Consumer Information Notice
How to Hire the Right Mover and Get Your Money’s Worth
You have a difficult decision to make, one that may impact your life for many years to come.
In the coming days or weeks, you’ll select a mover to pack, load and transport your most valued possessions to your new home. I think you may be surprised to learn how different moving companies can be from one another.
Moving companies don’t all have the best reputation. There are plenty of horror stories—
- Movers who never showed up on moving day – and were never heard from again after being paid a large deposit;
- Furniture that was badly damaged, with no reimbursement to the customer;
- Valuable items that were “lost” in transit; and are somehow missing from the inventory list;
- Belongings “held hostage” by dishonest movers demanding thousands of dollars in cash before unloading the customer’s possessions;
- Or the nightmare odyssey that took twice as long and cost three times as much as promised.
That’s why I wrote this consumer information notice. There’s no reason for you to endure the agony that so many others have lived through. Your moving experience CAN be painless and trouble free. I want you to know what to look for — and what to look out for — when deciding upon a moving company.
Moving companies fall into two main categories:
- Reputable, licensed companies that follow a strict code of ethics, handle your belongings with care, treat you with respect and consideration, and stand behind their work.
- Fly-by-night operators; the guys who may seem friendly but cut corners by hiring untrained workers, not packing your belongings the right way, or not being properly licensed or insured.
So how do you tell them apart? And why should you care?
As I said, the decision you make about your mover could impact your life for a long time to come.
Here are some questions to ask every moving company you’re considering.
Is your company licensed and registered?
There are many movers here in New Jersey that operate illegally without a license. A lot of them are found advertising on Craigslist, Yelp, and other Internet sites.
Let me explain why it’s so important that you use only a licensed mover.
- In order to be licensed, a mover must comply with the regulations that protect you, the consumer, against unnecessary risks. If you use an unlicensed mover and there’s a problem, the State won’t be able to help you resolve it.
- Licensed movers are required to carry insurance that protects you. How can this affect you? Let’s say a worker is carrying a heavy piece of furniture down the stairs and slips. Without Worker’s Compensation insurance, you could very well be on the hook for the worker’s medical care. Or, without property damage insurance, you won’t be reimbursed for damage to any of your personal belongings. Also, some homeowners policies won’t cover damages if you use an unlicensed mover.
- Licensed movers are required to provide you with certain information, like a written estimate and a U.S. Department of Transportation booklet called Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. Reputable movers want you to be informed. Unscrupulous movers would rather you be uninformed.
Unlicensed movers don’t comply with these regulations and this puts you, your family, and your belongings at risk. And don’t believe the lie that they’re waiting for their licensing to be approved.
When all is said and done, do you really want to let a company that’s operating illegally put your belongings on their truck?
Do you have trained employees who have been screened?
Disreputable companies use day laborers without proper training and with who-knows-what kind of background. A 2015 sting operation in New Jersey identified 19 unlicensed movers. Many of the workers were illegal immigrants and some of them had outstanding warrants, including child molestation charges. Don’t risk your family’s safety by hiring a mover that doesn’t perform background checks on their employees.
Are you a member of your industry association and Better Business Bureau?
Membership in the industry trade association demonstrates that a company is licensed and is committed to continuous improvement to better serve their customers. You can see a list of association members at the New Jersey Warehousemen and Movers Association website at www.njmovers.com.
Membership in the Better Business Bureau shows a company’s commitment to ethical business practices. The BBB exists so that consumers have an unbiased source to guide them on matters of trust.
Do you have 10 or more references I can call?
Any reputable moving company will have plenty of references that you can call. If a moving company only gives you three or four, be careful. It’s not uncommon for businesses to use their friends and relatives as references. And don’t believe reviews that you read on the internet—it’s too easy to pay a few dollars to have strangers post great reviews about your company.
Do you require a large deposit?
Be very careful. Reputable movers will not ask you for a large upfront deposit. Do not, under any circumstances, give a company a large deposit. There’s a good chance you’ll never see them—or your money—again.
A word about cost
The old adage is really true, “You get what you pay for.” This is especially true with moving companies.
Unlicensed and lower caliber movers might offer to move you for a little less money than a reputable mover like us, but where are they cutting corners? To give you a cheaper price they might hire untrained workers, not carry insurance, and handle your belongings with a minimum of care.
Plus, they might demand more money after your possessions are on their truck, and you’ll end up paying as much—or more—than if you had used an honest mover.
No amount of savings is worth this misery. You’ve worked too hard and invested too much money in your valuable possessions. Why throw it away for the few pennies you save on poor service provided by a dishonest mover?
I’ve written a more in-depth booklet called “What Everybody Who’s Planning a Move Ought to Know When Hiring a Moving Company.” This booklet gives you even more details about what to look for in a mover. Plus, it gives some tips about saving money on your move and from our employees about how to pack your boxes to avoid damage.
If you want great service by a well-qualified, reputable moving company that can deliver the worry-free move you desire – professionally and on time – then I invite you to call us.
We’ll be happy to answer your questions – provide you information over the telephone – or come into your home to discuss the details about your move – without obligation of any kind. To reach me, call 1-201-529-2211.
Cindy Myer, Ridgewood Moving Services