Furniture Moving Companies Washington DC
If you need someone to move furniture in the Washington, D.C. area, you have plenty of excellent choices. The moving industry is big business, although most of the companies that comprise the sector are small. There are over 7,000 moving companies in the United States, but almost half of the companies in the business employ fewer than five people. Even well-known national chains are mostly represented by small agents who operate with some support from the larger organization but are run as independent companies.
How do I find the best furniture mover for my project in Washington, D.C.?
Whether you want to move a few pieces of furniture or everything in your house, it is worth your time to be diligent about your selection process. Most moving companies are honest and professional, but there are rogue operators and just plain poor-quality businesses that you want to stay away from, so you can ensure that you have a fantastic relocation experience.
The size of the move matters, although not as much as you might think, and the distance plays a part in the selection also. When choosing a mover, ask the potential service providers to come to your home (or office, if that is where the move is starting) and look at what you are interested in contracting them to move for you. This part of the process is called a survey, and if the move crosses a state line, it is required by federal regulations. In some regions, a local move can occur entirely within one state, but that is unusual in the D.C. area, with boundaries crisscrossing the metropolitan area. The District, Virginia, and Maryland are all together, so it is uncommon for a mover to work entirely within only one jurisdiction.
This circumstance is good news for the consumer since it means that almost all the movers you encounter in your search are going to be registered with FMCSA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates moving companies as part of interstate commerce. In addition to the survey requirement, FMCSA regulates how the mover provides an estimate, what liability protection you have for your shipment, and other aspects of the moving contract. This means it is to your advantage to choose a registered moving company.
How much does moving furniture cost?
The cost of any move depends on several factors—the amount of stuff being moved, the distance of the move, the difficulty of the logistics like stairs, elevators, driveways, and the items themselves. Bulky pieces of furniture like pianos and pool tables cost more to move than simple pieces. Fragile art that needs special handling will be more expensive to prepare. Timing also impacts the cost. If you have a last-minute need for a move in July, which is the peak season for moving, it may cost more than if you need something moved in February, and you can plan ahead. The best way to find out the price is by getting several estimates from reputable moving companies and comparing them.
A broker is offering me a great deal—should I take it?
Move brokers may or may not be the way to go. Consumer advocates want you to proceed with caution if you decide to use one, but they don’t necessarily counsel against considering their services. Mostly, experts want to ensure that you know what those services are and that you are careful in moving forward. Brokers are not moving companies, and sometimes they don’t make that clear. Moving brokers work as a liaison between the consumer who needs goods moved and moving companies who want work. Usually, the broker will talk to the customer and develop an understanding of the job. The broker will then find a mover that can do the work for a fair price and put the customer and the mover together.
Problems arise in some situations, but you can avoid falling victim to these with some careful attention. First, check that the broker is registered with FMCSA and ask to see the broker’s agreement with any mover it suggests as a vendor for your move. The broker is only allowed to provide an estimate to you for a mover with which it has a written agreement and a copy of the movers’ tariff, which is a list of the mover’s fees. Second, insist that either the broker or the mover conduct the visual survey that the FMCSA requires. If they are reluctant to do so, don’t use their services. There are plenty of moving companies willing to follow the rules. The survey is an essential part of creating an inventory of what is moving and providing an accurate estimate of the cost to you.
There are two common scams that moving brokers pull on unsuspecting consumers. The first takes place when the broker gives you an excellent estimate—much lower than the other estimates you receive from other movers. The broker asks for a large deposit to be paid in advance, which they justify due to the great deal they obtained for you with their “preferred mover discount” or some other smooth sounding language. So, you pay the deposit to the broker. When moving day arrives, the mover who shows up tells you that the broker’s estimate is too low and demands a higher payment to complete the move. Or the mover wants the entire amount agreed to, including the deposit you paid to the broker. Usually, the mover initiates this conversation when your household goods are half loaded, and you end up paying whatever they demand.
The second scam starts with a low estimate as well. In this scenario, the broker offers you a great price and then is unable to find a moving company to do the work. The broker hires some unskilled labor, rents a truck, and sends this “crew” to your home or office—often many hours later than agreed—to complete the move. You are only aware of the problem because the truck is unbranded, and the crew does not seem to know what they are doing.
How do I know if a moving company will do a good job?
There are several steps you can take to increase your comfort level with the company you choose to perform your furniture or household move. As mentioned, you are better off with a registered moving company. The FMCSA site has information about the movers’ safety record and about complaints filed by other consumers. You should also check the listing on the Better Business Bureau website. When you invite the mover to your home or office to give you an estimate, you have the opportunity to spend time asking questions and gauging their level of professionalism. You can decide for yourself if this person represents someone that you feel comfortable trusting with your belongings. That’s important, whether the move is local or long-distance. Finally, when you are close to a selection, ask for references. The mover should be willing to share information for some recent customers that you can call for a description of how they performed the work they were hired to do. Ask the customer if they would use them again.