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Choosing A Mover

It's almost never too early to begin planning your move when possible. An early start can pay off in many ways: you can sort through your belongings at your own pace, for example. Donated used clothing and other household goods can provide a tax deduction, and you can schedule a yard sale at your convenience for the other items you no longer need.

  If you can schedule your move during the "off-peak season," from September through April when demand for moving services is lower, you may get a better price and find that movers can be more flexible in their pickup and delivery dates.

 If you do need to move during the summer, try to schedule it mid-month and/or mid-week, since the busiest times for movers are weekends and the end of the month; which may also mean a lower price and crews that are fresher.

 

Once you're able to provide a date, it's time to start shopping for movers. This is the single most important decision you'll make — not only because you want the best service, but also to avoid fly-by-nighters who will do their best to fool you into thinking they are legitimate. These shady characters often hide behind very professional-looking websites, so it's critical to make sure you know who you're dealing with.

We strongly recommend choosing among the more than 4,000 companies who are AMSA members. Each one has passed our background screening with government authorities at the state or federal level, as well as with their Better Business Bureau chapter. They have also pledged to abide by and uphold the AMSA Code of Ethics. They are reputable, legitimate companies who operate under honest business practices and the law.

 

  You can identify AMSA members several ways. Many proudly display our logo on their website, but unfortunately, some bad guys steal our logo, so you can check our latest list of ProMovers to verify membership. Or call us at (888) 849-2672; we'd be glad to help.
  We have also established an additional quality certification program for our members who provide interstate moving services, and, in three states so far, local moving services. These members, subject to annual background checks, are authorized to also display this logo. Learn more about the ProMover program.

You can check your interstate mover's complaint history at the federal government's consumer information website for household goods moves.

If you're moving internationally, look for a RIM-certified company.

Brokers

It’s important to ask the company you are considering using whether it is an actual moving company or a broker.  Household goods brokers arrange moves by serving as an intermediary with any number of actual movers, who buy jobs from them.  Brokers, however, are not themselves movers; and do not operate trucks or handle shipments. 

Brokers can provide estimates, based on the rates in the tariffs of the movers that broker represents.  And they must have the mover that will transport your shipment perform a physical survey of your household goods, if you live within a 50-mile radius of the mover or its agent's location, whichever is closer.  It is your option to waive this requirement.

Going through a third party, however, can lead to problems.  If the broker can’t sell the job to a mover for any reason, such as a low estimate or availability, you would end up without a mover on the day of your move.  Also, once a broker does sell a job to a mover, the broker may not be willing to intervene on your behalf if any problems or concerns arise involving the move.

Under federal regulations, all household goods brokers must:

• Be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
• Use only movers that are registered with FMCSA
• Provide you with a list of the moving companies they use
• Provide you with the Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move and the Ready to Move? publications
• Include in their advertisements their physical business location, MC number, and their status as a broker that does not transport household goods but arranges for such service
 

NEXT: GETTING ESTIMATES