You’ve spent months looking for the perfect home. Finally, your search is over. You found the right property, the deal has gone through, and you’re getting ready to start the next chapter in your life.
There’s just one problem.
You have a lot of stuff. And all of that stuff needs to be moved from Point A to Point B. That’s a struggle, even if you’re only moving a few blocks away. But if you’re moving to the other end of Baltimore, the move may feel as stressful as the process of buying a new home.
For that reason, you need a good Baltimore moving company to help you.
However, there are so many Baltimore moving services available that making the right choice feels overwhelming. Every company tells you they can do the job. But how can you trust them? How can you find the right movers in Baltimore who’ll get your valuables to where they need to go without any damage or losses?
That’s where this guide comes in.
If you’re looking for the best moving company in Baltimore, MD, use these tips to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Tip No. 1 – Check the Mover’s Inventory Procedure
Taking inventory is critical to the moving process. Your Baltimore moving company needs to know exactly what they’re transporting to ensure nothing gets missed or lost along the way. The inventory process also helps your moving company to determine the approximate bulk weight of the move, which affects the price you pay.
Ask your moving company about their inventory procedure.
Ideally, your movers should spend time itemizing every item in your home. They’ll go through every bookshelf, storage space, and room to create a detailed list of every item you want to transport. You should have the opportunity to view this list to ensure nothing is missing. Then, your moving company should provide a quote based on the items on the list, how much they collectively weigh, and the amount of space the moving company expects them to take up in their trucks.
If a mover tells you they don’t need an inventory procedure, it’s a red flag that says their service isn’t detail-oriented. Without an inventory list, you have little recourse if your movers lose any of your valuables during the trip.
Tip No. 2 – Pay Attention to the Estimator
Sticking with the theme of inventory, you should expect your movers to send an estimator to conduct a walk-through of your property. The estimator’s job is to create the inventory list so they can provide you with an estimated price for the job.
Pay attention to what the estimator is doing.
If it looks like they’re skimming through your property without paying real attention to all of the items you want to ship, you may have found a poor Baltimore moving company. Good estimators ask a lot of questions. They want to know what you intend to move and what items you want to leave behind or get rid of. The more questions the estimator asks, the more accurate the eventual quote will be.
Tip No. 3 – Check for Referrals
Heading to Google and typing “movers Baltimore Maryland” will give you a list of companies that might be able to help you. But that list doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of the company’s service. Google’s results just tell you which moving company has the best search engine optimization, which is the process internet marketers use to rank well on Google.
You need to dig deeper than the search results.
To do that, you’ve got to look for referrals.
Start with your family and friends. If you know somebody who’s recently used any Baltimore moving services, quiz them about the company they used. Ask about their direct experience and if there is anything about the company you should be wary of. You’ll often find your friends and family can steer you toward (or away from) a Baltimore moving company.
If you don’t have friends or family who can recommend a company, the web is still a valuable research tool.
Look for online reviews on the moving company’s social media pages. You can also check their Google Business Profile page to see what people are saying about them. If it’s a small and local company, you may be best served to look for local neighborhood message boards and social media pages to see if you can find people who’ve used the company before. Finally, check the company’s Better Business Bureau rating.
Conduct this process for every Baltimore moving company you consider. It helps you to weed out companies that don’t provide the level of service they claim to offer.
Tip No. 4 – Ask About a Certificate of Insurance
If your Baltimore moving services don’t have insurance, move on to the next company. Moving is a difficult job and there’s always a possibility that your moving company will cause accidental damage to the property you’re moving into or out of. If your movers don’t have insurance, you’re liable for that damage.
Assuming the company has insurance, your next step is to request a Certificate of Insurance from them. This document comes directly from the mover’s insurance company. It tells you and any other relevant parties that the mover has insurance.
Why is this important?
If you’re moving out of (or into) rented accommodation, your building’s property manager will want to know that any moving company you use has insurance. Specifically, they’ll want to know that the company is insured to work on their property. The property manager will also want to understand exactly what the mover’s insurance covers so they can confirm they’ll be covered if the movers cause any damage.
You may not always require a Certificate of Insurance. If you own the property you’re moving out of, you don’t have to worry about dealing with a property manager. Even so, it’s always a good idea to ask your Baltimore moving services about their insurance. If they’re hesitant in providing details, that suggests they may not have the level of coverage you need to ensure you’re going to get a safe move.
