Moving Preparation October 25, 2023

Questions to Ask Movers for a Stress-Free Move Across the World

Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.

Moving internationally can be both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. To ensure a smooth transition across borders, it’s crucial to select the right moving company. But how do you discern their expertise and reliability? Knowing the right questions to ask movers can make all the difference. Dive in to discover essential queries that will help you gauge the proficiency of potential movers and pave the way for a hassle-free global relocation.

Why Asking Moving Company Questions Matters When Moving Abroad?

Relocating across the world isn’t just a matter of packing and transporting belongings – it involves navigating customs regulations, understanding differing transport logistics, and ensuring the safe and timely arrival of your possessions. This complexity underscores the importance of thorough research of questions to ask moving companies when hiring movers.

First and Foremost – You Want to Avoid Scams

The relocation industry, unfortunately, isn’t immune to unscrupulous operators. Relocation scams can range from grossly inflated prices after initial low-ball quotes to holding possessions hostage until additional fees are paid. By inquiring about a company’s credentials, seeking references, and asking detailed questions about pricing structures, you can sift out dubious operators and avoid the common relocation mistake of falling prey to a relocation scam.

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Your Goal Is to Ensure You Get Quality Service

A successful international relocation is more than just shipping fragile items and furniture – it’s about ensuring the entire process is seamless, from initial communication to unpacking in a new city. Asking questions about the company’s experience, the training of their staff, and their approach to challenges like customs clearances or unexpected delays can give insights into the quality of moving service you can expect. Furthermore, understanding their problem-solving strategies can offer peace of mind, knowing that unforeseen issues will be handled professionally.

Choosing the Right International Moving Company Can Save You Money

While cost shouldn’t be the only deciding factor when choosing a relocation company, it’s undeniably important. However, the cheapest option isn’t always the best choice in the long run. By asking about the full spectrum of services offered, any hidden fees, and how they handle potential additional costs, you can get a clearer picture of the overall expenditure. Sometimes, paying a bit more upfront for a comprehensive service can save you money by avoiding unexpected costs after moving overseas is already over.

A woman shaking hands with a mover before moving overseas
Finding the right mover is the key to successful relocation abroad

Questions on the Company’s Qualifications

When planning an international relocation, understanding the team’s qualifications before hiring a relocation company is paramount. These qualifications not only vouch for the company’s legitimacy but also shed light on their expertise and reliability. Here are some important questions to ask a moving company when it comes to their qualifications.

Are You Licensed and Insured?

This is one of the most crucial questions to ask. A licensed company meets the regulations set by governing bodies, ensuring they adhere to industry standards. It’s a hallmark of legitimacy and professionalism. Furthermore, insurance is vital because it protects your possessions against potential damages or losses during transit. By choosing an insured mover, you can make sure that, in the rare event of mishaps, you won’t bear the financial brunt.

How Many Years Have You Been in Business?

Experience often equates to proficiency, especially in an industry as intricate as international relocations. By understanding how long a company has been operating, you can get an idea of its expertise. A company with several years or decades under its belt likely has faced and adeptly handled a myriad of challenges and knows all the relocation hacks. Their tenure can speak volumes about their efficiency, problem-solving skills, and dedication to customer satisfaction.

A woman searching for an international moving company on a laptop
Learn what to ask your movers - starting from their qualifications

Questions on Costs and Estimates

When you’re in the process of relocating abroad, understanding the cost implications is crucial to avoid any unexpected surprises on the relocation day, especially if you’re relocating on a low budget. Getting a clear and detailed estimate can save you both time and money. Here are some essential inquiries related to pricing and estimates.

Do You Offer Free In-Home Estimates?

An in-home estimate is when a company representative visits your home to assess the volume and type of items you have, thereby providing a more accurate quote. Some companies provide these evaluations for free, which can give you a clearer picture of the potential costs. Opting for this service can help prevent discrepancies between initial online or over-the-phone estimates and the actual cost.

Are There Any Hidden Fees I Should Know About?

Sometimes, the initial estimate provided might not include certain fees such as fuel charges, long carry fees, or stair fees. Asking about hidden fees upfront ensures you won’t be caught off guard when the final bill arrives. For instance, if you live in a high-rise building without an elevator, there might be additional charges. By inquiring ahead, you can make an informed decision and budget accordingly.

A person holding cash
It's vital to consider the cost of relocation services and look for hidden fees

Questions on Services Offered During the Relocation Process

It’s not just about how much the company charges but also about the breadth and quality of services it offers. Movers can vary widely in the range of services they provide, and understanding these can make your transition smoother and without unnecessary relocation stress.

What Services Are Included in the Quote?

Many times, the initial quote you receive might just cover the basics, such as loading, transporting, and unloading your belongings. It’s essential to clarify what exactly is covered in the provided estimate. Are there additional services like disassembling furniture or handling special items? Getting a detailed breakdown ensures you aren’t left with tasks you assumed were covered.

Do You Offer Packing Services?

The process of packing can be time-consuming and requires expertise, especially for delicate or valuable items. Some companies offer packing assistance as part of their packages or for an additional fee. By utilizing these services, you can ensure that your items are packed securely and efficiently, saving you both time and potential damage costs.

Questions on Scheduling and Timing

The logistics of the big day can be a significant source of stress and relocation anxiety, especially when tight schedules are involved, or you’re moving at the last minute. To ensure a smooth transition from one place to another, understanding the timing aspects and policies of a company is crucial. Here are key questions to ask to gain clarity on scheduling and timing.

What Is Your Cancellation Policy?

Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes, changes or unforeseen events can interfere with relocation plans. Before hiring a company, it’s essential to understand its cancellation policy. Will you be refunded if you cancel a few days before the relocation? Is there a grace period? Knowing this can provide flexibility and save you from potential financial penalties.

