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Licensed Moving Companies in Columbus, OH

How to Hire a Good Moving Company in Columbus

When you're ready to move to Columbus or a new home in the city, hiring a moving company can save you the stress and time. While a good moving company will guarantee you a hassle-free service to ensure your money is well-spent, choosing a wrong mover may leave you with loss of property. Note that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration receives over 7,000 complaints every year against movers relating to lost or stolen items, Before hiring a moving company in Columbus, you should ask the following questions to determine if the company is reputable and will carry out the job effectively.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Mover in Columbus

  1. Are You Licensed to Practice as a Moving Company in Columbus?

    A moving business must register with the Ohio Secretary of State to operate legally in Columbus or any other city in Ohio. To register with the Secretary of State, the intended moving company must choose a legal business structure that best reflects the type of moving services they wish to offer. Once determined, the applicant can fill out and submit the relevant application forms and pay applicable fees online or by sending it via mail to:

    • Secretary of State
    • Business Services Division,
    • 180 East Broad Street,
    • 16th Floor
    • Columbus, OH 43215.

    You can verify if your intended moving company has been duly registered using the search by business name platform provided by the Ohio Secretary of State. For more information regarding business registration in Columbus, you can contact the Ohio Secretary of State at (877) 767-6446.

    Once registered, the moving company must apply to the Internal Revenue Services for an Employer Identification Number. If the moving company is an LLC or Sole Proprietor, they can use their Social Security Number instead of an EIN until they hire their first employee. Moving companies may also need to fulfill other tax requirements like commercial activity tax. Moving companies can register with the Ohio Business Gateway to find out about additional taxes. For technical support, contact the state's Business Gateway Help Desk at (866) 644-6468.

    Household Goods (HHG) moving companies must register as motor carriers with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's (PUCO) Motor Carrier Division. To register a PUCO motor carrier registration account, applicants must sign up with a USDOT number usually issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Applicants that do not have a USDOT number can apply via an online platform provided by FMCSA. Once the applicants acquire their USDOT number, they can complete the online motor carrier application form. If you have any questions or need assistance regarding registration as a motor carrier, contact PUCO at (800) 686-8277.

    It is important to note that when hiring a moving company for out-of-state relocation, make sure that they are registered with the FMCSA. You can check if the company is registered with the FMCSA using its online search facility.

    Generally, individuals driving the moving vehicle are expected to possess a commercial driver's license issued by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. To apply for the relevant commercial license class, interested individuals can fill out and submit the relevant BMV application forms and pay the appropriate fees. For further inquiries about commercial licensing and the commercial license class, you can contact the state's Bureau of Motor Vehicles at (844) 644-6268.

  2. How Much Do You Charge Compared with Other Movers in Columbus?

    Before you hire a moving company in Columbus, it is important that you find out the average cost charged by movers for the services that you need. This will allow you to make an informed decision and avoid paying more than necessary. You can determine the average cost of moving household items and other non-household items in Columbus by getting multiple estimates from moving companies near you.

    After receiving multiple estimates from several moving companies in the city, it is essential that you compare their pricing to determine the actual cost of the move. These estimates should normally be submitted after the moving company has thoroughly inspected the items you intend to move. Visual inspection of the items you intend to move is carried out to ensure that the estimate is accurate and that the size and quantity of the items that will be moved have all been taken into account.

    Note that the cost of a move in Columbus is calculated by considering various factors such as the moving company's hourly rate, weight or distance fees, or written binding fees. The hourly rate that a moving company charge is computed based on the time it takes to move a certain amount of items. The weight/distance rate is also considered to determine the distance the moving company has to cover. On the other hand, written binding fees cover all the expenses of the moving company when completing the work. They are usually required to provide detailed information about the work that they are doing. Before you hire a moving company in Columbus, it is also important that you thoroughly understand the details of their estimate.

    Transportation and material moving workers in Columbus earn an average annual wage of $41,260. The list below compares the average hourly wages earned by these workers in the city against those of transportation and material moving workers in other parts of Ohio as well as several other major cities in the country:

    Columbus Movers Hourly Average Wage
    $19.84
    Ohio Movers Hourly Average Wage
    $18.91
    Los Angeles Movers Hourly Average Wage
    $21.09
    New York City Movers Hourly Average Wage
    $25.50
    Chicago Movers Hourly Average Wage
    $20.86
    Philadelphia Movers Hourly Average Wage
    $19.55
    Houston Movers Hourly Average Wage
    $20.53

    Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

  3. Will You Get a Moving Permit as Required by Columbus Regulations?

    Although there are no specific permits for moving services in Columbus, businesses that provide these services may need to obtain a transportation permit to transport certain types of goods.

    The Ohio Department of Transportation (DOT) issues these special hauling permits. A copy of the permit should generally be carried in the vehicle to which it applies at all times. DOT issues two types of permits to moving companies in Columbus. These include:

    • Single trip- This permit allows an overweight or over-dimensional vehicle to drive on a prescribed road for five days.
    • Round trip- This permit is similar to a single trip permit, but it includes a return to the original point of origin within five days. This type of permit is appropriate when equipment is required at a job site.

