How to Find an Honest Moving Company:

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Trusting someone with your precious belongings or important tasks requires confidence in their integrity. This guide offers clear steps and key characteristics to look for, ensuring you make a well-informed and secure choice.

Key Takeaways

  • Research and compare moving companies carefully, focusing on services, pricing, and client feedback to avoid scams and ensure reliability.
  • Verify a moving company’s credentials and licenses, and seek recommendations from trusted sources like friends, family, and real estate agents.
  • Watch out for red flags like unusually low estimates, lack of a physical address, or poor customer service, as these can indicate potential scams or untrustworthy movers.


Engaging a dependable moving company guarantees your move will be managed skillfully and efficiently with their moving trucks. When you entrust your belongings to a company known for its reliability, you can rest assured that they will arrive at your new home safely and on time. This peace of mind is invaluable during what can otherwise be a very stressful time.

Dependable moving companies contribute extensive knowledge and experience. They know how to:

  • Pack and transport items securely, minimizing the risk of damage or loss
  • Handle fragile or valuable items that require special care
  • Provide free quotes or exact rates, allowing you to compare prices and services to find the best fit for your needs and budget.

Furthermore, engaging a dependable moving company can result in financial savings. Many offer discounts to frequent customers or those who book early, which can significantly reduce the overall cost of your move. In the long run, choosing a trustworthy mover can be more cost-effective than opting for a cheaper, less reliable option that might result in damaged or lost belongings.

Understanding What Makes a Moving Company Honest

Graphic of moving

Identifying a trustworthy moving company begins with understanding what defines an honest mover. An honest man or woman at the helm of such a company ensures that your move is executed proficiently and meticulously, guaranteeing timely and safe delivery of possessions—a true measure of a dependable service provider.

A hallmark feature of integrity within a moving firm includes clear communication regarding their offerings and fees. Honest movers provide comprehensive estimates, enabling you to scrutinize differences in prices and services between various companies effectively. A genuine approach to packing and transporting items securely underscores their competence, minimizing potential damages or losses. Openness about skills set forth by someone earnestly working for these organizations fosters confidence through setting definitive anticipations throughout the entire relocation experience.

It’s common practice among reputable firms to extend savings opportunities via discounts for customers who either return regularly or schedule early—this gesture not only aids in conserving funds but also reflects gratitude toward client dedication. Prioritizing factors like professionalism, straightforwardness, and consumer recognition when searching for assistance during moves can lead you toward partnering with sincere businesses poised to make transitioning residences free from undue stress.

Researching Moving Companies Thoroughly

A thorough investigation is essential when selecting a moving company. Undertaking this due diligence will confirm the legitimacy and credibility of your chosen mover, protecting you from possible deceit and dishonest practices. We’ll delve into various crucial steps to follow in this meticulous research process.

To start off, compare different companies considering their array of services offered as well as pricing structures. This comparison allows you to align with a service that meets your unique requirements while adhering to your financial limits. It’s important not only to assess the financial implications but also to examine what each company provides—be it packing supplies, storage solutions, or special handling for delicate items.

We will now address distinct elements of the investigative procedure including scrutiny of online feedback and ratings, authentication of permits and certifications alongside sourcing trustworthy recommendations. These measures are pivotal in ensuring selection criteria lead to engaging a dependable moving company.

Checking Online Reviews and Ratings

When evaluating the performance of a moving company, online reviews and ratings are a treasure trove of information. These details help determine the trustworthiness and level of customer satisfaction provided by a company. Scouring review platforms such as Yelp, Google Reviews, and Facebook can offer an extensive overview of the mover’s service history.

Searching for companies in the business with high overall star ratings — preferably between 4 to 5 stars — is advisable while steering clear from those showered with mostly negative feedback. Exercise caution regarding moving services boasting entirely positive reviews. There’s potential for these to be inauthentic. Real customer evaluations tend to shed light on both the advantages and disadvantages associated with using that particular company’s service, providing you with more impartial insights.

Delving into complaints registered on the Better Business Bureau’s website may also reveal significant aspects concerning a moving firm’s professionalism and customer support practices. Scrutinizing these digital reflections allows one to deduce how issues like effectiveness of communication are managed by the movers under consideration before finalizing your selection decision.

