Summer is here, which means many people will be moving. Some people choose to move themselves, but that can be physically and mentally exhausting and not always worth the savings. Using professional movers often makes a lot of sense. But how do you make sure you’re using a good one? Here are some tips to get started.
Look at publicly available information. All interstate movers are required to be both licensed and registered with the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. That site will also have complaint reports for registered movers. Your local Better Business Bureau also tracks complaints.
Get an Estimate. You need an estimate based on a walk-through. If the mover refuses to do so or insists that you sign a contract (or make a deposit) before doing so, find someone else.
Make sure they’re insured. If they’re not, don’t work with them. Federal law requires interstate movers to offer liability coverage for any damage to your property at no cost. However, the baseline coverage is 60 cents per pound per item, regardless of the item’s value. Most movers also offer additional coverage for a fee, which you should consider after reviewing the terms. Before declining such additional coverage, think of how much your items are worth, and if 60 cents per pound is enough to make it right if something happens.
Ask Questions Up Front. What is the hourly rate? Is that per-person or for a whole team? If it’s per-person, see how many movers will be present. What other costs (fuel, packing materials, etc.) will you be charged, and at what rates. You can save some money by packing yourself, but the pros can do it faster and more efficiently. Regardless, make sure to get quotes from multiple companies.
Look at the Paperwork. Look at the bill of lading, which outlines everything being moved, the origin and destination, and costs. It’s your receipt, so review it closely, make sure it’s correct and keep a copy!
Movers are also required to provide you with a copy of a pamphlet titled “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”. Make sure you get and read it.
Supervise. Make sure you or someone you trust is there to oversee the whole process. You can help direct the movers and point to which room boxes and big items belong. Also, if a problem arises, you’re there to bear witness and assist.
Storage. If you can’t move directly from one place to another, many movers will offer to store your stuff. See how much it will cost for the space as well as moving into and out of that space.
Gratuity. While not required, it’s nice to tip your movers for good service. While supervising the move, bring some cold waters or sports drinks to offer the movers. Kindness goes a long way!
By following these tips and doing your due diligence on your local moving companies, you’ll find the perfect mover for you.