    To obtain a transportation permit in Columbus, applicants can complete an application and pay the application fee online via the Ohio Hauling Permit System provided by the Ohio Department of Transportation. Alternatively, applicants can fill out and submit the appropriate application form via mail or in person. The completed application form can be sent to the Department of Transportation's office located at:

    • Central Permit Office
    • 1980 West Broad Street,
    • Columbus, OH 43223

    After applicants submit their applications, they will be reviewed by the Department of Transportation. Successful applicants will be issued a transportation permit, which allows them to move certain items of a particular size, width, and dimension.

    Although Columbus does not have specific regulations regarding transportation permits, moving companies are required to follow these rules.

    • Moving vehicles equipped with a special hauling permit must only use routes listed on the permit.
    • Vehicles must not be parked in front of private homes, at intersections, near fire hydrants, or in front of traffic lights.
    • A moving vehicle is not allowed to be parked on the road during the day or night except in emergency cases.
    • Moving vehicles should not be loaded or unloaded inside the highway limits.

    In addition to state parking regulations, moving vehicles must adhere to city regulations. For instance, there are no parking spaces in residential districts reserved for commercial vehicles. Also, no commercial vehicle can be parked on a residentially-zoned lot. However, it is permitted to be parked in a residential lot for the short-term purpose of delivering materials or moving furniture to a residential address.

    Non-compliance with the terms and conditions, including operating on dates or on highways other than assigned, will result in the vehicle's permit being null and void and an arrest for a traffic violation. If you are planning on hiring a moving company in Columbus, make sure that they are familiar with the regulations related to parking. If you have any questions about the regulations, contact the Ohio Department of Transportation at (614) 466-7170 or complete an online contact form. Similarly, if you have any questions about parking regulations in Columbus, contact the city's Parking Services Department at (614) 645-3111.

  4. What Kind of Moving Services Do You Offer?

    Before you hire a moving company in Columbus, make sure that they have the necessary skills and equipment to handle the job to provide you with the best possible service. Some of the services offered by moving companies in Columbus include:

    • Full service moving,
    • Self-service moving
    • Local moving,
    • Long-distance moving,
    • Interstate moving,
    • International moving

    Full service is a type of moving services that provides all the necessary services, such as setting up the new apartment. Self-service is a method where the company only delivers the moved goods to the desired destination while you unpack.

    Long-distance and local moving services move items from one location to another. While local moving services are typically used to move items within a certain distance, usually less than 50 miles, long-distance moves are used to move items that are more than a hundred miles away. On the other hand, international and interstate moving refers to moving goods from Columbus to another state in the country or outside the country.

    Before you start working with a moving company, you must know the exact type of moving service they will provide. This will allow you to decide the moving services contract and whether to move on with the hire.

    Hiring a moving company offering the desired service for the intended moving job will help avoid disagreements between you and the moving company. Also, you must request an estimate before finalizing the work contract.

    Listed below are cost estimates for moving services commonly provided by professional moving companies in Columbus:

    Local residential movers
    $88 - $101 per hour (2 movers and truck)
    Office or commercial movers
    $75 - $95 per hour
    Warehouse storage
    $5.00 - $7.00 per pallet (per month)
    Piano movers
    $247 - $276
    Mobile home moving
    $2,114 - $2,621
    Move entire house structure
    $145 - $235 standard one-story home; no basement)
  5. Do You Provide Packing and Storage Services?

    Moving companies in Columbus offer various services such as packaging and moving boxes. However, it is important to inquire from the moving company about their plans and how they intend to carry out the task. Having a good packing service from a moving company in Columbus can help minimize the chances of making errors during the process. It can also help prevent costly mistakes that can lead to the loss of personal property. There are various types of moving companies that are available in Columbus, and these include:

    • Professional box handling and organization, and
    • Used box pick-up services
    • Full packing services,
    • Partial packing services,

    Aside from the usual moving services, moving companies can also provide storage services for your items at a secondary location pending moving to their final destination. For instance, if you're planning on moving but may no longer have access to your current home or you are planning on moving to an apartment with less space, having storage units at a secondary location can help keep the items you will be moving organized.

    Before you start working with a moving company, it is important that you know the exact cost of the services that you will be billed. This will also help you avoid overcharging. It will allow you to make an informed decision regarding the moving services that you need.

    In addition, it is important to know what kind of protection will be provided for your items being moved and make sure you verify if the storage facility is secure.