Verifying Credentials and Licenses

Ensuring a moving company has the appropriate credentials and permits is essential to establishing its legitimacy. Verifying that they have an active DOT number can affirm their authorization for operation, which becomes exceedingly crucial when moves involve crossing state lines. Movers must be registered with the United States Department of Transportation for interstate relocations.

Should your move be contained within the boundaries of California, it’s important to check that the movers are licensed by the California Public Utilities Commission. This confirms their compliance with state regulations and certifies they’re permitted to provide service in California. A lack of proper licensing should raise concerns about whether you’re dealing with a reputable moving company.

Being accredited or certified by respected professional organizations such as the International Association of Movers signals a degree of professionalism on the part of the moving service provider. Membership typically requires adherence to stringent standards of quality and ethics.

By rigorously checking these licensures and certifications, one can confidently engage a trustworthy mover known for maintaining high industry standards and ensuring safe transport across different jurisdictions.

Seeking Recommendations from Trusted Sources

Referrals from trusted friends and family are invaluable when it comes to selecting moving companies. Their personal positive experiences can offer credible insights into the reliability and performance of the movers in question. Beginning your search by soliciting recommendations from people you trust is an excellent strategy.

Likewise, real estate agents and landlords often have extensive experience with a variety of moving companies due to their profession. They can recommend dependable companies that they’ve seen successfully complete moves time after time. Seeking advice from your real estate agent may connect you with proficient movers well-versed in handling relocations similar to yours.

Customer feedback pertaining specifically to circumstances like yours - be it long-distance moves, corporate relocation, or local transitions, allows for a deeper understanding of how adeptly a company manages particular demands. Such testimonials provide clarity on how these entities uphold their service standards under various conditions typical to customers’ needs, which helps narrow down options towards trustworthy candidates amongst the myriad of available moving firms.

Recognizing Red Flags

Recognizing warning signs can help you avoid unnecessary problems and financial losses. It’s a red flag if moving companies fail to provide a written estimate or choose to calculate fees only after they’ve loaded your possessions. This often precedes unexpected costs and disagreements.

A mover’s unwillingness to document agreements in writing, including the bill of lading, is another alarming sign. Since this document spells out the specifics of your move’s agreement, incomplete or evasive documentation by a company should prompt you to search for more reliable services.

Be wary of movers who insist on receiving large deposits before initiating the moving process. This practice may signal fraudulent intent.

Consistent negative reviews are also revealing indicators that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Frequent complaints about tardiness, loss or damage to property, and undisclosed fees are serious concerns—especially when backed up by reports lodged with entities like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

By staying vigilant for these tell-tale symptoms of deceitful conduct among movers and other businesses within the industry, you’ll better protect yourself from engaging with disreputable companies during your relocation journey.

Unusually Low Estimates

Should you come across an estimate that seems exceptionally low, be cautious. While the prospect of a good deal may be appealing, quotes that appear unbelievably cheap frequently are just that: unbelievable. If something doesn’t feel right to you—listen to that gut feeling—it could prevent future headaches. Initial cost estimates might seem economical, but can often spiral into costs two or three times higher due to unforeseen additional fees.

Securing several in-home quotes is crucial for distinguishing potential frauds from legitimate offers. When a mover gives you an offer without first learning about your move’s specifics, consider this a major warning sign. They likely aren’t aboveboard. In contrast, reputable companies will insist on knowing every detail—from how many items need moving and any special care they require—to accurately determine how far everything must go before reaching your new abode.

Choosing the lowest bid with hopes of conserving funds might backfire by leading to surprise expenses down the line—the very opposite of money-saving! To guard against getting hooked by enticing yet deceptive initial offers, make sure each quote comes with detailed transparency after thorough comparisons have been made between them all.

Lack of Physical Address or Contact Information

Ensuring a moving company's legitimacy is crucial. This can be verified by checking if they have an established physical address and valid contact information. If you come across a moving service that lacks a tangible location and operates purely online, it could signal potential risk. It’s important to have the option to either physically visit their premises or confirm their business presence through trustworthy sources.

Utilizing local movers for your relocation needs tends to provide added assurance against dishonest companies that exist only digitally. Local moving services often place great importance on maintaining their standing in the community, making them more responsible in their dealings. The ease of contacting and verifying these businesses also brings additional security benefits when engaging with local movers.

