What is the Moving Company Research 101—Doing A Background Check?
When you need a moving company, you might be surprised to find how many options are out there. So what can you do to help narrow down the field to the best choice that most suits your needs? Luckily, there’s a few simple tactics you can employ that will ensure you get the best service at the best price.
Research Using A Moving Company's DOT Number
The Department of Transportation issues a registration number to any company that provides moving or hauling services, commonly referred to as a USDOT number. Using this number, you can easily research a company through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) household goods company search. If you are unable to easy locate the USDOT# for a certain company, you can also search the database by name.
A simple search of the FMCSA moving company database can yield some very useful information for anyone considering hiring a moving company. Information that can be found there includes safety ratings, complaint history, how many trucks they have at their disposal, insurance information, and performance metrics.
Investigate Using The Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau has a very functional and helpful website that can also provide helpful information. According to their own standards, in order for a business to be accepted as a BBB member, they need to meet a number of criteria, including:
- Honest Advertising
- Telling the Truth
- Building Trust with Customers
- Keeping their Promises
- Being Transparent
- Timely Communications
- Exemplify Integrity
- Protect Customer Privacy
It’s important to understand that membership, or acceptance, does not mean the BBB is endorsing a particular company. They haven't done a full evaluation, just made a general assessment regarding some of their business practices.
Search For Complaints
Look to see if there are any outstanding complaints against a moving company, just bear in mind that anyone can file a complaint, so maybe a single issue might not be enough to discredit the company. However, having a long list of unresolved complaints would be a problem. Also, focus on how recent those complaints might be; problems from a long time ago might not be as much of a concern as those filed more recently.
Look At References
You can search on the internet for positive reviews and references for your potential movers. Or, you might even want to ask the company directly for some of their references. Be as professional about this as possible, but check them out. On the other hand, if a 'reference' calls or contacts you, treat it with suspicion and a healthy dose of skepticism; it could be the moving company just trying to manipulate you, knowing their record is less than stellar.
Look At Their Stats
Moving companies will be able to provide you with hard information about moves they have done. This should include things like how long they have been in business, the number of moves they have done (possibly also differentiating between local, interstate, and/or international moves). These can then be checked against other independent sources.
Interstate Moving Companies - A thorough and in-depth article about the ins and outs of the moving industry and what you should expect from a company in terms of service and expertise.
National Consumer Complaint Database - Another great resource that is for filing a complaint against movers, but also has several helpful links and information to help further round out the information you’ll need before hiring a company.
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.