Americans are mobile people. From the Lewis and Clark expedition to the California Gold Rush, we’ve always been on the move. However, we’ve now got past the age of cramming everything into a covered wagon to do so.

A move in today’s world can be a labor-intensive, stressful event. Choosing a great moving company can go a long way toward making the move much smoother. But not all movers are created equal.

Buyer Beware

When you hire a mover, you expect them to deliver all your belongings on time, in good condition and on budget. Here are a few warning signs to watch for when hiring a mover:

  • License or insurance is lacking. A legitimate moving company will provide you with proof of licensure and insurance upon request. If they can’t do that, consider walking away.
  • No physical address. A legitimate moving company will have an office as their base of operations. If all the mover you’re considering offers is a post office box, be wary.
  • Excessively large deposit. Most moving companies ask for a percentage of the total cost as a deposit with the balance due upon delivery of your belongings. When a mover asks for a large portion up front or the entire payment, red flags should start waving.
  • Unprofessional behavior. Are the movers dressed in appropriate attire and treating you in a professional manner? If they’re in tank tops and behaving in unprofessional ways, think carefully before hiring this crew.
  • Inspection not needed. To formulate a reliable estimate, a moving company must inspect your goods first. If you’re offered an estimate online, via email or text, or over the phone, be very wary.

Go for a Pro

Your belongings are important, precious and often irreplaceable. Movers should treat them as such. For that, you need a professional company. Here are some suggestions on hiring one to get your job done:

  • Look for the logo. Professionals will be in uniforms with company logos proudly displayed. They should have their own company vehicles with the name and logo painted on.
  • License and proof of insurance. A professional mover will be able to provide this documentation upon request and be happy to do it.
  • Written quote is clear and straightforward. You should receive a written quote that clearly spells out the estimated cost of the moving service and exactly what services the quote includes.
  • Research and referral. A professional moving company will have a website that includes background information and contact information. Ask for local referrals.

Getting There

Hiring professional movers is the only way to know your belongings will make the trip to your new home in good hands.