Trusted Moving Companies: How to Find Movers You Can Rely On

Before you turn over all of your worldly possessions to movers, do a bit of research to soothe your mind.

Peter Butler Writer
Peter is a writer and editor for the CNET How-To team. He has been covering technology, software, finance, sports and video games since working for @Home Network and Excite in the 1990s. Peter managed reviews and listings for Download.com during the 2000s, and is passionate about software and no-nonsense advice for creators, consumers and investors.
Expertise 18 years of editorial experience with a current focus on personal finance and moving
Peter Butler
3 min read
a person in a blue shirt unloads two boxes from a moving van with a hand truck

Most moving companies will be licensed with your state.

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Choosing the right professional movers can make the difference between a stress-free day and a moving disaster. Whether you're moving across town or across the country, your movers are going to be responsible for securing and transporting your most valuable possessions.

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Finding reputable professional movers can be a major task, and there's also a lot of money at stake -- an average of $4,100 if you're moving between states and $980 for in-state.

When you select a moving company, you're going to want all your belongings to arrive undamaged at your new home at the delivery day and time that was scheduled. You'll also want a company that's responsive to questions and quick to resolve disputes.

Learn what to look for when researching moving companies and red flags to avoid. For more moving tips, learn how to calculate what size moving truck you need and how to lift heavy items without hurting yourself.

To start researching moving companies, ask family, friends and neighbors

When choosing any professional service, there's nothing as valuable as a personal recommendation. Ask family, friends and neighbors about their moving experiences and if they have any movers that they recommend. 

Online reviews and consumer reports are great, but nothing compares to a personal recommendation from someone you trust.

Check moving companies' licenses and insurance

If you're moving between states, any moving company that you hire is required to be registered with the Department of Transportation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration maintains a searchable database of all registered interstate movers, where you can easily check the registration status of any moving company, as well as find contact information, safety information and any history of customer complaints.

For in-state moves, required credentials for moving companies will depend on the state involved. Thirty-eight states require in-state movers to be registered with the DOT.

Also, most states require in-state movers to register with the state government or apply for a license to haul cargo for hire. Some states provide a searchable database of registered movers, others provide a list, and still others require a phone call or email to verify a moving company's license.

Moving companies are also required to hold insurance. Look for the insurance information on the company's website or call and ask for details. If the company can't provide those details or says something vague like "everything is covered," look for a different company to hire.

Read online reviews, consumer reports and customer complaints for moving companies

The internet holds a vast number of customer reviews about moving companies. Business review site Yelp is a good place to start, and the home services site Angi (formerly Angie's List) is also a great resource.

Reddit's Moving community is chockablock with advice, and a Google search of the expansive community website can often uncover lots of helpful guidance. Try doing a Google search starting with site:reddit.com then the terms you're interested in, such as moving companies and Portland Oregon.

To keep digging, search the Better Business Bureau for customer complaints and the FMCSA website for information on interstate movers. 

Watch out for moving company red flags

Along with a lack of credentials, poor reviews and many complaints, there are additional warning signs you should watch out for when evaluating a moving company.

Avoid companies that operate only online or have no listed address. Instead, pick a moving company close to you that has a physical location. If possible, pay it a visit and make sure the warehouse and trucks are well maintained and in good condition.

Be wary of estimates that are far too low or deposits that are too high. You shouldn't pay more than 20% of the agreed upon price as a deposit. Also avoid any companies that only accept cash.

Skip any moving companies that ask you to sign blank documents or don't provide written estimates.

It takes a bit of work to properly vet a moving company, but it's worth it to reduce the possibility of a moving disaster. Your stuff is important, and a little research can help keep it safe and secure when moving.