best option is to have the moving representative come out to survey your residence. While you may ask what they are doing looking under your bed, reputable and experienced movers will know exactly what to look for and where to provide you with the most accurate and fair quote possible. For a more detailed definition and what to expect from each, Moving.org has provided additional resources here. 

While there are pros and cons to each, the biggest mistake to avoid when hiring movers is to NOT receive an estimate at all. While it may seem like a selling point that a company can make a bid for your moving business without a walkthrough, it should not be taken seriously. An experienced and legitimate mover will require that some type of assessment be done before providing a quote not only to offer a fair price for their service but to understand exactly what services they will need to provide and how long it will take to render them.

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Not Being Clear with Your Needs and Concerns

While you may have done your best to describe your large wardrobe and patio set that needs to be moved over the phone to your potential mover, a common mistake is to not inform them of special needs related to your move. Depending on your current living arrangement, additional charges may need to be included in the estimate. Instead of being disappointed and perceiving them as “hidden fees showing up on moving day”, inform your mover of things like the number of stairs needed to access your residence, if parking is available, and items that require special care like appliances or valuables.

couriers delivering goods to a woman home 2021 09 15 16 45 16 utc

Avoid downplaying your wants for services and your concerns just to try to save in the budget. While communicating with legitimate and professional movers, you should be in the driver’s seat and never feel as though you are being upsold through the quoting process. If you need help packing and unpacking, an experienced moving agent should be able to help you discern if that is the right option for you and provide fair pricing for you to consider promptly. They should also be able to assist you in deciding which type of estimate is right for you, binding or non-binding. A bonus is to find a moving company that will provide you with your moving rep – a person who is dedicated solely to guiding you knowledgeably through the entirety of the move and helping you determine exactly what is needed to accomplish it. 

Not Researching a Company Before Hiring

If possible, try to work with a business a close family or friend recommends. There is nothing better than working with a reputable and established company that you know will provide a great experience. However, if you are not able to receive a recommendation from someone in your inner circle, you should be diligent in researching any potential movers you find online. The online presence of the business should be well established. They should have a plethora of reviews and a long history of them, both on their website and on third-party tools such as Google Reviews, Yelp, and HomeAdvisor. Companies that do not have reviews on independent sites may indicate they want to control negative reviews and are not confident in providing solid customer service.

There are other red flags that you can identify when researching movers that can help you avoid a potentially expensive, illegitimate, or dangerous move. When you are contacted after requesting a quote from your potential movers, make sure that you can easily identify the company you are working with. Two common issues with unreputable moving companies are the “bait and switch” tactic and “brokers. The Better Business Bureau assesses businesses to increase consumer trust. Moving.com notes that companies can avoid being assessed by the BBB by doing business under a different name.

Do not make the mistake of working with a business that answers the phone under different names or sends emails from a domain that is much different than their website. You will also want to avoid moving company brokers. This is either an internal or third-party service that has a sales team to close a deal – often at a shockingly low price and fast rate, only to sell the actual moving service to another company or contractor. Be leery of salesmen operating under the guise of being moving professionals. Again, you should be in the driver’s seat when deciding the services needed and the timeframe of your move. Feeling uncomfortable communicating with a potential company is a sign they should be avoided. You should favor working with a company that offers you a personal moving rep for the entire experience.

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While communicating with legitimate and professional movers, you should be in the driver’s seat and never feel as though you are being upsold through the quoting process.

packing time 2021 08 30 08 14 29 utc

Not Understanding How Your Items Are Protected

While understanding insurance and related charges when moving may seem more like cramming for a final exam than a part of moving, it should not be avoided. Knowing exactly who is responsible for your belongings if they are damaged, destroyed, or go missing during a move – and to what level provides you with peace of mind and actionable recourse. Before learning more about the insurance of your goods, you should verify whether your potential moving company is licensed to move them!

packing time 2021 08 30 08 14 29 utc

Not Understanding How Your Items Are Protected

While understanding insurance and related charges when moving may seem more like cramming for a final exam than a part of moving, it should not be avoided. Knowing exactly who is responsible for your belongings if they are damaged, destroyed, or go missing during a move – and to what level provides you with peace of mind and actionable recourse. Before learning more about the insurance of your goods, you should verify whether your potential moving company is licensed to move them!

The number one way to tell if a moving company is unreputable, according to Move.org, is if they are not licensed through the FMSCA. You can verify this through FMSCA’s website here, using the USDOT number your moving company provides. You can find lots of details on the business, but the primary concern is that they are listed as “AUTHORIZED” under operating status.


If the business is licensed properly to operate as movers, it is then important to understand how your items are protected. All movers must offer “Released Value Protection”, which is free but offers no more than 60 cents per pound per item. While it is a requirement, solely offering released value protection can be a sales tactic for less-than-stellar movers to bring their price down, which could cost you greatly if something were to happen. Legitimate moving professionals want to ensure your goods are protected. You should always choose movers that offer “Full Value Protection” or assist you in obtaining third-party protection. A solid moving company will always be able to work with you to understand the options they offer for insurance and provide them in writing. 

Wrapping Up

In summary, there are important pitfalls to avoid when hiring movers. Some problems are caused by us. For instance, when we fail to plan accordingly or when we forget to say we live in a 3rd-floor apartment that only has stair access! Other problems are caused by ignorance, such as unknowingly choosing a broker (instead of a real moving company) that “baits” you with a good price and then contracts a moving company that gives poor service. Finally, the last common mistake is assuming your belongings are fully insured when they are not – it’s always best to get clarification from your mover regarding insurance. 

Want to avoid all of these common mistakes? If you’re in the Los Angeles area and looking for a safe and reliable mover, then don’t hesitate to call us! 

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