How Long Will the Move Take?

Every relocation is unique, and the duration can vary based on various factors, such as the distance between locations, the volume of items, or the type of service you’ve chosen. Asking the company for an estimated timeframe can help you plan accordingly. Whether you’re coordinating with building management for elevator access or planning when to start unpacking after relocation, having a clear idea of the move’s duration is invaluable.

A man sitting on boxes holding a clock
How long will it take movers to reach your new home? Be sure to ask about timing

Questions on Moving Crew and Equipment You Should Ask

The efficiency and safety of your relocation largely depend on the expertise of the crew and the quality of equipment they use. Ensuring that the company employs well-trained personnel and uses reliable equipment can make a significant difference in your experience. Here are some essential questions on this topic that you need to ask.

How Many Movers Will Be on the Crew?

The number of movers assigned to your job can influence the speed and efficiency of the transition. Depending on the size and complexity of your relocation – whether it’s a studio apartment or a multi-bedroom house – it’s important to know how many hands will be on deck. A larger crew might complete the job faster, but it could also influence the cost.

What Kind of Equipment Do You Use?

Quality equipment can ensure your belongings are moved safely, without any damage, and it will make the process smoother. Ask about the type of trucks, dollies, and padding they use. For specialized items, like pianos or artwork, ensure they have the right equipment to handle them safely. If the company uses subpar or outdated equipment, it may be a red flag.

Questions on Insurance and Liability

One of the paramount concerns during a move is the safety and security of your belongings. While professional movers typically handle items with care, accidents can happen. It’s vital to understand the company’s insurance policies and liability coverage to ensure your possessions are protected.

What Is Your Claims Process Like?

Should any of your items be damaged or lost, you’ll want to know the process of making a claim. Ask the company about their claims procedure, timeframes, and documentation required. A straightforward and efficient claims process can offer peace of mind and make your relocation easier, knowing that any potential issues will be addressed promptly.

Do You Offer Additional Insurance Options?

Most companies provide basic liability coverage, often calculated on a per-pound basis. However, this might not be enough for high-value or irreplaceable items. Inquire if they offer upgraded insurance packages or full-value protection for an additional fee. Understanding and and selecting one of these options ensures that your belongings are adequately covered.

Movers next to a truck
What will happen in case something's damaged during shipping? It's wise to ask

Additional Questions to Ask Movers That You May Have Missed

In the hustle and bustle of planning, some critical questions can sometimes slip through the cracks. These often-overlooked inquiries can be pivotal in ensuring your relocation goes off without a hitch. Here are some you might want to consider.

Can You Provide References?

Our relocation tip – word of mouth and firsthand experiences can offer invaluable insights into the reliability and professionalism of a company. Don’t hesitate to ask for references. Speaking with past customers can provide a clearer picture of what to expect and any potential challenges they have faced.

Do You Have Experience With My Specific Type of Move?

Whether you’re relocating a small apartment, a five-bedroom house, or a business office, every move has its intricacies. It’s crucial to know if the movers have experience handling moves similar to yours.

How Do You Handle Special Items?

Items like pianos, antiques, or artwork require special care. Inquiring about how the company manages these unique pieces ensures they’re equipped to handle them correctly, minimizing the risk of damage. Here’s what to ask if you want to be extra careful with your belongings:

  • Do your movers have specialized training for handling pianos, antiques, or artwork?
  • Are there specific team members assigned to handle delicate items?
  • What kind of equipment do you use to move heavy items like pianos?
  • Do you provide custom crating or specialized boxes for artwork and antiques?
  • What protective materials do you use to safeguard delicate items?
  • If needed, do you offer climate-controlled storage for sensitive items like artwork or antiques?
  • How are specialty items stored to ensure they remain in optimal condition?

Contact Shepherd International Movers, and You’ll Have a Smooth Relocation Abroad

When it comes to international relocations, Shepherd International Movers stands out with expertise and unparalleled service. With years of experience navigating the complexities of overseas moves, we ensure a hassle-free transition from start to finish. Whether you’re concerned about customs, shipping, or safe transport of your valuables, Shepherd has you covered. Trust us for a seamless transition abroad. Contact us today and embark on a smooth journey with Shepherd leading the way!


What if a Moving Company Refuses to Answer My Questions?

If a relocation company is reluctant or refuses to answer your questions, consider it a red flag. Transparency is a hallmark of a trustworthy company. A lack of openness may indicate they’re hiding something, are not adequately experienced, or may not have your best interests at heart. In such cases, it’s advisable to look for another company that’s more forthcoming.

How Do I Verify a Mover's License?

To verify a mover’s license, ask the company for their USDOT (US Department of Transportation) number if you’re in the US. You can then cross-check this number on the FMCSA’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) website. Authenticating a mover’s license ensures you’re working with a legitimate and regulated entity.

Should I Get Estimates From Multiple Companies?

Yes, obtaining estimates from multiple companies is wise. It provides you with a clearer picture of the current market rates and services offered. Comparing quotes helps you identify offers that might be suspiciously low or exceedingly high. Additionally, it provides leverage in negotiating the best deal possible.

What Do I Do if Something Gets Damaged During the Move?

In the event of damage, first, document the damage by taking photographs. Notify the relocation company immediately and provide them with the evidence. Most reputable companies have a claims process in place. Familiarize yourself with their claims procedure beforehand to expedite the process. Always keep a copy of your inventory list, as this will be instrumental in the claims process.

Can I Negotiate the Price With Movers?

Like many services, the price quoted by movers can often be negotiated. If you have received lower estimates from other companies or are relocating during the off-peak season, use this as leverage. However, remember that the cheapest option is not always the best. It’s essential to balance cost with the quality of service.

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