Moving from Massachusetts to Florida sounds like a grand adventure. If you consider this move during a long cold winter, the temptation is probably too much to pass up. Both states have much to offer residents, but Americans love to start over in a new place, with over 3 million relocating to a new state every year. The average interstate move is around 1200 miles (which will take you from Boston down to Orlando, Florida) and has a price tag of $4,100.

How can I find the best mover to go from Massachusetts to Florida?

Organizing a big move takes planning, and you need to find the right partner—that partner is your moving professional. Once you start looking online, you may receive calls and emails from movers and brokers offering you quotes—possibly more offers than you expected or wanted. What you need is a system to identify the good ones and narrow it down to the one that is best for you.

So, who are the good interstate movers?

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First, ask people you know. You probably have family members or friends who have moved. Find out if they had a good (or bad) experience and dig a little deeper to determine why. Perhaps you can learn from their mistakes. Sure, you can avoid using a bad mover, but maybe they have advice for you to follow through the move process as well. Check with the Better Business Bureau when researching potential vendors, to find out if they have a favorable complaint history. You may also find referrals from your employer; whether or not the move is work-related, the human resources or procurement department might recommend vendors with which they have a good history.

One important criterion is to validate that any mover you are considering has registered with the FMCSA, or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, embedded in the Department of Transportation. FMCSA rules require all interstate movers to register, and the agency maintains a database with relevant information about the companies’ safety record and complaint history. It has also developed clear rules that govern the interactions between movers or brokers and consumers, to protect shippers (that’s you) from potential fraud.

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What are movers required to do?

Moving companies must provide the consumer with some precise information when they are bidding for your move project. The FMCSA enacted these rules because of rogue operators taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers. Of course, most companies are honest, but a few shady characters make it hard for everyone else in every industry. The rules are described in a helpful resource titled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Are Moving, and you can review it on the FMCSA website. Movers and brokers will also provide you with a copy or a link to it when they submit a quote for your consideration. This brochure, aided by its companion checklist called Ready To Move, will help you understand the moving industry language and negotiate your contract effectively.

Among the essential information provided for you in the brochure are the following:

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A full explanation of the kinds of estimates and how to compare them.

Depending on your needs and preferences, you may want a binding estimate (the price doesn’t change as long as you don’t add anything to the move inventory) or a non-binding estimate (could have a lower cost if the moving company estimate is correct) or an estimate not-to-exceed (price can fall, but not rise). What matters is that you understand the difference and discuss the options with your moving vendors. It is smart to get at least three estimates and compare them. If one is noticeably lower than the others, ask why. It could be an error—maybe something was overlooked. Or it could be that vendor is setting you up for a scam.

An explanation of valuation, or insurance.

Movers can be a little vague about what they are liable for, and what you are. The brochure outlines the difference between Full Replacement Value Protection and Waiver of Full Replacement Value Protection, as well as third party insurance options, hazard insurance, and what circumstances may result in reducing or eliminating the mover’s liability.

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A description of the necessary paperwork

that the mover will give you at various points, including an Order for Service, which contains a lot of crucial information including the contact information for the mover, the pickup and delivery dates for the shipment, any intended subcontractors, the anticipated total charges, including minimum and maximum fees, and acceptable form of payment for delivery. Another key document is the Bill of Lading, containing some of the same information as the Order for Service, which also includes your choice of insurance, and must remain with the shipment during transit.

FMCSA rules require that movers conduct an onsite survey of your household goods shipment before offering a price quote for the move. This rule protects the integrity of the estimation process. It is suspicious if a moving company doesn’t want to do the in-person walkthrough, and you should consider using a different mover. The same is true if a mover doesn’t provide a written estimate (they should sign it, and you should also.) When the company supplies you with the estimate, check the inventory carefully. The inventory (sometimes called a cube sheet or a table of measurements) is a list of everything in your house that will be moved, right down to the estimated number of boxes. If things are left off the list, it can cause problems on moving day, and lead to conflict regarding loading, truck size, and pricing.

What other red flags should I watch for when choosing a mover to move from Massachusetts to Florida?

Moving can be stressful. But by taking the time to find the best mover for your relocation, you can rest easy and enjoy the ride.

Written by Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving.

If you have any questions about moving, our services, or anything else you think he may be able to help with, you can contact Chris by emailing him at Chris@threemenandatruck.net

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