Moving can sometimes really be like a kick in the shin. Don’t get us wrong here. We agree that when you are 20, hiring someone’s minivan and moving your stuff from one apartment to another or one town to another has its own charm. Calling over a few friends for help with the promise of a pizza party makes an otherwise exhausting task joyful and fun.
However, then arrives a day when you wake up and realize that maybe hiring professional movers is not a bad idea. Maybe all your friends are busy working every day or your household has only 2 members who possibly can’t deal with moving the amount of stuff you have accumulated throughout the years. But hiring movers isn’t a walk in the park.
It is absolutely necessary to be careful and choose the right moving company. A move can be quite stressful if you don’t get the right kind of help. Fortunately, we’re here to make sure you get the right help. So let us take you through this detailed guide on how to hire movers.
What Type Of A Move Are You Looking At?
This is the first and the most important question you need to ask yourself. You can’t possibly hire a mover without assessing your own moving needs. The type of move needed by you can be determined on the basis of your budget, the distance you are going to travel and how much stuff needs to be moved. There are essentially four types of moves with varying pros and cons.
1. Full-service Move
A full-service move is the most convenient option wherein the movers take care of the entire process of moving. This means that the professional movers handle all the work related to disassembling, packing, loading, unloading and re-assembling of all your things. They are in charge of driving your belongings to your new home. They also move something as big as your car if you are willing to pay the extra charges.
A full-service move is the best option to consider if you are on a major time crunch and can’t take on the physical tasks that are involved in the process of moving. This type of move also works well when you are travelling and moving long distances or if your possessions are expensive and you want a professional to handle them with care.
The only drawback for a full-service move would be the monetary aspect of it. A full-service move is more expensive than any other types of move. Some of the best full-service moving companies to consider include – International Van Lines, American Van Lines, Allied Van Lines and North American Van Lines among many others.
2. Partial Service Move
This is when you decide to go the DIY way for certain aspects of your move and let professionals take the reins of other areas. There are many moving service providers that offer a Full-Packing Service, Partial Packing Service or Fragile Packing Service exclusively. In this scenario, you would only be availing of the packing services and taking care of the rest by yourself. It sure is cheaper when you have the transportation bit sorted.
Similarly, you can also use a moving company’s services to ship your vehicles or move a large item like a Piano, while you take care of packing everything else by yourself. If needed, you can always have the moving service provider assist you with disassembling and reassembling your furniture. Or even the installation of appliances. The bottom line is that there are countless ways in which services can be customized, which is what a partial service move is all about.
3. Moving Container Moves
It sometimes happens that you don’t trust anyone with your precious and beloved items and that’s perfectly fine. If you are one of those people, you can always opt for a moving container move. In this case, you just have to load and unload your own stuff and the company takes care of transporting your belongings to your new home.
A moving container move is a budget friendly option as it is cheaper to do all the work by yourself and hire someone to transport it. A moving container company will also allow you to store your items after the truck picks them up. You can have things stored till your new home is ready. However, you must enquire and pay accordingly for this kind of a service.
This type of a move is the best alternative when you are moving long distances, while having enough time and energy to load and unload your stuff by yourself.
4. Truck Rental Moves
If you are willing to take control of every aspect of your move, this type of move will be the best option for you. In this type of move, you are in charge of packing, loading and driving the truck to your new home. If you are working on a tight budget, this is the best alternative to consider. However, everything has its pros and cons.
For starters, Truck Rental Moves make you take responsibility for all of your actions. If the movers accidently damage your items in the other two types of move, they would be required to reimburse you for them. On the other hand, if you break something while you move, it’s all on you. It is always better to let professional movers help you out as they have been thoroughly trained to handle delicate items.
Sure, Truck Rental Moves prove to be advantageous when you want to save money and travel short distances. Most importantly, you can choose this type of move only if you are comfortable driving your own truck.
How Do I Find A Mover?
Determining the type of move you need will help you structure the rest of your move. Firstly, you will have to choose companies on the basis of the distance of your move, your budget and the exact nature of service you require. Some companies cater to short distance moves, while others specialize in long distance or even cross country moves. Here are some ways to find reliable companies to make the moving process less stressful.
Also Read: 5 Best Long Distance Moving Companies
1. Recommendations or Referrals
The best way to begin your search is by thinking about the people within your social circle who might have hired movers recently. Talking to your friends, families, co-workers and acquaintances will help you get personal reviews on different companies. It will give you an exact idea about what to look for and what to avoid.
2. Local Real Estate Agents
Trusted local real estate agents are one of the best ways to look for good moving companies. There is a possibility that they might know of good companies as they might have already assisted their own customers with their moves either in or out of the area.
3. Phone Books
Companies found in local phone books or yellow pages also tend to be reliable and they are much less likely to indulge into fraudulent practices and scam you as compared to companies found via internet search. A good way to make sure that a company is decent is to check whether the company has been in business for more than ten years.
