How to Pick a Mover

The prospect of handing all your personal belongings over to a mover company can be daunting. You want to find a company that is safe, reliable, responsible, and who will treat your belongings as their own.

Quotes At Home pre-screens all moving companies for appropriate licenses and insurance. You can breathe a little easier knowing that all our vendors are subject to our quality standards and have all agreed to promptly respond to problems and complaints. When you’re ready to get estimates, use our service to request multiple quotes and comparison-shop.

Ask each of your prospective movers for references from previous customers and for documents on their history of service. Having several free estimates will give you a very good idea of how costly your move will be. Set up appointments for them to come to your house and do an in-home estimate whenever possible. On-site surveys will give you the most accurate estimate. Be suspicious of movers that offer estimates that are outrageously low. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Sometimes movers will hook you in with a low estimate, but then hand you a large bill full of hidden or extra charges when the move is complete. As a rule, avoid any companies that offer you a price significantly lower than the others.

At the time of the estimate and/or prior to the execution of the Order of Service, the mover must provide the following documentation:
  1. A copy of its written non-binding or binding estimate

  2. A copy of the FMCSA publication, "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move"

  3. Neutral dispute settlement/arbitration program information

  4. Telephone number for the mover for inquires and complaints

There are generally three types of estimates available:
  • Binding - a binding estimate is an agreement made in advance with the mover that guarantees the total cost of the move based on the quantities and services shown on the estimate.

  • Non-binding or hourly rate - A non-binding estimate is the carrier's approximation of the cost based on the estimated weight of the shipment and the accessorial services requested. A non-binding estimate is not binding on the carrier and the final charges will be based on the actual weight and tariff provisions in effect.

  • Not to exceed - This quote is binding only on the mover. The final price for the move cannot exceed the estimate figure; but if the move comes in under the estimated amount you pay the lesser price.

As each moving company gives you an estimate based on what they see in your home, leave the paperwork out where the next moving company can easily see it. Ask questions about the difference in pricing since it may have to do with what services one company provides that another does not, the amount of insurance included, or valuation of your belongings. Every moving company is required by law to provide you with a "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move" booklet.

Here are some additional questions to ask your moving company representative:
  • How long has your company been in business?

  • Does your company subcontract its moving services?

  • Which subcontractors could be used to move my home?

  • Will the contents of my home be on one truck the entire time? (Moving goods between trucks increases the potential for damage)

  • What services are not listed on this bid, and what do you charge for them?

  • What training do your movers and/or packers receive (especially for packing and moving fragile items)?

  • Can you provide recent references from other customers you've moved?

Once you have estimates, the Internet can be an extremely valuable tool for researching prospective moving companies. Once way to verify your moving company’s licenses is through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) website, You can search for information such as operating authority and licenses using the company’s name, USDOT or MC numbers. You may also call the FMCSA's Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline at 1-888-368-7238 and ask them about the complaint history of your moving company.

You can also do a quick check with the Better Business Bureau at their website,>// The BBB can provide you with additional information on the company, such as the owner’s name, how long they have been in business, the number of complaints the company has received, and how well the company responds to and resolves complaints.

Once you have contracted with a moving company, please consult our other guides and tools to ensure that your move is as smooth as possible!

Quotes At Home Moving Guide
General Tips
Week-by-Week Moving Planner
Moving Checklist
Moving Your Family
Moving with Pets
Moving Plants
Insurance & Liability
Moving Glossary