Tips to help your move go smoothly

Tips to help your move go smoothly »Play Video
Image by Flickr user Skrewtape.
The good guys in the moving business say rogue movers are giving them a black eye, and they don't like it.

Between now and the end of September, moving crews will be swamped. May through September are peak months for relocating both inside the state, and across state lines.

For intra-state moves inside the state of Washington, movers are regulated by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. But there are fewer regulation for interstate moves, which leads to frequent complaint against interstate movers.

Reputable movers will always give you a written estimate for the job. If you're moving within Washington state, it's required by law. But never sign an estimate if the company has never seen your place in person.

"You need to make them come out so that they can give you a written estimate," said Myron Davis, operations manager and project leader at Express Movers, Inc. in Seattle. "With that estimate form the estimate states, the max you can go up is 25 percent."

Company president and owner Toni Powell says she routinely gets calls from customers who've had nightmare experiences with other movers.

"The biggest problem we have is moving companies that don't show up," said Powell, adding some companies will actually drop a move if something more profitable comes along.

Some problem companies are unlicensed, rogue operators. Others are out-and-out con artists.

Some common moving company "gotchas" include: no shows, bait-and-switch quotes over the phone, inflated charges, and holding your belongings hostage if you don't pay the inflated price.

"Which is part of the reason consumers really need to do their homework," Powell said. "Most moving companies try so hard to do a good job, and to be honest and ethical. And it's awfully frustrating to have these rogue movers out there, making us look bad."

When it comes to hiring professional movers, doing your homework means starting your search well before you need to move.

Check customer reviews online, get feed back from friends, contact regulators to verify license and registration and always get estimates in writing.

And if you're moving this summer, make your reservation at least four weeks in advance. The good movers are booking up quickly.

For more information:

BBB: Avoid Moving Scams this Summer

UTC: Stop! Before you hire a mover ... read this!

Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move