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Questions to Ask A Moving Company


20 Questions To Ask Your Moving Company & Movers

Sometimes when playing a game of "20 Questions", it’s okay to guess about some things. But it’s not okay when it comes to the fate your own personal belongings. This is the most important game of “20 Questions” you’re ever going to play. A move is a very important process and picking the right mover is tantamount to pulling it off successfully. Make sure to ask a potential mover these questions before picking them to take care of all your valuables and belongings. (We’ve also detailed how Oz will answer these questions for you if you decide to call our moving team.)


1. Are they Licensed & Insured?

A mover may have a good reputation, but that doesn’t mean they are, well, operating legally.  Also, they may have a good reputation because they haven’t been around too long (or, they used to operate under another name and recently established a new corporation).   Make sure to check that a mover has the proper licenses and insurance needed to complete the job in a legal manner. (Oz’s moving licenses are listed at the bottom of our site, in the footer.)


2. What is the reputation of the business?

History will repeat itself – so it’s good to know the history of a mover. Keep in mind the factors that will affect a company’s reputation; a company with a pristine record may be one that has only been in business for a few months.  Any business WITHOUT one or two disgruntled customers should raise some suspicion. A company with consistent complaints, however, is unlikely to create a better moving experience for you. Check out a mover’s BBB ratings or reviews on Yelp and Google to learn what people are saying about them. 

[Check out Oz on BBB, Yelp, and Google]


3. Will your employees be handling the move, or will it be subcontracted?

A moving company should be honest with you about who is handling your property.  Many companies you find on the internet are actually freight forwarders that don’t directly handle moves - they simply book the client, then “sell” the job to the lowest bidding mover.  Confirm with your moving associate whether or not their company will actually be fulfilling the move, or if they are merely a freight forwarder.  This way, you can know who is ACTUALLY going to handle the move - and judge whether or not you should use that company appropriately.


4. What Insurance do you offer?

Moving companies are only required by law to provide basic valuation coverage on a cents-per-pound basis unless the client expressly declares a value for the property and pays a fee for either additional valuation or insurance.  Generally, the basic coverage is $.30 to $.60 per pound.  In order to insure items, the customer will likely need to purchase insurance prior to the move. Oz customers can check their local area page to see what insurance we offer in their area.


5. Will my items need to be packed/disassembled prior to moving?

Some movers won’t move certain items without a bit of preparation. For example, Oz won’t move garbage bags, clothes, or TVs without a box. (We require all loose items to be boxed.) Much of this depends on the item - you may need to box your mattress, any fragile or valuable items, or disassemble some of your furniture prior to moving it. Just disclose any potentially troublesome inventory items to your moving associate - they’ll let you know what you should know about moving those items.


6. What is included in the moving quote and what is added on?

The price you’re given as a quote might not be the true price you’ll end up paying. A lot of moving companies count extra things. 

  • Travel time
  • Tolls
  • Packing
  • Disassembly/reassembly


Can all be considered separate charges from the quote. Ask your moving associate what is included and what may be tacked on afterwards.

 How Much Does Moving Cost


7. What should I do if I need to add or remove items from my inventory list?

Most of the time, the answer to this question will be yes. Many moving companies can adapt if you need to add extra items - but you should check with them on how far in advance you have to let them know if you have more (or less) items in your inventory than originally anticipated.


8. How does the delivery window for long distance shipments work?

Most moving companies can’t pinpoint a specific delivery date for long distance moves. [This, of course, doesn’t apply to local moves that are done within the same day.] There are simply too many moving parts to try and nail down well in advance exactly when a moving truck will arrive at the end of its long distance trip. Instead, most companies offer a “delivery window”, a range of when the truck might arrive at their endpoint. It’s up to the moving company to plan a window out of when the customer should expect their items to arrive. Ask how the delivery window works, and how far in advance you may know if that window shrinks (or when your delivery’s time is set). More on Long Distance Delivery Windows

Cross Country Moving


9. Will my move be transferred or require shuttle service?

Long-distance moves are often handled by multiple crews, potentially leading to difficulties along the way. The more streamlined a moving process is, generally, the better the move tends to go. At any rate, it helps to know about the need to transfer at any point during a move. This applies to the delivery of your belongings too, even though that’s a very minute part of the move. If the point of delivery is not accessible via tractor trailer, a moving company will often need to use a shuttle to deliver the inventory. A shuttle service comes at an additional cost to the customer and if its need is unexpected, it can cause a much longer wait for the delivery. Make sure to figure out in advance how you will have your items delivered - and whether or not you may need shuttle service.


