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Is The Moving Industry Really The Most Crooked In The Country?

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For the last couple of decades, the moving industry has suffered from a bad case of public relations blues, some of it earned, some of it not. Between horror stories shown on network TV, websites like Movingscam.com and this Newsweek article from last month, it’s no wonder truck rental companies are so popular. Is this reputation deserved, though? The facts say no.

Image via Wikimedia.

Image via Wikimedia.

The American Moving and Storage Association is the trade association for the moving industry, so yes, they are biased, but at the same time, it’s in their best interests to ensure that the companies represented by them are top notch. They responded to the blistering Newsweek article. Here’s some of the response:

“In response to the Dec. 9 article, “Why the Moving Industry Is Filled with Fraudsters and Scam Artists,” millions of Americans move every year and the vast majority of professional moves end with satisfied customers. While there are criminals in every industry, their actions should not be used to unfairly smear the nearly 200,000 Americans—ranging from small family-run businesses to national van lines—who work for the professional moving and storage industry.

This story bears no relation to the wildly inaccurate headline attached to it. Only a couple of victims and a couple of fraudsters or scam artists are referenced, with none of the moves taking place in the past four years. This is hardly evidence of an industry “filled with” this problem.

Let’s look at the facts. According to data from the National Consumer Complaint Database, there were 3,030 complaints nationwide about household goods moves in 2015, while there were 364 complaints about “hostage loads.” These are a tiny fraction of the 800,000 interstate moves estimated to occur annually by the U.S. Census.

This in no way disputes the fact that yes, there are scam moving companies and they make us all look bad, but most are unlicensed and most are companies that are only around for a year or two. It’s true, anyone can buy a truck and call themselves a mover, but real movers have to go through steps, like licensing, that helps ensure that they will obey the laws.

Of course, every moving company has unhappy customers. Trucks break down, delays happen, sometimes things get broken and occasionally, left on the truck, but most moving companies have honest intentions.

That being said, it’s always good to do your homework. Take a look at the sites above and make sure the companies you’re looking at are properly licensed and they have decent reputations. Yelp is also a big help. Protect yourself, but don’t feel that hiring movers is too risky. There are bad apples in every industry, but overall, the moving industry is pretty safe.

What Is A Moving Consultant?

in Moving Costs by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

For some people, moving is more time consuming than it’s worth, even if they hire a mover to do virtually everything. However, when you need to move, you need to move. If you are short on time, perhaps you should consider hiring a professional moving consultant.

Preparing for a move is time-consuming. You have to hire the mover, which should mean that you are making the time to research, make phone calls and invite the three finalists to your home to give you a written estimate before eventually hiring one.

For the super-busy, all of that can be narrowed down to one phone call if you hire a moving consultant.

Moving consultants come in a few varieties. The most common work for a single mover. There is an optional federal certification process for moving consultants through the American Moving and Storage Association, but very few are independent. The certification does ensure some credibility and very few fly-by-night companies bother.

The second type of moving consultant works with several moving companies and they are paid a commission by the moving companies. Certification is not a legal requirement, and it is better to choose someone who has the certification than someone who doesn’t. Despite the fact that they are paid by movers, reputable moving consultants will only work with reputable movers. Despite the fact that moving consultants are paid a commission on your move, they can save you money. More on that in a bit.

The third type of moving consultant is paid directly by the customer – you. This type of consultant might cost you a bit more, but their only loyalty will be to you. Besides, a good moving consultant will save you money.

The fourth type of moving consultant works for a corporation who relocates employees.

Moving consultants should be expert at mover speak. They know what hidden charges to look for and they know where prices can be cut. They also know that certain situations allow room for negotiation, such as flexibility on pickup or delivery dates.

A moving consultant can organize the packing and in some situations, even the unpacking. Movers should have enough trust in a moving consultant’s expertise that the consultant can relay the details of your move to the mover – saving the hassle of multiple movers visiting your home.

Finding a moving consultant isn’t always easy. The down economy has forced most to go to work for individual moving companies. On the other hand, the down economy and lack of industry regulation has created a cottage industry of people with no experience thinking they can make a living as a moving consultant.

You can find a certified moving consultant through the American Moving and Storage Association, but most will work for moving companies and while that certification does look good on a moving company’s resume, most experienced moving estimators know as much or more than certified consultants (I speak from experience – I used to be certified). But, certification is an excellent place to start when looking for a consultant who is not tied to a moving company.

You can also check with your real estate agent or with Yelp or Angie’s List.

The best relocation consultants come from either the moving industry or they have been corporate relocation consultants. Demand a relocation consultant’s resume and check it out.

 

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