Let’s face it; not many people enjoy moving. Between scrutinizing all of your belongings to determine if they should come with you to your new home and packing a seemingly endless number of boxes, moving can feel like nothing but a major hassle. Unfortunately, one of the biggest stresses is trying to find a reputable local moving company in San Jose, CA.
If you’ve never moved locally, where are you supposed to begin? How do you keep from getting scammed? Instead of spending time you could be packing scouring the internet for the perfect local moving company in San Jose, CA, here is a straightforward guide to help you hire the best moving company for your needs, family, and budget.
The 7 Steps When Choosing a Moving Company in San Jose
Your neighbors, friends, and family are a great place to start your journey to find the best local movers in San Jose, CA. Call anyone who has recently moved to your area and ask about their experience with their moving company. Was the moving company professional and on time? Were any of your belongings damaged during the move? Were the company’s rates competitive? Did they feel satisfied with the outcome of their move?
Social media is another excellent option to help narrow your search for the ideal moving company. For example, many cities and communities form Facebook groups where members ask questions about the services in their area, from restaurants to plumbers and moving companies.
If you are given any feedback by the group members, follow up with additional questions to help you find the best possible option.
Check Online Reviews
The beautiful thing about the internet today is that if you have a question, someone will always have an opinion to offer. There are several online rating websites that will provide you with unbiased reviews about local moving companies in San Jose, CA. You can either read all of the reviews, or you can filter the reviews based on the site’s rating system, whether that is stars, likes/dislikes, or percentages.
It is very important to read all the reviews, both favorable and unfavorable, and take these views into serious consideration while narrowing down your options.
Follow the Rule of Three
Now that you have your many options narrowed down, it is time to contact the top moving companies in your area and ask about free moving estimates. Ask for at least three estimates and go over these estimates with a fine-toothed comb.
The moving estimate should include much more than the cost of the move. Here are a few things you should look for in a legitimate moving estimate:
- The approximate weight of the items in your home, including furniture, valuables, and boxes (Many moving include this figure into the overall cost of the move)
- The pick-up and delivery dates
- The number of movers and number of moving trucks needed to complete the relocation by the provided estimated delivery date
- Cost of packing materials and labor.
- The majority of local movers charge by the hour, and most long-distance moving companies charge by the mile. This figure will also be calculated into your final cost.
Additionally, your moving company will either offer you a binding or non-binding moving estimate.
If you choose a binding estimate, the price you are quoted by the moving company is locked in, and you will pay this price, no matter what. For a non-binding estimate, your moving company will not be held to the original estimated cost, meaning the final cost could be far higher or lower than the original estimate.
It is up to you to choose a non-binding or a binding estimate. Be aware that if you choose a non-binding estimate, you might wind up paying far more for the move than you had originally anticipated, so keep this in mind when making a final decision.
Watch Out for Red Flags
The majority of moving companies are owned and operated by honest, hardworking individuals with a stellar reputation. Unfortunately, there are a few unscrupulous moving companies that are out to make a quick buck at your expense. Luckily, there are several telltale red flags to watch for that should make you think twice about hiring a shady moving company. Here are a few:
- A non-binding estimate that is way lower than the competition. If a moving company offers you a non-binding estimate that is far lower than the competition, keep looking because, chances are, you will get what you pay for.
- A lack of verifiable references. A respected and reputable moving company in San Jose, CA, will have no problem presenting you with a multitude of verifiable, stellar references. A complete lack of references or an unwillingness to provide references are serious red flags.
- Downright rude customer service. If you are having trouble contacting customer service and when you do, you are met with snide comments or given the run-around, take this as a sign you should not work with that moving company.
- Being asked to provide a payment up-front. A highly reputable moving company will never ask for a payment up-front and, instead, will only require payment when your goods are safely in your new home or apartment.
- It is nearly impossible to contact the moving company. Your moving company should have several ways to contact them, including by telephone or through their website. If you attempt to visit a website and you cannot find one or if the telephone number is not in service, consider these two giant red flags to walk away quickly.
Here is one final serious red flag that many homeowners overlook: The moving company does not have a physical address!
Make Sure the Local Mover Is Licensed and Insured
Another critical aspect of hiring a reputable moving company in San Jose, CA, is to ensure the company is licensed and insured. Any moving company that operates in California must carry a license through the Bureau of Household Goods and Services (BHGS).
Additionally, if the moving company wants to move your household across state lines, they must be licensed by the U.S. Department of Transportation and The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), as well. Fun fact: The FMCSA legally requires moving companies to provide no-cost, in-home estimates. So, if the moving company is unwilling to provide a free estimate, consider this a major red flag, as well.
Lastly, the drivers must also possess a CDL, or commercial driver’s license, if they are hauling your belongings in a semi or another large truck. Next, ask the moving company about their insurance coverage and provider. Just like you, the moving company must carry insurance. This insurance protects you in the event your belongings are lost, damaged, or stolen.
Moving companies also offer two basic types of insurance to customers: Full value protection insurance of released value protection insurance. As the name would suggest, full value insurance means that if any of your belongings are lost, stolen, or damaged during the move, you will be provided with the full cash value of the item.
Ultimately, it is really up to you to decide whether you want to replace the item, have the item repaired, or simply get the cash. This is an expensive option but one to consider if you currently possess several high-value electronics, artwork, or collectibles, it is something to consider.
