How To Find a Decent Mover!
August 31, 2007 4:42 AM   Subscribe

How to find a Trusted Mover

In the process of relocating from South West Florida to Northern Kentucky. Requested a online quote from movers and received probably 13 phone calls and 30+ emails (It was insane). How can I be sure that I'm choosing a trusted mover? Ive read that you should be weary of people who quote you on Square foot rather then weight?
posted by slowtree to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The best way to find a mover is to have someone recommend one to you. Any thug can get a cellphone number and put up fliers on bus shelters advertising attractively cheap prices. Your best bet is to ask around, or maybe someone in this thread will be able to recommend a mover.
posted by orange swan at 5:45 AM on August 31, 2007

This is a great resource, both the indexes on the main site and the forums.
posted by sharkfu at 6:02 AM on August 31, 2007

Here's what we did recently:

(1) Use ABF U-Pack for the move itself. Warning: pad well and pack tight -- they use freight trucks which don't have as forgiving a suspension as air-ride trucks. It's not a big deal, just something that you actually have to think about a little bit. I've used them with both trailer and cubes and been happy both times. Also warning: their how-many-cubes calculator is a little skimpy. Get an extra one beyond what it says; they won't charge you if you don't use it.

(2) Use to find some little men in SW FL to help you load the truck or cubes. There are ratings and reviews up there, and people don't seem to be shy about saying nasty things.

(3) Use to find different little men to help you unload in northern KY. Warning: you'll have to do this on the fly, because ABF doesn't normally guarantee what day your stuff will arrive (but they're normally quick). Alternatively, you can just pay them a little extra, and they will guarantee a date.

Congratulations. You've just done a move with well-trusted people at each stage, and it was probably cheaper than renting a truck.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:19 AM on August 31, 2007

I moved from CT to TX 6 months ago and the move went great. I also went online and requested quotes and that was a big mistake - your best bet is to open up your phone book and look for local national movers. These guys are locally owned franchises for the big national trucks you see on the road (I ended up using a local Atlas company).

Get at least 3 companies to come to your place for a quote and choose the guys you feel comfortable with. Odds are if you choose the cheapest that will be the level of service you get. My guys were middle of the road and it only took them 4 days to get my stuff to our new place.

I also agree with ROU_Xenophobe – pack your own boxes and make them tight because your boxes will get stacked!

Lastly – it is customary to tip your driver and their helper, especially if they did a good job. I asked the owner who came to my house and he said while it was customary it wasn’t required…but think about it – these guys have all your earthly possessions so I was happy to tip for a job well done (60 for driver and 20 each for the 2 helpers).
posted by doorsfan at 7:27 AM on August 31, 2007

We did the same thing as ROU_Xenophobe, only we used Broadway Express instead of ABF. Their trucks are air-ride and none of our stuff broke. We kept in contact with the driver on his cell phone and got a good idea of when he'd be at the destination so we could coordinate with the unloading people we found through The only potential problem is that they use huge, full-sized tractor-trailers and if it won't be able to pull in to where you're loading or unloading, you'll probably have to find a parking lot somewhere and transfer stuff over to a U-Haul to get it to or from your place.
posted by marionnette en chaussette at 7:48 AM on August 31, 2007

Agreeing with the UPack route (there is also PODS). This puts you much more in control than with a standard piece by piece mover, and you'll save money.
posted by beagle at 8:37 AM on August 31, 2007

Packing yourself reduces the mover's liability for your things to come out whole. So, you have to weight your time and convenience against what you can afford to pay, together with their liability. Myself, I vastly prefer to let the movers to the vast majority of my packing.

No one can really tell you what mover to use, since they all vary. The people who move you out are not likely to be the same as those who move you in on the other end. Get the quotes in writing, and make sure they are binding estimates (they can't cost you more).
posted by Goofyy at 9:36 AM on August 31, 2007

I learned a big lesson last time, because my trustworthy mover wasn't available so I went with someone else at the last minute who TOTALLY scammed me. Gave me an estimate in writing, but then after they got my stuff in the truck they changed it and all of the things we agreed upon. Unfortunately, there are people who will think nothing of holding your worldly possessions hostage just to rip you off... it's disgusting.

Make sure your mover is charging by weight. I didn't know this and mine had told me that he was charging by cubic feet and that the truck was filled up. When it was finally delivered, the truck wasn't NEARLY full. I ended up suing them to get some money back, and it was a horrible, stressful experience I wouldn't wish anyone to go through. So yeah, be sure they charge by weight and if there is a weighing station en route, be sure they provide you with proof it was weighed & that the weight matches what you're paying for.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:46 AM on August 31, 2007

Go with a national company with a reputable brand. I've done two cross country moves with Bekins with good success. Also been scammed by other companies. Do not hire Starving Students under any circumstances.
posted by Nelson at 3:55 PM on August 31, 2007

As sharkfu said, read and do everything they say.
posted by raf at 6:01 PM on August 31, 2007

Your best bet is to get a personal recommendation from a friend or family member.

Failing that try and find a removal company that includes full insurance in their fee - not just "if the truck rolls and burns we'll cover you" but also the insurance for items that are broken because a removalist dropped a box. If they're willing to cover this themselves odds are they're high quality.

Go with a big well-known company if you can afford to. I've gone with both cheap and expensive companies over several moves and I've only ever had ONE good move with a cheap removalist but a fine move with the expensive removalists every time. This really is an industry where you get what you pay for.

I hope that helps :) All the best with your move!
posted by katala at 11:05 PM on August 31, 2007

Whatever you do, for the love of God, avoid Avalon Van Lines like the plague. They quoted me 7 to 10 business days on the phone, but it was more like a month. Their movers were unprofessional, semi-literate, and had very poor personal hygiene on top of it. I could go on and on, but the bottom line -- stick with well-trusted national companies, not small companies.

Also, if you can move it yourself using rental trucks, do so. It's a bit more hassle in the short run, but well worth it in the long run.
posted by jzb at 6:40 AM on September 1, 2007

This post is a year old, but for future readers, I thought I should mention this:, mentioned above, is paid by the moving companies that it endorses. I learned this by stumbling upon this forum post, where a disclosure is made. Sadly, this disclosure appears nowhere on the site itself.
posted by medpt at 2:47 PM on August 26, 2008

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