Moving house can be one of the most stressful experiences of adult life, especially if it’s your first time. The decisions and considerations, the inflexible schedules and money in play can make you feel like you’re juggling bowling balls. The last thing you need is a moving company who lets you down. Everything needs to go like clockwork, and a late, expensive or inexperienced mover can be a spanner in the works. Who needs it?
Luckily you’re not alone. Nearly 31 million people moved home in the U.S. just last year. The enormous demand for movers means the market is competitive: there is no shortage of moving companies vying for your business. Choice is good, but it can sometimes be daunting. With so many to choose from, all offering certain advantages and benefits, you’ll need a no-nonsense set of criteria to sort through them and pick the best one for you.
First of all, consider your priorities for a mover: Is budget your biggest concern? Do you have to move fast? Do you own many breakables and need a safe pair of hands most of all? Of course, the answer is all three, but to help you filter through and find the right one, it can help to know your needs.
This guide will tell you how to choose a mover, how to hire movers, what to expect and what to know before requesting a quote. So before you pick up the phone or make any kind of commitment, familiarise yourself with these top tips for avoiding scams and hiring the mover of your dreams.
There’s no reason a move shouldn’t go smoothly with the right team at your wings! Here is a checklist of things your chosen mover should be able to offer, as well as things to be wary of.
Size of deposit
With movers of any kind, it is a warning sign if you are persuaded to pay a large deposit. In the worst case scenario, some scam artists will steal the deposit outright, and disappear. In less egregious cases, a moving company demanding a large deposit may have limited faith in their skills – another warning sign. Be cautious of any advance payments, and make sure to use a credit or debit card in order to keep records of your expenditure.
A moving company worth their salt will always take inventory of your belongings. That way they can be sure everything they are hired to deliver makes it, and also mitigate the risk of being accused of leaving something out. It is the mark of a mover who understands insurance protocols. They ought to be thorough, listing not just the biggest items but any items within those items, for example objects in a chest of drawers. That way you can rely on their final quote being fair.
On a similar note, a good estimator will take a thorough walk-through to assess the scale of the job, i.e. what needs transporting. An estimator who can perform this task in under five minutes is either extremely experienced or slapdash. To be safe, it is wise to be wary of this.
An established name
To bamboozle the Better Business Bureau, some companies regularly change names or operate under several names. That is not often a sign of reliability. More likely it is a way to stop potential customers researching their name and seeing online reviews. As well as their name, the mover you choose should also have their address and contact details in plain view. This shows they have no bad business practices or too many unfavourable reviews to hide.
Packing costs included
A simple way to cut down on moving costs is to pack your belongings yourself. This is typical, although if you are pushed for time this is not always possible. Be aware, if you do pack your belongings for transit yourself, that your mover does not include unnecessary packing costs in your quote. Some less reputable companies may try to slip this charge under the radar, so study the estimate you’re given.
If you choose to hire your movers to pack as well as carry, inquire about their experience. They should know which types of packaging are best for which objects and be able to recommend safe packaging for delicate items like picture frames. This will minimise the risk of hiring someone who will throw all items into the same box willy-nilly. This is rare, but to avoid this absolutely it is suggested that you handle the packing yourself.
This one is quite important. Under no circumstances sign anything that has not been filled in beforehand, and do not feel pressured to do so. Absolutely everything should be in writing before you come to sign it, including pick-up and delivery date and any extra fees incurred. This also gives you a chance to make sure the mover’s inventory is complete before the day of the move. It also deters some scurrilous movers from adding in extra costs after your signature has been written. Rare, but not impossible. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
One last tip:
Labor costs may begin to be counted once the mover’s vehicle has left the mover’s premises. Since time equals money for moving companies, make sure you have your belongings as close to ready to be loaded and outside your property before the movers arrive, minimising the time they spend loading.
Use CitizenShipper to be sure of a fast, reliable and inexpensive delivery of your belongings from one home to another. Simply post the details of your shipment to the CitizenShipper marketplace and let the best-suited movers contact you with quotes. It’s super fast and super easy. Get a free quote today.
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