I just went through a move. It was from one house to another within the same town, within a mile of each other. But, from the outside, you would think a move within a short distance would be very easy. The reality is that it didn’t matter if I was moving a block away or a thousand miles. Moving is expensive, tedious, back breaking and confusing. And, it can last for a very long time! Because of the distance and because I had a lot of time to do the actual move, I decided to hire movers for just “the big stuff”. I would pack and carry over all the small items in my little car. Next time, movers will move EVERYTHING!
I found within a few days, that moving small loads is a big challenge. It can actually break down to being more stressful, chaotic, and complicated of a process than moving everything at one time big or small. Moving the things that I could lift by myself and then put into the car one load at a time, tattered my nerves and took a toll on my bank account. I really did not save any money at all by having movers take “the big stuff” only. I have moved many times over the years and every moving experience is unique and special and has its own peculiar characteristics. Moving across several states is very different from moving across town and moving your entire household is quite unlike moving a single furniture piece or a couple of boxes. Relocation needs and requirements are different in every situation. It is best to have a plan and prepare in the best way possible.
You may choose to do all of the packing for your move by yourself. If you have decided to do the move yourself also, you will need to rent a truck, a couple of two-wheeler handcarts and some pads to protect your furniture. Then, you will need to recruit friends to help and probably feed them. You may want to compare those expenses to the cost of hiring movers. As in all professions, in the moving industry there are rogue operators who give you a low price to get the job, then demand a much larger amount before they will unload the truck. It can all be exasperating!
Moving with movers, whether a small job or a big one, requires a few tasks before the actual day of. If you are hiring movers and have nixed the idea of enlisting your friends, it is important to be informed on moving companies policies and practices. You need to find out about their liabilities. If a piece of glassware is broken during the move, will they cover the loss. Get a list of what they cover in case of damages. You want to research the business itself. What is their rating on Yahoo and Angie’s List. You can even google “complaints about xyz moving company” and see what comes up. When you have researched the company and familiarize yourself with their policies, they will want you to sign a contract. Make sure that all of your stuff is protected with that contract. Don’t pay a huge deposit, as this is usually indicative of fraud. If you pay the moving company before the move, there is no guarantee that they will even show up much less get your things to the new house. Pay the movers when the job is done!
When looking for a moving company, there are more questions that you should ask them before you do sign that contract. Even when you are using a legitimate, honest moving company, you may have a bad experience if you don’t know what services the company is providing and at what cost. Ask them what are the insurance terms for the move. You will typically purchase an insurance option for items damaged or lost in transport. And ask if the insurance covers the full value of the item. I found that asking the company if the quote price was an estimate or a “not to exceed” ceiling helped with what company to go with. I also wanted to know if there were any hidden fees. I knew that moving companies often work from a "tariff," which are extra things I could be charged for such as having to go up stairs or a fee for assembly and reassembly of furniture, an extra charge for handling bulky items, or long carry fees, move cancellation fee and a hoisting fee.
You will also want to know how long the company has been in business and ask if they have any references. The moving crew that they use is also very important. If they are employees, they are usually trained on a regular basis and know the rules and regulations of the company. But, many moving businesses will use day laborers and their experience may not be as good. And then, the biggest question of all, how long will it take to move everything? That question, in part, can be answered by you if you have already visualized how you will arrange things in your new house and can give quick instructions on positioning when on location. Put yourself in the best position for a quick set up at the new house, by labeling which boxes belong in which rooms. Make a detailed inventory of everything that the movers will handle. Even if you are moving only a few household pieces or a couple of boxes, make sure you make a detailed statement of the current condition of every single item. It is also a good idea to include several photos of your possessions in case you need to file a claim. Label the items properly with your name and any other relevant information such as final destination, handling instructions, such as “FRAGILE” or “THIS SIDE UP”, etc. This will help prevent losing your items or mixing them with other people’s items traveling in the same truck.
It does not matter if you are moving across town or across the country, you should always have at least three movers to choose from before you sign the dotted line. Get quotes from three moving companies, gather estimates, compare costs and look at other people’s experiences with that company. Do your research and background checks and then hire a the one with the best reputation and appears to be the most trustworthy. Something to take note of when getting an estimate is to have the company come to your home before they give you any numbers. They need to review everything you’re moving to provide a more accurate estimate. It’s also a way to ensure that the mover sees everything you’re moving so that at the end of the move, the inventory they quoted on will match what was moved..
Moving can be expensive and you are watching your bottom line.The least expensive mover might appear to be the best choice. But, again, you need to make sure you have thoroughly researched the company. You might find that one mover’s quote is much lower than the others. This could be a sign that the low cost mover should not be used at all! Remember the information about a rogue mover who can easily swindle with promises of low prices and short move times! If your move is local, you may want to consider a local company that has a great reputation instead of one of the national franchises. They are usually less expensive. Longer moves, a larger company with a national reputation is something to consider.
There are yet other charges that are part of the moving experience and these are based upon the type of move that you are making. Knowing the type of move you are making can also let you know what type of mover you need to hire. A linehaul charge is a basic charge for a long distance move. It is calculated by mileage and weight of your shipment. Linehaul charges are usually on top of your initial estimate.
Then, there is the long carry charge which is an additional charge that is applied when the mover has to carry items from the truck to your house over a long distance such as from down the block or from the back end of a parking lot. There is a distance limit between the rear of the moving truck to your residence entrance. When this limit is exceeded, you are charged an additional fee. Shuttle service is a fee that is charged when your items have to be transferred to a smaller truck because the large moving truck cannot access your home. Specialty movers is if you have larger items to move such as piano. The moving company will charge you an additional fee. Storage in transit is a fee charged if and when your goods have to be stored before being moved to their new home.
When my move was finally over and the movers had gone on to their next job, I sat back and took a breath and was amazed at all they had accomplished. They moved me in within minutes of the time calculation. They came in $300 less than the original estimate. And the strong people who did the heavy lifting did it all with a smile and a joke and a tender hand. There were several moments that I became worried because I collect antiques and many pieces have not aged well. But, the moving company had guaranteed their care and they truly delivered. Moving can be a very stressful event, but with the right research and the right company, it can all be handled smoothly and make you feel right at home.