See Also: How to avoid Moving Company Scam
4. Online search
When all else fails, the online process doesn’t. Just make sure you don’t pick the first thing you get. You can find a list of trustworthy movers from associations like American Moving and Storing Association and state associations of movers. An easy way to go about this is to count on us and find a moving service provider that exactly fits your needs. Visit our website and scour through it to make sure you have everything you need with the decision making.
You can also read our article Best National Moving Companies in the U.S. for help with the process of finding a service that fits your needs.
Once you have a list of recommended movers in place, it’s time for you to do a thorough background check. The following steps will help you to conduct a detailed background check for each of the companies.
1. Company Website
The first step is to visit the company website in order to get more information about the company. You might want to search for a more reputable organization if the website looks very primitive and outdated, or if it does not provide you with the details you need. Always remember, the bare minimum information a good website must provide includes the full name of the company, the address of the company and contact information like multiple phone numbers and an email id.
List down the references mentioned by the company and reach out to least three references per company to enquire about them. Make sure that all these references are the past customers of the company. Talk to each reference about their moving experience with that particular company in detail.
Third party sites like yelp.com or Google reviews tend to be very useful when you wish to find out about the experiences of customers. Companies have a tendency to select and publish only the positive reviews from the set of reviews submitted by all its customers in order to attract more clients. The ratings and feedback on the website do not reflect the real or the actual experience of the clients. A healthy balance of positive and negative feedback will help you get a more realistic representation of how the company actually works.
It’s important to remember that nobody is perfect and every company is bound to have some negative feedback. It’s a promising thing if most of the reviews you find are positive even if there exist a couple of negative reviews. However, if a majority of the clients have spoken ill of the company, it would probably be wise to not consider it as an option. When you are reading consumer feedback, here are some warning signs to look out for?
● Reports of unexpected major delays
● Reports of last-minute changes
● Reports of excessive damage caused to possessions
● Reports of companies holding the customers’ possessions hostage in order to siphon more money.
Organizations that carry goods within the states or across the state lines are required to have the USDOT number (U.S. Department of Transportation) and MC number (motor carrier). Please make sure that you ask for them in order to ensure that the company is legitimate.
You might be dealing with con artists and frauds if their USDOT number says it’s ‘out of service’ or if the contact information you have does not exactly match up to the contact information given in the records. It’s imperative to ensure that the MC records include a safety rating. A simple ‘satisfactory’ rating is good enough if you are considering hiring that particular company.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Moving Company?
Now this cost would depend on various factors. Some of which would certainly be in your control and would largely depend on your specific situation. The cost can be as low as $500 if it’s a local move and as high as $25,000 for a cross country move. It all depends on the size of your house to be moved, distance and the weight and volume of belongings to be moved. While you’re figuring the cost out, it’s also wise to understand your own budget.
Estimating The Budget
After you search for companies and conduct a detailed and exhaustive background check, it is time for you to call the company for an inhouse estimate. Once you call them, the company will send an employee in order to examine your possessions and then evaluate how much the move will cost you. Make sure you do the following things so as to get an accurate idea of the cost.
In House Estimate & Inventory
An employee from a legitimately good moving company will list down all your possessions and assess the bulk and weight of your move. Show the estimator every room and everything you want to move. The estimator should be super meticulous and especially check all the storage spaces like closets, garages, book cases, attics, backyards etc. The mover will charge you on the basis of the weight of your stuff and the amount of space it takes up in the truck. So make sure that the estimator sees everything, in order to get the correct estimate of the cost.
It is impossible for the estimator to get an accurate idea about your possessions if he/she doesn’t walk through your house. Make sure that you provide the estimator with all the knowledge regarding your belongings. The estimator should know what objects are to be transported in the truck and what objects are to be donated or left behind for the new owners of the house.
Fees And Extra Charges
Remember to inquire about all the extra charges that you might need to pay. Make sure that the estimator knows the conditions of your current home and the new home to be prepared for conditions which may complicate the process of moving. For instance, if you are moving into an apartment on the 15th floor, the movers will most likely charge you extra for navigating the staircases and the elevators.
The company should ideally disclose all the fees and the additional charges for additional services. If you feel that the company is being very discreet and not revealing certain things, it would be advisable to avoid doing business with them and to move on to the next company.
A mover should ideally provide you with two documents. The first one is the estimate which is a composite document that acts as your order for service and commercial invoice. This is signed by you and the employee of the moving company. Along with this, you are also supposed to be provided with an inventory list.
Before signing any moving contracts, make sure you know what type of a contract is being used. Sign the contract only if it says ‘Written Binding Estimate’. This means that the mover will give you a guaranteed price for your move along with all the extra charges before your move. Essentially, that will be the exact amount you pay irrespective of whether extra costs are incurred later on.
