Who Will Move You? A Short Guide to Hiring a Mover


Hiring a mover’s services can feel like you’re entrusting your life to a stranger. It need not be that risky though. Check out these pointers for hiring a mover.  

Know them before you hire them.

Come up with a list of moving companies you think you might hire and do a background check on each of them.  

Qualifications must be high on your list of non-negotiables. Professional movers are expected to be licensed and insured. Their workers must be well-trained and physically able to do their job. The more years a moving company has been in the business, the better it also speaks of their trustworthiness and experience. 

Check out reviews of each moving company on your list. Do accrediting agencies vouch for them? How does each of them fare in comments on consumer advocacy sites? Also, ask people you know who have done some moving themselves. Did they hire professional movers? Did they like the service they used?  


Weigh the costs.

Hiring any kind of professional service will cost money. Set a budget for your move and analyze the costs involved. 

Get estimates from each company on your list. These should include all items to be moved, all services to be contracted, the number of movers for the job, and travel time. Estimates should be done onsite, not by phone, so everything is made clear and aboveboard.   

In addition to regular charges, the estimates should reflect any extra fees for special circumstances like the use of stairs or elevators. There may also be parking fees at your current location and/or at your final destination.  

Does a moving company offer add-on products or services like packaging materials, packing services, disassembling and reassembling of furniture or electronics? Are you also looking at companies with specialized services like transporting pets, plants, or art work? Get estimates for any add-ons or special services that you need. 

Find out what each company’s terms of payment are. Do they charge hourly or flat rates? What is their preferred mode of payment —cash, card, or check? Do they require a deposit? Whether or not they require a deposit, do they have a cancellation policy? 

The moving companies should provide you with written copies of their estimates and payment details. When you have these documents, compare companies based on the information. Weigh the costs in relation to your budget, your time, and any special requirements you may have. 

Another important point to consider is a mover’s availability. Demand for moving services can be seasonal where you live and/or where you will be moving. High demand can mean higher charges for moving services. See if you can schedule your move to a low-demand time of year, and set the schedule a month or more in advance. This may lower costs and save you money.  

Finally, factor tips into your costs. Compute for up to 20% of the total estimated cost and set aside this amount for tips. The size of the tip will depend on the size of the move. You can also factor in the quality of your experience with the mover’s services.


Know the sizes of your things.

Where moving is concerned, the sizes of things definitely matter! When you search for a moving company to hire, don’t forget to check if they have the right size of trucks for your needs. One of the worst “surprises” you can have on moving day is to find that your bags and boxes won’t fit into your mover’s truck. 

Consider also the width of the streets where you currently live and where you will move to. The mover’s vehicles must be able to maneuver through these streets. 

Parking space is also important. A few days before moving day, check your current location and your destination for parking spaces your movers may use. Obviously, the closer they can be to your place, the better. (And the company may charge extra if the movers have to carry loads a certain distance between their truck and your place.) 

Remember, too, that the loads the movers will be carrying are bulky and very likely impossible to compress. These loads must go through whatever doors, hallways, elevators, or stairwells are in your old or new place. Avoid complications. Sell, give away, or leave behind any pieces of furniture or other items that will not fit through the portals and passages of your new home.


Heed these warnings and reminders.

Like so many other transactions in life, hiring and coordinating with movers is subject to human frailties. There are scammers in this business as in others, so be alert to possible attempts to mislead you or exploit your trust.  

Bear in mind, for instance, that a moving company’s too-good-to-be-true estimate may be exactly that: too good to be true. Behind a temptingly low estimate could be a slew of undisclosed extra fees for extra services (or services made to seem extra). 

Expect a degree of roughness or crudity in movers’ appearance or behavior. They’re in a tough line of physical work where refinement and decorum are not required attributes. That said, if you do notice or experience inappropriate behavior, stop the work and call their manager immediately.  

Movers can do their job best if you’re not in their way. So be available to answer their questions or respond to their requests, but leave them alone otherwise. On the other hand, you do have the right to call them out if they are careless with your property. 

Finally, remember that courteous and considerate behavior facilitates human transactions in many subtle ways. Be polite and pleasant in speaking with your movers. Depending on the length of time the packing and moving will take, provide them with meals and/or snacks. Such acts of kindness lift spirits and lighten workloads, and will give both you and them a good moving day.



Finding and hiring the right moving company for your needs is no easy task. You have to commit time, thought, and physical energy to it. Let these pointers help you. You may then find the task much easier to manage.

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