If it’s time to relocate, it may also be time to hire a professional moving compny. Finding one that is reliable and affordable may seem difficult, but there are simple steps you can take to help ensure you’ve picked the right one to handle all of your worldly goods.
What do you need from your mover?
Consider whether or not you would like the mover to pack your stuff for you and what other types of additional services you may want. How far your possessions are going and whether they will be put in your new apartment or a storage facility are also factors to consider when choosing your moving company.
You might also want to meet with a relocation consultant who can survey your apartment and prepare a written estimate. That will give you a basis from which to evaluate the various quotes from prospective moving companies.
Do your homework
Finding a good moving company, like finding the best of anything, usually requires research such as consumer Web like Angie’s List for a quick and effective way to narrow your list of potential movers.
And don’t forget word of mouth! Your neighborhood realtor or apartment community manager might be a good resource for suggestions of reputable moving companies, as are your friends and family. They will no doubt have a negative story or a rave review that can help guide your search. Most importantly, be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure there are no complaints against the companies you are considering hiring. When you have a pool of potential moving companies, thoroughly check their Web sites for company history, insurance, years in service and number of employees. You’ll also want to check for a Department of Transportation (DOT) license number, which all movers must have. If you are looking for an interstate mover, they also need to publish their tariffs, providing a copy of them upon request, and offer arbitration if a dispute arises.
Though these details don’t guarantee a foolproof move (even if you like everything you see), they can give you a better sense of who you’d be working with.
How to get the estimate
Always plan to get several quotes when hiring movers. Moving companies often have different specialties, and it is important that you have a handful of estimates comparing similar service options to help you make an educated choice.
Once you’ve narrowed the search, begin the estimate process by calling or e-mailing the moving companies you are considering. There are two general available: binding estimates and estimated cost of services. Take the necessary time to understand your options, which may vary by company. The type of estimate you choose could have a big impact on the final cost of your move. Ask each mover for how long his or her estimate is valid and what type of estimates they offer.
For the next step, the moving company will send a representative to your home to see what you have to move. Make sure that the mover notes all items to be moved on the survey sheet. Remember, if the size of your inventory of items changes, the cost of your move will have to be adjusted, so be sure to tell your mover right away if you decide to take more or fewer things. Next comes an estimate that includes transportation charges and the cost of any additional requested services.
What was that arrival date again? Don’t forget to determine exactly when the moving company expects your belongings to get there. You don’t want to end up paying premium prices for a slow delivery.
Flag any delivery issues
If you know ahead of time that there are problems for the mover on the other end, such as road access, street accessibility, parking, time limitations or if there are any stairs or elevators involved, speak now or pay the price later! The cost of your move can go up for any type of delivery inconvenience. If possible, try to reserve a space for the moving van to park, if your new home is on a congested street. You might also be charged for excessive distance if the moving crew has to carry your belongings more than 75 feet from the moving van to your door. Your neighborhood may prohibit trucks over a certain weight, for instance. In that case, the driver will have to offload your possessions into a smaller vehicle, which can carry an expensive charge.
Accounting for these details in advance, if at all possible, should lessen surprises on your final bill.
If you are moving to a high-rise building, be sure to find out if an elevator reservation is required.
With research and planning, you can find a good moving company and minimize surprises in the process. But be sure to stay vigilant throughout the moving process: hiring movers doesn’t mean all of the work of moving is over!