  6. What is an Appropriate Tip for Your Movers in Columbus?

    Although tipping is not required in most cases, it is good to acknowledge the exceptional service a moving company in Columbus provides by giving tips. Some of the following reasons why you may tip your hired movers in the city include:

    • Your items are well organized and secured
    • The movers arrive promptly
    • They assist in unpacking your items
    • The moving task is carried out swiftly and efficiently
    • The movers treat you and your family with respect

    In Columbus, the tipping practice for movers is typically 15% to 20% of the total moving fee. However, following this standard practice can be detrimental to your wallet due to the various fees already involved in the move, especially miscellaneous fees that do not include the movers' actual work. It is advisable that you tip the movers for each hour of work to ensure that the amount represents the level of service you received. In most cases, you can tip the movers around $4 to $5 per hour in most cases.

    Nonetheless, it is still important to give the moving company a review of their services, especially if you are unsatisfied with the services rendered.

  7. Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Movers in Columbus?

    In 2018, the transportation and material moving industries accounted for around 20% of all on-the-job accidents in the United States.

    One of the requirements for issuing a special hauling permit by the Ohio Department of Transportation is to ensure that the applicant's financial responsibility has been met. As a special hauling permit holder, a moving company is responsible for the damages caused by their negligence to the road structure or roadway when moving permitted goods. The financial responsibility required by the law can be obtained through liability insurance worth $500,000.

    It is important that you hire a moving company with the necessary insurance policies to protect your home and belongings. Doing so can help minimize the risk of property damage and other unforeseen events. Not having the proper insurance coverage can expose you to many financial liabilities like incurring medical expenses for injured workers and property damage. Before you sign a contract with a moving company, ensure that it has the necessary insurance coverage. You can also check with the insurance company to see if the policy is active.

    Note that moving companies with employees must carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees. You can contact the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation at (800) 644-6292 for more information regarding workers' compensation insurance. You can also contact the Ohio Department of Transportation at (614) 466-7170 to learn more about their insurance requirements.

  8. Can You Provide References or Recommendations in Columbus?

    If you are looking for a reliable moving company in Columbus, then you must request a good reference and a letter of recommendation from past clients of the moving company. These types of letters and references prove that the company can provide the best possible service.

    Note that if a moving company does not provide references or letters of reference, be wary about hiring them. This is because such a company may be incompetent or illegitimate. However, where you are provided with references, ensure you contact these references to validate the company's services.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Moving Company in Columbus

Being aware of the signs of potential fraud can help prevent you from falling victim to the actions of fraudulent or negligent moving companies. These individuals often target unsuspecting residents of Columbus. Before the move, the moving company will typically demand a cash deposit. This usually means that the customer has to provide a certain amount of money to secure the deal. They then call the customer to demand more money for their return. If you're moving within or outside of Columbus, it's essential to check out these signs of potential fraud.

  • The moving company will typically avoid giving a written estimate for the move. Instead, they will ask for more money in exchange for their return.
  • The company might not inspect the items that need to be moved before giving an estimate. Instead, they may offer a low estimate. This usually indicates that the company doesn't have the necessary equipment to move the items properly.
  • The company will not provide a written contract in advance. This usually means that the customer has no idea what they're signing.
  • The moving company does not have a local address. This means that you can not easily confirm their legitimacy.
  • The vehicle used by the company is without a company logo on it.

When considering hiring a moving company in the city, it is essential to follow these precautionary steps to avoid getting scammed. These steps include:

  • Make sure that before you start the process of moving, take a photo of your items and a video of their current condition.
  • Request for referrals for moving companies in Columbus from trusted sources like your friends and relatives. You can also use third-party websites like Better Business Bureau. You can also check if there has been a complaint against your intended mover with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ensure that your intended moving company is well-equipped and has the necessary equipment and facilities before you start working with them.
  • Avoid choosing a moving company that offers a big discount if the price is significantly lower than you estimate. This could result in the moving companies cutting corners on the quality of service to be delivered to you.
  • Make sure you confirm that your intended moving company is authorized to operate in the city. This ensures that the company follows all the necessary regulations. You can verify if your intended moving company has been duly registered by utilizing the Ohio Secretary of State search by business name platform.
  • Request for a written estimate before you start working with a moving company. Typically, the mover should visit your home to see everything you want to move and ask about your new home and other important details to give you a fair estimate. Get multiple estimates from different moving companies to ensure that you pick the most suitable for your moving needs.
  • Always conduct thorough research on your intended moving company and its services. Visit their office to discuss your plans and inquire about their services to ensure it fits your planned move.
  • Execute a written service agreement establishing the mover's obligations, including the estimates and expected number of days to execute the move.
  • Avoid signing any document that you do not understand.

If you have any complaints involving a moving company in Columbus, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Office of the Ohio Attorney General's Office by completing a complaint online. Although filing a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office can help you secure justice against the fraudulent moving company, it is not guaranteed that you will receive any form of restitution.

If you are dissatisfied with the actions of a moving company, you can file a civil lawsuit against them at the Franklin County Municipal Court. However, it is important to seek legal advice before taking action in court. You can find a lawyer by using the Find a lawyer tool of the Columbus Bar Association.