Challenges During The Moving Process
Moving is difficult. No one knows that better than a moving company. But there are solutions to a lot of the problems that arise during the moving process, and with a little know how and planning, they can be easily implemented.
Listed below are some of the most common problems individuals face when looking for movers, comparing movers, and the moving process. By knowing more about the industry, you can make better decisions and make your move as stress-free as possible.
The moving process is essentially two phases: Phase 1 being the preparation stage, 2 being the move itself. Lets break it down by each phase. Now this blog is long, so you most likely do not have time to read it all. Each section is broken down by a heading so you can find the info you are looking for quickly and easily.
How to find a professional mover, with a great reputation
Just finding a mover can be difficult due to the number of websites and information out there pertaining to moving companies. Based on what you actually want and how deep of a search you want to get into, there are ways to find movers and ways that you may want to avoid. The best way to find a local moving company is to simply search on Google. In this way, you can specifically target not only your town, but towns around you to find other reputable movers close by you. Finding a town close to you is important because it will cut down on transportation costs associated with your move.
Warning! When you google movers, you are almost guaranteed to find websites that belong to domains such as moving.com and other lead generation websites. These websites are not bad or evil, their job however, is to find multiple movers that match your needs instead of just one. This means that your phone will ring maybe more than you'd like it too. These websites are a great tool to use if you want to just input information once and have movers come to you, but just know that you generally will get at least 4 phone calls from at least 4 different moving companies in most cases.
Checking up on your movers reputation
Once you find the movers you want to work with or consider, your next task is to check out their reputation and history. Naturally, many people will want to go straight to Yelp, but take a look at one of our past blog posts to learn why that may not be the best route to take. It certainly shouldn't be the only route at the very least.
Some of the best ways to review a company is to go to a government website where you can find driving and company records and also consumer reporting platforms like the Better Business Bureau.
You can check out how many trucks and trailers a moving company has in its fleet, as well as driver's and their driving histories, by going to the U.S. Department of Transportation's website. Some red flags to look for while exploring this site are to take note of how many trucks and drivers the company actually has listed. If you see only one driver and one truck, there is a very good chance your move will be sub-contracted to another company or driver.
The Better Business Bureau not only tracks and records how companies treat their customers, they also act as an intermediatry between consumer disputes. You can actually see the diallogue of any situation reported to the Better Business Bureau right on their website. You can see what made a customer upset and what a customer actually did to correct the problem. The BBB then rates companies based on their responsiveness to their customers. This differs from review sites like facebook or Yelp because on those sites, anyone can write anything they want and they can do so anonymously. So when you depend on sites that do not confirm whether or not a person was an actual customer, you run the risk of getting bad information and cannot sort out the good from the bad.
The process of getting estimates
Once you have selected the initial group of movers, you are now ready to receive estimates. You may be wondering, "shouldn't I want estimates from every company in order to receive as many as possible?" The answer to this question depends entirely on how much time you have. I would be willing to bet you have limited time and therefore have a limited amount of time dedicated to receive moving estimates. Now doesn't it make sense to only receive estimates from reputable moving companies? This is why you evaluate the moving companies first, before wasting your time getting estimates from companies who are not trustworthy.
Deciding which way of receiving an estimate is right for you
There are two ways to receive an estimate. The first and fastest option would be over the phone or through an online inventory form provided by a moving consultant. The slower way and often argued best way, is to have a representative from the moving company come to your home to provide you with an in-home estimate. If you do not have that many items and feel confident that you know what items you actually want to move, then an over the phone or online estimate is perfectly fine. In-home estimates are beneficial mostly to individuals who have homes with attics and/or basements, or large condos (3 bedrooms or more).
It is highly recommended you ask for an in-home estimate if you own a home. The reason for this is because people often overlook items within their homes, especially when there is a lot of items that need to be moved, and this leads to an inaccurate estimate. But hey, don't feel bad! That is why we are here.
Understanding how movers charge (Reading your estimate)
Once you received estimates from your selected moving companies, you need to go over them. While most estimates are laid out in a way that are easy to understand, there are some things on them that can be misunderstood or missed by someone not used to look at moving estimates all day. It is very important when hiring a moving company that you know exactly what they have agreed to do as this can make all the difference between a smooth move and a stressful move. It cannot be stressed enough that you take the time to ensure your list of items is accurate.
Local moves are charged by the amount of time it actually takes to move you, usually by the hour. With an accurate list of items, most moving consultants can give you an accurate estimate of the amount of time it is actually going to take. If you live in Boston or another city that has old buildings, it is important to let your moving consultant know if you have a walk-up unit with a narrow staircase. Staircases and even elevators can add time to your move, just for the sheer time oriented obstacle they present on your moving day. There may be some items that need to be hoisted out of a window due to their size.
Long Distance Moving
Long Distance moves are charged based on the items you actually ship. These items can be separated by weight or by volume (how much space they take up inside the moving van). Always ask how your mover calculates the charges for your move. AGAIN, make sure your list of items is actually accurate.
What to look for in your estimate
Make sure all basic information is correct!
While it may seem obvious, you should always make sure all the necessary personal information related to your move is correct. This is information like your pickup and delivery addresses, the actual date of your move, and telephone numbers. Something as small as listing your street as "rd" instead of "way" can send your movers to the wrong street.
DO NOT FORGET to check your list of items to make sure it is everything you are moving! (You may start to notice a recurring theme here) A moving consultant can only be as accurate as the information he/she is given.
