Would you trust just anyone to move your valuable goods across geographic and state borders? The entire process requires a slew of paperwork and licenses your chosen moving company needs to handle. How well prepared are they to secure all your items?
When choosing the best trucking for long-distance moving, you need to know what you want so you can easily find what you need. Having a list of standards will help you screen the company that suits your requirements.
The following are essential features you need to look for when selecting the best long-distance moving company. This list aims to veer you away from companies with questionable motives and inexperienced personnel.
The best ones are licensed and insured
Competent moving companies must be able to straightforwardly present proof of their insurance and license. They must also readily provide this information without being asked. Usually, moving companies display their Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) license number.
The FMCSA is a United States Department of Transportation agency that regulates America’s trucking industry. It aims to decrease injuries, crashes, and truck-related or bus-related injuries. If you have to do the work to find out if a moving company has an FMCSA license number, you might need to think twice about choosing them as your provider.
A licensed moving company willingly gives out this information on their website and ads. If they have a license, they must also show their DOT number or Department of Transportation Number. The FMCSA assigns specific DOT numbers to registered commercial vehicles that weigh a particular amount, carry specific quantities of paying passengers or operate in-between state lines.
Also known as a US DOT Number, this functions as a unique identifier when monitoring and gathering a moving company’s safety information during compliance reviews, audits, inspections and crash investigations.
Trucks or moving vehicles which require FMCSA registration and USDOT number include:
- Those that transport quantities of hazardous materials requiring a safety permit in intrastate commerce
- Those bearing a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 4,536 kg or 10,001 pounds, or more (whichever is greater); or
- Those which are used to transport eight passengers or more (driver included) for compensation;
- Those which are used to transport more than 15 passengers (driver included) with no compensation
- Those involved in interstate commerce or trade, traffic, transport in the US, specifically between in and outside a state (including outside the US)
- Those involved in interstate commerce or trade, traffic, transport in the US, specifically between two places within a state through a different state or area outside the US
- Those involved in interstate commerce or trade, traffic, transport in the US, specifically between two places in a state or terminating outside the state or US
Your selected trucking for long-distance moving company needs to know and comply with these FMCSA regulations. Their compliance leads to safe operations resulting in saved lives and secured property. Thus, never underestimate the value of choosing the best trucking for long-distance moving company wisely.
Once you know a company’s USDOT number, you can enter it on the website of the FMCSA. Any complaints or violations they have incurred during their operation will be available on the site. Consider it a red flag when a moving company is not registered in the site. Are you willing to take the risk to trust your goods with them?
Valuation and Insurance Coverage
The United States Federal Law requires moving companies that transport goods between states to provide valuation coverage to their customers. There are two types of coverage the law stipulates:
- Full Value Protection is coverage that makes the moving company you selected be liable for your goods’ full valuation if in case an unforeseen incident occurs to your shipment.
If an item or two is damaged during transport, your chosen moving company could do either one of the following: fix the item, pay for an equal-value-and-condition item, or give you a financial amount equal to the damaged item.
Moving companies usually write these details in their contract wherein if any damage occurs, they can select which option they would take. Items that are considered extremely highly valuable are mostly exempted from coverage.
- Released value coverage is another kind of valuation specially requested by the customer. When this coverage is chosen, a significant amount is removed from the customer’s moving bill. However, this offers minimal coverage because items damaged during transport will require the moving company to owe you a mere sixty cents per pound of the item.
For example, your chosen moving company is transporting a $1,200 item that weighs 1.53 pounds. If this was damaged during the move, the company will only owe you 92 cents. This coverage is ideal if the goods you will ship are not expensive.
Insurance-wise, a competent and trustworthy company needs to have its own insurance. They should also willingly provide proof of their insurance coverage. On your part, do verify the validity of the company’s insurance in the specific regions your items will be travelling through.
A moving company needs to provide you with the information you need about their insurance as well as optional additional insurance if in case you ask for a quote. A license number serves as an identifier for commercial vehicles that transport passengers or cargo within the parameters of interstate commerce.
The best provide a detailed estimate, quote or guaranteed price
Transparency and clarity are essential when looking for a moving company. If a service provides you with mere verbal advice on the costs of transporting your goods, you might want to look for a different company.
