Do you know that there are a number of moving agencies out there who don’t even have proper license and an office to operate from? A number of new moving companies get started every year by people who have a little know how of the relocation industry and if you end up hiring such companies, you may get into a big trouble. It’s obvious to get confused between several moving companies especially when you don’t what questions to ask when hiring movers packers companies in India.
If you are planning for an interstate house shifting in India, I am sure you are concerned about several things including the safety of your goods, costs of moving and many other issues. It’s not obvious to trust a randomly picked moving company with all of your precious household goods, furniture and home appliances.
But thankfully you can easily evaluate and distinguish the best and genuine moving companies from the mediocre ones if you know what questions to ask when hiring movers and packers companies in India. I myself have relocate several times starting from Patna to Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and finally I am in Kolkata. But after relocating so many times, I have finally figured out what to ask and how to screen movers and packers for interstate shifting in India. And latter I got to work with several moving companies from across the states in India and know the industry inside out.
Questions to Ask When Hiring Movers and Packers
I receive so many calls from consumers like you who are unable to figure out the ways to screen movers and packers before hiring. By the time they reach out to me, in some cases they have already spoken with a couple of movers and packers companies but they get confused along the way. You are not all alone, it’s a common problem that most of us may face, especially if this is the first time you are moving and hiring moving services.
But the best way to find the most authentic and competent moving companies is to know what questions to ask when hiring movers and packers agencies. When you ask right questions to these moving companies, you can easily figure out if the movers and packers you are considering is worth it or not.
You know what, if you actually want to avoid the hassles, it’s important you ask right questions when hiring movers. Packing and moving of domestic household goods and appliances like TV, fridge, microwave oven; mixer grinder, furniture etc require lots of caution, experience, good quality packing materials etc. When hiring moving companies, it’s important to get involved and know what questions to ask when hiring movers.
Based on my personal experience, I have created this questionnaire with twenty questions that you can ask when hiring movers. If you ask these questions to the potential moving companies and you get satisfactory answers, not only you can eliminate mediocre moving companies, but actually move without any issues. Here are the top questions to ask when hiring movers for long distance interstate shifting of domestic household goods in India or elsewhere in the world.
Q 1: Are you a licensed company?
Do you have proper documents to prove that your business is legitimate? This is the 1st question you should ask potential movers. It may sound like weird, but I can tell you with responsibility that there are shady moving companies out there and you should not fall for them. Some time they are just individual and not even a full time moving company and I am sure you don’t want to deal with such moving companies.
An established moving company will anyways come to your place with all these documents and references, testimonials etc to distinguish themselves from their peer. But if they don’t then ask for valid documents to establish the fact that there is a genuine business and that you are not dealing with an individual freelancer service provider. These documents might be trade license, service tax details, or their personal identification proofs such as voter Ids, pan cards, etc.
Q 2: Ask for references of their past customer
Can you provide me a list of your past customers who have hired you for home or office shifting and they found your service to be great? Ask them if they can give reference of some customers who are happy with their service in the past. You know what, if you look at any website of movers and packers, you will find logo of various MNC scrolling up and down, but that does not establish the fact that they have actually worked with them. Obviously there are more genuine and established companies, but challenge is to save yourself from shady ones. Hence this question makes lots of sense. Go ask.
Q 3: Since how long they are in the business
The number of years they have worked will be directly proportional to the quality of service you can expect from them. A reputed movers and packers will be happy to give you the details while not so established moving company may hesitate to say they are new in business. I am not asking you to avoid new companies because even if the company is new, they may have prior experience in working with another established movers and packers. This is just to know what to expect from them and obviously it will have an impact on their rates for shifting services.
Q 4: Have you previously operated as a contractor of a different business?
This is the most common problem of packing and moving industry, most of them try to register their names similar to the name of some reputed packer mover to deceive people into believing that they are the company which they are looking for. You should be a little cautious while choosing such company and ask them to give a valid reason why they have changed their names. If there answer sounds shady to you, drop them.
Q 5: What is your company’s permanent business address?
