How To Choose A Moving Company

Tips for choosing moving company

As soon as the moving date is set, the process of choosing a moving company can begin. The sooner you hire a company, the better chance you’ll have at getting the date you want. This is particularly the case during the summer, when the demand for movers is at its peak. Most people also tend to move at the end of the month, so consider setting a date towards the middle.

Choose Moving CompanyAsk anyone you know who has moved before if they have any recommendations, such as co-workers, neighbors, real estate agents, and family. If you hired a realtor, ask if they have any discounts for moving companies.

If someone does recommend a company, ask for specific names. People will be moving your stuff, not the company, and not all workers are created the same. Get references from the companies under consideration. Ask about the company’s dependability and professionalism.

The goal is finding a good moving company that can be trusted. Keep in mind, you are paying them to transport almost all of your possessions. Choose wisely.

What to Look for in Moving Company

Background Check

Doing a proper background check is critical if you want to hire a trustworthy company. Start with the moving company’s website. Does it look professional? Do they provide plenty of information about their pricing, services, licensing, insurance, and company history? Look for companies that have been established for at least 10 years.

The Better Business Bureau will allow you to see if any complaints have been filed against the company. Have many have been resolved? Did customers complain about hidden charges such as travel, insurance, tolls, and gas? Larger companies will typically have more complaints compared to smaller ones.

The local department of consumer affairs and the state’s transportation department may also have complaint histories.

Check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to see if the company is registered.

If possible, visit several companies in person to get a better sense of their operations. Check their Certificate of Insurance to see if they have liability and vehicle insurance. Look at their vans and trucks. Are they in good condition? Are they permanently marked with the company’s logo?

Additional resources you can use for research include the American Moving And Storage Association, the Department of Transportation, and MovingScam.com.

Moving Estimates

Get estimates from three different companies; they should be offered for free. If not, eliminate that company from consideration. I would stay away from estimates provided over the internet or phone. Companies who do this have no idea how much stuff you really have. The most accurate estimates are the ones given by companies who visit your place and survey all your possessions.

When they arrive to give an estimate, show them everything that will be taken with and the stuff that will be left behind. If you aren’t sure about a few belongings, plan on them being moved. If you change your mind, no harm is done. Adding items to the inventory at the last minute however will increase the cost and force the movers to adjust. Be consistent with each company so you can compare each estimate fairly.

There are two types of estimates. binding and non-binding. A binding estimate is locked in unless you request additional services (extra flight of steps, a long carry, and crated items) on moving day. A non-binding estimate gives you a general idea of the cost, but the final cost could be much higher in the end. This depends on the weight and transportation charges. In some states, movers are allowed to offer a not-to-exceed estimate.

If the estimate is greater than expected for a non-binding estimate, you will only be required to pay 10% of the extra amount once the delivery is made. The rest can be paid later. The binding estimate is ideal since the price is guaranteed. No surprises. However, some states only allow non-binding estimates.

Find out what methods of payment the movers will accept and get it in writing. Confirm packing, loading, and delivery dates. You can negotiate a clause that penalizes the movers if they arrive late.

All the important issues should be documented in the estimate. It should include every cost and the responsibilities of both parties. Read the estimate, bill of lading (receipt), and make sure everything is correct. A partial bill will likely be given prior to the movers leaving your home.

Packing

Hiring packers will save you a lot of time and effort. They are very well-trained and work efficiently. They know the best way to pack each item to protect it from being damaged.

Movers can pack fragile items into custom wooden crates for protection, such as antiques, mirrors, artwork, and chandeliers.

However, I will say that doing most or all the packing yourself will save you a lot of money. Packing can be a very expensive service, especially if you have a lot of stuff.

Unpacking

If possible, ask the movers to unpack your most valuable items to see if they’re damaged. That way, they can verify this in person. Movers will re-assemble bed frames, furniture, and equipment if you request them to.

You can actually hire them to unpack everything, but this will cost quite a bit more. Plus, you’ll have a ton of open boxes around the house. A better approach might be to unpack a few boxes at a time so you won’t have so much clutter around your house.

Moving Company Prices

Moving Companies

Local moving company usually charge you by the hour and transportation time, while interstate moving company go by weight of the shipment and travel distance. Valuation coverage and additional services also may also be included, such as crating, packing, unpacking, and servicing appliances.

Be weary of any company that asks for a large deposit; the best companies won’t even request one.

Let the movers know if there will be any issues that could occur upon delivery, such as parking, street accessibility, etc. so they can provide the most accurate estimate. If movers have to go up and down elevators or stairs, an additional fee could be charged. The same is true if they have to carry your stuff a long way to your new residence.

Ask about any other additional fees that could be charged. Don’t be afraid to negotiate estimates once you have a few. Companies will come down if you have lower estimates from their chief competitors.

Payment

Methods of payment most commonly accepted by movers are cash, certified checks, and money orders. Some will accept credit cards, but personal checks are usually declined. Settle on a form of payment beforehand so there’s no confusion. Movers will expect payment before unloading your stuff.

Valuation Coverage

You can choose between released value or full extra case coverage. The former doesn’t cost you anything, but provides almost no protection. The standard coverage is 60 cents per pound, which is miniscule.

So, if a 10-pound item broke, the mover would only be responsible for paying $6, even if the item cost $100. If your Homeowner’s Insurance covers damage during the move, that’s all the protection you’ll need.

With full protection, the movers can pay a cash settlement, repair, or replace any damaged items. Only the stuff packed by the movers will be covered. Get in writing what will and won’t be covered just to be sure.

If you own any really valuable items, such as jewelry, antiques, and crystal, consider bringing them with you personally. Get them appraised and take photos. If they’re going with the movers, be sure they are itemized on the “High Value Inventory” document. This provides additional protection.

Servicing Appliances

Refrigerators dryers, washers, and other appliances most likely need to be serviced before the move. Moving companies do offer this service, but you can also hire an appliance dealer or serviceman.

Wine Transportation

Because of the extreme temperatures, transporting wine in a moving truck is far from ideal. The best option is to pay for climate-controlled wine transportation.

Moving Company Responsibilities
How do moving companies work ?

A book titled “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” must be provided by interstate companies. Once you decide on the mover, they will give you an Order for Service. This confirms the details of the move, including services provided, dates for loading and delivery, costs, valuation, and contact information.

Making The Decision

Hire the best moving company that you can afford. Consider the reputation and the quality of service they provide. Are you more comfortable with one company more than the others? What does your intuition tell you?

The cheapest company may be unreliable and not protect your items as well as they should. Typically, companies that offer the lowest estimates do so because their service is inferior to their competitors. They might take longer to load and arrive at your new residence, or hit you with a lot of charges at the end. The worst case scenario would involve them stealing all of your possessions.

At the end of the day, what matters most is that your belongings arrive safely at your destination. If that means paying more for a reputable company, consider that money well spent. Before signing the dotted line on the contract, read and understand all the terms. Ask questions.

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