Movers FL to MI
Relocating is a big adventure, but getting started can be a bit intimidating. Leaving your familiar home in Florida for the great state of Michigan is exciting, and you have a lot to do in preparation. Trading Florida’s coastal access for the Great Lakes is going to take some getting used to, not to mention that Michigan has seasons, including real winter. Before you start planning ski trips, you have to organize your move, though.
How do I find a great moving company from Florida to Michigan?
Finding the best Florida moving company for your relocation from Florida to Michigan isn’t hard, but it does take some research and planning. It’s crucial to find movers with a truck that can provide you with the services you need and the assurance that you have a trusted partner. Moving companies come in all sizes, from independents to agents of national chains and franchises. Most of them are professional, but you will need to look out for the small number of rogue operators.
Where do I start my search for a moving company?
Start by asking people you know for recommendations. If you have friends and family who have moved, they can tell you if they had a good or bad experience. If your move is work-related, your company’s procurement or human resources department may have referrals for you. Some cheap movers are affiliated with college alumni/ae organizations and other social groups.
When you get these suggestions or find companies by other means, check them out. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an excellent place to start. The agency is part of the Department of Transportation, and all moving companies engaged in interstate relocations must register with it. FMCSA develops rules governing the conduct of those moves to protect consumers from fraud and maintains a database with information on movers’ safety records and complaint history.
What does the FMCSA require movers to do?
As you start your quest to identify and engage a moving company, you will find support in a publication from FMCSA titled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. This helpful resource outlines movers and brokers’ requirements and explains what you need to know as a consumer. The guide also defines many of the key industry terms that will help you understand what the company representatives are talking about. Some of the essential protections for consumers are these:
- Moving companies must perform an in-person survey of the household goods that you want to move, and use the resulting inventory to create the estimate or moving quote. The rule has an exception if the residence being quoted is more than 50 miles from the moving company office, or if the consumer waives the visual inspection. Some movers may be reluctant to do the physical walkthrough and may tell you that they have the expertise to devise an accurate assessment of your shipment without seeing it. Be wary of this suggestion, as it could indicate an intention to defraud you with a lowball estimate.
- The estimate that the moving company provides must specify whether it is binding or non-binding. This is critical information because a non-binding estimate means that the move’s cost may increase if the mover has underbid. In contrast, a binding estimate is a commitment to the price, as long as you do not add anything to the shipment. FMCSA requires movers to provide a written estimate for every delivery, and assessments must be dated and signed by both the mover and the shipper.
- If you are working with a moving broker, the FMCSA includes requirements for those firms as well. Brokers do not transport your shipment, what they do is find a mover to take the job, based on their understanding of it. Either the broker or the mover it selects must still conduct the physical survey, create the inventory, and provide the written estimate. Brokers can only offer estimates on behalf of movers if they have a written agreement with that mover and use the mover’s tariff. A tariff is a description of fees that a moving company assesses for services.
- Movers’ estimates also need to include a description of the two choices for insuring your shipment. This part can be a little confusing because of the way it is worded. More than likely, your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance isn’t going to cover your belongings while in transit, so the options provided by the moving company (or a third-party choice) are important. The basic coverage is Waiver of Full Value (Replacement) Coverage, and that is offered at no additional fee, so you may be tempted to choose it. The coverage is based on weight and will reimburse you for up to $0.60 per pound, by item. That will cover a coffee cup, and possibly an old t-shirt that gets lost, but if your 20-pound flat-screen television or even your 7-pound air fryer is damaged, you are out of luck. The option you can pay for, referred to as Full Value (Replacement) Coverage, is usually a better choice. It provides either the replacement of a lost or damaged item by the moving company, repair of the article, or reimbursement at market value. The estimate will include the mover’s pricing and details for this coverage, and—importantly—what limits their liability. One example of limited liability is that if you pack the box, and the box is not damaged, but the contents are, the mover is not responsible. If the mover packed the container, they would assume liability.
What are the red flags to avoid when choosing a mover?
Most moving companies are honest and reliable. In every industry, there are a few disreputable players that you must watch out for. In the moving business, there are some red flags you can look for to avoid getting scammed.
- Can you reach the contact person? If it’s musical chairs, and you talk to someone different every time, that is a concern. Also, pay attention to how the company answers the phone. Some shady broker and mover operations will respond with a generic greeting of “movers” instead of referencing an actual company name. It might be a distant call center instead of a legitimate company.
- Does the company reference and display its DOT number? The company should show up in a truck that has the DOT number and preferably the company name. If their vehicle is a rental or doesn’t look dependable, be wary.
- If the company asks you to sign blank or incomplete documents or tells you not to worry about the fine print, do not conduct business with them. Never sign anything that you don’t understand or that contains inaccurate information. Also, don’t allow the company to begin loading your belongings onto their truck unless you have a signed, dated estimate that you are comfortable with. If the representative tries to make any changes during the loading process, stop the work until you reach a new agreement.
- The moving company or broker asks for a large or cash deposit before the move. The representative who takes the deposit may imply that it will be subtracted from the total payment, but the driver then demands the entire amount.
By being vigilant and researching upfront, you can find a trustworthy partner for your relocation from Florida to Michigan.