I am sure you don’t want to fall in a situation when you are unable to locate the service provider. So ask about the permanent address of their office and warehouse? Always check about their whereabouts and verify it if possible, just in case of any problem at least you will have a place to locate them.
Q 6: What’s the ways to contact the movers and packers?
Today we have so many channels to communicate from telephone and email to mobile and WhatsApp. But what if they start avoiding your call midway? At first they will happily pick your calls and communicate with you properly, the problem starts after you strike a deal with them and pay them in advance. They might not show the same intimacy after that. Hence you should clarify all of the details and have alternate contact details in place.
Q 7: Are you willing to put every commitment into writing?
A reputed and honest mover packer will happily accept this proposition. But if someone is not accepting this, that means he has something to hide and you should be alert. Never trust what they say, at the end of the day, paper will speak louder than the words. So put it all in writing, from rates to everything else.
Q 8: Are they doing it themselves or subcontracting the work?
At times movers and packers will simply subcontract the work to other movers and I am sure you don’t want to keep on communicating to different service providers. It is a very important question that you should be asking to them, they often employee subcontractors who will be doing the unloading part when you receive your goods at your new location, they might act in a totally different manner, and hence you should know the entire process in advance, how they are going to provide their service to you.
Q 9: Do you have liability insurance? Are you insured in case of any accident or mishap?
This is one of the most important questions to ask when hiring movers in India. Moving companies in India offer two different types of insurance, transit and full liability. Transit insurance is cheaper and it covers damages in transportation. But liability insurance is one that is offered by moving companies themselves. So ask them about the kind of insurance they are offering, charges and obviously the protection it offers to your goods.
I always insist on this. Make sure to get your shipment insured and also clear all your queries regarding the insurance coverage, seek all the details and leave no lose ends for them to make excuse later in case of any damage.
Q 10: Are you insured? Can you show me your proof of insurance?
At times, moving companies will be storing your goods in their warehouse before shipping. It happens when you don’t have full load of domestic goods and they can’t send half truck. But what if there is a fire in their own warehouse/godown? Unless the mover himself has insured is warehouse where they store goods temporarily, chances are they will run away. Hence it is an important question to ask when hiring movers, especially if your foods are supposed to be stored even for a week or two temporarily in their warehouse.
It is a very important thing that should be considered before finalizing them, as it might later land you into trouble in case of any unfortunate incident. At the very least, the mover should have general liability insurance whether or not it’s required in your state. These things protect everyone involved. If they say yes, ask to see proof of insurance. After that, call the insurance agent to make sure that the policy is still in force and in effect.
Q 11: How about your subcontractors? Are they insured for liability and accidents too?
Sometime you may not have full load of goods such as you just want to move one fridge, TV and a mattress. Obviously you can’t expect a movers and packers to book a full truck to send just these many home goods. So the way it works is, the movers and packers will book your stuff and send it along with good of other customers. Some time they send it in their own truck and at other times, they have to send it through a different movers and packers who are sending a truck in that route. You should ask this question in the very beginning so that later they cannot claim anything in case of any mishap in the hands of the subcontractors.
Q 12: Can you provide me with a breakdown on how you arrived at this quote?
The way movers and packers estimate the effort and cost is way too complicated. But you should ask for detailed and itemised cost estimates. Ask them to write down all of the cost heads for each of the services and taxes etc if any. Put it all in writing and get everything clarified and written. You should know why and how they are charging the amount of money for their service. You have the privilege to know all the details regarding it.
Q 13: What are your payment terms?
Payment term is one more critical things and it matters. Do they have a flexible payment term or not? Obviously they need some advance before sending the good, but insist on giving advance on the date of packing and remaining payment after delivery of goods. Different companies may have different payment terms, but good players can offer you much more flexibility I suppose.
Q 14: To whom do I write the cheque to?
It’s best to write the check to the business name and not to any individual in the business. You want the contractor to pay their taxes with the money that they’ll earn from you. If they’re licensed to operate as a business and yet, the contractor insists on a personal payment, then do not trust them. And let me tell you very categorically, don’t pay in cash.
Q 15: What are we going to do if you miss the deadline?
