What to look for when choosing a mover

This content is sponsored by Interstate Moving | Relocation | Logistics.

Whether you are moving down the street, across the country or around the world, choosing a professional mover for your next move or relocation can help you save money and reduce stress.

Do-it-yourself costs, unexpected problems and the worry that comes from not knowing if your possessions are being handled with quality and care can make an already stressful situation even worse. Whether it’s a new home, a new job or a new office space, you want a mover that will protect your possessions.

To help you choose the best mover for your next move or relocation, we’ve compiled the following list of questions and answers:

1. Is the company an ATA-certified ProMover?

ProMover certification is your assurance that you are hiring a quality professional mover who meets high standards. Click here to view an alphabetical listing of ProMovers. You’ll find us under Interstate Van Lines, Inc.; Carrier Number 1745. Our local customers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia may know us as Interstate Moving & Storage.

2. Is the mover a moving broker or a moving company?

A moving broker is not an actual mover and typically does not have its own trucks, moving equipment or a professional moving staff. A moving broker will provide an estimate for a move, and then bid the job out to moving companies based on that estimate. A broker does not assume liability for your possessions, nor is it authorized to transport them.

A moving company owns moving trucks and equipment, has a professional moving staff and will perform the move.  Moving companies will provide an estimate for performing the move, which will depend on the weight and amount of items that are being transported, along with the distance of the move. A mover is liable for the value of the household goods you ask them to transport.

In either case, you should choose a broker or mover that is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You can determine if your broker or mover is registered with FMCSA by clicking here. Interstate Van Lines is a professional moving company and is registered with the FMCSA.

3. Is the mover properly licensed?

Professional long distance moving companies are licensed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and are registered with the FMCSA. Click here to locate your mover’s DOT number, safety rating and complaint history. You’ll find us under Interstate Van Lines, Inc. in West Springfield, Virginia; USDOT 032658.

Local movers (operating only within the same state) are regulated by the state in which they operate.  Some states, like Virginia, require an intrastate authority to conduct for-hire moving services.

Interstate Van Lines has a Virginia intrastate authority issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles and our Virginia intrastate authority number is VA-HHG-57. Our most recent FMCSA safety rating is “Satisfactory” and is due to a good on-road performance record in driver and vehicle safety.

4. What kind of training does the mover provide to ensure a quality move experience?

Training requirements for moving crew members vary by company. At Interstate Van Lines, each and every one of our full-time movers receives a minimum of 80 hours of hands-on instruction before they’re allowed on their first move, while our full-time packers each receive 40 hours. Our professional training covers everything from creating a positive first impression to wrapping & moving furniture, packing dishes and protecting your valuables, to the latest health and safety procedures. Additionally, Interstate is ISO 9001:2015 certified, which means you can expect a high-quality experience with every engagement with us.

5. Does the company have prior experience with your type of move?

Check with your moving company to be certain it has experience with your type of move. Every move is different and the company you choose should be prepared to handle everything from parking restrictions, pipe stem driveways, small doorways, a lack of elevators, shared loading docks, etc. Interstate Van Lines has experience with all types of moves, including residential (e.g., single-family homes, multi-family buildings) office buildings, data centers, healthcare facilities, universities and government agencies.

6. What kind of valuation protection does the mover offer?

Most professional moving companies offer one or more valuation protection options in the event your possessions are lost or damaged during the move. As a licensed interstate mover, Interstate Van Lines offers two choices: Full Value Protection (i.e., replacement value, available at an additional charge) with multiple deductible options ($0 Deductible, $250 Deductible or $500 Deductible) or Released Value Protection (i.e., basic protection at $.60 per pound per article, available at no additional charge).

7. What kind of estimate is your moving company providing?

There are two types of estimates – a non-binding estimate (which means the estimated price of your move is subject to change, depending on actual costs) and binding estimates (these ensure the actual cost of your move will not exceed your original cost estimate). Most moving companies offer non-binding estimates. Interstate Van Lines offers both non-binding and binding estimates, based on customer preference.

8. Are there any additional costs that are not included in your estimate?

Find out if additional costs for items like fuel, shuttle service, extra stops, waiting time, extra labor, storage, unpacking, overtime unloading and other services are applicable to your move. Ask that they be included and clearly itemized in your estimate. Interstate Van Lines will itemize and explain any additional charges that may apply to your move.

9. What forms of payment does the mover accept and when is payment due?

Most movers will accept payment by certified check/money order or credit card. Payment on residential moves is normally due at delivery, before your possessions are unloaded. Payment on commercial or government agency moves is negotiated before the move as part of the customer’s moving service agreement. Interstate Van Lines accepts payment at delivery via certified check, money order or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or AMEX).

10. Does the mover have a cancellation policy?

Things change and sometimes it becomes necessary to cancel your move. Be sure you understand the mover’s cancellation and deposit refund policy, if applicable. For residential moves, Interstate Van Lines collects a $200 deposit at contract signing, which is refundable unless the move is cancelled within 3 business days of customer’s signature date.

11. How will you contact your mover during the actual move?

Knowing who to call while your possessions are being transported can help reduce the stress that often accompanies a move. Interstate Van Lines provides customers with a dedicated move manager to help them address any issues that might surface during and immediately after their move.

12. Will your possessions be transferred to another company for delivery at your destination?

Knowing exactly who is responsible for your possessions, from Point A to Point B, can also help reduce stress and anxiety during a move. While Interstate Van Lines works with an established network of professional and reputable service providers, we disclose upfront any partner relationship that might apply to your move.

13. What steps is the mover taking to protect the health and safety of its employees and customers in response to the coronavirus pandemic?

Be sure your mover is taking appropriate steps to protect the health and safety of its employees and customers. Most movers will readily disclose this information upon request. You can view Interstate Van Lines’ response to the coronavirus pandemic on our website by clicking here.

14. Does the mover have references, online reviews and ratings that you can check?

Ask your moving company for references or proof of past performance before entrusting your possessions with them. Check online reviews and ratings for evidence of quality and professional work. Interstate Van Lines is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating.

15. What are my responsibilities as a customer?

As a customer, you have responsibilities both to your professional mover and yourself. These responsibilities include:

  • Make an informed decision when choosing a mover (do your homework)
  • Read all documents before signing, including your estimate and order for service
  • Be available at the agreed upon times of pickup and delivery
  • Promptly notify your mover if there are changes in your shipment or move schedule
  • Make payment in the amount required and in the form agreed to with your mover (most movers require payment for services performed at delivery, before your possessions are unloaded)
  • Promptly file claims for loss, damage or delays with your move

Visit our website at www.MoveInterstate.com for help in choosing a professional mover for your next move or relocation.

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