shutterstock_147902750Moving can be an incredibly stressful process, which is why you’ll want to make sure that you hire a reputable moving company. Don’t assume that every moving company is the same – take a little bit of time to compare moving companies to help keep potential issues from coming up and could even help you save money over the long run. The following are five questions that you should be sure to ask a professional moving company before hiring them:

1. What are your payment terms?

Cheaper moving companies that aren’t that reliable will often charge you money upfront – like a deposit. Never pay for anything until your move has been completed. A good moving company won’t require you to pay until the work is done. Be sure to ask about hidden fees that they may add on. A good moving company is up front about any potential add on costs, such as gas costs, or won’t charge any add on costs at all.

2. What kind of estimate do you provide?

They may either provide a binding estimate based on the services provided or a non-binding estimate, which is the estimated cost based on the weight of the shipment as well as additional services that may be required.

Some moving companies will provide a hybrid of the two, known as a guaranteed-not-to-exceed estimate. This means that you will either pay the binding estimate provide by the mover or the actual costs of the move if they were lower than the estimate. A guaranteed-not-to-exceed estimate is typically indicative of a high quality moving company. Whatever type of estimate it is, make sure it’s written down in your contract.

3. Do you have insurance?

They should have liability insurance in the event that your possessions are damaged during the move. The minimal amount of protection, known as “released value,” provides coverage for any damages at 60 cents a pound. You can ask for more comprehensive coverage if you are transporting more valuable items, but this will cost you a little bit more.

4. Do you employ your moving crew?

This may seem like a strange question, but not all moving companies employ the people that work for them. Cheaper moving companies may use temporary hires or casual laborers instead of fully employing their workers. A moving company that actually employs its movers is more professional and is more likely to have properly trained its workers.

5. How long have you been in business?

The longer a moving company has been around, the more trustworthy they are. A moving company won’t last very long if they don’t do a good job – a poor reputation will eventually sink their business.

Be sure to ask these five questions to a moving company before you hire them. You’ll want to make sure that you work with a trustworthy moving company that will treat your possessions with care.