The best ones provide specific line by line breakdown of their estimate or quote. They must be eager to provide you with information on what the cost includes. Receiving three in-home estimates is ideal and sufficient enough to help you decide which moving company to choose.
If you receive a too-low estimate or if you are given one over the telephone or the internet, and no representative bothered to meet you to further know your needs, this would-be transaction might be a scam.
The following details must be included in the price quote you receive from a prospective moving company:
- A per-line itemized breakdown of detailed costs
- A per-line description of services and their related prices
Quotes provided must not show the entire cost as a large single number. Customers must have a clear and transparent idea of the amount they will be billed for. Doing so protects them from companies that illicitly add unnecessary charges to your goods.
Be aware of the deposit required
It is customary for moving companies to demand a reasonable deposit amount. But a large deposit that costs more than 20% of the quote can be considered a sign that you need to do business with another moving company.
Decent moving companies do not demand any payment unless they have delivered your shipment. To make it easy for you to challenge any charges if in case it is necessary for you to do so, do course your payments via credit card.
Be wary of companies that require a cash deposit. Scammers usually require customers to give them a deposit. However, once the scheduled day arrives for them to pick up the items, the moving company never shows up.
There was a case where a customer wired a 50% deposit to a moving company after it gave her the lowest offer of $1,700. However, she discovered that the company only moved her items to storage. She was also required to pay an additional $450 for her belongings to be released. In the end, the entire process cost her $4,000.
The best ones receive good reviews
A long-distance moving company that has provided good or excellent service will highly likely receive decent reviews from its customers. Choose a company that has a first-rate track record of customer reviews.
You can start by searching online using the words, “reviews” or “complaints” along with the name of the moving company you are considering. Check if the company incurred any government actions via The Department of Transportation’s search tool. This site also possesses a record of a registered moving company’s complaint history.
Besides constantly checking the website of the FMCSA for any complaints a company has incurred, you can also cull reviews from prospective moving companies by checking online reviews. Satisfied or disgruntled customers will almost always express their thoughts via a review posted on any of the following sites.
Better Business Bureau
Also known as the BBB, the non-profit Better Business Bureau is an organization created to assist consumers to make informed decisions on companies they are considering to hire. The BBB allows consumers to file complaints as well as settle these via the site’s own arbitration process.
This process allows companies to resolve any complaints or issues filed against them in order to clean their reputation. A BBB-accredited moving company is a good indication that it is highly likely reliable and trustworthy.
Though Yelp is popularly known as a site for restaurant reviews, moving companies are also currently listed on It. Comments are seen on the site come from authentic customers. The site’s goal is to provide uncensored opinions that aim to provide customers with the information they need to make an intelligent decision.
Consumer Affairs is a website that allows anyone to conduct an online search using the name of a prospective company. The results displayed come from message boards and blogs. Straightforward comments from various customers allow one to make an informed decision.
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Choose the best by comparing one company over the other
Moving goods require detailed planning and calculated coordination. Know the features every company boasts of and compare these with other companies’ offerings. The most consistent process all long-distance moving companies do when transporting goods is the packing, loading, unloading, and driving of shipments from one location to another.
Features that are distinct to each moving company include price structure, rental policies, and type of equipment used. Best to assess each factor prior to choosing a moving company.
Consider costs associated with sales tax, fuel, highway tolls, and damage protection. All these can add more charges to the amount you’re going to pay. Know how each company charges for the service they provide and the equipment they use. Additional drivers, travel expenses, and mileage all add up to the overall cost you might need to pay.
Select the proper equipment
Each moving company provides various truck sizes along with it’s varying capacities and dimensions. Make sure to choose one that offers space for your belongings, but frees you from having to pay for any unused space.
Choose the best by going local
Choosing a long-distance moving company within your locality helps you avoid transacting with untrustworthy companies. You will also find it easy to visit their location and personally check their equipment,
Think twice too if the company wants you to fork up a large sum of cash deposit and have it wired online. Similarly, avoid those which have inaccessible business records, use an unmarked vehicle, or solely conduct their business on the phone. Ensure that any communications or payments are effortlessly trackable.
There have been cases where a moving company held a shipment hostage. If this occurs, make sure to complain to the consumer protection agency in your locality or the police.
