How to Pick the Best Mover in the Bay Area and Avoid Mover Scams
With brisk local home sales and a record number of Californians leaving the state, the moving business is booming – which is great for the movers but panic-inducing for anyone packing up a household right now. Some moving companies report being booked though the summer! That leaves anyone who’s part of this housing shuffle wondering how to find the best mover in the Bay Area with an empty truck.
By “best,” we mean honest and reliable. After all, the mover you choose will be entrusted with all your precious possessions: clothes, toys, furniture, fragile kitchenware, expensive electronics, treasured heirlooms and photos.
According to recent reports, the high demand for movers opened an underground economy of unlicensed companies that are scamming residents. The California Bureau of Household Goods and Services estimated consumer complaints are up 74% year-to-year.
To help our clients have a smooth move, we compiled our top tips on finding a reputable mover in the Bay Area, avoiding scams, and staying sane through it all. We’ve heard a few horror stories about companies that don’t show up on moving day and about “lost” trucks that don’t deliver goods to the new home for days or weeks after the promised date. We don’t want you to go through that!
In this blog post, we cover:
- The difference between a moving company and a broker
- How to move during a pandemic
- How to protect yourself from scams
- How to be ready for anything on moving day
- Bonus fun facts about moving (you know how we love our fun facts!)
Careful who you hire…
Mover vs. broker
Ready for a cautionary tale? Here’s one about an Abio Properties home seller who had a doozy of a moving day recently. His scheduled moving truck failed to show up to pack his Walnut Creek house twice.
It turns out that the home seller unknowingly booked his relocation through a broker, not directly with a moving company. The price was right, and he thought he was working with a reputable national outfit. But brokers are sales teams working from call centers around the country. They are not professional movers; they commission them for you.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, what happened to our client is not unusual. Sometimes brokers can’t find a truck for you on your move date, or they consolidate so many moves with yours that your truck shows up days late.
To avoid problems, FMCSA recommends when you schedule your move with a company, always ask if it’s an actual mover or a broker. If it’s a broker, ask for a list of the moving companies they use. You also can request a copy of the written agreements they have with those outfits.
How to work with movers during a pandemic
Don’t assume your movers are following the CDC safety guidelines. Ask about their COVID-19 policy. And speak up if you don’t like what you see on the day of the move.
That’s what Abio Properties Realtor Andrea Schlosser had to do when she moved this spring: “I was assured by the dispatcher that the drivers would be complying with all safety protocols. But when they arrived, the workers were maskless. I had no choice but to provide the PPE for them!”
Of course, you’ll need to mask up, too, and give the workers plenty of space. And if you aren’t feeling well on moving day, cancel!
There are a lot of reputable movers out there, and a few unsavory ones. Read on about how to avoid being scammed by the naughty few…
Protect yourself from mover scams
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How to be ready for anything on moving day
“I live by the old standard Girl Scout motto: Be Prepared!” says Abio Properties Realtor Vikki Bearman. She shares these great tips and tricks with her clients:
- Plan ahead and book early. Perhaps even book with more than one mover.
- Have a Plan B, such as putting your things in a POD and store until you actually move in.
- Ask moving companies for referrals.
- Read the small print on your contract, then read it again.
- Review your home insurance policy to see what is covered if something valuable is damaged during the move.
- If you have children, make it an adventure and let them be part of the process! I am an Air Force brat, and we moved often. My mother made it a scavenger hunt adventure every time we moved, and it was fun.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s just stuff!
Bonus fun facts about moving
🚚 The average person in the U.S. will move 11.7 times in their lifetime.
📦 A typical household move contains 6,500+ lbs. of stuff. (Yikes! If you want to lighten the load, get our tips on how to KonMari the heck out of your home before your next move.)
🍿 Top 3 must-see, family-friendly movies about moving:
- “Toy Story” – Pixar classic about Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and the other toys trying to get home before Andy’s family moves away.
- “Beetlejuice”- Horror-comedy about a teenager and her family who move into a house haunted by a young Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Michael Keaton as the deliciously obnoxious title character.
- “Cheaper By the Dozen” – Watch either the 1950 or the 2003 version about a family on the move with 12 kids. It will make your relocation seem like a piece of cake!
Wait for it…
Need more tips about getting ready for moving day or finding a mover in the Bay Area? We have resources! Contact Abio Properties at 888-400-ABIO (2246) or firstname.lastname@example.org.