May is upon us, which mean moving season is kicking into gear. Summer represents the busiest time of the year for moving companies, with most residential moves taking place during this period, which is why May is officially National Moving Month!

With an increase in movers this time of the year companies are inundated with inquires and requests, but it also leads to an increase in complaints from disgruntled customers that hired a less than stellar moving company.

Sadly, there are many unreliable moving companies out there and you could end up on the wrong end of a bad moving experience because of this. From missing and broken items to inflated prices and hidden fees, there’s many reasons to avoid untrustworthy companies!

Check out these tips to ensure you get an honest, reliable moving company:


Never use an unlicensed moving company, as it is a clear indicator that they are not the most reliable. You can check and verify any licenses via the Department of Transportation, as they have a database on their website of all licensed interstate moving companies.

Those moving within their state may not require licensing should the company not operate between states, but they most legitimate businesses will have some form of certification. Contact your local state moving association for information about licenses to look for.


A recommendation from a friend or colleague is one of the easier ways to get an idea of how reputable a company is. However, this can be easier said than done if you don’t know anyone that has moved recently!

Online references can be quite useful in this regard, especially for getting verification on a mover’s certification and licenses. Be sure to check online review sites that are independent from the business (such as Yelp), as well as checking their own social media feeds for more honest reviews.

Written Estimates

After finding some trustworthy recommendations, you should have a few potential candidates. This is when it’s a good time to get an estimate from each of them to help determine the rates they charge.

An estimate should include a list of all the possessions you want moved, including anything in storage, and be sure to avoid including anything that will not be getting moved as it could increase your estimate.

Never accept an estimate that isn’t written, as no legitimate moving company provides a verbal estimate over the phone or by email. Written estimates should clearly show all the charges for the move, helping to avoid hidden fees and charges that many unreliable companies will charge.

Clarify Insurance

Moving companies offer different degrees of insurance coverage. For instance, some may only offer repairs while others provide full replacements or cash settlements that allow you to get these done yourself.

Be sure to clarify what insurance they provide and make the best decision based on this – full value protection may provide more peace of mind but will cost more, while basic replacement is cheaper but offers less amounts in pay outs should damage occur.

Warning Signs to Look Out For

There are many common red flags that indicate an unreliable moving company, so it can be good to have an idea of these to help make an informed decision. These include:

  • Low estimates provided over the phone – these are usually too good to be true.
  • Demands for large deposits or cash payments prior to the move
  • A website with no company address and a lack of general info regarding insurance, licenses etc.
  • A company that says every item is covered by their insurance
  • Moving trucks that do not carry any logo/name or the name has changed from what you expected.
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