When encountering a mover without professional stationery such as business cards or official email addresses, along with missing physical workplace details, there’s a significant reason to doubt their authenticity. By confirming proper communication channels and ensuring that the company has an authentic address available for verification purposes can protect you from fraudulent activities, allowing you peace of mind that genuine professionals are handling your move.

Poor Customer Service

The quality of customer service is a significant marker of a moving company's reliability. Observe how quickly and efficiently they handle your initial contact. Assessing how responsive they are can gauge early signs of their commitment to pleasing customers.

Assessing the professionalism embodied by the customer service team should include evaluating whether responses are clear and useful. Do they willingly provide comprehensive details about their services? A transparent approach and willingness to engage in detailed discussions indicate that you’re dealing with a trustworthy company.

A moving company that prioritizes its clientele will:

  • Guarantee transparency during every phase of the move
  • Offer precise information without hesitation
  • Respond swiftly to any issues raised

You can expect courteous interactions throughout your dealings with such companies.

On the other hand, substandard customer service might act as an indicator, hinting at potential unreliability or untrustworthiness within the moving establishment.

Understanding the Cost Structure

Understanding the pricing structure of moving companies is essential to avoid surprise costs. Prices for professional movers vary significantly, ranging from $300 to a steep $17,000 based upon several factors including move distance and home size. A typical local relocation for a three-bedroom residence may average out at approximately $2,200 while undertaking a long-distance journey could elevate the cost closer to about $4,400.

The overall expense of relocating comprises various elements such as:

  • Base charges
  • Costs associated with labor
  • Charges for transport
  • Extra services offered

Acquiring an itemized list of these expenses is crucial in discerning how your money will be allocated. Moving during less busy seasons like winter can also present opportunities for financial savings.

Most dependable movers offer:

  • Complimentary estimates or confirmed rates enable price and service comparisons
  • Clarity regarding fees that allow you to decide wisely
  • Various options tailored to suit both your budgetary constraints and specific requirements

This level of clarity provided by reliable moving companies ensures you can financially plan effectively and select a mover that accommodates your monetary limits and personal needs with precision.

Upfront Fees and Deposits

Most companies involved in moving require a deposit to hold your moving date. The amount of this deposit varies, from a modest percentage up to several hundred dollars, depending on the specific company. It’s critical to recognize that any reputable company specializing in moves should not ask for more than 20% of the total estimated cost as a deposit. Deposits are between $150 and $350.

It is not customary for these companies to ask for sizable upfront payments. Such requests ought to be met with caution. Should a firm insist on collecting a large sum before services are rendered, it may signal an untrustworthy operation. Finding trustworthy movers often means looking for those who request reasonable deposits and provide clear information concerning their terms.

To avoid falling victim to fraudulent schemes and ensure financial safety while securing your move date without undue risk, confirm that the terms related specifically to deposits are both straightforward and fair within agreements made with these service providers.

Optional Services and Their Costs

Additional services provided by a moving company can significantly increase the ease of your relocation but may also add to the total expense. Examples of these optional services include:

  • Services for packing and unpacking
  • Shipping vehicles
  • Transporting oversized items
  • Providing storage solutions

Such offerings are particularly advantageous for military personnel who require expert care when handling their possessions or have special items that necessitate delicate attention.

For example, comprehensive packing and unpacking services average an average cost of $700. The price tag for specialized transport tasks like piano moving fluctuates between $300 and $2,000. Meanwhile, monthly rates for storage facilities might span from $75 to as much as $300.

When you’re in the process of choosing additional service options, it’s crucial to confirm that the company engaged in facilitating your move has both the capacity and expertise necessary to deliver precisely what you need. Also, remember to ask about any available savings related to booking early or on a regular basis. Having a thorough knowledge about what these extras will cost enables proper budget planning while helping prevent unforeseen financial burdens.

Other Potential Costs

When hiring a moving company, you should take into account not just the basic and extra service fees, but also additional costs that may arise. Gratuity for the movers is customary and typically falls between 10% to 20% of the entire cost of services rendered as an expression of thanks for their diligent work. Include this in your financial plan for moving expenses.

