your home is in escrow. You’re preparing for the next big phase
of this experience - THE MOVE.
course, many horror stories abound about moves that didn’t go
well. This entire section is designed to give you tips on how
to avoid moving problems, and consequently to make your move as
easy as possible.
The Right Moving Company
trying to choose which moving company will ultimately get the
job of moving your precious belongings, follow these suggestions:
- Don’t be
afraid to get as many quotes as you can.
- Keep in mind
that certain movers offer non-guaranteed estimates that are
often 'low-balled', and then these movers present you with
a huge bill when the move is complete.
- Make sure
that any estimates you receive from movers are either 'binding'
or include a 'not to exceed' clause.
a checklist to follow when choosing and interviewing moving companies.
1. Licenses: Check to see that the mover
is licensed with your state's Department of Transportation. Simply
ask for their mover's license certificate and call the DOT for
verification. See the DOT phone number list for each state at
the bottom of the page.
2. Estimates: Estimating uses a number of
unscientific variables factored into how long the move will take.
Professional estimators use a variety of items in calculating
the cost of a move. These include the size and weight of each
individual piece of furniture, an estimate of how many boxes,
and how much tape and packing material, etc. will be used. Then
the estimator factors in how many trucks it will take, how many
movers will be required, and the distance from point A to point
B. Once this has been done, the final estimate is determined.
Other companies eyeball everything and give you a quote based
on past experience.
are some estimating tips:
- Inquire as
to what type of estimating the moving company offers. (See
- Present the
estimator with everything you are taking with you. This includes
all items found in the basement, attic, shed/barn, closets,
in other storage facilities, etc.
- Inquire as
to how binding the estimate is. Low priced estimates are especially
crucial. If the estimate is binding, make sure the contract
- Inquire about
purchasing extra valuation/insurance. Movers provide basic
insurance that may not cover the cost of replacement for very
are several kinds of estimating used in the moving industry. These
Estimate : The mover offers a guaranteed price,
within a small percentage of deviation, that is based on a complete
list of items to be moved and the type of service performed.
Non-binding or hourly rate: Essentially,
this is not even an estimate. Instead, it is a protracted price
list of costs based on the experience of jobs similar to yours.
Not to exceed: This quote is binding only
for the mover and states that the final price for the move will
not exceed the estimated figure. If the move, however, is less
than the estimated amount, you pay the lesser price.
not accept binding estimates over the telephone or the Internet!
Accurate estimates must be given in person after an estimator
evaluates all your goods. To receive the most accurate estimate,
follow these instructions:
- Be very clear
as to which items you are packing
- Be very clear
as to which items the mover packs
- Be very clear
which items need to be picked up from a storage facility
- Be very clear
what packing supplies you'll need (boxes, wrapping, tape,
- Be very clear
as to the exact destination of the move
of which kind of estimate you end up with, make sure that
the amount is written into the contract.
3. Customer dissatisfaction: Check for dissatisfied
customers. The moving industry is wrought with this type of customer.
Some are justifiable, some or not. Beware of any mover who has
received the same complaint from a number of customers, whether
the complaints are about price, the handling of household goods,
or punctuality. Contact your local Better Business Bureau or click
here for the national BBB http://www.bbb.org. Also, check your state's DOT
for more information on the movers you’re thinking about hiring.
4. Recommendations: Ask those who you know
have moved before for their recommendations. However, this should
not be a substitute for your own research. Ask each of your prospective
movers for references from previous customers and for documents
on their history of service.
5. Local trade association membership: Local
trade associations maintain high standards and will give you detailed
information about a company’s business practices. In the case
of a dispute, you will have a higher power with whom to air your
grievances. One such trade organization is the American Movers
6. Insurance: Any reputable mover has insurance and
will be glad to go over the coverage and transit protection options.
7. Price/Rates: Remember, moving is not always
about getting the best price. What it is about is protecting your
personal belongings and having them arrive at your new home safely
and unbroken. Do not select a mover on price alone. Moving companies
must carry insurance, provide trained personnel, and maintain
their trucks and equipment. These are costly expenses and are
part of the reason why large, recognizable moving companies charge
what they do. A cheap rate should serve as a “red flag”.
8. Storage: Inquire as to whether your mover
provides a storage facility to store your belongings in case they
cannot be moved in your new home right away. Inquire as to whether
they own their own facility or if they store goods in a public
facility used by other carriers.
9. Watch them work: Inquire if the mover
is working with a local family. Pay that family a visit on the
day of the move, and observe for yourself how they conduct themselves.
10. Visit the Mover: If the mover is local,
drive by and visit them in person. Look around the office, and
check their facility. Make sure these are the types of people
you want coming into your home, touching your belongings, and
moving them somewhere else.
11. Check existing homeowner's or renter's policy: To cover potential damage coverage as movers are limited
by law regarding what they can give you for lost or damaged goods.
12. Gratuities: Inquire as to expected gratuities
and write these into the contract.
13. Overrun Guarantees: Have the contract
include a guarantee of how many hours the job will take, allowing
an overrun of no more than 10%.
have two choices when it comes to packing.
- Packing it
- Letting the
movers do everything.
you choose to do the majority of the packing yourself, you stand
to save a lot of money. Study these tips to insure you do the
best packing job possible.
- Limit yourself
to packing only non-fragile items such as books, linens, clothing,
shoes, and replaceable items such as plates, dishes (not fine
china), and small kitchen appliances. These items will be
cheaper to replace in case of damage as opposed to hiring
workers for the extra labor. For the large items, such as
furniture, mattresses, and heavy appliances, let the mover
- Pack everything
carefully. It is important to buffer and separate the fragile
items that you pack with old newspaper, bubble wrap, sheets,
blankets, pillows, and towels.
- Wrap each
fragile item separately. Fill in empty spaces to minimize
movement during transit. Pack plates and glass objects vertically,
rather than flat and stacked. Purchase strong adhesive based
tape such as duct tape or the plastic and strapping tape that
professional movers use.
- Create an
inventory list of all your goods and cross reference them
to their assigned boxes which should all be numbered.
- Let your
mover inspect your packed boxes, especially the fragile and
valuable boxes. Movers do have the right to refuse to load
any box they deem improperly packed. Any improperly packed
boxes must be repacked either by you or the mover. All repacking
services usually come at an additional cost. Professional
moving companies use only sturdy and reinforced cartons. Although
the boxes you can obtain from your neighborhood supermarket
may be free, they are not nearly as strong or padded. They
are more susceptible to causing damage to your valuables in
transit. Keep in mind that movers are not liable for items
they didn't pack.
- To protect themselves, many movers will not disconnect your
major appliances. Before the movers arrive to pack and load,
unplug and prep your refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, washer,
- Do this yourself. Make sure you back-up your important files
and take them with you.
- Movers will not transport plants or pets. If you do not
wish to give them away, don't forget to prepare them for the
move. They will need a 'plant/pet suitcase' of their own.
materials - Movers will not transport or allow you to pack
hazardous materials. These items include: paint, thinners,
solvents, oils, varnishes, firearms and ammunition, bottled
gas, propane, lamp oil, anything flammable, explosive or corrosive,
motor fuels and oils, nail polish remover, bleach, and aerosol
Check out the Moving
Checklist. Click Here.