To be clear, every moving company is going to be able to show you some positive reviews and, likewise, every moving company is going to have some negative reviews floating around in cyberspace. This is simply a function of being in a dynamic service industry where it is impossible to satisfy all of the people all of the time.
Here are some tips and resources that might help to clear the fog and narrow down the list of potential service providers for your upcoming move.
REALTOR: If you are using a realtor, ask who they recommend and why.
REFERRAL: Talk to your neighbors and see if they have any suggestions and/or a great moving experience that they would be willing to share with you.
BUSINESS LONGEVITY: While longevity does not necessarily directly equate to service excellence, a lengthy track-record is indicative of stability.
FMCSA: Go to fmcsa.dot.gov and search for the companies that you are considering doing business with (given that moving companies often have similar names, it is preferable to search by the unique DOT or MC number instead of by name). This search will tell you whether there have been any significant service gaps or violations, and whether the carrier’s credentials, licenses, and insurances are up to date.
WEBSITE: A company’s website is, in part, an advertisement, but it is also where they choose to tell you who they are and what their values are. Take the time to read through the competing sites and make sure that their message resonates with you.
MOVINGSCAM.COM: Started as a platform to report on negative moving experiences, this site has morphed into a business that accepts advertising dollars. Having said this, it still has some value. While one negative review is not necessarily indicative of a company’s overall performance, a pattern of misleading or questionable behaviors is certainly a warning sign.
BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU: While there is no hard and fast rule as to what represents an acceptable performance score, I would suggest that it is not worth doing business with a company that maintains anything below a B+ rating.
SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES: There are countless review sites including Google, Angie’s List, Consumer Checkbook, Yelp etc. It is worth reading through these sites to get a flavor for the reputation of the companies with whom you are considering networking. At the risk of the obvious, I would also tell you that “you can’t trust everything you read on the internet.” Some sites allow reviews that were obviously produced by the companies themselves, while there are also negative review submitted by and against competing carriers.
GO VISIT THE MOVER: Show up unannounced and take a quick tour of the facility. What is the condition of the warehouse, trucks, equipment? Is the staff in uniform? Is there someone onsite that can answer questions about your relocation? This is truly the best way to avoid unwanted surprises on moving day.