10. What kind of storage do you offer? How will I be able to access my items?

Many moving companies also offer storage services to customers that are moving into smaller spaces, or have delayed moving dates that require short-term storage. The kind of storage that is available to each moving customer could differ greatly. Some companies offer self-storage, where the customer is responsible for maintaining their own storage unit as well as retrieving items or storing items within. Other companies, like Oz, offer full service storage in NYC, which is handled entirely by an on-site staff. Certain inventory items may require certain conditions in a storage unit such as temperature control. Make sure to ask your moving associate about what conditions in the storage unit will be available.


11. Do you price your jobs by time or by fixed rates?

Moving quotes will frequently come in two kinds: fixed rates or hourly rates. Either may be available for your move, depending on the move and the policy of the mover. Make sure you determine what pricing options are available to you before making a decision about whether to pick a fixed (binding) rate or an hourly estimate. It often works to your advantage, depending on the circumstance, to pick one kind of rate over the other. 


12. What factors will affect my price?

Each mover calculates their own price in a different way. It helps to know how each unique company gets to their own figure. Contact us for a free price quote.


13. What can I do to ensure I receive the best possible rate?

A lot of people don’t know how the moving industry likes to operate - and thus don’t know how to work within their mutual interests to get the best price. It never hurts to ask what you can do to make the price a little lower, if that’s what you’re looking for. For more information you can consult our full page on Oz Moving’s pricing.



14. What is your cancellation/postponement policy?

If unforeseen circumstances come to pass and your move has to be cancelled, it’s good to know what kind of flexibility you have with the company. Will they let you push a move back a few days if you decide that’s in your best interest? In case of emergency, will you get a deposit back if you have to cancel? It helps to know the answers to these questions beforehand - just in case.


15. Is it possible to have someone come over to provide me with a quote?

On-site estimates are an easier way to get a quote, and leave out a lot of the room for error. Having a person available to answer all of your questions, evaluate your inventory, and determine your unique needs makes the quoting process much easier. Oz Moving has a dedicated team of on-site estimators that can visit your home to get you a more accurate quote - and this is, of course, free of charge.


16. How far in advance of my move should I book?

Depending on the company, it may be very beneficial to book a date well in advance. During busier periods, such as summertime when families are moving, or the 1st date of each month (when leases usually expire), booking in advance may just be a flat-out necessity: those dates might fill up fast. 


17. How long will each part of the move take?

It’s important to coordinate each part of the move with your movers to ensure that nothing goes wrong. For New York moves, you’ll often need to book your elevators in advance - and booking the right time is key. There’s no reason to guess - just ask how long each process will take and use that information to coordinate the move so nothing goes wrong.


Oz Moving Employee


18. How should I tip the movers?

Most companies have a tipping protocol that they prefer their moving teams utilize. Make sure you understand what your movers will prefer before you go to tip them - you may have to tip with cash, meaning a trip to the bank/ATM beforehand is necessary. Our tipping guide will walk you through the best way to tip a mover; in summary, we recommend tipping 15%-20% to the foreman directly [to then split amongst the team].

19. What additional services do you provide? 

Many NYC movers, like Oz, offer additional services to moving customers like packing, staging, furniture repair, antique restoration, storage, and more. You don’t have to use the services, but it won’t cost you anything to ask what they offer.

Learn more about Oz’s additional services here


20. What else do you think I should know about this move?

You never know what kind of suggestions your moving associate may have - at Oz, we’ve been moving around NYC for over 20 years, so we know quite a bit about the perfect NYC move. If you’re not around NYC or LA, your own local moving company might know their city just as well. It can’t hurt to take a little bit of advice from someone who works day-in, day-out on moves just like yours. 


Thank you for reading! 

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