Millions of households, companies, and corporations relocate to new locations every year—and the majority of them hire professionals to make the process smoother and faster. While the best moving services can save you time, effort, and a lot of money, bad movers can do the opposite—which can have a devastating effect on the entire project.

So how do you avoid hiring incompetent, unreliable, or even fraudulent movers for your next moving project? While there are many moving companies that advertise their services, finding the best ones takes a bit of research and evaluation. At Westheimer Transfer & Storage, we’ve provided this information for you to use when planning your upcoming relocation—to help you correctly identify the moving companies that will offer the most value for your money.

Surf the Internet for Options

In the past, your city’s Yellow Pages were your best bet for finding movers in the area. This made it difficult to research for quality, as almost any company (or anyone) could submit an ad to appear in the giant book of commercial businesses. Today, companies advertise the most online—and a simple google search for moving companies in your area will reveal a list of options for you to evaluate. The most legitimate, well-known, and reliable companies will most likely have a solid website filled with important information about their business, social media pages, and stellar online reviews on third-party sites.

Be skeptical of moving companies that advertise online—but that lack a strong online presence beyond their Facebook or Google ads. If they don’t have a website, a social media page, or third-party reviews, it could be a sign of a scam or a brand-new company that lacks the experience you need from them to properly handle your move.

Request a Price Quote

Your next step in evaluating moving companies is to request a price quote from each of the ones you’re interested in. Try and ask for price quotes from at least three or four companies, and see what their protocol is for quoting a price. The best moving companies will offer to visit you in your home for a free, no-obligation pricing estimate. During this consultation, the moving specialist will evaluate your belongings and determine the actual cost of the move (or make a best-guess estimate) based on your personal situation. This estimate will be accurate and accompanies by a solid contract, which is a good sign that the company you’re dealing with is legitimate and dedicated to helping you with affordable, reliable services.

Stay away from companies that quote unrealistically low rates when compared to others, or that ask for a hefty down payment to book your appointment with the movers. Also avoid moving companies that won’t provide clear details as to how they charge, insisting that the low, flat fee is what they charge to cover your entire move. Chances are, they are trying to lure you in with a complicated contract that includes extra fees and charges that you’ll only learn about once the move is finished.

Do a Background Check on the Company

Always check to make sure a moving company is licensed and insured. Many movers are not—and this information can be confirmed at your local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau. Also make sure to check to see whether the company you’re considering hiring has alias company names, which could point out a potential scam or fraud. If the company does have separate names it operated under, look for more information on these names in addition to the one it’s presented itself as. In general, a good rule of thumb is to avoid unlicensed companies and stick to those that count with strong affiliations with the BBB, Angie’s List, and other home services organizations.

Ask Around for Recommendations

If you know anyone who has moved in the last year, such as friends, family, or neighbors, ask them which company they used and whether they recommend them or not. Most often, people will either rave about the company they hired (which is clearly a great sign that the company was a good one), or they will have endless complaints about them and the services they hired them for. Get all of the inside information from them and then follow-up with each one by making an appointment for an in-home estimate.

Ask About Valuation Protection

The best moving companies will offer valuation protection to cover your items in case of property damage, loss, or another problem. The coverage available will vary, so make sure to get all of the details about the value protection they provide in case something goes wrong. If you have valuable items, you may want to ask about specific coverage for those extra important belongings.

Most companies will offer a tiered plan for compensation according to the package you choose and the amount of coverage you want for your moving project. Ask your movers what their insurance plan offers for specific circumstances, and weigh those benefits against those of other moving companies that you interview.

Working with Westheimer Transfer & Storage

Since 1883, Westheimer Transfer & Storage has been the leading name for customers in Houston and the surrounding areas. We’ve built a solid reputation for excellence in the moving and storage industry, with well over a century of outstanding residential, corporate, and international moving experience.

If you’re interested in a no-stress, affordable, and enjoyable relocation, our expert movers at Westheimer Transfer & Storage can help. For more information about our services, give us a call to speak with one of our moving experts now—or fill out our online form to request a free, in-home pricing estimate with a moving coordinator today.