If you are undertaking long distance moving or your relocation involves considerable travel time, expect to incur travel fees. These charges compensate for the added effort and resources necessary to successfully execute your move over greater distances.

Lastly, it’s crucial to consider either liability insurance or full valuation coverage. This type of protection shields your possessions from unexpected incidents during transport, such as natural calamities or mechanical mishaps. By acknowledging these ancillary expenses upfront, you can more effectively budget your money and ensure thorough coverage for every aspect of your venture.

Evaluating Customer Service and Communication

A moving company’s trustworthiness hinges on open dialogue and superior client service. Effective communication delivers the following to customers:

  • A clear understanding and assurance throughout their move
  • Knowledge of each stage, including any difficulties that may occur
  • An alleviation of anxiety by keeping them well-informed
  • Prompt resolution when issues emerge

This level of transparency is driven by a deep awareness within the company itself, reducing stress for clients as they are kept in the loop and concerns are swiftly dealt with.

Through regular and forthright exchanges, a bond of trust is established between clients and movers. This makes it more likely that they will entrust their belongings to the care of the movers during relocation. Clients who have positive interactions tend to use these services again for subsequent moves while recommending them to others in their social circle—be it friends, family, or colleagues—thereby increasing the business’s customer base.

Clients often commend trustworthy moving companies for providing excellent service quality which encompasses aspects such as:

  • Continuous communication
  • Coordinated efforts
  • Efficient loading practices
  • Safe unloading procedures
  • Overall professionalism

By assessing how a mover communicates with its customers along with their approach toward customer care, you can infer just how much emphasis they place on making sure those whom they serve are contented and reassured about using their services.

Getting Accurate Moving Estimates

To avoid unforeseen fees, it’s critical to acquire accurate moving quotes. A comprehensive quote should cover:

  • Details of the moving company
  • Start and end locations
  • Distance covered
  • Anticipated load weight
  • An itemized list of costs

This specificity promotes clarity and aids in deciphering how prices are derived.

For a reliable preliminary figure, you can use an online calculator for moving expenses which takes into account variables like travel distance and cargo weight. Nevertheless, on-site evaluations are essential since they permit movers to gauge the true scope and mass of your possessions for a precise pricing determination. This method enables identifying belongings that may require special care or packaging techniques – averting unforeseen expenditures down the line.

Alterations to the estimated costs need confirmation before loading begins. Hence ensuring no shocks arise during move day. Adhering to these recommendations will help achieve precise estimates, allowing effective financial planning for your relocation efforts.

Importance of In-Home Surveys

Having movers perform an in-house survey is essential for getting accurate cost predictions. It enables the movers to determine the precise size and mass of your possessions, which leads to reliable price quotes. Beware of estimates that seem exceptionally low before your items are inspected. Such offers might be indicative of a scam.

An in-home assessment assists in pinpointing any specific needs or complications that could arise during the moving process. Movers have the opportunity to examine potential difficulties associated with your home’s design—like tight corners or narrow passageways—to ensure they come prepared on move day, allowing for a seamless transition without unforeseen hitches.

Choosing to have an in-home survey conducted can provide several benefits.

  • A more spot-on estimate
  • Protection against deceptively cheap bids
  • Enhanced insight into what is involved with moving
  • Improved ability to plan efficiently for the upcoming relocation steps.

Comparing Written Estimates

Examining written quotes from a variety of moving companies is crucial to understanding the different costs and services they offer. A binding estimate guarantees the cost you’re quoted in advance, ensuring that you pay only what’s been estimated, whereas, with a non-binding estimate, your final bill might exceed the initial quote – something that happens frequently with deceptively low estimates.

When evaluating estimates, ensure you consider options like binding not to exceed, as these cap any potential price hikes should your belongings weigh more than initially anticipated. With this type of contract, even if weight discrepancies occur, you are shielded from paying more than what was first quoted.

Securing several on-site quotations not only aids in recognizing scams but also provides an accurate sense of prevailing industry rates. By reviewing these varied proposals side by side, you can make informed decisions to select a service within your financial means while meeting all your specific moving needs.

Ensuring Proper Insurance Coverage

Graphic of moving truck

Ensuring that your goods are protected with the right insurance is essential when preparing for a move. You can rest assured knowing your possessions are protected by checking that the moving company has proper liability and insurance coverage in place. Should you encounter a moving company without insurance, consider this an alarm signal of their lack of legitimacy as professional movers.

