5 Tips To Choose The Best Moving Company

May 28, 2024

Whether you’re moving from Harlem to Hollis or you’re leaving the Big Apple altogether, a great moving company can streamline the process.

Here are 5 tips to help you find the best moving company:

  1. Gather information
  2. Request in-home estimates and written contracts
  3. Verify credentials and insurance
  4. Ask detailed questions
  5. Watch out for red flags

Whether you need a moving company in New York or elsewhere, these tips will teach you how to choose a moving company with confidence.

Tip 1: Gather Information

Begin your hunt for the best moving company by doing your research. This step helps separate reputable and shady companies.

Get Referrals

Nothing is better than a personal referral. Reach out to friends, family members, colleagues, or neighbors who have recently moved. Their first-hand experiences can offer valuable insights into a local moving company’s service quality, professionalism, and reliability. A great personal referral from someone you trust will accelerate your search.

If you’re dealing with a real estate agent, ask them for help. Real estate agents often have extensive networks and can suggest reliable movers they have worked with in the past.

If you’re relocating for a job, your new employer may recommend a mover they’ve dealt with in the past. Contact your employer’s relocation specialist or human resources department for assistance.

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Check Reviews

Reviews on Yelp, Google, and the Better Business Bureau are filled with helpful information about moving companies. Spend some time learning what previous customers had to say about movers in your area.

But don’t let one negative review turn you off; every moving company gets a bad review now and again. Instead, pay attention to patterns, both positive and negative, to identify trends and recurring issues.

Look for reviews that provide deeper details about the moving company. You can often find detailed stories about how the mover dealt with an unexpected situation. The best movers will respond to negative reviews, demonstrating their willingness to address concerns constructively.

Tip 2: Request In-Home Estimates and Written Contracts

Reputable moving companies provide accurate, transparent pricing. Avoid movers who offer binding estimates over the phone or online without conducting an in-home survey. Over-the-phone quotes often lead to unexpected costs and service disputes later on.

Instead, insist on an in-home estimate. A representative will visit your home to perform a comprehensive evaluation, including:

  • A detailed inventory of all items to be moved
  • An assessment of potential logistical challenges (stairs, elevators, parking accessibility)
  • A consideration of travel distance and any additional transportation needs
  • Identification of any items requiring special handling (pianos, antiques, artwork, etc.)

With this information, the moving company can provide an accurate estimate tailored to your relocation service requirements.

After getting the estimate, request a written contract or bill of lading that lists all costs, services, terms, and conditions. This legally binding document protects both parties by establishing clear expectations and minimizing potential misunderstandings.

Don’t Forget the Rule of Threes

Use the “Rule of Threes” when hunting for movers. Don’t settle for just one estimate; instead, get three. If all three estimates are similar in pricing and services, you know you’re getting a fair price. If one estimate is significantly lower or higher than the others, it may be a red flag indicating potential hidden fees, substandard service, or price gouging.

Tip 3: Verify Credentials and Insurance

Reputable moving companies have proper licenses, insurance, and bonds to operate legally and protect your belongings during the move.


First, request proof of their licenses and insurance policies. When looking for both local and long-distance moving companies operating across state lines, verify their valid U.S. Department of Transportation number and FMCSA operating authority (MC) number on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website. These numbers should be prominently displayed on their vehicles and marketing materials, but if you can’t find them, the moving company’s sales representative should be able to provide them.

Next, check with relevant state or federal authorities to confirm the company’s standing and compliance with regulations. Many states mandate specific licensing requirements for movers, so research what is required in your area. Verify that the company’s licenses and certifications are current and in good standing.


Reputable movers have liability insurance to protect your belongings in case of damages or losses during transit. Ask about the specifics of their policies, including deductibles, coverage limits, and the claims process if something goes wrong.

Ask about additional coverage options such as full-value protection or third-party insurance. These options provide better protection for your most valuable items. Inquire about these options in addition to liability insurance. These choices may cost more, but they provide peace of mind and financial security in case of unexpected events.

Tip 4: Ask Detailed Questions

During the in-home estimate, ask detailed questions to evaluate the moving company’s professionalism, transparency, and expertise. Here are some examples of questions to consider:

  • How far in advance do I need to book your service?
  • Can you walk me through your process for packing, loading, and unloading items?
  • What additional services do you offer, such as packing/unpacking or storage facilities?
  • What is your claims rate for losses and damages over the past year?
  • How do you handle unexpected situations, such as severe weather or vehicle breakdowns?
  • How do you handle claims for damaged or lost items, and what is the claims process?
  • What are your cancellation and rescheduling policies?

Pay close attention to the representative’s responses and their ability to provide clear, satisfactory answers.

Tip 5: Watch Out for Red Flags

While researching moving companies, watch out for red flags that indicate unprofessional or unethical practices. Some common warning signs include the following:

  • No permanent business address or physical office location
  • Evasive or vague responses to questions
  • Unprofessional behavior or appearance during the in-home estimate
  • Personal email addresses or cell phone numbers are the primary contact points
  • Inability or unwillingness to provide proper documentation (licenses, insurance, etc.)

If you encounter any of these red flags, continue your search.


The key takeaway is that you need to know what you want. By taking the time to think about the services you need, and how you want your move to go, you can ask the right questions before you make your choice.

Earlier I talked about referrals, so I’d like to end with one. Zip To Zip Moving took great care of me during my last move. They’re one of the best movers in New York, but they also do interstate moves.

If you’d like to skip a couple of steps and save some time, get in touch with them. You won’t be disappointed.

Photo credit: HWM.

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