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Picking the Right Mover for the Job

Let’s be honest – moving is no fun! Whether you are packing up a lifetime of memories or just downsizing, the challenge is more than how to get all this “stuff” from Point A to Point B, it’s also what to keep, what to donate, and what to pass down to the next generation.

Anybody can move your treasures, but not everyone should.

Now, this is not intended to be an all-encompassing “how-to” but it is intended to make the process easier. After all, how many times do you pack up and move in a lifetime? Three? Four?

Let’s start with some basics – picking the right mover.

There are plenty of ways to do that in the internet age, but the first piece of the puzzle is always: where are you moving? Local? Across the country? Across the state? These contribute to the list of movers who can do the job, and the cost of the move.

However you choose to find your list of potential moving companies, the next thing is to start “checking them out”… Due diligence is your friend here, and while Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau are solid resources, there has long been the belief that if a company really wants to rank in their listings, they can pay their way to the top, so consider the source when you look to third party research.

Here are some of the most important questions you should be asking and researching about any potential moving company you are considering:

  • Do they have all the licenses needed to handle the move? Again, intrastate versus interstate and while two neighborhood lids in a truck might be able to handle moving an office, you can be sure they don’t have the necessary insurance to cover any damages.
  • Let’s talk about that insurance for a second:  Not only do you need to make sure that the vehicles the company uses in a move are covered properly, you also have to consider how your property is covered in the move.  Not just due to an accident, but negligence on the part of the company (think of your box of good china falling over during the move!)  You may want to consider supplemental moving insurance for your items for the move.
  • How long has the company been in business? Sure, everybody has to start somewhere, but when it comes to your stuff, experience and a company track record really do count.  No amount of insurance is going to protect or cover your memories if the movers break something that is an heirloom.
  • Has the company won any local regional, or national awards for customer service and can they show you any testimonials or recommendations for the business?  Guess what?  No company in the world doesn’t like to talk about the positive things they’ve done or great client services they’ve provided.  If they don’t have them out there for you to see, they don’t have them.   This is where the rea; word and the online world often collide.  We’ve mentioned that some of the go-to sites like the BBB and Angie’s List can be, shall we say, persuaded, but bad reviews are easily found and, in a pinch, so are good reviews.  Remember, though, that plenty of people that had good experiences won’t take the time to comment in a forum or other online venues, they will be busy unpacking!
  • Learn what the rates for the move really mean. Low rates don’t necessarily mean a low final bill. Study rates! Are fuel charges incorporated? Also, just like the airlines, rates can vary based on season and days of the week. Will they give you a better rate if you move on a Sunday as opposed to a Monday? Repeat your new mantra: Great Reputation equals Great Rates. And repeat again: no one wins awards or great reviews when they overcharge!
  • Dig down to learn all you need to when it comes to out of state moves. Many movers consolidate moves with other parties to save money (after all, the fuel burns the same with the truck half full or half empty).   It’s a great way to save money, but be aware that it will add time to the delivery schedule because multiple stops for the other folks’ deliveries are made as your belongings travel across the country. Is the moving company forth coming about the fact that long distance moves almost always involve a delivery window not an exact delivery date? It’s better to know all this upfront so you can pack a suitcase that stays with you.
  • Will the moving crew wrap and protect your furniture to prevent damages? How many movers will be on the job? How long will the job take? Are there enough hours in the day? Will you be charged if there is overtime? By law a moving company can only give you rates on the phone not estimates on the phone. Does the moving company provide free on site estimates?
  • Do you know where you want everything to go? Measure all your furniture and all the rooms in your new home. Then figure out how you would like your furniture arranged in advance. Will it all fit? Having your mind made up before moving day will save you a lot of time while the movers are on the clock.
  • Are they asking you some questions?  Any conversation with a moving company should be a two-way street.  As you are asking them questions, they should be asking you, too.  About the egress and ingress into your new home, best times to load, packaging, you name it.  If they aren’t wondering about the contents of the attic and the garage, they aren’t doing their job.  If they don’t ask things like this before giving you an estimate, they most likely aren’t the company that you need to get the job done.