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What to check before signing a moving contract

Starting fresh at your new home is fun and positive change in your life. On the other hand, the moving process itself usually isn’t. You are probably not so excited about researching and picking a moving company. It is a bit boring task, I admit. And if you need to move in a very short notice, your time is limited as well. However, you really shouldn’t accept the first offer you get. Actually, you cannot even know if the offer is good if you have nothing to compare it with. Therefore, let’s go through some things you should pay attention to before signing a moving contract.

Are the movers secured and licensed?

This should really be the first thing to check, before signing a moving contract. Good news is that most of the local movers Minneapolis are licensed and secured. But in every growing industry there are scammers, don’t forget that.  Believe it or not, there are some companies who advertise as movers but do not have the legal authority to perform moving services. Therefore, if a deal sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Your movers will be responsible for safely transporting your personal belongings, which makes this step very important. Also, they are responsible for any damage that might occur to your items both during the moving process as well as during the transport of your items.  Consequently, if they are not secured, neither are your belongings. So, remember to check on license and insurance. It could end up with damage and many extra costs if you don’t. As a hint, pay attention if the stuff picks up the phone with the full name of the business. It could be a red flag if they don’t do so.

Reputation matters

You can start with recommendations, that’s the best way to get information. Ask your family, friends, coworkers, and local real estate agents who they would recommend. You cannot rely on flashy ads or catchy fliers.  Marketing is a powerful and tricky thing. Also, this is an industry where recommendations go a long way.  Moving is a big deal and people don’t forget good or bad moving experiences so easily. Especially if you are looking for long distance movers, you need to have reliable professionals to handle all the regulations. Hence, it is important to do your homework and find out about the reputation of a company before signing a moving contract.  And there is no better way to get information than to talk with actual customers.  Positive feedback from people you trust is unbeatable. If there is nobody who can give you a recommendation, check out the online reviews, but take it with a pinch of salt.

What about the price?

Only after you narrowed your search down to just a few companies, it’s time to ask them for a moving estimate. Most of the companies will provide you with a free estimate. Therefore, that is not something you should accept to pay. If movers insist, that is probably a sign to skip and move to the next ones. Make sure to show them everything that needs to be moved so they can provide you with an accurate estimate. Quotes are based on the amount of time it will take to move and the weight of your items. Hence, it is important to include attics, closets, sheds, etc.

For out-of-state moves, the ideal would be to get a binding not-to-exceed estimate.  This way, they guarantee to put a cap on what you will be charged.  If the estimate is non-binding, you can generally expect to pay some additional fees. There are different rules in different states regarding estimates and several types of estimates as well. However, it is always important to have a general idea of the price you are paying.

A man holding a globe and pointing before signing a moving contract.
For long distance move, a non-binding estimate would be ideal.

Bill of lading

Bill of lading is one of the most important documents that you’ll receive from your movers. They will give it to you on moving day and it will outline your agreement of the move. Remember, this document is absolutely necessary for the moving process. They will ask you to sign the document stating that you agree to the terms. This includes the list of fees for service and total cost, pick up and delivery date, insurance coverage, and an agreement statement. Make sure you read this document very carefully. The terms you agreed to earlier should be the same as the ones listed on this form.

Specifically, note the fees listed and make sure they match what you agreed earlier. If there are any discrepancies, ask for clarification. Don’t sign the form until you’re certain that the terms are as you agreed. Movers will also sign the form and give you a copy which you should keep with you at all times. It is your official record of the move and a receipt of service. Here is the list of things bill of landing should contain.

  • Your contact details
  • Contact information and license of the movers
  • Origin and destination of the shipment
  • The date and time for pickup and delivery
  • Cost of services and method of payment
  • Dispute resolution program

Inventory list

The status of all your items should be correctly marked in the inventory list your movers made before signing a moving contract. Whether all your items go to your new home, or some of them are going to storage units MN, they should be all listed. Otherwise, if it turns out that the item was damaged during the move, you cannot prove that it was movers’ fault. And if you want to file a claim in case of a problem, you cannot prove the loss of your property that is not on the list. Hence, you should be careful when checking inventory lists on the day of the move and on the day of delivery.

Hand on a table holding a pen and a notebook.
Make sure that landing bill includes only services you agreed on.

What to check before signing a moving contract

These are the most important things you should check before signing the moving contract and the bill of landing. But beside this, you should check everything that seems suspicious or out of your agreement. Be careful and persistent to get exactly what you signed for, nothing less. And if everything goes smoothly, you can reward your movers for a job well done with some simple refreshment. And you can write a review and give a recommendation to somebody else, making a circle of trust.