Top 6 Moving Companies in Shreveport, LA
Frequently asked questions about moving companies
There are a lot of great moving companies out there, but a moving business can also be a guise for a scam meant to extort money from innocent people by holding their belongings hostage. There are some tried and true ways to avoid having this happen to you. To keep your move stress-free and honest, keep an eye out for the following red flags when you’re vetting movers:
- Read online reviews. When you type in a search term like “Moving companies near me,” you’ll get many results. This initial search is your first chance to browse and shortlist companies with good reviews. Chances are, if there is an overwhelming amount of negative reviews, the company is either a scam or has poor business practices that you don’t want to experience first-hand. A small number of poor reviews (depending on the issue) is common, and if you’re looking for a mover with only 5-star reviews, you might be looking for a while.Another tool for vetting movers is to search for complaints filed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. If your mover has held or currently holds a license, any complaints registered against them will be logged for transparency.
- Assess websites and social media. The quality and amount of information on a company’s website can tell you much about its legitimacy. Questionable businesses often won’t publish an address, making it difficult for you to follow up in person when there are issues. Likewise, you should expect to see an outline of available services, testimonials, and links to any social media profiles.
- Don’t trust a company that gives you a quote without an on-site visit. Some movers will give you an enticingly low quote to reel you in. While this might seem tempting, it often indicates a company that isn’t upfront about how they bill, at best — or is an outright scam.
- Sign (and read) an agreement. Make sure you read the fine print and never trust a mover that tries to move forward without having you sign an agreement that protects both of you.
- Call or visit a storefront before signing an agreement. Once you have a list of two or three potential professional movers, take the time to call or visit a storefront. That call or visit can tell you a couple of important things. First, they have public premises and are a legitimate business. Second, they answer the phone with the company's name and not a generic greeting, which can be a red flag.
- Investigate third-party insurance. Be wary of movers who tell you their insurance will cover all your things. This explanation often isn’t the case, and you should ensure you have the right coverage from a third-party insurance agency.
If you're hiring a mover for an interstate move, they’ll need a US Department of Transportation (USDOT) license. For local movers, requirements will vary based on your state. Some states still require movers to hold a valid license from the USDOT, but not all do. Check with your local or county consumer affairs office or your state attorney general’s office to know the rules in your area.
Once you know if your state requires movers to have a USDOT license, you can check for a list of registered movers to ensure your chosen moving company complies.
If you’re moving internationally, be sure to ask if the company is registered with an international movers’ federation. If they are registered with a federation, ask to see proof of that membership as well as the company’s Federal Maritime Commission number.
Long-distance moves can be within the same state, but often this term is used to mean a move that crosses state lines. If that’s the case for you, you’ll need to take extra steps to ensure your moving company has the licenses needed to transport your things from one state to another. Local moving companies may need licenses but have fewer requirements than long-distance movers.
It’s okay to be overly skeptical if you ask a mover if they handle long-distance or interstate moves and you get an answer like “We can” or “That should be fine.” There are specific rules around interstate moves, and your mover should be confident in their answer, indicating that they’ve done this before and have the required certifications and licenses.
Smaller moving companies can be great to work with when you hire movers. However, you may want peace of mind with a recognizable, big-name company for long-distance moves.
Be sure to research long-distance move insurance options. Be clear that your goods must be insured from the start to the end of the journey. Be sure to ask your moving company for a free moving valuation. Finally, always ask for three different cost estimates. An in-person estimate not only provides you with financial considerations, but allows you to evaluate the professionalism of the company. Once you choose a moving company, you have made a commitment. It makes sense to do research up front to make the move safe and efficient.
The worst-case scenario when you hire movers is paying a large upfront deposit and then your belongings disappear. Calls and emails go unreturned for days or weeks, and finding an address for the company is difficult or impossible. Some scams demand more money for the safe return of your property, which could be damaged if you even get it back.
Taking the precautions we’ve outlined will help you avoid this situation. Still, suppose you have a bad experience with your moving company. In that case, you can take steps to help others avoid having the same experience as you:
- Submit a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB is a resource for consumers when vetting a potential business and filing a complaint if they encounter misleading advertising, poor business practices, or scams.
- File a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The USDOT and FMCSA are the regulating bodies responsible for licensing moving companies in the US. If you run into trouble with your mover, file a complaint here and with the BBB.
- Post an online review. Google Reviews is becoming a more powerful tool for consumers, requiring businesses to be accountable for their irresponsible or illegal actions by potentially losing business. Trolls aside, posting a review online is a great way to let others know what to expect if they choose to work with the same company, or at least — what your experience was.
- Take to social media. Social platforms have influence, and using that to let others know about a scam — or just a negative experience — can help the business improve its practices and future customers to sidestep the same situation you encountered.
Below is a handy list of times to get in touch with moving companies to have the smoothest moving experience.
- If you’re moving all of your property long-distance. Unless you have independent access to a moving truck and several days to drive, you’ll likely want to hire professional movers for bigger jobs. Another option is to hire furniture movers for more oversized items like your sofa, sitting chairs, dining room table, etc., and take the smaller or more fragile items yourself.
- With as much lead time as possible. Leaving plenty of time is particularly important for long-distance and interstate moves. The logistics for these types of moves take time to coordinate, and the further the distance, the more time your mover will want to get plans in place. It’s possible that you can schedule a long-distance move at the last minute, but you’ll likely pay a premium that you could’ve avoided by booking in advance.
- Before choosing a moving company. Once you do your initial online search for “movers near me,” read reviews, and shortlist a few companies, it’s time to get in touch. This step will let you verify the legitimacy of the moving company you chose so you can avoid any potential headaches from scams.
- When you’re ready to schedule an on-site walk-through. Good moving companies will require a walk-through of most homes. Some exceptions are if you live in a smaller space, like a one or two-bedroom apartment, and can give your mover a reasonably accurate list of how much you have to move.
As you’re planning a long-distance move, consider all the options available.
Hire professional movers for everything.
This is the easiest option. Having pros move your things frees you to travel to your new location on your timeline. Maybe you take a vacation on your way or visit family or friends!
However, having professional movers take on an end-to-end job is the most expensive option. Your property will be out of your sight and control during the move and you’ll need to pay for third-party insurance.
Rent a moving truck and pack it yourself.
If you’re looking for the cheapest way to move long distances, this is it! You get to keep your things with you during your whole move and if you plan your route well, you can make some fun road trip stops.
While this is the least expensive option, you’ll need to invest the time to load your moving truck, which is a labor-intensive job. Plus, someone needs to drive the truck, which can be an experience if you’ve never driven a large vehicle before.
Rent a moving truck, but hire movers to help load and unload.
This option allows you to leave the heavy lifting to the pros and since movers charge by the hour, if you’re well-organized, you can have them in and out in a few hours for a reasonable price. Movers also come prepped with plastic wrap and will disassemble furniture like your bedframe or dining room table if you don’t have time to do it yourself.
If you choose this option, make sure you label all boxes by room so you can avoid a chaotic unpacking experience. Remember, you’ll still need to have someone onboard used to driving a large moving truck and you won’t have the same flexibility to travel on your schedule since you’ll be paying by the day for your rental truck.
Hire furniture movers and drive the smaller items in your vehicle.
This option allows you to hire out moving the cumbersome things, saving your time (and your back) and if you coordinate with your moving company, you can have all your furniture delivered when you arrive, making the move-in process more pleasant.
Be aware that long-distance furniture movers charge by weight, so if you have lots of heavy wood furniture, it can get costly. Also, fragile items, like glassware, need lots of packing material, so they don’t break during travel. You might end up with more boxes than you can fit in your vehicle.
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