Finding the right mover to manage your furniture move in the Baltimore area might be one of those tasks you keep procrastinating, just not sure how to get started. But you will be glad to discover that it isn’t as hard as you might think. There are plenty of highly qualified, professional moving companies in the Baltimore area that can perform a top-notch job on your project, whether you are moving furniture for your home or office.
The internet has made searching for vendors so easy, but sometimes it makes us nervous, too. How do you know which companies are the right ones, or how they get to the top of the search results? It makes sense to ask the question and to be cautious in choosing a moving company. Whether you are looking for an office or residential mover, and whether the move is local or long-distance, you want to find the best company for the work. You can accomplish that goal, but you will need to put in some effort.
When you search for a furniture moving company in Baltimore, you will get results that include moving companies and moving brokers. Moving companies will move your household goods or office furniture, cubicles, and equipment, but brokers do not undertake moves. Brokers facilitate arrangements between consumers and moving companies and generally receive a fee from the mover. If you think of an insurance broker, the moving broker operates similarly. If you are working with a broker, you explain your requirements to the broker once, and the broker then finds a mover to complete the work. If this arrangement is successful, you can save time and money. But be cautious because many unscrupulous brokers are operating outside of the law and industry standards.
A reputable move broker will only represent moving companies with which it maintains a written agreement and for which it holds a copy of the movers’ tariff. The tariff is a list of all the services a mover provides and the charges for them. The broker must submit this to you along with a written estimate based on the tariff for that moving company. If the move is an interstate project, then either the broker or the mover is required by federal regulation to complete a visual survey of the planned shipment. This requirement means they must send someone to your home or office to view everything that you want to be included in the move.
Local moves are exempt from this requirement in the Baltimore area, but you should still strongly consider asking the mover or broker to do it. Getting a visit from the mover is the best way to get an accurate estimate. It also provides you with the chance to develop a level of comfort with the movers. Prepare some questions to ask and pay attention to how the movers respond. The mover should be willing to explain how they work, how their estimate is developed, and what the moving industry jargon means.
Sometimes, though, a shady broker will offer the consumer a great deal, based on an estimate that it (the broker) develops on its own, without consulting a mover and without examining the furniture being moved. They may ask you to provide a verbal description or complete an online form. The broker promises you this attractive price for your move, and you accept it. Perhaps you even pay a deposit to reserve the date. Unfortunately, the broker is then unable to find a moving company that will do the work at that price. A couple of different things may happen then. One possibility is that no moving company will show up for your scheduled move, even though you have paid a deposit. You can try to contact the broker, but they have moved on and possibly even changed their phone number. If they had a local address, they are gone.
Another possibility is that a mover does come to do the work but advises you that the quote was too low, and they demand a larger payment to do the job. They may wait until your shipment is partly loaded before telling you this news, which puts you in an awkward position. You can give in to the demand or try to get them to unload your furniture. Third, the broker may hire unskilled temporary labor with a rented truck to do the job if it is unsuccessful in finding an experienced mover to take the bid. Accepting this is risky since this “crew” doesn’t know what it is doing and could easily damage your stuff or injure themselves.
If you want to avoid these and other moving industry scams, it is best to research the companies you consider hiring for the job. First, ask people you know if they have had a positive moving experience recently. If they have a mover to recommend, that is a good place to start. If your relocation is work-related, the company you work for might have some suggestions as well. If you are moving office furniture, ask the leasing agent, and if you are transferring personal household goods, ask your realtor or rental company for ideas. Word of mouth is often the best advertising.
If you don’t have any personal referrals, the internet’s search results are acceptable to start with. Just don’t stop there. Regardless of where the company names come from, check them out. If a mover does any interstate work, it must register with the FMCSA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Besides licensing, the FMCSA maintains safety data and complaint history on movers (and information on brokers also.) If the work you are hiring the company to do crosses a state line, then the mover is obligated to follow the Administration’s rules. These regulations are very detailed, and you can find information about them on the FMCSA website. But even if your move is local, and the mover is exempt from the policies, you can use the information on the site to determine how the mover in question has performed in the past. There are also some helpful tips about avoiding scams and hoaxes.
Another excellent place to check out the movers under consideration is the Better Business Bureau. The BBB collects and publishes positive and negative reviews about all kinds of businesses, including those in the moving industry. It also has independent criteria to rate companies, and it researches consumer trends and industry issues.
Finally, ask the mover you are likely to hire (finalist) for references. Suppose you have tentatively decided on a company based on your research and the estimate they provided. Call at least one recent customer and ask about their experience. One good question is about the personnel that the customer dealt with. If you can confirm that the same employees that got high marks from a recent client will be working on your job, that’s a plus. If the recent customer confirms your view of the vendor, you have found your furniture mover.