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Questions to Ask Prospective Moving Companies

questionsIt’s important that you ‘interview’ several different companies before choosing one that’s the right fit. Obviously, you should spend some time researching movers online to ensure that they are not rogue or dishonest companies. But once you know the basics – like the mover’s complaint history, licensing information, number of years in business, etc. – where do you go from there?

The more questions you ask, the fewer headaches they’ll experience throughout the process. Here are eight questions that you should have ready for potential movers and information to guide you in the process of selecting the best moving company for them:

  1. Are there any extra fees I need to be aware of? Some moving companies will charge for things like: strangely shaped or awkward items; a residence that’s not easily accessible for a large moving truck or van and requires shuttle service; condos or high-rises with elevator and load restrictions; and loads that need to be hand carried over a certain distance. You may also be expected to pay fuel surcharges or transportation surcharges. If your items need to be stored, additional fees like warehouse handling charges may apply. Find out in advance so you can be prepared and avoid any surprises.
  2. How is the cost of my shipment calculated? If you are moving to a new state, the charges may be based on the weight of your shipment and mileage. These are referred to as the transportation charges. There are a variety of different charges that could appear on your estimate, so be sure to ask the mover to explain each item charge for you.
  3. What kind of liability coverage do you provide? All interstate movers have to offer coverage (usually called “released value”) and it assumes liability for your personal property at a rate of $0.60 per pound. Keep in mind, though, when it comes to protecting your belongings, one size does not fit all. The level of protection you need may be greater than minimum levels based on your total shipment weight. Be sure to consider your high-value items in the determination of the protection coverage best suited for your belongings. For example, if your 70-pound flat screen crashes to the ground, you’ll only get approximately $42 as reimbursement. Basic Liability Protection is free of charge with your move, but you must confirm this level of coverage in writing. Be sure they offer plenty of options.
  4. What can’t we bring? Packing perishable, dangerous or hazardous materials in your household goods without your mover’s knowledge is not a good idea. Seemingly innocent items such as nail polish remover, paint and automotive maintenance products can limit their liability if something goes wrong, so be sure you know which items are on the hazardous materials list. And if you choose to pack your own boxes and the articles get damaged, it may be more difficult to establish your claim against the mover for those boxes.
  5. What can you tell me about your workers? Quality movers will have extensive coverage for workers compensation, so you don’t have to worry about being sued if a worker gets hurt while on the job. Also, choose a company that performs background checks on its workers – after all, you’re letting them into your home. This is a preemptive measure taken to ensure only the most reputable, professional workers enter your home, including packers, drivers, movers, coordinators and other staff.
  6. How do you pack fragile or high-value items? Fragile items should be those defined by you to be breakable or high-value (such as dishes, glassware, artwork, fragile furniture, mirrors, etc.). Ensure that all the items in your home are packed by experts using the most up-to-date packing methods and materials in the industry.
  7. How should I pay and what are the payment methods? Tariff provisions require that all charges be paid before your shipment is unloaded at destination. Payments can be made using cash, certified check or money order. But find out which other payment options are available, such as a credit card. In the event that your employer is paying for the move, the employer may pre-arrange to be billed via invoice. Just be sure to have this all worked out prior to packing and loading. If the method of payment is not established prior to load day, it can cause you problems on delivery day.
  8. How will I know where my shipment is once it leaves my home? Find out if the moving company offers satellite tracking capabilities that will allow you to trace the whereabouts of your shipment and driver over the internet.

Moving Tips

Moving TipsSo you are moving?  Now, everyone you know will start giving you moving tips once they find out you are moving, which can get very confusing. Therefore, I have made a list of some of the basic tips for preparing for a move.



Planning Your Move

  • Start planning your move two months before your moving date.
  • Get organized. Know what belongings you are going to be taking with you and what you will be selling or donating. Keep an inventory list of each room.
  • Decide if you will be doing the move yourself or if you will be hiring a moving company.

Tips for Finding the Best Moving Company

  • Call at least three moving companies as soon as possible to come to your house and give you an estimate on how much it will cost to move your goods.
  • Make sure the mover you choose is licensed, bonded, and insured.
  • Decide if you will be doing the packing or if you will have the moving company do the packing.
  • Research the firm you choose to make sure it is reputable.
  • The price will normally depend on the weight and amount of your items and the distance of the move.
  • Extremely low estimates could indicate the moving company is of poor quality.
  • There are additional fees to consider when using professional movers, including extra valuation coverage for your belongings; additional services, such as preparing appliances for the move or moving a piano; and extra charges, such as expedited services and long-haul charges.

