Finding an international mover is similar to finding any other mover. You should be asking for quotes, additional information, and references from all your prospective vendors. It will also be a good idea to enlist the help of a freight forwarder to ensure your belongings are safe from their departure to arrival.
It is important to remember to be particularly careful when hiring an international mover since they are not subjected to the same regulations and rules as long-distance movers.
Memberships and Affiliations
International movers that have the following memberships and affiliations can generally be trusted:
- Membership in the FIDI, the Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux, a global federation of international removers
- Registered International Mover Certification (RIM), which is provided through the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA)
- Overseas Movers Network International (OMNI)
- Registered as an ISO 9002 certified company to ensure high-quality practices and performance
- Licensed with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)
- Positive ratings and reviews with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
RIM Certification has two objectives that help customers compare and select an international mover:
- It provides a system of standardization and means of comparison for selecting a qualified international mover anywhere in the world.
- The certification increases the level of professionalism, performance and standards at a moving company due to the rigid demands of the certification program. Before a company can be certified, it must undergo an examination and meet the equipment and facility standards for handling household goods. In order to maintain certification, the company must complete 15 hours of RIM-approved education and training over the course of three years. After that, the company is inspected again and the process continues.
Although RIM Certification is generally considered to be one of the best indicators of a reputable company, other memberships are important for companies to maintain.
The Federal Maritime Commission is responsible for ocean transport and shipping and creates and enforces regulatory shipping laws.
The Overseas Movers Network International (OMNI) aims to provide high-quality services for international relocation companies. The network requires strict adherence to its policies and standards.
FIDI is the largest global alliance of quality international moving companies and its members transport around the world. The Federation provides information and conferences to its members and also maintains a directory of its affiliates that anyone can search through.
Is the Company Blacklisted?
Obviously you wouldn't want to hire a company that has provided poor service, but more importantly you wouldn't want to hire a company that has been blacklisted. It is always a good idea to check up on that information before hiring them. There are websites with lists of endorsed companies and even blacklisted companies to help you find someone reputable.
Find Outstanding Complaints and References
When you start searching for your company, be sure to find out how many moves the company has under its belt and how many international offices it has. You should also ask the company for references from customers they've recently moved. Reputable companies will have plenty of testimonials from happy customers, and they will also lack a lot of complaints through the Better Business Bureau.
You should collect at least three quotes from three different companies and when collecting references, be sure to find any possible connections to the moving company's employees. If all the references they provide are from the same area code or have the same last name then you should be wary of their review.
Tips for Checking a Reference
- If a reference calls you, be suspicious. Tell him or her that you are unavailable at the moment and schedule a time to call them back.
- Have your potential mover supply you with a full name, job title and email address for all references. Be sure to get at least three references from each vendor.
- Personally call all of the references and talk to them. Yes, it takes time, but you will save time and money in the long run by avoiding the wrong company. Don't forget to follow-up with a thank you email.
- Use Whois Search to find out how long a website domain has been active, who created it and you can match up locations to area codes using Wikipedia to ensure the identity of your reference and the company.
Since the movers will be in charge of moving all of your belongings, it's worth your while to make sure that whichever company you hire is properly vetted.