Lots of people will tell you to research a moving company before handing over a deposit on a moving agreement, but not everyone will tell you how to research a moving company. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t always tell you everything you need to know. If you are planning a move, particularly an out of state move, you’re going to want to dig a little.
Where to Start to Research a Moving Company
As crazy as it may sound, you need to know who your moving company is. Do you think you know based on the name on their letterhead? You may or you may not. You also need to know that the moving company you are considering is licensed and whether they own their trucks. You can dig up a lot of this information with one quick search thanks to the US Department of Transportation! Click HERE to access the USDOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER system. With a quick search in the SAFER system, you’ll find a wealth of information to help you research a moving company.
How to Use SAFER Search Information
Now, let’s talk about what to look for when you use SAFER to research a moving company. To start with, you never want to do business with a moving company who doesn’t appear on this website as it means they are operating without USDOT and Federal MC licensing. If the company you are considering does turn up results in SAFER, you’ll want to consider several things:
- Where is the moving company located? Is the address the same as the one that has been presented to you or have they presented themselves as a local company when they, in fact, have no local address?
- How many trucks is the moving company operating? If a moving company does not own a sizable fleet then they are likely operating in brokering situations which means that you are receiving estimates and service from two separate entities. This opens you up to all kinds of risk! Read what ABC News has to say about brokers here.
- Is the moving company operating under multiple names? FMCSA SAFER company snapshots will provide a moving company’s legal name as well as any DBA (doing business as) names. You should always be wary of moving companies operating under multiple names. At a bare minimum, when you research a moving company, make certain that you Google EVERY name they do business as, not just the one they provided you with.
- Does the moving company have National Consumer Complaint Database (NCCDB) complaints? If you go one step further, the FMCSA will also provide you with complaints information. Click here to research a moving company’s complaints record. Keep in mind the fleet size information that you gathered on your potential moving company as well. If a company has a small fleet size and yet a sizable number of complaints over the past four years, you definitely want to think twice about hiring them!
Go ahead, use Fox Moving and Storage of East TN as an example. You’ll find that we have a sizable fleet, don’t operate under any additional business names, have zero NCCDB complaints and are fully licensed! Any moving company you’re going to trust with your treasured household goods should be able to say the same!