Tips for Finding the Best Rental Truck Company

  • Call a few rental truck companies to compare their rates. The rates usually vary depending on the size of the truck needed and whether it is a one-way move or if you will be able to return the truck to the original rental location.
  • When renting a truck, there are many additional expenses that you might not think about. For example, most rental trucks do not get good gas mileage, so it’s best to ask how many miles to the gallon you can expect to get and budget accordingly.
  • Contact your auto insurance company and your credit card companies to see if you would be covered if the rental truck gets damaged somehow. If you are not covered, make sure to purchase the insurance offered by the rental truck company.

Tips for Packing

  • If moving yourself, you will need to purchase all of your packing supplies, including boxes, tape, bubble wrap, markers, etc.
  • Pack a suitcase for each member of the family with their essential items and changes of clothes. These suitcases should not go on the truck but rather in your car.
  • Start filling an “Open First” box. This box will contain the items that you will need right away, such as toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, trash bags, cups and plates, scissors, and snacks.
  • Start a box for your valuables and important documents. Keep this box with you during your move.
  • Make sure to label the boxes for the room that they will go into at your new home, and if possible, make a list of what is in each box to create a master list.

Tips for Moving Pets Across the Country

  • Call your veterinarian and get copies of the records for your animals. Ask your veterinarian if he or she has any referrals in the area where you will be moving.
  • Since moving can be stressful for any animal, ask your veterinarian if there are any medications that can relieve stress for your animal or what signs you should be looking for if your animal is in trouble.
  • Depending on the distance of your move, you might want to hire a pet-moving service, as moving companies are not permitted to move pets.

Moving Checklist

Even the most organized person can be unprepared for what all comes along with moving.  A checklist will help!

One to Two Months Prior to the Move

  • Decide if you are going to be using a moving company or if you are going to do it yourself.
  • If you decide to use a moving company, make an appointment for the movers to come to your house to evaluate the work that will be needed and to give you an estimate.
  • If you are going to be doing the move yourself, call a moving vehicle rental company to get their rates and reserve a truck for your big day.

One Month Prior to the Move:

  • Change your address with the post office, credit card companies, banks and magazine subscriptions.
  • Call your current utility company and let them know what day to have your utilities disconnected (usually the day after your move). Call your new utility company to tell them what day to connect the utilities at your new home.
  • Check with your insurance company to make sure the items you are moving will be covered.
  • Create a list of friends, relatives and business associates who should be notified about your move.
  • Transfer or get copies of medical and dental records for everyone in your family. Also, ask if they have any referrals for healthcare providers in the area you will be moving to.
  • If you have children, get copies of school records, and if you have pets, get copies of the records from your veterinarian.
  • Start going through your belongings and deciding what will be moved, sold or donated. Have a garage sale or sell your items online. For the items that will be donated, call your local charity and ask what the process is for donating the items.
  • Purchase packing supplies and start filling an “Open First” box. This box will contain the items that you will need right away, such as toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, trash bags, cups and plates, scissors and snacks.
  • Start a box for your valuables and important documents. Keep this box with you during your move.

Two to Three Weeks Prior to the Move

  • Make any travel arrangements or special arrangements for any children or pets.
  • If you are not using movers, start boxing items that you will not need before your move. Make sure to label the boxes for the room that they will go into at your new home, and if possible, make a list of what is in each box to create a master list.
  • Begin using up your food in your pantry and refrigerator/freezer.

One Week Prior to the Move:

  • Confirm your reservation with the moving company or rental truck company.v
  • Transfer your prescriptions.v
  • Send out change of address notifications to the friends, relatives and business associates that you listed.

One Day Prior to the Move:

  • Make sure you have bottles of water and snacks for moving day, as everything will be packed.
  • Pack your suitcase with your personal items and clothing you will need immediately.

Moving Day:

  • If you hired a moving company, supervise the movers. If you are moving yourself, communicate the plan for loading the rental truck to all who are helping you.
  • Take a last look around to see that nothing is left behind.

One Week After the Move:

  • Make sure your mail is being delivered properly.
  • Change your automobile registration and driver’s license.