Tip No. 5 – Check the Company’s USDOT Number
A USDOT number shows that a moving company is certified to operate commercial vehicles that transport passengers or cargo. Moving trucks fall under this remit. The USDOT number shows you that your mover is registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA). Twenty-eight states require movers to have a USDOT number before they can operate a business.
Maryland is one of them.
Always check that your Baltimore moving company has a USDOT number. If the company is unwilling to provide one, this suggests they’re not licensed to haul cargo. As a result, you’ll have little recourse if something goes wrong with the move. Plus, you may open yourself up to fraud.
Thankfully, you can check if a moving company has a USDOT number via the FMSCSA website. It operates an online database that allows you to search for companies using their name or USDOT number. Use this resource to confirm that the number your movers in Baltimore provides is legitimate.
Tip No. 6 – Be Wary of Large Deposits
You’ll receive a request for a deposit from most movers. Baltimore, MD residents should expect to pay a deposit to secure the moving company’s services for a specific date and time.
However, if a deposit is requested, it should only be a token sum. Be wary of any company that requests a large chunk of the payment upfront. Paying most, or all, of the fee in advance means that you’re not protected if the moving company doesn’t do the job or loses your items along the way.
If you do need to pay a small deposit, use a credit card to do so. This offers you an extra layer of fraud protection because you can claim the payment back if the movers don’t deliver on their promises.
Tip No. 7 – Ask About Extra Fees
Most moving companies provide a flat quote for their services as part of an estimate. However, this quote may not include the fees the company charges for additional services.
For example, a company may charge more money to somebody who lives on the 10th floor of an apartment building than they’d charge somebody who lives on the first floor. Having to navigate flights of stairs adds time and various complications to the job. Ask your Baltimore moving company if they have a surcharge for properties that are difficult to access.
Similarly, some companies charge extra if they need to use different types of trucks for the move. If you live on a narrow street, for example, the mover may need to use a special type of truck. Furthermore, this smaller truck won’t be able to hold as much cargo as the mover’s standard truck, resulting in more journeys back and forth. This adds time in addition to creating a higher fuel cost, leading to another fee.
Ask about any additional fees that may apply to your situation. If the mover claims there will be no added fees, get that claim in writing so you can use it if they try to charge more than their quote later on.
Tip No. 8 – Collect Several Quotes
You may feel like you’ve found a great Baltimore moving company. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t collect as many quotes as possible. The more quotes you have, the better your idea of the average cost movers charge for your job. Aim to get at least three quotes, though you’ll ideally gather more to give yourself a more accurate picture of the cost.
If you go with the first quote you receive, you may end up paying more than you should for the move. Conversely, collecting multiple quotes shouldn’t automatically lead to you going with the cheapest company. You may end up getting a cheap service to go along with the price, resulting in damaged or lost goods. Gather quotes and use them, along with your other research, to determine which company is best for your needs.
Tip No. 9 – Understand the Different Types of Moving Contract
There are three main types of moving contracts, each of which has a slightly different meaning.
- Non-Binding Estimate – This contract means the moving company can charge up to 10% more than the price quoted in the original estimate. Any additional fees must be paid within 30 days of the completion of delivery.
- Binding Estimate – The estimate you receive is a guaranteed price that covers every service you’ve asked for, including any additional fees charged for those services. You should only have to pay more if you request other services, such as unpacking, after signing a binding estimate.
- Non-Binding to-Exceed Estimate – You won’t have to pay anything over the estimate on the contract because it covers all additional services you might use. However, you may pay less than the estimate if you don’t use all of the services quoted.
Knowing what type of contract you’re signing means you won’t be surprised if your Baltimore moving services charge extra fees.
Find the Best Movers in Baltimore
Finding the right moving company involves diligence and the willingness to conduct a little research. You need to confirm that your Baltimore moving company has the appropriate insurance for your move. Plus, it’s important to gather as many referrals as possible from family, friends, and online reviews. This provides insight into how the company operates beyond the positive messaging in its advertising.
Checking for a USDOT number is essential. Because you’re in Maryland, every moving company you speak to should be able to offer this number. It’s a requirement for them to be in business. If the company doesn’t have a USDOT number, eliminate it from your shortlist.
By following the advice in this article, you should be able to find a quality Baltimore moving company. Now, it’s time to collect some quotes. That’s where we come in. At Baltimore MD Movers, we provide moving services to residential and commercial clients. We also provide storage and packing services to ensure your move goes as smoothly as possible.
Get a quote from us today to find out how much it costs for you to move in Baltimore.