How to Hire Movers for your Local or Long-Distance Move

When you’re moving, you shouldn’t hire just any movers and packers to help you. Here you’ll discover what you should be looking for in a great moving company. Moving can be a stressful experience. Research shows that the average person will move 11 times in their life. But whether you’re on your tenth time or it’s your very first move, you need to hire reputable movers and packers. What exactly should you look for in a good moving company? There are quite a few factors to consider beyond just price. Let’s take a look at them.

Before You Get Started

Before you can call anyone, you need to understand exactly what is involved in your move.

Do you have:

  • Large, heavy furniture
  • Electronics
  • Very delicate items

If so, you’ll want to make sure you have the details ready, so your quote is accurate.

If you’re looking for help packing up, make sure you have an accurate inventory of everything that needs to be taken care of, too. The moving company will send out an estimator, but it’s good to know what you’ve got.

This is also an excellent time to get rid of things.

Those clothes you’ve never worn? Donate them. Do you really need 4 sets of dishes? You can donate those, too. If you need the cash, you can try selling them at a yard sale or a consignment shop, too.

The more you trim down, the less you have to pack and unpack.

Where Do You Look?

Your next task is gathering a list of potential movers and packers. You’ll ideally want to get down to a list of three possible companies.

If you’re moving locally, ask your friends and family. Word of mouth is one of the biggest recommendations that people trust — and for good reason. Not only will you get tips on who you should hire, you might even find out who you shouldn’t. Take careful notes.

Don’t carried away, though. Don’t ask everyone you know. It’s easy to get too many options, and then have trouble sorting through all the info you get.

If You Come Up Short, the Next Best Option Is Online Reviews.

Check several sites, including the mover’s own site. Take an average of what you find, but do pay close attention to the details. Are there a lot of complaints about broken furniture or items? Or are there tons of glowing reviews about customer service? The reviews will reveal the movers and packers’ strong (and weak) suits.

Social media can be helpful, too. Check for a Facebook page to find more reviews and get an overall sense of the company.

What Do You Look For?

You can use this as a checklist to keep track of the various things you need to find out about the mover and packers you’re going to hire.

It can also be helpful when you’re chatting with friends and family. While their costs may not be exactly the same as yours, you can get an idea of how things looked for their move.


Most moving companies provide free estimates. If not, that may not be a company you want to consider.


Not every moving company charges the same, but there’s a range just like any other industry. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples, though. Got a baby grand piano? That’s important to let them know.

The adage of “you get what you pay for” exists for a reason.

While not every high price guarantees quality, an extremely low bid is one to be wary of. A good guide is if it’s more than say, 25% lower than your lowest bid, it might not be a great idea to use them. Moving isn’t inexpensive, true. But you want your belongings to arrive safely and in one piece.


A reputable moving company won’t ask for a large deposit upfront, and especially not in cash. Always use a credit card.

Customer Service

You need to be comfortable with the people you’re dealing with.

If something were to happen, who can you call? Are they available 24/7 or only business hours? What if you have to file a claim? Understand how their system works in case you need to use it.

Checking Licensing

Movers are required to be licensed the USDOT (US Department of Transportation) and their local state. You can search the USDOT database by company name.

Another good place to check is the local Better Business Bureau. More serious than just a bad Yelp review, the BBB can give you info on any complaints filed and the resolution.

What Else Do You Need to Know?

There are also a few things to know that aren’t immediately obvious, especially if it’s your first move using a professional company.


You may have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, but those policies don’t cover your goods when they’re in transit. Ask your moving company for the details of the coverage they offer.

Bill of Lading

That’s your contract, in simple terms. Where your stuff is going, when it will get there, how much it will cost you, what’s included in the inventory. Make sure you read and understand it before signing. Put a copy in a safe place, too.

There Are Seasons

Summer is the busiest time for moves. If possible, schedule for fall through early spring to get better pricing. Sometimes you can’t help it, but if you can, it might be worth it.