Moving? Don’t Get Ripped Off

Moving can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. What box did everything get put into? Will the new home be ready in time for the move? Have any details been forgotten? Sometimes you can answer all of the above questions, and then, at the last moment it hits you: “When do moving companies get paid?”

It seems like such a simple question that it can often go unanswered in the wake of all the activity of moving. However, it’s important to know how and when to pay your mover. While the answer isn’t black and white across all companies and situations, there are some industry standards to adhere to and red flags to watch out for.

The first step is to get a quote from various moving companies as you plan your move. Be sure to ask what their payment policy is. This will give you an idea of how a variety of companies operate and also allow you to compare to find the best situation for you.

Typically, if you’re asking, “When do moving companies get paid,” the answer is quite simple. Most moving companies require a deposit up front with the remaining payment made upon delivery. Easy enough, right? Not so fast. From there, the policies can vary from company to company.

A general rule of thumb is to charge a deposit of about 15% of the total cost. Some moving companies may charge a little more or a little less but 15% is a good starting point to work from. These companies may require the deposit on booking to ensure their services are booked for when you need them. Others may not require the payment of deposit until closer to your moving date. Be sure to ask about what happens to your deposit if you need to cancel or change the date of your move.

When paying a deposit, there are a few red flags you should look out for. Companies that require a large amount, or even the entire amount, up front, should be scrutinized carefully. You should also be wary of moving companies that insist on cash or bank draft as that could be a sign that they don’t plan on following through. A moving company that offers a variety of payment options including credit card or PayPal is not only more likely to be legitimate but they also, clearly, care a lot about offering convenience to their customers.

After your deposit has been paid, most moving companies will not require final payment until delivery. Be sure to clarify how they take payment. Some may have your credit card on file from the deposit while others may ask you to pay the delivery driver. You should also be aware of all services included in your move and ensure the entire job has been done before completing payment. If you have requested unpacking services then the job is not done until your belongings have been unpacked.

As with any major purchase, it’s important to do your research. Beyond asking when moving companies get paid, it’s also important to research the company you have chosen. Ask for recommendations from friends or family, read online reviews, and speak to the company employees or owners yourself. Moving can be stressful, but if you’re properly prepared, you can take a lot of stress out of the equation.