Real Estate Moving

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Moving Company

Moving is stressful enough. Don’t make things worse by choosing the wrong company to transport your stuff.
Deirdre Mundorf Avatar
Two professional movers in blue uniforms move boxes and mattress into a truck.


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The United States Census Bureau estimates that the average person in the United States will make at least 11 moves in a lifetime. This is a staggering statistic, given all that is required to move to a new location, whether to the other side of town or across the country. Unless you have the time, experience, and proper equipment, then one of the biggest hassles—and expenses—associated with relocating is hiring movers. 

To avoid added frustrations and to ensure your move goes smoothly, it is essential to steer clear of some of the most common mistakes people make when hiring a moving company. We reached out to two moving experts: Chris Knowles, the owner and CEO of True Friends Moving Company in Tennessee; and Nick Valentino, vice president of market operations with Bellhop in New York, for their insight and tips.

1. Not Checking Reviews

It is important to check online reviews for each moving company that you consider. Every company will tell you that they are the “best of the best,” but you can’t get the full picture without learning about the experiences of actual customers. Knowles says that in addition to reading through reviews from past customers, ask friends, family, and neighbors who have completed a move recently for their recommendations.

“Reviews and recommendations provide valuable insights into a moving company’s reliability and quality of service, so it would be wise to pay attention to them. This will help a person hire a trustworthy moving company,” says Knowles.

2. Failing to Get Multiple Quotes

Moving company helping a family move out of their old home

Going with the first moving company you speak with is another mistake to avoid. As with doing due diligence on other large expenses, it is always a good idea to speak to multiple companies to gain a full picture. “Without comparing prices and services, you may end up overpaying or missing out on better deals,” says Knowles. “I recommend getting quotes from at least three different moving companies so you can not only compare prices, but also their services,” he says.

Valentino also recommends reading the fine print when comparing these different companies to make sure you know what each quote includes. “Many movers will offer incredibly low up-front prices, only to hit customers with surprise fees for everything from special equipment, to hours of labor, to gas. When comparing prices, make sure you’re comparing the real price of different movers,” Valentino says. Getting quotes in writing is essential as well to help ensure that the movers you choose don’t try to add hidden fees after the move is complete.

3. Hiring Unlicensed Movers

Don’t make the mistake of hiring an unlicensed moving company. While an unlicensed company might come in with a lower quote, there are several reasons to opt for movers with the proper licenses. Valentino explains that there are safety regulations in place to protect you and your belongings. Licensed movers must abide by these regulations, while an unlicensed company might cut corners that ultimately threaten your belongings or home. 

Additionally, as Valentino notes, “Licensed movers are also bonded and insured, meaning they can provide you with some compensation if the worst should happen and your belongings get lost or damaged.”

4. Waiting Until the Last Minute to Book 

If something unexpected comes up, you might not have much lead time on a move. When you know that you will be moving in the future, however, it is best to book a moving company as far in advance as possible. “Especially during the busy moving season of spring and summer, you’re going to have a hard time finding movers if you wait until a week or less before your moving date,” says Valentino. “Booking 1 to 3 months out is ideal, and many movers will offer you discounts if you do so,” he says.

5. Ignoring Red Flags


If something doesn’t feel quite right about a moving company, listen to your gut instincts. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) lists several red flags that you shouldn’t ignore when hiring movers. One of the biggest red flags is receiving a quote for services over the phone without anyone coming to assess what will need to be moved. Companies that fail to provide written estimates or expect you to pay a large deposit before the move also might be trying to scam you. 

Some of the other red flags that the FMCSA says to look out for include being asked to sign blank documents, calling the company to hear someone answer with just “moving company,” instead of the specific name, seeing an unmarked or rental truck pull up on the day of your move, or not being provided a copy of the Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move and a Ready to Move Brochure.