Ask the movers about the reimbursement for items that are lost or damaged during the move. Enquire about any kind of moving insurance that you might have to take and ask about the kind of liability the company is willing to assume for your goods. There are two different levels of liability that your company will assume. These two levels differ in the aspect of charges applied and amount of protection offered.
- The company might give you Full (Replacement) Value Protection which is extremely comprehensive in nature. In this, the mover takes full responsibility for your goods. If the items are lost or damaged, the mover has to either pay you for the cost of repair or the cost of replacement. However, there is one limitation to this plan. Movers assume liability only for the objects that are of immense value. A valuable item can be anything which costs more than $100 per pound. It is advisable to ask for a complete explanation about this plan before taking any concrete decisions.
- The second option that the company gives you is the Alternative Level of Liability which is very economical in nature. As it assumes liability for all objects of the move, it provides only minimal protection. Under this plan, the mover shall assume liability for not more than 60 cents per pound per object. The mover does not charge you extra for this plan. However, it is mandatory for you to sign a statement on your invoice in order to agree to the plan.
Comparing Moving Companies
Once you are done with your background checks and gotten the price quotes for your move, it is time to compare different companies to each other and choose the best company possible. Compare the deals offered by different companies and see what works out the best for you. If you still have some doubts, call up the company and ask them questions. You have to be clear and confident about what you are going to do, which is why you need all the correct information. If most of the companies are offering deals that are reasonably priced, don’t be scared to bargain and get the best rate for yourself.
Finalizing The Moving Company
After you choose the company that you are comfortable doing business with and which fits into your budget, it’s time to book your move. It is always better to book your moves over the phone, even though the bookings can be made online as well.
Always remember that even if you book certain dates for your move, there might be some changes in the dates according to some unpredictable circumstances that arise at the last moment. For example, the previous client’s move might exceed the estimated time because of which the employees and the trucks are unavailable on the date you booked. It is always wise to keep yourself free for a couple of days before and after the move.
Things To Keep In Mind When Hiring A Mover
There are a few things that you should never do, come what may in order to make sure that the process of moving happens smoothly and successfully.
- Not having the movers visit your house isn’t a great idea. If the mover does not visit your house, there is a chance that certain items will be missed out from the inventory and the mover won’t be able to give you an accurate estimate. A comprehensive inventory prepared by the movers themselves. This allows you to question them in case certain items don’t arrive in good condition or at all to your new home.
- Movers charge by the hour and generally we are always looking out for ways to save money. Don’t assume that hiring two movers will be cheaper than hiring three. Three movers will finish up the job faster and you might end up spending comparatively extra, as the two movers will take longer hours to get done.
- Never go for a company which gives extremely low estimates as compared to its competitors. It could be an inaccurate estimate or there is a possibility that the company might provide very low-quality service that could damage your belongings. It could also be a scam wherein the company takes your money before the move and disappears with your belongings.
- Similarly, never go for a company which gives an extremely high estimate. People have the tendency to assume that expensive is better. This is not true as the company might provide you with mediocre services and you may end up regretting the fact that you paid so much.
- Never choose a mover only on the basis of quoted price. A mover might try to entice you with special deals or offers but he/she might be con artists. It is vital to consider the reputation and trustworthiness of the company along with the estimates offered by them before you choose to book a mover.
- Don’t decide on a company without getting quotes from at least three different moving companies. The more companies you check up with, the better idea you will get about the quality and cost of services, Furthermore, you can also learn about the experiences of previous customers through reviews.
- Avoid doing business with companies that have changed their name often. Some companies dodge getting assessed by the Better Business Bureau by indulging into business with different names. Be sure to get the full name of the company along with its contact information, address and information about licensing and insurance.
- Don’t be uninformed and have your questions ready. A good mover will always provide you with all the information you need. You also need to be prepared with the right questions in order to be informed about the move and to make sure that you find out about the most essential nitty-gritties of moving. If the mover is trying to dodge your questions, you can be sure of the fact that the mover isn’t reliable at all.
- Don’t pay large sums of money before the move. Pay only upon delivery. You have no control over the move and your belongings might get stolen if you pay in advance. Usage of credit cards will protect you from possible scams.
- Never ever sign blank contracts. You should get everything in writing before you sign any statements or contracts. Your contract should mandatory have the estimates given by the mover along with all the extra charges, pickup and delivery dates. Most importantly, an inventory which should be extremely thorough in nature.
Moving can be stressful, there is no denying that. You will be working round the clock when you move and the fatigue will eventually set in. There is no doubt in the fact that fatigue will build up the stress more. However, it is still possible to make your move a success without sacrificing your health. All you have to do is find the right kind of mover to make your life that much easier. If you live in an apartment and need experts to help you out, read our article on 4 Best Apartment Movers in America.