Do your research online to determine if there are complaints about the company that you are in communication with. One or two complaints is normal; however, if a company has more than 10 complaints within a year, it is a good indicator that you should be looking elsewhere. Go to the links below to get yourself educated about the process of moving.
Consumer Affairs Section
Move Rescue Section
1. Get a survey done at your home to determine the size of your shipment in both volume and weight. Some companies will provide an over the phone estimate which is alright initially; however, once you book a move, it is a good idea to get the in-house survey done if possible. Typical trend is that customers usually underestimate how much they have and getting a survey done on site can help determine the size of your shipment. Make sure at the time of the survey, provide as much information as possible.
2. Reputable moving companies do not require a deposit prior to your move. Most companies will invoice you a couple of days after your move. Some companies may allow COD; however it depends on where you are moving to. Do not pay half or the entire monies owed prior to your move.
3. A lot of scammer companies change their names multiple times once their reputation has been tarnished by bad business. Make sure that when you are choosing a moving company that they are licensed and bonded and have been in business for number of years under the same name. Reputable companies will provide you with a booklet called "Your Rights and Responsibilities" prior to your move.
4. Determine what kind of services the moving company is offering you whether it is full service or self load. Some scammer companies will quote door to door but will only provide curb side pick up and drop off only. This is often times not stated clearly and the customer expects full service when only getting minimal.
5. Make sure you determine extra fees in the quote you receive. Be careful of "additive cost of $10.00 a cubic foot" which can get costly. The general rule of thumb is that the more you ship, the cheaper it is per pound.
6. Ask about insurance and valuation coverage. Determine the difference between full coverage versus default insurance.
7. Never ever sign a blank contract. Your rate confirmation should reflect the quote you received earlier. It should also take into consideration of your survey results and of course, your budget.
8. Never sign a binding contract because it means that it is a guaranteed price for the move with all the extra fees and services.
9. Research Research Research! Go online and get the goods on the company. Check out their licenses, addresses, reviews, emails, etc.
10. Get references!