Choosing a Moving Company
Having all your possessions in someone else's hands can be
frightening. Finding a moving company that is reliable, responsible,
"gentle" on belongings, and affordable could be
a complicated task.
We will give you one less thing to worry about. The following
information can help you find the right moving company for
6 to 8 weeks to select a mover
The process of finding the right moving company for you will
probably take this much time. You'll request bids from each
mover, check references, and make your final decision about
which company is the best value for your money. Moving companies
will need time to fit your move into their schedules, especially
in the summer months, which is their busiest time of year.
It's always helpful to ask information from people you trust.
Talk with friends and neighbors who have moved recently, relocation
consultants, and your real estate agent. If you happen to
see someone moving into or out of your neighborhood, stop
by and ask them how they like (or liked) their moving company.
We all know that the best recommendations for any mover comes
from satisfied customers.
But unfortunately, that's not enough. Ask each of your prospective
movers for references from previous customers and for documents
on their history of service. Take advantage of free estimates,
and get them from several movers. Having several free estimates
will give you a very good idea of how costly your move will
be. Keep in mind that certain movers offer estimates that
are outrageously low, and then hand you a large bill when
the move is complete. In order to avoid this predicament,
always make sure that any estimates you receive from movers
are either binding or include a "not to exceed"
you should make in advance
Decide in advance which goods will be shipped and which will
be sold or given away. Then consider whether or not you would
like the mover to pack and what other type of additional services
you may want. Remember that packing is always a separate bid
from moving. An estimator may come to your home and create
a bid, or make an estimate by talking to you over the phone.
Moves that are less than 50 miles away are usually priced
by the hour. For longer distance moves, estimates are based
on weight, usually per 100 pounds.
If you decide to do your own packing or partial packing,
remember that the moving company is not liable for damage
to boxes packed by customer. However, if there is an obvious
exterior damage at the delivery, make a note of that on the
inventory sheet of your shipment. The driver has the right
to refuse to accept any carton that may be improperly packed.
If the driver has to re-pack cartons that the customer has
packed, additional charges will apply.
Try to provide as much information as possible about unusual
situations on either end so your estimates will be more accurate.
Make the mover be aware of any problems they may encounter
at the delivery such as parking problems, road access, street
accessibility, delivery time restriction or if there are any
stairs or elevators involved. The cost of your move can increase
for such occurrences. Try to reserve a "parking space"
for the moving van if your new home is on a congested street.
If the moving crew has to carry your load more than 75 feet
from the moving van to your door you may be charged for excessive
Binding- The mover offers a guaranteed price, within a small
percentage of deviation that is based on a complete list of
items to be moved and the type of service performed.
Non-binding or hourly rate- This is not an estimate at all,
only a price list. These rates are based upon the movers'
previous experience of jobs similar to yours.
Not to exceed- This quote is binding only on the mover. The
final price for the move cannot exceed the estimate figure;
but if the move comes in under the estimated amount you pay
the lesser price.
how to read your bid
Bids are created by using a "Table of Measurements"
that assigns a certain number of cubes to each room. In moving
lingo, a cube equals 7 pounds. Estimators will multiply the
number of final cubes by 7 to determine the price. Estimates
should include all moving charges, such as carrying up stairs
or in an elevator, overtime, additional transportation, moving
bulky articles, carrying an excessive distance, storage, and
more. These types of charges usually involve obstacles the
mover has to overcome, which you can determine ahead of time
and include in the bid. Packing bids should state not only
labor charges but the amount and cost of boxes. Make sure
each bid is estimated the same way, so you can easily make
the right questions:
Does your company subcontract its moving services?
Which subcontractors could be used to move my home?
Will the contents of my home be on one truck the entire time?
(Moving goods between trucks increases the potential for damage)
What services are not listed on this bid, and what do you
charge for them?
What training do your movers and/or packers receive
(especially for packing and moving fragile items)?
Can you provide recent references from other customers you've
for performance or complaints
You can get "performance reports" on larger, interstate
moving companies by calling the Interstate Commerce Commission
(ICC). Call for the number of the regional office closest
to you. Most states do not regulate intrastate moving, however,
call your state transportation department to find out if they
license movers in your state or have any performance information
about individual movers.
Contact your local department of consumer affairs and ask
if there are any complaints registered about the movers you're
considering. If the move is within your state, request the
same information from your state's transportation department
and public utilities commission. Keep in mind that there are
usually two sides to every story. A pattern of many complaints,
however, is not a good sign.
you decide - Don't make price the deciding factor
Low-ball bids could mask less reliable moving practices.
Use several factors in addition to price: references, performance
reports, reported complaints. Get the final bid in writing
(which you may be asked to sign), but never sign off on a
final bill until the move is complete.
for loss or damage
Make sure you understand the coverage for loss or damage
of your shipment. All licensed movers must provide liability
for the value of goods, which they transport. But there are
different levels of liability. You must be aware of the amount
of protection provided and the additional costs that may apply.