Congratulations! You’ve signed the papers and now all that’s left to do is move in. The trouble is, with so many companies and deals out there, how do you know whom to trust with your invaluable memories? Whether you’re relocating for work or are simply moving to your next home, here are 3 tips for getting the most out of your moving company.
First and foremost, you should consider the following:
- How far are you going?
- What are you moving (large items, boxes, smaller items)?
- When do you need to move out/move in?
If you are moving relatively close, can you manage moving by renting a U-Haul van and bribing your friends with adult beverages and pizza? If the answer is no, then you have some homework to do.
1. Get recommendations
Talk with your coworkers, friends and your REALTOR, to start gathering recommendations. You should shop around and find the best price and most reliable company for you. Just because a company is well known doesn’t mean they have the best reputation. Dust off the old phone book or Google search for moving companies in your area. Never go off of an Internet or phone estimate. If the company is reliable, they will come to you and provide an in-person estimate. After all, if they don’t see what you have, how can they offer a fair estimate?
2. Do your research
Once you’ve obtained your initial list of candidates, do your due diligence and research each company thoroughly. There are several online resources with the sole purpose of protecting the consumer.
- Go online and checkout the Better Business Bureau to see if the company is a legitimate business and if any recent complaints have been made.
- Members of the American Moving and Storage Associate are voluntary, but by being a member the company has agreed to abide by the organization’s tariffs and arbitration program.
- MovingScam is a consumer-advocacy site, which has a list of blacklisted companies, reports of consumer complaints and general information and tips.
3. Ask for Estimates
Gathering an estimate for an in state move versus out of state, differ. If you are moving to a different state, ask the company to provide you with a written binding estimate or binding not-to-exceed estimate. Most of the time these estimates are free, but you should be aware some companies could charge for this. Be sure to ask before you request one. These will protect you from encountering unexpected costs from the move. As previously mentioned, have the estimator come to your house in order for them to view the items and for you to ask any questions.
- What they will physically be moving from your house: (e.g. furniture, clothes, bicycles, motorcycles, hot tubs, etc.) Show them absolutely everything you want them to move, because they can contest the original estimate.
- Any conditions or challenges moving from your house to the new home (e.g. stairs, elevators, walk-out sliding doors, or hills).
- Will the company be moving you themselves or will they be contracting out?
- Will they be packing and unpacking?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have the necessary licensure and insurance necessary to legally move you? Visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and enter the company’s USDOT number.
- Ask for references.
After you’ve compiled the estimates and have done a thorough background investigation, it’s time to discuss the options with your family. Obviously you want you and your family’s belongings to be safe, but make a list of the must haves versus the nice to haves, in order to whittle down your estimates (from a cost standpoint). When you’ve selected a moving company, it’s time to tidy up and pack! Make sure to obtain a written copy of the inventory on the day of the move, to ensure nothing is left behind. Provide the movers with specific directions and exchange reliable contact information, in order to have clear communication during the whole process.
Good luck with your research, and we hope you enjoy your new home! Tell us about your moving experiences. What were you most nervous about?