Hiring a Mover

Information courtesy of the Government of Ontario

Learn about your consumer rights when signing a contract for moving services and get advice on hiring a mover.


Ask the right questions
  • Will the estimate be part of my contract?
  • Who is responsible for any damage or loss? Can you include that in my contract?
  • Do you have insurance? Does your plan cover things that I packed myself?
  • May I visit your storage facility?
  • How will we handle any disputes or disagreements? Can that be included in the contract? 
Photo of Sheldon holding moving boxes.

Estimates and contracts

Before signing a contract with a mover, get at least 3 written estimates from different companies.

Once you select a mover, make sure the estimate is part of your contract. This way, the mover cannot charge you more than 10% above the estimated cost unless you:

  • have agreed to a new service or a new price
  • signed a change to your contract

This is the law under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act (CPA).  

All moving contracts worth more than $50 must be in writing. Under the CPA, your contract must include:

  • the mover’s name, address and contact information
  • a description of the service(s) and their prices
  • the total cost that you will have to pay, additional charges that may apply and taxes 
  • start and end dates for the service
  • the terms of payment (For example, if you will pay by cash or cheque)

Your contract should also include:

  • the size and value of the items
  • who is responsible for any damage or loss
  • an estimate of the number of boxes or items that will be moved
  • who is responsible for packing
  • the type of packing containers that will be used
  • the number of staff, the number of hours and size of the vehicle(s) that will be needed
  • any licences or customs documents that may be needed to cross a border
  • the name of the person who holds the policy to any insured items

Selecting a mover

When selecting a mover, remember:

  • a reputable mover will inspect your items and furnishings to prepare an estimate. Don’t deal with a moving company that says they do not need to look at your things to give you an estimate
  • to ask for references and check them. If you work with a local company it may be easier to check references  
  • to ask if the company has liability insurance. Many companies have insurance, but their plans often do not cover things that you have packed
  • to find out who is responsible for damage or loss and include it in your contract
  • to visit any facility where your items may be stored. Don’t deal with a company that will not show you its storage space

If you have household insurance, check if you have coverage for things that are accidentally damaged or lost during a move. You may want to contact your insurance company and ask about buying extra coverage. 

On your moving day, we suggest you:

  • move valuable items (For example, jewelry) and personal documents yourself
  • supervise the pickup and delivery of your items
  • make a note of any missing or damaged items on your contract or inventory list before the movers leave

A mover cannot hold your items or furnishings to demand extra payment. That’s an unfair practice under the Consumer Protection Act and it is an offence to do so.

If you pay the extra fee because you feel you have no choice, write on the invoice that you “paid under protest.” Keep a copy of the invoice and follow up with the company, call the police or Write to the Government of Ontario for further assistance.

Complaining about a mover

If you have a dispute with a moving company, make sure to keep copies of all the documents that support your complaint.

Write the company a complaint letter explaining the issue. If you cannot resolve the issue with the company, file a complaint with the Government of Ontario.