Make sure your rates match up with what you have been told
You always want to verify that the rate you were given by your moving consultant matches the actual rate listed on the estimate. If you are moving locally, you will want to make sure that the number of hours you were told it would take for your move are listed properly and that the hourly rate is accurately displayed.
If you are moving out of state, make sure that the rate per pound or rate per cubic foot(however your company charges) is accurate and listed on the estimate. Sometimes moving consultants will give discounted rates and the default rate could be listed instead. This is not intended to deceive, it is just that most moving consultants speak to over 70 people per day and mistakes can sometimes happen. Always ask your consultant if you do not uderstand something on the estimate.
How moving companies deliver
If you are moving locally, you most likely need to get your items delivered the same day. Nothing complicated there. You will just be charged based on the amount of time it took to complete your move. If you are closing on a home, you may need a next day delivery and this is something any moving company can accomodate. There are also storage options as well if needed.
Long Distance Moves
Long Distance moving is often the most misunderstood aspect of the moving industry, but it doesn't have to be. The main and most important thing to understand when moving long distance is the delivery window associated with your move. You are mot likely going to have to wait at least a few days and guaranteed delivery dates are very rare for any moving company. So if you believe or are under the impression that your items will be delivered on a certain day you will want to call your movers immediately to confirm this.
Every area in the country has a different delivery window associated with it. Depending on how far you are moving, your delivery window may be longer than others. The delivery window exists because moving companies will very rarely drive towards your new home immediately after picking you up (unless you are moving locally). If you have ever driven a Uhaul yourself across the country you can understand why. Fuel is not inexpensive (although it has been dropping lately) and drivers who deliver your items need to be paid on top of that. So just think if you were driving a huge tractor trailer across the country to deliver people's household goods. Fuel is far more expensive than that small Uhaul so many people use, plus the driver and any other movers with him must be paid for their work as well. This adds up.
For this reason, moving companies consolidate as many customer's moves into one tractor trailer in order to save time and money. This means that if customer "A" who is going to California gets picked up on August 18th, and Customer "B" and "C" are getting picked up on August 20th, it does not make sense to head to California after Customer "A's" pickup when they would just have to leave right away once again to deliver customer "B" and "C" right after. Moving companies are constantly planning long distance moves in order to get customer's items to them as fast as possible. Sometimes customers receive their items immediately, while others may wait. This is completely by chance and based on who the moving company currently has for customers and what their needs are. The thing to keep in mind is that you are sharing space on a trailer and that is why your moving costs are less expensive than if you were to get a private truck just for you.
You should always plan to be without your items for a bit just in case. It is unrealistic to believe that if your items are picked up in Rhode Island that they will be delivered in Florida the next day. The best approach to take when moving further away is to be patient, be prepared, and to follow up with your moving company for updates.
Insurance can be confusing. There are different policies to choose from as well as different companies, and if you are unsure which policy is the right one for you, this can become very confusing, very fast.
Basic Minimum Liability
Every move with a professional moving company comes with the basic minimum liability insurance. This is good for .60 cents per pound, per item. Meaning, if one of your items weighs ten pounds and gets damaged or lost during a move, you will receive $6 dollars of compensation. You can see that this is not much coverage at all. It is free and only exist because moving companies are required to offer you some form of compensation for damaged or lost items whether you elect insurance or not.
Full Replacement Value Insurance Coverage
Full replacement value coverage is exactly what it sounds like. If you elect this coverage and one of your items is lost or damaged, the insurance company will either A.) pay you the total value of your lost or damaged item in cash or B.) Purchase the identical item that was lost or damaged in order to replace it. This is obviously better coverage than the minimum but it will cost you. Most policies have a rate associated with it as well as a deductible for each rate.
There are some items that insurance will not cover regardless of whether you have full insurance or not. A common one is furniture made of presswood. Furniture made of this material does not move so well and will often flex or bend if moved as a single unit. They also do not disassemble well and may experience some minor damages while being taken apart. Electronics are also a little complicated. A lot of insurance agencies will not cover electronics if they appear to not have any physical damage. Let's take a TV for example. If you receive your items from a mover and go to turn on your TV and it does not work, some insurance companies will not cover the repair or replacement costs unless you can physically show damage on the TV itself.
During The Move
If you want to save money, it would be beneficial for you to be prepared for when the movers arrive. This means having all boxes packed before they arrive (unless you are having the movers pack your boxes as well). You always should consider a parking permit if you live within the city. Having movers who have to park further away than necessary adds time to your move, thus making the move more expensive. Moving consultants can assist you with obtaining parking permits.
Fill out your Bill of Lading
Your movers will present you with what is called a bill of lading. This lists important information for your move like address information, contact information, and the actual list of items the movers have moved. If you are moving out of state, it will ask you to confirm your dleivery address, contact info, and the day you are first ready to receive your items.
Remember when we talked about first available delivery dates and delivery windows? If you do not, scroll up a little ways. It is very important you write in your FIRST day you are ready for delivery, not the ideal day you would like it to get delivered. Again, if you are under the impression you have a guaranteed delivery date, you should call your mvoer immediately.
If you do not know, you should always ask
If you do not know something, you should always ask your moving consultant. Assuming things will only cause disruptions and delays for your move. If you do not have the time to call your movers, many of them have websites where they list helpful information on blogs and tip pages. Some of them even have downloadable checklists to assist you in organizing your move.Being prepared and knowing what to look for when organizing your move can mean all the difference between an easy move and a difficult move. Relocating to a new city is complicated enough so it is important to be organized and clear about what you want when hiring a mover.