How to Spot Shady Movers

Shady Movers and How to Avoid Them

Is there an industry with a more deep-seated negative reputation than that of the moving industry?  Unfortunately, it is well-documented how “Shady Movers” have taken advantage of customers in the midst of the moving process.  It is especially true now when technology and marketing can give a clean facade to a dirty operation.   So what do you do?  You know you need professional help, more than just some trusted friends and a weekend.  How do you find the right people?  You need a company you can trust to handle all of your possessions.   How do you find the right company with the perfect balance of reliable service and reasonable price?

Anecdotes: “How Can I Know if They Are Shady Movers?”

You’ve probably heard the horror stories.  There are movers who never show up after taking your deposit.  There are movers who blatantly steal from you without your knowledge during the packing process.  Or, the truck they brought was not big enough and you have to find an additional, costly solution.  Worse still, a ‘successful’ packing process leads only to have your items held hostage or undelivered for weeks or months afterward!

What about bad business practices that are less obvious to spot?  You’ve researched moving companies and found one that seems legitimate.  It is Better Business Bureau rated with no infractions, and otherwise looks like a decent company.  Their estimator personally comes to your home, and soon after you have a written quote.  However, upon moving day, the driver’s and movers’ estimate about their time and materials is for more than your written estimate.  They inform the manager, who then calls you demanding a revision to the contract and asking for more money, all on moving day!  The disconnect is between the company’s own estimator and their movers, but as the consumer, you get the brunt of their mistake.  What if it’s not an honest mistake, but a common manipulation to exact more money from the consumer? 

Smart Consumer: Actions to Take

The first site consumers should research online is  This site is dedicated to educating consumers about their rights in a contract, what regulations exist for moving companies, and what different terms mean.  You can also use it to check a specific company’s qualifications.  At a minimum, a company should be licensed, bonded, and insured. 

In addition to researching online, ask for referrals from people you trust that had good moving experiences.  Read about companies to get a sense of a company’s core values and services.  However, online reviews and website descriptions soon can blur together or worse be deceptive.  You could be left not knowing what to believe. 

Here are several actions to take your research further, in order to avoid shady movers:

  • Ask about the whole team.  Are the people handling your items contractors or employees?  How long have they been with the company?  Are safety requirements and regulations consistently met?  How many complaints have been made? 
  • Consider your first impression of the company whether online or over the phone – is it professional?  Do you know who will take the ultimate responsibility for your move?
  • Consider their quoted price.  Does the firm have clarity in their pricing model and service costs?  Is the price too good to be true?
  • On moving day, are you going to feel like you need to supervise the entire process? Or can you hire a company that you trust implicitly?

Shady movers come in all forms, and some are less obvious than others.  What can you do to avoid a disastrous experience even if your research has companies that pass baseline standards?  Choose a firm based on a high standard of accountability and one that follows an ‘above and beyond’ approach to customer service. Don’t trade peace of mind for a cheap option with a shady mover. 

How Moving Ahead Services Protects the Consumer:

  • Longevity in the industry: For over 16 years, owner and CEO Jeff Collins has built a firm that focuses daily on its mission: sustaining high employee morale, providing competitive pricing and one-stop-shop relocation solutions, at the highest levels of customer service.  Hear from Jeff directly here and find out more about our team.
  • Moving Ahead Services is locally-owned and operated, not beholden to distant corporate interests, and is transparent about their process and operations.  With a strong emphasis on culture and team unity, Moving Ahead Services’s employee successes translate into customer success.
  • Every Moving Ahead Services employee is carefully trained and has been background checked.  Training occurs quarterly, and includes best-in-industry packing, carrying, loading and unloading instruction. Moving Ahead Service also conducts random truck checks to ensure the crews are packing safely. 
  • Many of Moving Ahead Services movers are CPR certified.  Crew leaders generally have over three years of experience, and some of the movers have been with the firm for over seven years.  As the industry is known for high employee turn-over, the staff at Moving Ahead Services has unusual longevity, is dedicated, and enjoys their work.  “Shady movers” can not say the same.

In the moving industry, the old adage is true: you get what you pay for.  Don’t make a decision based on price alone. Look for a competitively-priced company that stands behind their work.  Are you ready to start your moving process with a company that models integrity beyond reproach?  Contact Moving Ahead Services today!