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How to Choose a Good Moving Company

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Two movers from First Rate Movers carefully load boxes onto a truck
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Hiring an Ottawa Mover: How to Find the Right One

Choosing the right moving company is a very important decision. Finding a good moving company that follows professional, responsible, and ethical business practices is not always easy.

The moving industry has long been inundated with illegitimate and unprofessional movers. Some of the most common problems involve bait and switch (billing much higher than original estimate), theft or loss of belongings, unresolved damages to furniture and homes, and failure to show up on moving day. Hiring the wrong moving company can be a disaster.

We encourage you to read reviews and testimonials. Ask questions of the moving company to get a better feel for how experienced and legit they really are.

4 Things to Look for When Hiring
an Ottawa Mover

Here are 4 important things to look for when hiring a mover.

The moving industry is plagued with rogue movers who take advantage of customers by charging more than estimated, damaging furniture and homes, stealing things, and even holding customer’s belongings hostage. Such rogue companies are often not even registered and next to impossible to go after. No consumer should ever even consider hiring a moving company without checking the BBB report on that business. Ideally, they would end up hiring a BBB-accredited company that is A or A+ rated with few or no complaints against them. In cases where companies have multiple locations (and therefore multiple reports), be sure to check the report on the location you will be dealing with as well as the report on the head office location. The BBB is a consumer’s main recourse should a moving company act unethically or fail to live up to their contract.

In an effort to protect consumers, CAM members must:

  • Provide written estimates before booking moves. An estimate means nothing unless it is in writing (or email) and based on an inventory list. Booking a mover over the phone or based on an estimate that does not include an inventory list greatly increases the chance that the move will cost more than estimated.
  • Prove incorporation in Ontario or Canada. A consumer can find the owner of a corporation if there is a problem. Many unregistered operations use privately registered websites and untraceable phone numbers to prevent consumers from finding them.
  • Prove they are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency for an HST number. Some illegitimate movers fraudulently collect tax even though they have no tax account.
  • Prove registration with the Workers Safety Insurance Board (WSIB). The WSIB protects employees in case of injury on a job and can also protect the consumer for related liabilities. It is also a strong indicator that companies use employees rather than day labour and contractors.
  • Be Insured for $1,000,000 in general liability insurance coverage. Liability insurance protects consumers against financial loss, major property damage, and loss due to injury.
  • Be Insured for $250,000 of cargo insurance coverage. If the moving truck were involved in a major collision, the customer could lose everything they own. Cargo insurance covers this kind of loss as well as other damages during transport.
Check the company’s reputation online – the most important reviews are the BBB, followed by Google and then other review sites like HomeStars. Many companies post reviews on their own websites but these can easily be skewed or fabricated. There are also many fake rating/review sites that appear to be independent but are actually created by moving companies. Be cautious when looking at review sites related to only one industry. The best source of reviews are independent sites not related to one industry, especially sites that verify reviews like the BBB.

The level of liability accepted by moving company will determine how they handle a move. There are three types of coverage available to consumers:

  • BASIC INSURANCE.
    All moving companies are required by law to provide basic insurance coverage of $0.60 per pound. Unless the entire truck goes off the road, consumers are unlikely to ever see a dime of reimbursement through this type of insurance as the deductible paid to make a claim (usually between $200 and $500) would usually be more than the valuation amount (ie. A 200Lb leather couch is valued at $120). . Companies offering only basic coverage or protection are more likely to cut corners as they have less risk against their insurance.
  • PROTECTION.
    Most companies offering anything more than basic coverage provide “protection” which is not real insurance. It is an internal policy written by the moving company and is often very limited coverage but can vary greatly from company to company. Protection policies are only as good as the company standing behind them and are preferred by moving companies for two reasons:
    • It allows movers to charge for coverage. You must be a registered insurance agent/broker to sell insurance in Canada but anyone can sell protection as it is completely unregulated.
    • The policy acts as a buffer between the consumer and the moving company’s actual insurance policy. As with any insurance policy, claims can result in premium increases. By utilizing protection policies, moving companies with a high rate of claims for loss or damage can protect their insurance premiums from increasing as the claims are being handled internally rather than through insurance.
  • REAL INSURANCE COVERAGE.
    On rare occasions, some of the better moving companies will give you full access to their actual insurance coverage. Companies including full-replacement value insurance coverage will be much more careful in the way they protect your belongings and will spend more on professional movers and better equipment to ensure less chance of damage. If they end up with a claim against their insurance, their premiums could increase for several years. Usually, only companies with a very low loss/damage rate would offer this kind of coverage to their customers.

Why You Can Rely On Us

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Our Stellar Reputation

Our Better Business Bureau profile and online reviews make it clear that we set the bar high for Ottawa moving companies.

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Communication

Have a question or concern, just call us and we will be here to help - before, during and after your move. We value your business!

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Satisfaction Guaranteed

First Rate Movers is committed to providing you with exceptional service. We aren't happy unless you are satisfied.