Cheapest Moving Companies Baltimore
Moving is not cheap; we all know that. If you are buying and selling a house, there are plenty of expenses associated with that, and moving from one apartment to another requires putting down one deposit before you get the first one back. There are always extra costs that pop up, and then there is the moving company. So, you are looking for a cheap moving company in Baltimore, but you don’t have to settle for a mover that has low quality just because you want a low price.
How can I find cheap movers in Baltimore?
Finding a good quality moving company that can do the work you need at a fair price is not difficult. Finding a good quality moving company that can do the work you need dirt cheap may not be as easy. Consumers looking for the absolute lowest price are the ones who sometimes find themselves victims of moving company scams. There are some good ways to avoid those. As you search for a cheap moving company, keep in mind that the mover you choose is going to be responsible for loading, transporting, and unloading your personal belongings—the things that you have worked hard to acquire and that you have taken care of. If you didn’t care about them, you wouldn’t bother moving them.
Focus on finding the best mover that meets your needs and getting the best price for the services you want. If your move is a local project, the moving companies you evaluate may not be bound by interstate commerce rules, and the movers might not be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Maryland recently enacted a law requiring movers to register with the state, but it hasn’t been fully implemented yet. This status means that there isn’t much to go on if you want some neutral standards to assess whether a company is competent. The Maryland Motor Truck Association has a specialized segment called the Maryland Movers Conference. It represents the moving and storage industry in Maryland and offers tips to consumers to avoid rogue operators. The Conference also has a voluntary registration program for moving companies operating within the state.
If you are planning a long-distance move originating in the Baltimore area, you are looking for an interstate moving company. In this case, the movers are required to register with FMCSA and follow their regulations. Those rules include the following:
- Conduct an in-person survey of the household goods to be shipped. This means that the mover will send a representative to your residence to inspect the move’s scope and list what’s included. This list is called an inventory, which becomes the foundation of the estimate, or price quote. FMCSA allows exceptions to this requirement if the residence is more than 50 miles from the moving company or broker location or if the consumer waives the survey. Pro tip: if you are planning a local move, ask the mover to do an in-person survey for the estimate. It isn’t required, but it’s still a good idea.
- Provide a written estimate of the move’s cost, indicating whether the estimate is binding or nonbinding. A binding estimate is a guaranteed price. Assuming that you don’t add anything to the shipment and don’t ask for additional services, the mover can’t increase the price if they misjudge the weight. A nonbinding estimate is an approximation, but FMCSA only allows a mover to bill you for 110% of the estimated price when they deliver your goods (there are some exceptions.) If the final cost is even higher, the mover is obligated to make the delivery and then bill you later for the balance. Failure to deliver household goods in exchange for payment of the agreed price is called a “hostage load,” which is an increasing form of moving fraud.
- Offer full value and basic or released value liability protection for your household goods. Moving insurance is technically referred to as liability protection or coverage and is not well understood by many consumers. The mover will include an offer for basic value coverage at no additional charge to you in the estimate. This protection will allow you to be reimbursed for either repair or replacement of any item that is broken or lost under certain circumstances. However, there is a substantial limitation: the coverage is restricted to $0.60 per pound. That doesn’t mean if you have 10,000 pounds that you pool all the pounds together, and you can use the full amount to replace anything damaged or broken. The per-pound limit is assessed by item. So, if a 1-pound item is lost, you can only receive a reimbursement of 60 cents. If a ten-pound thing is smashed, you will receive a maximum of $6.00. That may be fine if the item in question is a couple of glasses, but not if it is a twenty-pound flatscreen television.
The second option will come with an additional charge, but it will include replacement value coverage, which means you can repair or replace the lost or broken item. Even with this comprehensive coverage, there are exceptions. For example, if you pack something and the movers drop the box, but the outside of the container appears unscathed, you may have trouble getting reimbursement for the item. If you have the movers do the packing, they will be responsible for doing a good job and protecting the boxes’ contents, but that costs extra. Also, the full coverage option will likely have a deductible amount and a maximum value. Discuss these with your mover when you review the estimate. Remember, the full value protection will add some to the move’s cost, but if you didn’t want to safeguard these possessions, you wouldn’t be moving them.
Whether your move is local or long-distance, you can improve the odds of hiring a good, low-cost moving company by comparing at least three service quotes. The movers that come to your home and spend the time necessary to meet with you and develop a detailed work estimate are usually legitimate, high-quality organizations. The swindlers and scammers are trying to lure in their next victim with a “too good to be true” deal on the phone or over the internet. Remember that you should never sign a blank agreement. This suggestion may sound obvious, but a persuasive schemer might tell you that you should just sign, and he will fill out all the long boring stuff back at the office. Contracts are indeed long and tedious, but if you sign your name over a blank field, the unscrupulous person can fill in whatever they want and claim you agreed to it.
Finally, ask for references. FMCSA maintains a database of information on interstate moving companies that includes safety information and how they respond to customer complaints. Even if you are planning a local move, the movers you are considering may also do interstate work, so check to see if they are on the site. Then check the Better Business Bureau, which collects positive and negative reviews on movers (and other types of businesses.) Ask your number one pick for a recent customer to talk to. Call that person and validate that the mover did a good job, and ask any questions you may have. The mover should not hesitate to share this information.