Before you even request an estimate from a moving company, you should prepare a list of questions that you will ask all moving companies that are considering to save time and money in the long run and weed out any potential moving scams.

1.What type of moving estimates do you provide?

There are several different types of estimates that a moving company can provide to their clients.   The most common is a non-binding estimate that is based on the amount of time required to complete the service as local moving can encounter far too many variables that could result in a move going over or even under the estimate.  Some companies can provide flat rates for a move but always check the fine print of these estimates to determine what voids the contract.

2.  Do you offer in-home estimates?

Although an in-home estimate is not always required for a smaller move, they are crucial to ensure the accuracy of the moving estimate for a larger home.  If a moving company refuses to complete an on site estimate, consider excluding them from your list of possible companies.

3. How long have you been in business?

This question will help you to determine if the moving company you are considering has the experience, procedures and policies in place to provide a smooth and stress-free move.

4. Do you subcontract your work?

Unfortunately the issue of subcontracting the move to another less reputable company is a valid concern.  Make sure that all work is to be completed by the company you are requested the estimate from and if there is any subcontracting, get the name and details so you can research them to the same degree as the original moving company.

5. Is insurance included in your estimate?  How does this differ from valuation coverage?

Every moving company should provide you with general liability insurance as well as valuation coverage for an amount you select.  Although these two items are sometimes confused and the terms used interchangeably, they are in fact different.  Ask the moving company for a detailed breakdown of each and what they have to offer.

6. Are there any additional costs not included on your estimate?

It is important that you are aware of any potential fees that are not included in the initial estimate so you can easily anticipate the likelihood of a price increase on move day. Ask specifically if the company charges for things like heavy items, stairs, elevators and length of walk as these are the most common “hidden charges”.

7. Why is your estimate lower than other moving companies?

I know that this might not seem like the best question to ask but it is one of the most vital.  Some companies will simply undercut the number of hours or even the manpower to complete a move to seem like they are the less expensive choice when in fact, they are significantly more expensive when the move takes far longer on the day of.  A moving company should be able to explain in detail why they are able to offer a lower cost for their service or more specifically a lower hourly rate per man (which is a better indicator of true cost).  When in doubt, ask all potential moving companies for a comparative estimate based on the same details (i.e. 6 hours of time including travel time with 3 workers without any additional upgrades).

8. Who will be responsible if my items or home is damaged during the move?

It is essential to know who is responsible if your items or home is damaged during the moving process.  The moving company should be able to clearly articulate what is covered and how the claims process works.

9. Are you a member of the Canadian Association of Movers or the BBB?

A good reputable moving company should be a member of the Canadian Association of Movers and also in good standing with the Better Business Bureau.  You can also look for online reviews to see what past clients have experienced with the company you are considering.

10. What increments do you charge in?

It is very important that you have a thorough understanding of exactly how you will be billed.  Some companies charge in hour increments while others charge the nearest half or quarter hour.  Try to stick with the companies that charge to the nearest quarter hour to ensure that you are not being billed for time that you are not using.

Hopefully these questions will help you in your search for a local moving company and lead you to the best choice that suits your needs.