Hiring Reputable Movers: Deposits, Extra Fees, and More

Hiring Reputable Movers: Deposits, Extra Fees, and More

This month has been all about hiring reputable movers. And as the busy season is upon us, we want to continue to educate others about hiring professional, trustworthy companies. Last week we discussed moving estimates, cost considerations, and tips on how to save money during the moving process. This week we are going to explore deposits and what to watch out for, extra fees and how to handle them, and getting everything in writing.

These tips could mean the difference between falling for a scam and hiring an honest moving company. For more information on how to avoid moving scams, click here.

Why do moving companies charge a deposit?

It’s ultimately up to the company on whether or not they charge a deposit, so we can’t say every company requires one. And as a paying customer, we understand why putting money up front can be a little scary. What if the service is bad? What if the so-called “moving company” takes my money and runs? These might be a few of the questions that pop into your head when you hear the word deposit. However, we can assure you that there is a reason moving companies ask for one: To secure the service and your moving date.

Pictured is one of Move It With M&S LLC's moving trucks. There is a ramp leading into the side of it, with a male pushing a silver moving dolly out of it.
A deposit secures the service AND your moving date.

When customers cancel a move, it not only costs us time, but money as well. Especially throughout the busy summer months, it’s important that our calendars line up to schedule us the most possible revenue and save us as much time as we can. Slots fill up fast, so we want to ensure that you receive the date and time that you need/want. And if a customer were to cancel, the deposit makes up for some of the revenue that we would have lost otherwise.

Overall, a deposit/down payment means commitment– commitment from the customer that they are going to use our services, and commitment from the company that we are going to show up and get the job done.

In addition, when working with a company that requires a deposit, this means that they are thriving, successful and are trustworthy. A deposit is not a bad thing!

What does a reasonable deposit look like?

Every company has their own policy when requesting deposits. It usually depends upon the size of the move, the amount of the estimate, the season (busy or off-season), and whether the move is local or long-distance. With this being said, a reasonable deposit can range anywhere from $100-$500 for local moves. The amount grows with long-distance moves.

A good rule of thumb when paying a deposit: the amount should be no more than 25 percent of the total estimate price. If it’s any larger than that, you might be dealing with a scam. For more information on how to recognize a moving scam, and what actions you should take if you do, click here. In addition, the deposit should go toward the price of the move– it shouldn’t be an extra fee. This could also be a sign of a rip-off.

Pictured are two larger-set women, one is a brunette and the other is a blonde. They are both holding their thumbs up and smiling at the camera.
This is a good rule of thumb to follow when paying a deposit.

Other Tips About Dealing With a Moving Deposit

  1. The moving company of choice should always be up-front about the deposit. If they try to hide the fact until the last possible second, be wary.
  2. Everything, even the deposit, should be in writing. This is more proof that you paid the deposit so that you don’t get scammed out of even more money.
  3. Use a check or credit/debit card when paying for a deposit. This way, you can track your payment and have proof that you paid the deposit.
  4. Request a receipt from the moving company. Ensure that your name and the moving company’s name are clearly listed on the receipt. Move It With M&S provides both print and email receipt options.
  5. Do your homework before paying any amount of money. Look for reviews, complaints, credentials, insurance, etc. to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable moving company.

Extra Fees

When it comes to adding extra fees, every company is slightly different. But just because one company might charge for some services, while the other doesn’t, don’t be alarmed. This is just how they choose to run their business.

The main idea that we want to get across to consumers is this: Make sure extra fees are in writing, and are included in your estimate. And if you believe something is fishy- don’t be afraid to ask questions! If they are neglectful toward answering, or attempt to dodge your questions, it’s time to find a new company. As long as nothing changes, your price shouldn’t change either. Be wary if extra fees pop up and the company didn’t talk to you about them first.

Pictured are two men carrying a wrapped-up piano into a white moving truck. They are in the process of going up the ramp to the inside of the truck.
Extra fees for services are added all the time.

However, extra fees might be applied last minute if situations change last minute. For example, if you disclose that a certain item (say, a piano) will not be moved prior to moving day, and when moving day arrives and you’ve changed your mind, there will be an extra fee applied to your bill. Another example being if the elevator to your apartment breaks down and the movers now have to travel via the stairs, an extra fee will be charged then as well.

There are many different considerations to take into account when providing a customer with a moving estimate. For more information on the types of fees that could affect the price of your move, visit our last blog post: https://moveitwithms.com/blog-post/.

Getting Everything In Writing

This is possibly the most important step you could do when hiring a moving company. Contracts/terms of service are required when dealing with a service providerthey should want to cover their backsides as well. So when you are considering a moving company, and they haven’t asked you to sign anything, or given you anything in writing, this is a huge red flag. Not to mention, the contracts and agreements that you enter cover your tail-end as well if something were to go wrong. It’s a win-win.

We also want to take a second to implore another key tip: Don’t sign blank documents. The company can add anything they want to a document and simply copy your signature over to it, adding extra charges you didn’t agree to, and other devious acts.

Pictured is a balding man in a blue Jaguars hoodie signing a document at a kitchen table.
It’s important not to sign blank documents.


Busy season is upon us, and service is getting busier with each passing day. If you are debating on using a moving company in the near future, we highly encourage it. As long as you are educated about your proposed company, ask many questions, and make sure that you are ready for any situation, your moving day should go as smoothly as possible.

For any questions on the above text, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Keep an eye out for our next blog post about how to check the credentials of a moving company. It’s important to do your homework!

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