The long-distance move is one of life’s more complicated undertakings. Fortunately, you can make it a lot easier by going through a few simple tips. If you’re moving from Atlanta out of state, here are our 10 tips for choosing Atlanta long distance movers.
1. Start Planning Early
Experts recommend that you start shopping around for movers early in the moving process, ideally at least eight weeks prior to the move.
2. Check Listings of Licensed Movers
Start with an official listing of licensed movers, such as the list maintained by the Georgia Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Unit. The government departments that compile these kinds of lists will also make clear what specific kinds of certification and licensing are needed for movers in the state.
3. Consult Your Realtor and Personal Contacts
Word-of-mouth and professional expertise are two excellent early filters. If a professional real estate agent was involved with your home purchase, they should be able to weigh in on which licensed movers have the best reputation. You should also consult with friends, family and neighbors to see if any of them have had recent experience with the companies you’re thinking of approaching when moving from Atlanta.
4. Background Check
A quick background check on a prospective moving company can be done through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and your Better Business Bureau. They can tell you what the company’s record is in terms of dealing with legitimate consumer complaints and whether they really have all the licensing they claim to have.
You can also check if they have a membership in the American Moving and Storage Association. While membership is voluntary — and lack of membership shouldn’t necessarily disqualify a company that checks out in other ways — it does provide the reassurance that the company has agreed to participate in useful AMSA initiatives like its Dispute Settlement Program.
Finally, check consumer advocacy sites like MovingScam.com and Ripoff Report. They publish lists of companies with an extensive history of customer complaints, and in MovingScam’s case, they also publish an endorsed movers list.
5. Pick Up the Phone
By this point you should have a list of at least three or four potential Atlanta long distance movers. Get on the phone and call them to schedule appointments. Just talking to them on the phone can be an important early indicator of their approach to customer service and their overall seriousness; a moving company that doesn’t answer the phone with its company name, for instance, should be an immediate red flag.
6. Get In-Home Estimates
When getting an estimate from a company for moving from Atlanta, it should always be an in-home estimate, it should be provided in writing and it should be based on actual inspection of your household goods. The estimate should include a full inventory of everything the company will move.
Pricing by weight is the standard for legitimate movers, so be suspicious of any attempt to quote by cubic feet, which makes it easier to overcharge you. Make sure you clearly understand what kind of estimate you’re being given — a binding estimate is a commitment by the mover to a price for the inventory list, while a non-binding estimate is just a best guess — what the mover charges for contingencies and what their insurance covers. Consult Consumer Affairs’ guide to moving quotes for more detail.
The estimator should leave you with:
- The company’s full name (and any alternate names)
- Its complete address and contact information
- Its Department of Transportation and Motor Carrier license numbers
- A list of references and their contact information
- The Department of Transportation booklet “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”
7. Compare the Bids
Once you have all your estimates in, compare them. Be wary of estimates so low that they seem too good to be true. Make sure you clearly understand where all the costs on bids are coming from. Identify the most reasonable and realistic-sounding bids and see if the mover will negotiate on pricing.
8. Do a Final Check
Search the company’s name or license numbers at the FMCSA site and make sure the information your estimator gave you lines up with the information online. If possible, visit the address the company gave you in person.
9. Pick Your Mover
A company that passes muster after the steps above should be reliable, so you’re ready to make your choice of Atlanta long distance movers. Pick your mover and schedule a date.
10. On Moving Day…
Make sure you have the current inventory list your movers are using on the day and that you have phone numbers to contact them throughout the move. Having consulted these tips for choosing Atlanta long distance movers, you have reason to expect things will go smoothly, but of course, even the best Atlanta moving company can run into difficulties.
Atlanta in particular is a lovely city but is known for having a slight traffic-congestion issue, so your plans should take this into account as much as possible.
Further Tips for Choosing Atlanta Long Distance Movers
You can find further tips for selecting movers through the FMCSA’s short guide on the topic and, most importantly, you can download and read “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” at its site.
If you’re informed and organized, methodical and timely, your state-to-state move should be a positive and reasonably hassle-free experience. Just follow the above tips for choosing Atlanta long distance movers and let professionals ease the stress of getting into your new home