Gearing up: Finding a mover
The Internet has made it a snap to score great deals. But "going online to find a new pair of slacks is very different than finding the person who's going to take everything you own, put it on a truck, put a padlock on it and drive away," warns John Bisney, director of public relations for American Moving & Storage Association, or AMSA.
Get references from friends who've recently moved. If personal references aren't available, consumer groups, public agencies and associations can help.
Consider the ProMover program, for instance. AMSA created it to help consumers find trustworthy firms. Companies that qualify for the ProMover certification must pass an annual background check, and they've historically posted higher BBB ratings than non-ProMover companies. Moreover, ProMovers "have five times fewer unresolved complaints," says Rod Davis, senior vice president of enterprise programs at the BBB.
Next, verify references.
Interstate haulers need a Department of Transportation number to operate and be insured. Confirm they're roadworthy by calling the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at (800) 832-5660 or go to ProtectYourMove.gov.
Information about intrastate haulers can be obtained from various state agencies, though some states don't license movers. Find the governing body for movers near you under the "State and Local Resources" link at ProtectYourMove.org.
Also check the BBB website at BBB.org for a list of accredited moving companies.