7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Moving Company

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Heather Jones
Heather Jones
I'm Heather, an author passionate about home improvements. My writing is your guide to making homes better. Let's explore easy ways to enhance your living spaces, from small fixes to exciting projects. Join me on a journey of making your house a cozy and stylish haven.

People move out for different reasons, such as a new job requiring relocation or living in an expensive city. Just last year, California’s net move-out numbers reached a record high of 407,000. This is not surprising, given that the cost of living in California is 39% higher than the national average.

Whatever reason you’re moving for, packing and transporting your belongings to your new home is no small feat. This is where a professional moving company can make all the difference, ensuring a smooth and stress-free moving experience. But not all moving companies are equal, and you must make the right choice to safeguard your possessions and peace of mind. To help you find the best moving company for your needs, we’ve compiled a list of 7 essential questions to ask before you decide.

How Long Have You Been in the Industry?

Experience matters when it comes to handling a move efficiently. Research how many years the company has been in business and how many moves they have completed. A well-established moving company will have experienced personnel who will know how to take care of any complications that may arise.

Weather can be a particularly problematic factor during a move. For instance, if you’re moving from San Diego in February, you may face heavy rainfall and winter storms, potentially leading to closed roads and difficult travel conditions. So when you’re looking for long distance moving companies in San Diego, check how many moves they’ve completed and whether they have the expertise necessary to assist you with your move under challenging weather circumstances.

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More importantly, inquire about their experience handling your specific type of move. For example, if you’re moving to a high-rise apartment or a multi-story house, ensure they have prior experience. A capable moving company should be prepared to handle challenges like steep stairs, parking restrictions, and narrow doorways. Being proactive will give you peace of mind throughout the moving process.

What Equipment Do You Have?

Efficient moving relies on having the appropriate tools and resources. Here are some essential questions to ask when evaluating a moving company’s equipment:

  • Packing Materials: Will they provide appropriate packing supplies, such as sturdy boxes, bubble wrap, furniture blankets, or tape?
  • Storage Facilities: Do they offer secure, climate-controlled storage facilities if storage-in-transit is required?
  • Transportation: Do they have well-maintained trucks suitable for long-distance transport? Are the trucks equipped with air suspension systems to minimize shaking? Do they have GPS to monitor your belongings’ location during transit?
  • Specialized Equipment: Do they have specialized tools like dollies, hoisting straps, and ramps for handling bulky items such as pianos or refrigerators?

What Services Do You Offer?

When evaluating a moving company’s services, ask about the range of offerings they provide and ensure they cater to all your needs. While most moving companies offer essential services like packing/unpacking, loading/unloading, and transit, some may refrain from providing challenging, time-consuming, or less profitable services.

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However, finding a company that does offer these additional services can be a game changer for your move. Look for the following services that can significantly simplify your relocation:

  • Furniture Assembly/Disassembly: Particularly beneficial for fragile, expensive, or bulky furniture items that require careful handling.
  • Temporary Storage: Useful when there is a gap between your move-in and move-out dates, providing a safe space for your belongings.
  • Vehicle Transportation: Many moving companies lack experience in moving vehicles, requiring you to use a separate auto carrier company. Opting for a moving company that includes this service can help save costs and time.

What is Your Claims Process?

No matter how experienced a moving company may be, the risk of accidents and unforeseen incidents during the move remains present. That’s why choosing a reputable company with a clear and fair claims process is crucial.

It’s common practice for moving companies to include a clause in their contracts stating that the goods will be moved at the ‘owner’s risk.’ This clause exempts the company from unintentional loss or damage to your belongings. Therefore, it’s essential to thoroughly research the terms and conditions of the moving company and discuss any concerns or questions you may have before finalizing the agreement.

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What is Your Cancelation/Refund Policy?

Life is unpredictable, and circumstances may change. When hiring a moving company, inquire about their cancelation policy and the timeframe allowed for cancellations. Knowing the cancelation deadline lets you adjust your plans if need be.

Also, ask about the refund policy in case of cancellation. Will you receive a full refund or only a partial one? Knowing this can help you make well-informed decisions and minimize financial loss if your plans change.

How Much Do You Charge?

Different moving companies may use different pricing models, such as hourly rates or fixed fees determined by the weight or volume of the items being moved. Make sure to use the pricing models to your advantage. For instance, if you only have a few bulky items, do not opt for a company that charges on a per-weight basis. To ensure transparency, obtain a detailed price estimate, including any additional charges for special items, navigating stairs, or long carries.

Another vital question is whether the moving company offers an in-home survey. A professional moving company should be willing to conduct an in-home survey to accurately assess the scope of your move. This allows them to provide a more precise estimate and gives you insights into their approach to handling your belongings.

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Remember that the average cost of a long-distance move typically falls between $2,200 and $5,700. Be cautious of companies that provide unusually low estimates — this may indicate hidden fees or subpar services.

Can You Provide a Written Contract?

This is the most basic rule of making deals: always get it in writing. When dealing with a moving company, request a written contract outlining all the agreed-upon terms and conditions. Specifically, ask them to provide a not-to-exceed quote to avoid any potential surprises in the final cost.

A written contract is essential because it holds both parties accountable to the agreed-upon terms. If the moving company initially offers a low estimate to entice you, having it in writing means they must adhere to it. Any subsequent increase would be considered a breach of contract, and you can take legal action against them if necessary.

Once you have the written contract, read it carefully and seek clarification on any aspects that may be unclear or ambiguous.


Hiring a moving company without asking these essential questions could lead to unwanted stress and disappointment. Proactive and thorough research can ensure a smooth and successful moving experience.

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