Finding a Local Moving Company You Can Trust
Moving is tough at any age. The logistics of packing up everything in the old house and relocating it to a new one can feel overwhelming.
And today’s generation of seniors move less than younger adults. In fact, many have lived in their homes for several decades and accumulated a considerable amount of possessions. This makes downsizing and moving even more of a challenge.
Finding a moving company you can trust is often the key to making a smooth transition. Here’s what you should know when it comes time to hiring a moving company when you are ready to move to a senior living community.
6 Tips for Hiring a Moving Company
We’ve all seen and heard horror stories on the local news about people being victimized by moving companies. While those stories are the exception to the rule, it is important to take your time and do your research before you hire a moving company.
- Ask for Recommendations: As is the case with hiring almost any type of service, recommendations from people you trust is the best referral. Ask friends, colleagues, and other family members if they know of any resources. If you or your older loved one will be moving to a retirement community, ask the staff there for referrals and recommendations. At Era Living, many of our residents have had positive experiences with Hansen Bros. Moving & Storage and their specialized division for retirement living moves, HB Move Management. Hansen Bros. has been locally owned and managed by the same family for over 125 years and has proudly served generations of Seattle area families and businesses. They recognize that moving usually involves much more than simply transporting belongings, so they offer a broad scope of additional services to make the moving process easier. HB Move Management can assist with the coordination of the many details and aspects of moving; sorting, downsizing, floor planning, packing, unpacking and even setting up a complete new apartment home. Their team of experts can also coordinate other pre-screened service providers ranging from Realtors and estate sales to trash hauling and document shredding. The process begins with a complimentary, no obligation consultation to assess your needs, prepare a cost estimate for services, and provide valuable tips and advice on downsizing and space planning.
- Read the Reviews: While personal recommendations are always best, technology has made it much easier to learn what others have to say about the moving companies you are considering. Some review sites like Yelp are free to use while others, such as Angie’s List, require a paid membership. It might be worth signing up for a few months while you are working your way through this process. You can also use sites like MovingScam.com and RipOffReport.com to identify potential scams.
- Phone Screening: Once you have a list of four or five potential moving companies, block out some time to call each of them. Be sure your list of questions includes asking what their hourly rates are, how many movers and trucks that includes, and how long they’ve been in business. Your goal should be to have at least two or three companies that you’ve vetted come to your home or that of your senior loved one to provide a written estimate.
- In-Person Estimates: The next step is to set up appointments with two or three moving companies to provide a free written estimate. Slowly take them through your house so they have a thorough understanding of what they will be moving. Be certain you understand which type of estimate the moving company is giving you. Depending upon the state you live in, the estimate might be binding, non-binding, or a not-to-exceed estimate. If you will be crossing any state lines in your move, be sure to ask about those charges. Finally, ask for their USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) and MC (motor carrier) license numbers.
- Method of Payment: Another important piece of information to gather is method of payment. Does the company accept credit cards? Using one can give you financial leverage. Since most credit card companies arbitrate disputes at a cardholder’s request, you will have peace of mind if something goes wrong.
- Narrow Your Search: Once you’ve narrowed your search down to one potential moving company, do a little more investigative work before you sign anything. Call the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints about the company. Use the USDOT or MC license number you obtained from each company to search the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s You can obtain a variety of information here ranging from crash reports to whether or not the company is licensed to transport household goods.
Our final tip for Seattle seniors and adult children is to take advantage of one of our free downsizing seminars to help you better navigate this process. We offer them on a regular basis at our eight local senior living communities.