It’s not always easy to decide who to trust your belongings to in the midst of a move — whether it’s a move across town or a longer distance. In order to make your next move as smooth as possible, we’ve put together this guide of the top 10 tips to consider when hiring a moving crew. Read on to find out how you can avoid costly mistakes as you prepare to hire movers.

1. Define what moving services you exactly need

Before you even start looking for movers take a look around your current home to figure out what exactly you will need to move. Do you want full-service movers who pack your belongings at your current address, transport them, and then carefully unpack them when you arrive at your new home? You could also pack your gear into boxes yourself and hire movers to simply carry the boxes and furniture from your home to their vehicle, and then into your new place. If you’re moving cross country, check out our tips on making the most of the experience.Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities.Movers provide a wide range of services, so it’s critical to narrow down exactly what you’re looking for before you start making enquiries. Obviously it will cost more to hire a full-service moving crew, but it might be worth the hit to your budget if you don’t have anyone to help you pack and unpack boxes. Similarly, if you have a crew of friends who is willing to help you may save money by hiring movers to simply load and unload your belongings.

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2. Always check references and testimonials

It’s critical to check up on every moving company you’re considering before signing a deal. Check the movers’ website to get honest feedback on how well the movers did their job for other customers.

You can also feel free to ask for references from companies you’re considering. Quality movers will be happy to connect you with their most satisfied customers, and talking to someone else who has used the company will give you peace of mind. You will also have a more neutral party on hand to answer questions you might have about your move, the company, and what to expect on move-out day.

3. Don’t forget about online reviews

In additon to checking on the moving company’s website, it’s worth doing a basic Google search for every company you’re considering in order to see what the world at large thinks of their performance. Quality movers will have a lot of positive reviews.

In addition to a basic Google search, be sure to check third-party sites like Angie’s List and Yelp to get feedback from previous customers. Be sure to read at least two pages of reviews, as many websites will put more positive reviews at the top, and the negative ones can be farther down. You can also consult this list of quality movers across the country that Blueprint previously put together.

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4. Beware of moving companies with a name change

What does a moving company with a bad reputation do? What any company with a bad reputation does: Rebrand! It’s relatively simple for a moving crew to simply change the name of their business to walk away from a history of poor performance and bad reviews. Sadly, this practice is more common than you might think.

Be sure to do a thorough Google search to determine how long each of the moving companies you’re considering has been in business. It might even be worth checking each owner’s name to see if they have run other moving companies in the past, or even worked at them. If you are able to determine that a moving company you’re considering has recently changed its name, consider that a red flag. After all, no one with a good reputation is seeking to change their business’s identity.

5. Watch out for extra fees

You don’t want your move to be any more costly than it has to be! Many moving companies will advertise low rates that don’t include a number of fees and surcharges. When you get an initial quote from a company, have your contact walk you through exactly what is included.

Many moving companies charge extra fees for things like furniture disassembly and reassembly, climbing stairs (even adding a surcharge for each flight of stairs), handling delicate or easily breakable items, split pickups (such as a move from two separate addresses to a single new address), and temporary storage. Be sure that the extra costs associated with these fees won’t send your low quote into the stratosphere!

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6. Get multiple pricing quotes

It’s important to consider and research several moving companies — ideally at least five — and then to get pricing quotes from each one. If you only get one or two quotes from local companies, you may not have a good sense of the true cost of a move in your area and whether or not you are getting good value for your money.

When you get multiple quotes you can rest assured that you have done your due diligence when it comes to comparison shopping. After all, who wants to overpay for a basic service like moving? The other advantage of getting multiple quotes is that you can see how quickly a company responds, whether they are open to negotiating price, and whether you feel comfortable with whoever is on the other end of your phone or emails. After all, you will be spending considerable time and money on this endeavor! You want to feel as comfortable with the people you’re working with as the price.

Another advantage of getting multiple quotes upfront is that you have a backup option or two if something should go awry with your first-choice moving company. Oftentimes, quotes will be close enough in price that you will end up with two or three good options. And it’s always worth telling your first-choice moving company that you would love to work with them if they would drop their price to match a competitor who offered a lower quote.

7. Avoid security deposits

Quality movers won’t ask you to pay a security deposit ahead of your move. After all, the process of moving is already expensive, since you oftentimes need to pay first and last month’s rent on your new place as well as a broker’s fee. Since your moving company will most likely charge your credit card or request an instant bank transfer from an app like Venmo rather than asking you to pay by cash or check, there is no reason for them to require a deposit ahead of time. In fact, requesting a deposit can be a red flag to watch out for.

When you’re looking to hire a team of movers, be sure to ask upfront whether they require a security deposit so that you can rule out unscrupulous companies, or movers who simply haven’t come to terms with modern payment methods like credit cards and instant bank transfers.

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8. Check BBB ratings

The Better Business Bureau is a wonderful resource for vetting any type of business, whether you’re looking to hire quality movers, find a pet sitter, or find someone to clean the carpets in your new home. This organization has decades of experience monitoring businesses throughout the United States to make sure that they adhere to ethical practices and provide good customer service. The BBB independently investigates any consumer complaints made against a company and keeps them in the public record if they prove to be valid.

Simply head to the BBB website and type in the names of the moving companies you’re considering to read complaints made against the companies, as well as the BBB’s investigation notes or statement of resolution. Just be aware that not all complaints are equal! Just because you see a complaint made against one of the companies on your list doesn’t mean that it’s valid. Be sure to actually click in and read the whole complaint to make sure you’re not dealing with an overly critical past customer with an axe to grind. No company out there has only satisfied customers, and the BBB is especially popular with older customers who may find fault more easily than younger people.

9. Make sure you have answers to all your questions

Before you sign a contract with a moving company, be sure that you’ve asked them every question you can dream up. It’s also important to ask each company that you’re considering the same questions so that you can compare their responses to make the most informed decision possible.

After you’ve finished the research outlined in the previous steps of this article, sit down with a notepad and write down the questions that still remain. For example, what time will the movers show up on move-in day? What happens if some of your possessions get accidentally damaged? Does the moving company have insurance? What about cancellation policies.

Your questions will obviously depend on the specific circumstances of your move, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to draft a list. Pay careful attention to how the person on the other end of the phone or email thread treats your questions. Are they annoyed, or taking your concerns seriously? After all, you want to trust the people who will handle your precious belongings!

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10. Document the condition of your belongings before and after your move

Be sure to take both pictures and video of your belongings in your old place before the movers arrive on site to document their condition. This is especially important if you are hiring full-service movers who will pack your belongings into boxes and then unpack them in your new destination. Use your phone or a digital camera so that you will have the date and time on your digital collateral in case there is a problem after your move.

Documenting the condition of your belongings before your move protects you in case the moving company damages your possessions and claims it was your fault. As soon as your movers have departed, take another set of pictures of your key belongings, and do a video walk through of your new home. If you spot anything that is damaged, you can simply follow up with the moving company and show them both sets of pictures as proof that the damage was their fault.

We hope that these 10 tips will help you hire your next moving crew to facilitate a smooth transition. If you’re looking for an even more flexible  way to move to a new city, consider a turnkey furnished apartment rental from Blueground. All of our apartments in key cities across the globe come fully equipped with our custom furniture as well as high end appliances, linens, and thoughtful extras like our Welcome Kit. Find out more about the Blueground experience.

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