The released value protection insurance is free and included in your estimate. With this type of insurance, your belongings are valued by the pound. In the event that your belongings are destroyed or lost, the moving company will reimburse you according to the weight of the object.
For example, if your coverage is $0.40 per pound, and your bedroom dresser that weighs 100 pounds is destroyed, you will be paid $40 to replace the item.
Finally, you also have the option to choose a private third-party insurance company. Some homeowners work with their existing homeowner’s insurance provider, or your moving company could recommend a third-party insurance company to provide you with even more coverage.
Ask About Professional Accreditation
Another great way to determine if a moving company in San Jose, CA is legitimate is to inquire about the company’s accreditation. In California, a reputable moving company will be accredited by the California Moving & Storage Association, or CMSA. To gain accreditation through the CMSA, moving companies must meet the association’s rigorous standards, including adhering to a code of ethics.
Another common accreditation to ask about is accreditation through the United States Better Business Bureau or BBB. The BBB is a government entity with the sole purpose of providing information about businesses and charities to consumers.
Verify the Address
As mentioned earlier, several fly-by-night moving companies will not even have a physical address, which is an obvious red flag. Make sure that before you sign any moving agreements, do a quick internet search of the moving company to verify the address. Once you locate the address, don’t hesitate to visit the moving company’s headquarters.
A reputable moving company will have no issue showing you their facilities, introducing some of the staff, and allowing you to inspect the moving trucks.
How Do I Know if The Moving Company is Reputable?
In addition to watching out for some of the red flags that were discussed earlier, there are other steps you can take to determine if the moving company you are considering hiring is reputable. Remember the Better Business Bureau that was mentioned earlier? Visit the BBB website and look up the moving company.
The BBB will provide the moving company with a grade from A to F and will post customer complaints and any resolution that the moving company offered, if applicable.
Another clear sign that a moving company is reputable is in how their employees are dressed and act and how the representative from the moving company provides your estimate. Watch for employees that are well kept, professional, and wearing a uniform. Once again, by law, the moving company must provide you with a written estimate.
Watch the employee while they inspect your home and belongings. Is the employee taking notes, taking measurements, or even recording during the walk-through? A reputable moving company should exceed your expectations and provide you with a detailed, reasonable estimate to complete the move.
How Not Get Scammed by a Moving Company?
Now that you are well-versed in choosing a reputable moving company in San Jose, CA, it is time to take those final steps to ensure that you do not get scammed. Unfortunately, there are several common moving scams that unwitting homeowners fall victim to. One of the most common is that the unscrupulous moving company will simply keep all of your stuff until you agree to pay far more than the original estimate.
Some disreputable moving companies will even simply not show up at all and resell your belongings.
Begin by taking a very detailed inventory of all of your belongings. Label each of the moving boxes according to their contents. For example, you can very easily label each box “Bathroom” or “Kitchen.” In addition to making your relocation much easier, labeling the boxes also helps you keep track of your stuff during the move.
With all that you have learned about moving companies in this guide, you should be able to make an informed decision. Unfortunately, if for some reason you are scammed, or you suspect that the moving company defrauded you in some way, there are steps you can take to file a complaint.
Begin by simply filing a complaint with the company. This is really an especially important step to take if you are working with a franchise moving company. Luckily, in many instances, this is all the further you will need to take your complaint, especially if the moving company is reputable. The next critical step to take would be to go ahead and report the moving company to either the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the Better Business Bureau.
In California, you can also report the moving company to the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Home Goods and Services. Unfortunately, the most extreme cases can require legal action, including filing a lawsuit. This is once again a last-ditch effort to recoup some of your money from the disreputable moving company.
How Much Do Movers in San Jose Cost?
Finally, after all the time and attention you paid to find a reputable moving company in San Jose, California, chances are you have one final and very important question: How much is my move going to cost? There are several factors that impact the overall cost of any relocation. One of the biggest factors is the distance of the move.
Obviously, it typically costs far less to move across town than it would cost to move clear across the country. In addition to this critical factor, here are other details that will impact the overall cost of your move:
- Cost of materials and packing. When it comes to packing, you have options. You can either pack up your belongings yourself, which means you will need to purchase boxes, bubble wrap, and tape, or you outsource this chore to the moving company. Either way, this packing is an expense you need to factor into your overall moving budget.
- The sheer volume of boxes, furniture, and personal items. If your house is small and you do not have many belongings, you will pay less than someone who has a massive house and garage filled to the brim with furniture, clothing, appliances, and other miscellaneous home goods.
- The number and type of vehicles required. Some homeowners will only require a cargo van and a 14-foot truck. Others will need a couple of semi-trailers. The cost of renting the trucks and the fuel required will be factored into your estimate.
- Cost of storage. Another cost that many homeowners overlook is the cost of storing items. If you are not able to move immediately and must rent one or several storage units to house your belongings for a period of time, you need to factor these costs into your final, overall budget for the move.
- Demand. Another factor homeowners often overlook is demand. If you are living in a high-demand area, such as a large city, you will typically pay more than a person living in a rural area.
The exact date of your move can also impact the cost. Typically, moving companies are busier at certain times of the week or year, such as on the weekends or during the summer. If you can wait, try to schedule your move for the off-season, such as winter and the middle of the week. Chances are, you will wind up spending far less on the move.
Well, there you have it. You now have the tools you need to avoid being scammed and find a reputable moving company in San Jose, CA. What are you waiting for? Get packing and enjoy making new memories in your amazing new home.