Getting ready for a big move? How to choose a company to help

Jun 26, 2024, 12:10 PM | Updated: 1:53 pm

Moving van...

When it comes to moving, let the buyer beware. (Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

(Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

As the peak moving season unfolds, countless families are relocating to new homes and apartments. However, not all moving companies are created equal, and choosing the wrong one can lead to a nightmare.

Consumerman Herb Weisbaum of has uncovered horror stories of late arrivals, damaged possessions, broken promises and unexpected fees.

Objective ratings of movers from Checkbook:

To avoid these pitfalls, follow his expert advice:

Research extensively

Don’t rush the decision. Investigate moving companies thoroughly. Check their reputation, read reviews and verify their credentials.

“You’ve got to take the time to check out and make sure you’re dealing with a good company,” Weisbaum told Dave Ross on “Seattle’s Morning News.” “We’ve been hearing at from customers who are totally disgusted with the movers they hired, they arrived hours, even days late.”

Weisbaum explained that some movers lose or break precious possessions, renege on promises or demand more money than the quoted amount.

“There really can be some serious horror stories that take place,” he said. “You need to speak to several moving companies before you commit to doing your move. It’s going to save you a small fortune.”

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Checkbook’s undercover shopping also revealed significant price variations.

“To move a four-bedroom house within Renton, we were quoted prices ranging from about $1,800 to more than $4,000,” Weisbaum said. “And for a move from Seattle to the other Washington, Washington DC, we recorded a price ratio of about $10,500 to $27,000.”

Insurance matters

Most moving companies provide minimal insurance coverage based on weight. However, this may not suffice for valuable items.

“You probably should buy additional coverage to protect yourself, precious stuff,” Weisbaum said. “That is something that would probably be a wise purchase for your move.”

Beware of brokers

Some online listings may lead you to brokers who pose as local companies but lack their own trucks or movers. These middlemen collect deposits and then subcontract the job. Unfortunately, customers often end up with no-shows or rogue movers.

“They simply collect a deposit from customers and then try to sell the job to a moving company,” Weisbaum said. “The problem is that you have no control over who actually does the job because they’re just going to hire it out after the fact. And many customers get stuck with companies or movers that don’t show up at all.”

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While regulations exist for out-of-state moves, enforcement remains lax. Be cautious. Look for companies with a local address, on-site estimates and transparent practices.

“There are some regulations for out-of-state movers, but there’s absolutely no enforcement whatsoever. The government agency just is not staffed to do this,” Weisbaum explained. “So, here’s our tip: get a company that can provide a local address, find out where they park their trucks at night, or have them send someone to your home to prepare a written estimate.”

Objective ratings of movers from Checkbook:

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

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Getting ready for a big move? How to choose a company to help