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Researching Moving Companies

February 19th, 2013 - 1:59 PM

Researching Moving Companies – Show me the facts!

When you begin the process of researching reputable moving companies, it may seem overwhelming. Did you notice that a Google search of the phrase “researching moving companies” gives you over 3 million results? That’s a lot of information to dig through – and how do you know what to trust and what to ignore? If you’ve seen the news over the past few months, you may have noticed reports about the government crack-down on unscrupulous moving companies. Reading this news is just more verification that what you’re doing right now is a very, very wise thing to do.

How to research moving companies
First, it’s important to know that moving services are regulated differently based on where and how they operate. A full-service interstate moving company is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as a “household goods” carrier. A “you pack, we drive” service (like U-Pack) is regulated by the FMCSA as an “all commodities” carrier (we’ll talk about this more later in the post). A local in-state mover is regulated by state the mover operates in.

Today we’ll focus on how to research interstate moving companies.

You may notice that websites like movingscam.com suggest asking for the moving companies’ “numbers.” The “numbers” these sites are referring to are Bond, Department of Transportation (DOT), and Motor Carrier (MC) numbers. This is where your research should begin. Once you have these numbers, visit safersys.org to look up the moving service’s status.

If you’ve verified the moving service is a legitimate interstate carrier or mover, we recommend moving on to researching consumer reviews. You can normally find good information on sites like epinions.com (search in the Home & Garden section in the “Moving Companies” category), yelp.com, and youtube.com. Then, check to see if they’re actively involved in social media; this is a great place to see how well the company responds to issues that inevitably come up. Do the positives outweigh the negatives? Does the company offer viable solutions? If the company isn’t active in social media, do a search to see if you can find mentions.

Here are some other research tips designed to help you make the best decision for your move:

  • Start early, and get moving quotes in writing.
  • Make sure you understand your quote (the total cost, what is included and what isn’t, how price could change if you need more/less space or weight, cancellation fees, deposits, etc.). If you have questions, ask!
  • If you pick up on red flags, ask questions and seek expert advice.
  • Ask about extra services/products you may need, like storage, guaranteed delivery, boxes and moving supplies, etc.
  • Read the company’s Frequently Asked Questions. This portion of the website can give you even more detail about what you can expect. The more you know, the better off you are!  

Researching U-Pack
While you’re in the process of researching moving companies, why not check out U-Pack? Though it’s a “you pack, we drive” service, it can still be a great fit for customers searching for full-service moving options. If you like the idea of lower prices, but need help loading and unloading, U-Pack can gladly refer you to experienced moving labor. You can get a moving quote online, or by calling 800-413-4799.

As I mentioned previously, because ABF Freight (U-Pack’s primary transportation provider) is an interstate carrier of all commodities – not just household goods like traditional moving companies – they are regulated by the DOT as an “all commodities” carrier. This means that ABF Freight is able to transport many types of goods. During transportation, considerable cost savings can be passed to you by loading commercial freight on the portion of the trailer not used by your shipment. The commercial freight consists of items being shipped to places like department stores, businesses, etc. And, of course, these items are not co-mingled with your shipment. After you load, you’ll install a divider wall that separates your belongings from these items. Once the trailer is loaded, your belongings stay where they’re loaded until you unload at your destination – they’re not transferred or unloaded. And no worries... ABF doesn’t place dangerous items on the same trailer as a U-Pack shipment.

More questions?
Since you’re in the process of researching moving companies, are there any other questions I can help answer? Leave a comment below — we look forward to helping!