Some people prefer to do all the work of moving themselves but most of us will opt to hire a moving company to take over the major part of a move. Finding a reliable and good quality moving company can be a challenge though. Your best defense is to make sure you are aware of what can go wrong and what you can do in order to keep things from going bad. Here are some things you know:
Get estimates in writing. You should have at least three written estimates that include a comprehensive list of your belongings as well as detailed fees and services. Having a written estimate will make it less likely that the moving company will try to deviate significantly from the original quote. Never accept an estimate over the phone! Have a representative from the company visit your home to do a walk through prior to the quote.
Be present. Don’t think that you can just walk away and not supervise the move. You or someone representing you should be there to ensure your belongings are handled properly and watch for damage. If you didn’t see the damage happen, they will say that it was like that when they loaded it and you’ll have an impossible time to prove otherwise.
Hostage negotiation. Which bring us to the fact that once they have your home loaded on the truck, your stuff can be held hostage if there is any dispute over payment. There is very little you can do in this situation except pay them what they ask to get your belongings back and handle the dispute afterward through an attorney. This is why you want to have an explicit estimate in writing and supervise the move.
Hourly or weight rate? If you’re just moving across town, the mover will most likely quote you an hourly rate. However, if you moving to another city, make sure you choose a mover who will give you a weight based quote and then try to be present when they weigh the trailer. You’ll have a much more accurate quote that is less likely to change and by being present for the weighing you’ll prevent any fudging of the numbers.
You need insurance. You definitely need it if you are moving to another city but even if you are moving across town it’s good to have. Some moving companies offer several insurance options from so much per pound up to full replacement value. The problem is that their policies tend to be very expensive. Call the company that holds your homeowner’s insurance policy and request a transit rider with full replacement value. It will be much less expensive in the end and you’ll be dealing with a company that you already do business with now.
Ask about their employment policies. Many moving companies will hire transients or day labourers to help with the move, especially during the busy summer months. Ask them what their hiring policies are and if their movers are employees or temporary labour. If they are temporary, pay extra close attention to ensure that nothing is damaged or pilfered.
Be prepared to tip. The movers will expect to be tipped after everything is done so make sure you have some money available. The average is $3 - $5 per hour or about $20 per person depending on the length and difficulty of your move. Many moving company employees are paid a minimum wage and tips supplement their income. If you’re unsure about it, contact the moving company ahead of time and ask them about their policies on tipping and what is expected.
One final tip that can save you some money is to move in the off season. Spring and summer are the busiest times of year and moving companies can raise their rates due to higher demand. If you can move during autumn or winter, you should get a little lower rate since all the companies are competing for a smaller amount of moves.
Follow these tips, be prepared, and be involved and you should have a smooth moving experience. Also, if you’re still shopping for your new home, you should get our Buyer’s Guide. You’ll find the link to download the PDF file in the box below. We’re here to assist in your real estate needs from start to finish and beyond.