Moving Engineers Without Borders

Important Questions To Ask A Moving Company

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Before you invite a prospective moving company to walk through your home and give you an estimate for the cost of service, you will want to include some revealing questions in your initial telephone interview. This is your chance to get a feel for the professionals and professionalism that will convey your belongings from A to B.

Following are some key questions to include in that phone interview. These will indicate if you are working with a respectable company that provides splendid services or a rogue company that can’t guarantee you will even see your belongings again — yes, it happens more often than you can imagine.

Registration Number

Professional moving companies across USA worth the phone call should carry an identification number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Its called a USDOT number. This is only required for companies that handle transports across state lines. A company making a local move is not required to have this USDOT number.

Rates and Estimates

Be sure to inquire about rates and estimates beforehand. Most companies operate on rate-per-pound times distance. If you come across a company demanding to be paid by cubic feet, go ahead and save your cash by hanging up.

A long distance move should be paid for in price by weight over distance. Shorter moves can be covered by an hourly rate. Ask the moving company to provide you an estimate in writing along with a signed copy for your reference. This estimate should also indicate how your payment will be made. Cash up front is a bad sign; if your moving company wants the money in advance, they have no incentive for delivering goods on time or at all.


Major long distance moving companies will often hire a small army of subcontractors to work the local area. If the moving company you are considering works with subcontractors, ask for a list of the subcontractors they use. This way you can inquire personally about how your belongings will be treated.

If you are met with an uncertain statement regarding subcontractors, ask the company to get back to you with more information. This sort of arrangement should be very upfront. The company should be able to provide you with extensive information on each subcontractor and their driving experience, work record, and other particulars. Often the subcontractor in question will be a local mover with their truck.

Subcontractors can be counted on for excellent service. Nevertheless, be sure to research that level of service well before hiring them on.

Additional Fees

You don’t want to be taken by surprise, so ask about additional fees and when they may apply. There may be a charge associated with transporting an extra large or bulky piece of furniture or machinery. If there is no easy access to your property and goods must be carried over land to be loaded, an additional fee may apply.

You can help yourself out by looking at the situation yourself. Is there easy access from the curbside to your objects? Is there plenty of elevator space or a service elevator to move objects? How about the trip to the truck how many meters would you estimate? All these figures and more will help you to gain an accurate idea of how much this move will cost you.

These additional charges are known as long-carry charges or flight charges. It is crucial that these are discussed at length. A good share of moving profits can be collected from additional charges alone. If you organize your move well, you can expect to enjoy a minimum price for a costly move.

On this note, if your new residence or old home is inaccessible to the moving truck, you can expect an additional “shuttle” charge for services to and from the moving truck. Furthermore, if your belongings must be held in storage, for whichever reason, you will also expect some additional charges.


Perhaps the most important to ask is that of insurance. Typically, having insurance is included in the cost of your move. This is often based on the weight of your belongings rather than the actual monetary value of your things. This means the difference between the true value and the value you will receive if they are returned to you in disrepair.

Coverage from your moving company will typically payout $0.60 for each pound of ruined goods. Obviously, this is considerably less than the true value. It may be best to contact your homeowner’s insurance to see if your provider can’t get you a better rate.

In Closing — ask about referrals. A referral can turn up more relevant information than you could find after an hour on the phone with a company. Asking former employees about the service they received, the additional charges as well as the conditions of their moved goods is the best way to get a feel for the company and professionalism you will pay for.


Bobby Hammond

Currently author at and previously a professional cross-country mover from USA.

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