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8 Questions to Ask When Hiring Movers (+ free downloadable cheat sheet!)

The moving industry can have a bad reputation, and often for a good reason. When hiring movers, vetting them is absolutely necessary.

We’ve heard of so many moving scams and scummy practices out there – and we hate it. Bait and switch tactics, holding your items hostage, or just plain not showing up. All of which are completely unacceptable behaviors in our book.

You need movers you can trust; ones with experience in handling your most delicate items, fully licensed and insured, and background-checked employees.

Here are 8 questions to ask any moving company you get a quote from and why each question is important when hiring movers (downloadable/printable cheat sheet at the end).

1. What are your license numbers?

All moving companies that operate within the United States are required to have a US DOT number, and if operating in the state of Texas, a TXDMV number. If you’re hiring movers to help you move across state lines, they’ll also need an MC number. Any reputable company should be able to provide these for you and you should be able to verify them and ensure these licenses are active.

Our USDOT is 3879332 and our TXDMV is 009517795C. As of right now, we don’t have an MC number and only offer moves within the state of Texas.

Why is this important? Well, if any movers you’re hiring don’t have these licenses, they’re technically breaking the law and operating illegally. If they’re willing to do that, what else are they willing to cut corners on? Sure, they’re probably cheaper than the other companies, but you’re likely to be paying for it in other ways in the end.

2. Are you fully insured with commercial auto, cargo, and general liability insurance?

If the movers you’re hiring have active federal and state operating authority, they most likely have active insurance as well. But it doesn’t hurt to double-check – we were able to get our DOT number without any proof of insurance filings (though of course, we have them – the Dept. of Transportation just didn’t ask when we were filing) and we got our TXDMV number without showing proof of our general liability insurance.

All 3 insurances are vital and protect not only the moving company but you as the customer as well! Accidents happen despite the best training and precautions, and insurance is there to keep you covered.

3. What size is your truck?

Something you probably wouldn’t think of when hiring movers, but something you should ask nonetheless. Unfortunately, there are companies out there that are licensed and insured and will give you a great rate, but fail to mention that they’re going to show up with a 10 ft box truck or trailer.

The move ends up taking several hours longer than it should, simply because instead of one trip, you’re taking five or six to get all of your items into your new home. Unless you’re just having a studio or one-bedroom apartment moved, anything less than a 20′ truck is a red flag, in my opinion.

At Ajax Moving Services, our current truck is a 24′ box truck, which is enough for about a 2-3 bedroom house in one trip. Any more than that and Jessica (me, co-owner and booker!) will be giving a warning that a second trip might be necessary.

4. Are there any additional fees or charges not mentioned?

Another tactic that some moving companies use when you’re seeking out quotes: offer a low hourly rate, then fail/”forget” to mention the materials fee, double drive time, the fact that the clock actually starts when they leave their truck lot 45 minutes away, etc.

So make sure you’re checking for that upfront – it might be cheaper to use a company with a higher hourly rate but no additional fees.

5. What are your rescheduling/cancellation policies?

Life happens. And when you’re hiring movers, rescheduling your move can be expensive. Closing dates change, apartments aren’t ready in time, etc. Will the moving company you pick charge you $150 to move the date to another day or will they reschedule free of charge? Is there a minimum amount of time needed for there to be a complementary rescheduling?

6. Are all of your movers background-checked?

When it comes to hiring movers, you need to feel assured that your items are not going to be stolen or vandalized and a background check plays a HUGE role in that. You want to be able to trust the men showing up at your residence. A reputable company isn’t going to just hire people based on their word – they’ll run a background check.

7. Do your movers pad and wrap all furniture items?

Some movers pad and wrap furniture items and some don’t. Not padding and wrapping your furniture means that your move will go a lot faster, but the trade-off is that your furniture will get new scratches and dings, and possibly your walls and door frames too. It’s not worth the savings in my opinion, especially if you have nice furniture. Spending an extra $300 to make sure your $2,000 couch doesn’t get ripped is a good investment, don’t ya think?

8. How much experience do your movers have?

The moving industry typically has a high turnover rate for movers. The hours are long, the work is hard, and many companies pay low wages. So when you’re hiring movers, ask how much experience their movers have. As a result, some of these moving companies end up hiring movers that are only 18 years old with no experience and are getting trained in loading furniture and driving box trucks by 20-year-olds.

Other companies have special training courses and only hire experienced movers that meet their standards (like we do). They also tend to pay a bit more to retain these diamond-in-the-rough movers, so the hourly rate you pay will often be a bit more. Again, to protect your household items, paying a bit more might be a good trade-off.

download your free Hiring Movers printable checklist here:

8 Questions to Ask Your Movers Download (No Quote)

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8 Questions to Ask Your Movers Download (w/ Quote)

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