Choose the best by asking the right questions
Asking the right questions will minimize the risks involved when you place your shipment in the hands of a moving company. Remember that your valuable items will be in their possession. Knowing detailed information about your mover and their capability in fulfilling the responsibility required of them will help you know if they are the best ones for the job.
- Do they have a street address? Having a physical facility helps establish a moving company’s legitimacy. It also allows you to visit them so you can get a feel of a company‘s operations. It is also an opportunity to personally see the vehicles to be used during the move.
- Ask for references. You will highly likely receive good references from your prospective moving company. But do request for references who encountered a problem. Also, ask the reference of how such a problem was solved.
- What kind of equipment do they use? Are they using low-quality equipment or packing material? Are their personnel properly trained?
- Is your transaction a strictly cash-only basis? If it is, expect to not pay for any taxes. Consequently, the moving company you chose will also not pay the government. Therefore, your move will not be on their records. This means the company is not liable for any damage or losses your goods might incur.
- Does the moving company have an insurance certificate? If the answer is“yes”, your goods are insured. If the answer is “no”, your goods are not insured.
- Does the moving company have a Workers’ Compensation Board certificate? If they do not, you might be liable for injuries sustained by the company’s workers within your premises.
The top five best moving companies
The following are moving companies that have received mostly positive reviews from its customers. They have also been in the business for a number of years, and have relevant experience in shipping goods in and out of the country.
RoadLINX is a Toronto-based transportation service and logistics expert. It offers cross-border freight shipping within Canada and the United States. The company continually aims to provide its customers with the best Toronto transportation services. Its staff of technicians, drivers, brokers are highly experienced in giving logistically relevant and reliable transportation solutions.
Services RoadLINX provides include expedited services, highly advanced tracking technology, and specialty containers. The company also provides a free quote.RoadLINX is one of Canada’s top freight trucking and international shipping company. It has offered safe, cost-effective, reliable transportation and intermodal services within Canada and the U.S.
Big Steel Box is a Canadian long-distance moving company that has been in business since 1999. Besides offering moving services, they also provide portable storage solutions for commercial, residential, or construction needs. The company has offices in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Manitoba.
Big Steel Box has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, a 4.6/5 review on Google, and a 4.5/5 review on Yelp. They can pick up and drop off their storage container at the customer’s request. They also offer corporate relocation and are able to transfer offices and staff members to new locations.
Storage provided by Big Box includes 8’ to 40’ containers that are fire-resistant, rodent-proof, and are able to withstand harsh natural elements such as water and wind.
This long-distance moving company has been moving goods within and beyond Canada’s borders since 1990. They allow goods to be insured based on the value the customer has declared prior to the move. They also deduct a $100 fee from the customer’s bill for each day they deliver late.
Great Canadian Van Lines is a Canadian Mover’s Association member. It has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, a 4.6 out of 5 ratings from Google, a 3.3 out of 5 ratings on its Facebook page, and a 3 out of 5 ratings on Yelp.
This company has been doing long-distance moving since 1981. They currently have thirty offices across Canada and a hundred trucks. They transport goods and provide packing, storage services, and cost-free basic standard insurance at no added cost. The company is able to care for fragile and delicate items via its Special Item Moving facility. Storage spaces are also available before, after, and during your move. Packing costs are free and included in the customer’s overall moving fees.
Two Small Men with Big Hearts has a 4.3 rating out of 5 on Google, and a 4.2 review out of 5 on Facebook. The company also offers residential moving, commercial moving, and senior moving across small towns, cities, and provinces. Their team of professionals can comfortably transport senior citizens anywhere in Canada.
North American Van Lines is a long-distance moving company that has offices in more than forty countries all over the world. Besides Canada, they have offices in Australia, the UK, and the USA. Operating since 1933, its service cost is based on your cargo’s overall weight. They are also a member of the Canadian Mover’s Association. The company received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Other services offered by North American Van Lines include full-service packing and fragile-only packing, loading and unloading of packages, climate-controlled storage, installation and assembly, and international moving.
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Consider all of the details above when you are looking for a long-distance moving company. Choose wisely by noting down the features of your prospective company and comparing it with another. See which provides reliable service that suits your needs yet at a reasonable cost.
The due diligence and research you put in during the early stages of your search will pay off in the long run. Eventually, the long-distance moving company you select will be based on sound information you culled from the company’s references and your own investigative work.