You should clearly mention the penalties that they are going to face if they failed to deliver your goods according to schedule. It is one of the worst situation common with a most of the mover packer; they will be ready with a lot of excuses to justify why they cannot deliver them in time. Just make sure you make a deadline for them considering all their excuses in advance, any further delay and they should give penalty for that.
Q 16: How many direct employees does your company employ?
This is a very straight forward question that will give you an insight about how professional the company is. A genuine company will assemble their own task force both in the loading and receiving end (i.e. employee from the same company will be there during packing and moving & during unloading and unpacking, no subcontractors will be involved ). Involvement of a subcontractor is not a bad thing, but the problem starts due to lack of coordination of the subcontractors and the company you have made your deal with.
Q 17: Are you operating locally?
If you have requirement of a local shifting then, local mover packer will be the best choice for you. There is no point of approaching a big company which deals with big projects for local shifting needs.
Q 18: Are you operating out of a home office?
If you have a huge project and the company is not ready to handle such projects of enormous volumes then you should pass. If they are working from a home office then it indicates that they might not be able to handle your project properly.
Q 19: Any particular specialization your company has?
Like specialization in car transportation, warehousing service, moving huge containers, custom clearance for foreign goods, Clean and proven record etc. No need to say, you should work with the specialists.
Q 20: Do you use new carton, wraps and other packing materials?
Movers and packers use cardboard boxes to pack clothes, crockery, utensil etc but using old carton is not a good practice. Usually they do this to save money on packing materials. Unless you are on a tight budget, there is no point using old and used boxes. Always insist on using new and fresh packing materials like cartons, wraps etc to ensure your goods will remain safe.
Q 21: Do you have required equipment for loading?
There are certain tools and other equipments that make it super easy to seal, bind, hold and load the boxes. There are trolleys that make it super easy and safe to load boxes. Ask the potential mover if they have access to these equipments. If not, just reconsider your decision. Professional moving companies uses latest tools and equipments to ensure everything is packed and loaded safely.
Q 22: Do you have your own vehicles or you rent it?
This is also an important question to ask when hiring movers for interstate shifting. There are moving companies who have their own fleet and there are others who just rent on demand trucks as and when needed. But when a mover has its own fleet, you know that they are established and also the cost of transportation could be comparatively better.
Q 23: Can you offer temporary storage?
Usually, movers are expected to pack and move your goods on door to door basis. But what if your new house is not ready for some reason by the time your goods reach its destination? Naturally, you have to store your goods in a warehouse for a week or two, no? Check with your mover if they have such arrangement and whether they can keep your gods for a week or so. If they have the warehousing space, what would be the costs for such storage service? May not be relevant in case you have your house ready, but if here is any doubt, this may be one of the important questions to ask when hiring movers.
Q 24: What are the miscellaneous charges?
Moving companies can easily manipulate their quotation and hence it’s an important question to ask when hiring movers in India. If you see a clause miscellaneous expense with a figure, ask them to explain it. This may be a hidden cost and you should clarify this before you finally place the order. No point arguing and fighting later. In fact ask them to mention that there are NO hidden costs apart from what they may have quoted in their quotation.
Q 25: Leave it to you
I know, I said list of 25 questions and I have discussed only 24, but that’s intentionally. I want to give you the liberty to add one or more questions of your own. You know what, there are so many things to check when hiring movers but even if you get satisfactory answer to above questions, chances are you will get it right. You are not going to be around because you are moving to a new city. Hence it make sense to ask lots of questions, understand everything well and then after evaluating take a final call on which movers and packers company you want to finally book and work with.
Over to you
I am sure this questionnaire will help you get started at least and by the time you reach here, you will have lots of ideas and knowledge about dealing with movers and packers in India. These questions will help you judge the potential movers and packers companies and I hope you end up booking professional movers and packers service provider for yourself.
I hope you start well. I have written many tips and articles about movers and packers and home shifting and you may like to check them to learn more. And finally, let me ask you to do me a favor by sharing this post so others can benefit.
Wondering what to ask before booking a movers and packers for interstate home shifting in India? Here’s a list of top 24 questions you should ask the movers