Insurance specific to moving offers compensation for any loss or damage inflicted upon your personal items while they’re being moved. There are two main types of liability options: full replacement value protection and released value protection. With full replacement value protection, should any belongings be lost or damaged, the mover is responsible for providing repair services, complete substitution of items at current market prices, or suitable cash settlements.

In contrast to full-value coverage stands released value protection—the most economical option—which comes included automatically at no cost, but only provides minimal recompense equivalent to roughly 60 cents per pound per item impacted by loss or damage during transport. Available from independent third parties is separate liability coverage which compensates losses not covered under minimal (released) valuation plans ensuring that all aspects outside basic protective measures taken on behalf of both buyer and seller throughout transitionary periods involving transportation logistics ensure secure transfer ownership assets thus giving clients ultimate serenity amidst relocation processes.

Checking for Professional Affiliations

Affiliation with respected organizations, such as the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA), can reflect a moving company’s commitment to maintaining high standards and adhering to ethical business practices. Companies that become part of AMSA are subject to an evaluation process and those who surpass these criteria earn the ProMover certification.

Choosing a moving service that holds the ProMover seal from AMSA provides assurance of:

  • Compliance with rigorous quality requirements
  • Thorough vetting through background checks
  • Dedication to delivering exceptional services
  • Engagement in fair and honest practices.

To confirm whether a moving firm is associated with AMSA, individuals can consult the AMSA’s ProMover Directory. When you verify professional affiliations before deciding on a company for your move, you increase your chances of working with a provider known for their reliable service delivery and adherence to ethical excellence.


Hiring a reliable moving company is crucial for a stress-free and efficient moving experience. From understanding what makes a moving company honest to recognizing red flags, thorough research is essential. Checking online reviews, verifying credentials, and seeking recommendations can help you find a trustworthy mover.

Understanding the cost structure, including upfront fees, optional services, and other potential costs, ensures that you can budget effectively for your move. Evaluating customer service and communication further helps in identifying a reliable company. Accurate moving estimates, obtained through in-home surveys and comparing written estimates, prevent unexpected charges.

Ensuring proper insurance coverage and checking for professional affiliations provide additional layers of security. By following these steps, you can confidently choose an honest and reliable moving company, making your next move smooth and stress-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for in online reviews and ratings?

Ensure that you examine feedback from a range of platforms such as Yelp and Google Reviews when evaluating online reviews and ratings to obtain a comprehensive perspective. Exercise caution with businesses that have exclusively stellar reviews, since these may be deceptive.

Why is verifying credentials and licenses important?

Ensuring that a moving company has valid credentials and licenses is crucial to confirm its legitimacy and verify that it is permitted to function within your jurisdiction, thus safeguarding against possible fraudulent schemes.

What are some common red flags to watch out for?

Should you encounter offerings with suspiciously low pricing, an absence of a physical address or contact details, and substandard customer service, these serve as typical warning signs when engaging with a business. It’s wise to exercise caution and explore alternative choices in such cases.

How can I get an accurate moving estimate?

Ensure you obtain a precise estimate for your move by securing several on-site assessments and employing a moving cost calculator to juxtapose written quotes from various companies, vigilantly checking for any unforeseen fees.

What types of insurance coverage should I consider?

Consider obtaining comprehensive coverage by opting for full replacement value protection, choosing released value protection, and acquiring separate liability insurance from a third party. Doing so will guarantee that you are sufficiently covered across different circumstances.

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See what some of our happy customers have to say

As a moving company, we are proud of the work we do in helping people to move- and thought we would share a few words from our customers.

Small Move Testimonial
Nothing but excellent things to say about Sterling Van Lines! Moving is stressful enough -- Sterling Van Lines definitely made the process easier for us!B.P. Small Move
Piano Move Testimonial
They moved a very old 1886 Steinway Baby Grand across the country and they did a wonderful job. Sterling had the best price as well. Tim D. Piano Move
Antique Move Testimonial
Sterling moved some antiques from PA to NV for my family. My main concern was that the pieces arrive intact and in good shape, and they certainly did.Shani C. Antique Move
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