By: Sean Zharfati
So you’ve done the hard part; after days, weeks, or months of painstaking review, your new home is chosen and all that remains is take your things from A to B. Hmm, not quite so simple is it?
It’s easy enough to find a moving company, but unless they come personally recommended, it can be difficult to distinguish the movers you can trust from those that you’d want to avoid like the plague. After all, each of the moving companies you’ll speak to will want your business and whilst most are honest, a minority will promise you the moon on a stick right up to the moment you sign on the dotted line. Our list of handy hints will help you tell the gold from the iron pyrites so you can find the moving service that’s right for you.
U-Schlepp Vs Professional Movers
The first decision you need to make is whether to hire a moving company or do the work yourself. Depending on the distance involved, the type of things you own and how much gear you have, it may be feasible to do it yourself but this doesn’t always work out to be the best option. By the time you’ve calculated all the various expenses; time off work, truck hire, gas, etc you’ll probably find that the cost difference between your own labor and using a professional moving service is not so great. On top of this putting a monetary value on the added hassle of organizing everything yourself is not easy to factor in.
An additional thing to think about is that taking your own stuff carries risks. Not only in terms of damage to your possessions but when moving awkward or heavy items, there’s also potential risk to your health, or that of others. Aside from professional movers working in teams, they have experience lifting, moving and transporting heavy items and no less important, insurance cover! Think carefully before choosing the do-it-yourself option.
Price or Estimate?
Check with each moving company you speak to whether the price they are quoting is fixed or if it is simply an estimate. Most companies work on either the weight or volume of your possessions, so it’s a good idea to check this yourself in advance (you can get a rough estimate of weight and volume for certain items with this moving calculator). It isn’t unreasonable for a moving service to increase the price if you’re asking them to transport significantly more stuff than you told them you had, so make sure the information you give them is reasonably accurate. If possible get them to agree to a fixed price with a certain margin of error included (up to 10%). Reputable companies will happily agree to this.
Find out what’s included in the price
The estimates you’ll be quoted will vary. This depends not only on the specific moving company’s rates but also in terms of what each mover will include in the price. Some companies will give free packing or packaging materials up to a specified number of boxes, others will charge for all packing or packaging supplies that you require from them. You may be charged extra for the distance the moving company’s workers have to manually carry your possessions, whilst other moving companies will include this in the price. By thoroughly checking these things in advance you can avoid any moving day shocks.
Local or national moving company?
Depending on where you are moving to and from it may make more sense to use a specialist. Long distance or inter-state moving will probably require a company that is experienced in this sector of the moving business. Don’t just assume that because a company picks up in your area that they will provide a good service moving you half-way across the country. That said, the benefits of using a local, family-run business shouldn’t be understated; they’ll know your area and most small business will take the time and care to look after their hard-won customers.
Check the moving companies’ online profile and customer reviews
Speak with each moving service and ask them for a list of two or three recent customers who you can speak to about the service they received. A trustworthy moving company will be happy to share this information with you (subject to permission). If the company is vague or evasive about providing details be wary, after all if they’re as good as they claim to be then happy customers should be in abundance.
Finally check each company’s profile with sites such as the Better Business Bureau. You might not be able to find the specifics of past complaints but what you will learn is how many complaints were referred to the BBB in the last calendar year, how the complaints were handled and whether they were resolved. Even in the best moving companies things sometimes go wrong and how a company handles the complaints procedure will tell you how much each company really cares about their customers.
Remember the care you put into choosing your new home isn’t the end of your move. Putting the same care and attention into choosing the right moving service will mean your moving day will be less stressful and you can enjoy your new home from the day you move in.