Moving out of your current home and into your new one can be stressful and if you don’t hire the right moving crew it can be a moving boxesnightmare. There are several things you can do to ensure you have professional, reputable movers who are going to do the job efficiently and effectively.

First, get at least three bids, and you want those bids to be in-home estimates. Bids provided over the phone may well be unreliable, as the company may not fully understand what your particular move involves. Make sure to look for BBB Accredited Businesses. This helps to rule out less reliable and possibly less trustworthy businesses.

Verify that the companies you are looking at carry the appropriate insurance. If you are hiring movers who provide both the truck and the moving help, they should be registered with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC). In order to register with the PUC, the company must provide evidence of continuing coverage for vehicle, cargo and general liability insurance. If you have your own vehicle or you are renting one and only need man power, both U-Haul and Budget Truck rental have a list of moving help companies along with customer reviews of those companies. They also must prove the appropriate insurance coverage before they can be listed.

Once you’ve identified the 3 plus companies from which you are going to get bids, request that your in-home estimates be provided in writing. Determine whether or not the estimate is binding, in other words, once given is this the actual amount you will be required to pay or is there a possibility the price could change. Ask whether the person giving you the quote is a mover or if they are acting in their capacity as a broker. A broker will subcontract your move to another company; so the person or company providing you with the quote may not be the actual company providing the move.

Don’t automatically choose the lowest priced company. Compare each of the estimates to see which company best meets your particular needs in addition to the budget. Make sure you have read and that you understand all the documentation provided to you BEFORE you sign.

Note that the insurance normally provided by moving companies does not cover the full value of your goods (usually 60 cents on the dollar). You must specifically make arrangements with the mover, at an extra charge, to acquire additional liability protection. Additional insurance coverage purchased through the moving company should appear on the lading/freight bill. HINT: Check what’s covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. They may have additional coverage on your policy or at a lower rate than that of the moving company.

Whenever possible, be present when the mover loads and unloads your belongings to ensure that everything is packed and loaded, and that it has all arrived in good condition. Report any missing or damaged items immediately and in detail on the driver’s copy of the inventory sheet before you sign it. If you find damage later, after unpacking, you must file a written claim with the specific dollar amount of the damage. Prior to the move, check to see how soon after the delivery you have to report the damage (but remember, the sooner filed the better). If the moving company is not responsive, contact the BBB where the company is headquartered to initiate the complaint process. If you used a company listed through U-Haul or Budget, you may also want to notify them of the issues.

If you are having a dispute with the mover and they are not releasing your goods, note that they are not allowed to withhold prescription medications, medical equipment, medical devices, or goods for use by children (including children’s furniture, clothing and toys). If this situation occurs and you feel the mover is in violation of the law, contact local law enforcement.

If you follow these best practices, your move will be easier.

Written by Kevin Fletcher