You're about to entrust all of your personal belongings to a total stranger.  To be packed on a truck and transported for miles.  You won't see them for days.  Pretty scary, right? 

Anyone who uses a full-service mover worries about the reputation of their mover.  Do they know what they're doing?  Do they have special training?  Does the state or federal government provide oversight for movers?  What recourse do I have in case there's a problem?

When you choose a full-service move, you want the best mover your money can buy; preferably a licensed mover.  Here's what to look for:

  • If you're completing an interstate move, your mover must have “operating authority” granted by the US Department of Transportation (DOT).  The mover will be assigned a Motor Carrier (MC) license number and a DOT authorization number.  Research your mover for active operating authority with the DOT's online database.  If they have “Operating authority” for moving household goods, there are further classifications:  common, contract and broker. 
    Common carriers are available to the general public for hire.
    Contract carriers serve businesses with whom they have a contract
    Brokers only coordinate/arrange for moves; they are not the movers themselves

  • If you're completing an intrastate move, determining licensing information is state specific; the US DOT does not regulate intrastate moves.  Some states require a local license, others do not.  A number of states offer an online database that allows you to check the licensing status of your mover while other states will confirm licensure over the phone.  Find contacts for your state to determine licensing requirements and if your mover is licensed to conduct your move.

If you're in a state where a licensed mover isn't required, there are other options to research the reputation of your mover including state moving associations, the American Moving and Storage Association and the Better Business Bureau