Ask these key questions before selecting an Ohio mover
Robin Miller hired her last bad mover after receiving a bid that was about $100 less than the competition.
The company stole her 13-year-old daughter's baby-sitting money, she says, and broke an antique rocking horse (which they blamed on her children).
"They were very unprofessional," says Miller, who now lives in Dublin, Ohio. "They were smoking. They were taking long breaks. It was like a nightmare."
Ten years later, Miller, now an Angie's List member, considers it a learning experience. For her last five moves, she has used highly rated Leaders Moving & Storage of Worthington, Ohio.
"Don't choose based on cost alone," Miller says. "That was my big mistake."
Jim Huston, owner of two-time Super Service Award winner and highly rated Integrity Moving, says homeowners need to ask questions.
Check Ohio mover licensing at puco.ohio.gov. Click "Motor Carrier," then "Industry Information" and "Registered Household Goods Carriers."
Check interstate mover licensing at safer.fmcsa.dot.gov.
"As redundant, as simple as you may think they may be, those questions may have a huge impact on the service you receive," he says.
The first question Huston recommends is, "Are you state licensed?" All Ohio movers must be licensed by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, which requires proof of cargo, workers' compensation and unemployment insurance.
Companies that move people between states also must hold a federal license from the Department of Transportation. Leaders Moving & Storage and Integrity Moving carry both licenses.
But homeowners shouldn't stop at licensing, says Jason Farley, operations manager for Leaders Moving & Storage. "They need to dig a little deeper," he says. "What type of coverage is coming with the move? What's the liability amount?"
Sixty cents per pound is the legal minimum of liability coverage required by the state, Farley says, but many companies provide more and may offer additional coverage for a fee. Huston says his prices automatically include replacement insurance with every move.
Don't assume your homeowner's policy will protect you.
"It's really up to the individual to make sure they are talking with their agent to see specifically what's covered under their policy," says Stuart Allen, managing partner of highly rated Gardiner Allen DeRoberts Insurance.
Once you've narrowed your list of licensed and insured movers, the next step is to find out who will actually do the move.
Demand for movers can be cyclical and unpredictable, says Terry Judd, owner of seven-time Super Service Award winner and highly rated Mr. Mover of Ohio, which is licensed. Some companies rely solely on day laborers and others use them to fill gaps. His company is different.
"When we run out of people who work for us, that's it," Judd says. "We turn down business. Trying to stretch that crew or supplement it with day labor usually results in at least one person not getting the kind of service they expect."
Huston and Farley also say their crews are employees. "You never want to use a company that uses temporary labor," Farley says. "You pay a professional mover for nothing to go wrong."