Buyer’s Guide for a Successful Move
The average American changes their residence 11.3 times throughout their life.
Ben Franklin once said, “Moving three times is as bad as a fire”. That 18th-century adage highlighting the negative effects of moving is no longer true — especially when you have professional movers by your side.
Whether is your first household move or your fifteenth, we know that moving is inherently stressful and can be very confusing.
This guide will walk you through the top questions and concerns to ask when hiring a moving company and completing the moving process. We encourage your questions throughout the move. With the right movers, you will be working with down-to-earth people running a family business helping people like you.
You may move only 11 times in your life. We move families like yours every day.
Do I Need a Professional Moving Company?
You may be curious about doing a Do It Yourself move, but there are often tips, tricks, and most importantly the proper tools and equipment that professional movers have access to that you don’t.
How much does it cost to have professional movers move you?
- The cost to hire a mover varies greatly based on the inventory of your move and its weight.
- Movers also charge an hourly fee for labor, which includes their travel time. This affects the overall cost.
How much does parking cost?
- According to HomeAdvisor, the cost of packing a home can vary between $270 and $2,200, with the average being about $1,000.
- If you’re hiring professionals to help with packing and unpacking, the cost can run from $370 to $3,600.
Do I need damage coverage for my move?
- The details of your damage coverage will depend on the policy you choose. We provide valuation options. Your moving representative will be able to provide you with more information on your options.
What kind of mover do I need?
Whether you’re looking to move your office or you’re changing homes, we have moving and storage services ranging from local and long-distance to office and corporate relocation that depend on:
- How far away you’re moving.
- How many rooms you’re moving.
- If you require specialty services, such as moving a gun safe or piano or moving for older adults.
- If there needs to be furniture that requires disassembly or reassembly at the new location.
How to Choose the Right Moving Company for You:
Get your quotes in writing.
- This will eliminate confusion and miscommunication.
Talk to 2-3 companies
- Compare what their services are and what their price is.
- Do this about six weeks ahead of time, or sooner if you’re moving in the summer, which is the busy season.
Are they fully licensed and insured?
- Make sure you’re covered in the event of an accident.
- Ask for license numbers and the name of the carrier.
Are they family-owned and operated?
- If there is a problem, ask to speak to the owner.
How long have they been in business?
- Experience makes a difference. Look for movers with decades of trusted moving.
- Look at negative reviews too, not just at the five-star recommendations. Look to see the common complaints people reported and how the movers offered to rectify them.
- Check common review sites like Google, Yelp and Angi.
Types of Moves
Full-service moving offers everything from packing and unpacking options to furniture disassembly and reassembly. Just like the name says, it’s truly full-service. You won’t have to lift a finger. Busy professionals often choose this option, as it takes the stress out of moving. Many companies also offer partial-service plans and customized moving plans to fit what you need.
Packing, lifting and transporting your own items. On top of getting a truck, the customer will have to find and purchase their own packing supplies such as:
- Packing paper
- Moving blankets
You will probably find it beneficial to rent items such as dollies, especially for heavy items.
The middle ground between full-service and DIY moves. Hire movers on an hourly basis to help load/unload your goods. Labor only is a time and energy-saving move if you don’t mind packing your own items but would like some professional help with the heavy lifting.
How To Hire A Mover
- What information to have ready before calling a mover:
- Date and times of your move.
- What services you will need: Will you want packing or unpacking? Will you need storage or packing supplies?
- Do you have any specialty items you plan to move?
- Understand your budget. How much are you willing to spend for moving help?
- Fill out an online quote form
- Most moving companies will have an opportunity to fill out a free moving quote form on their website. Once you narrow down the movers that you are interested in using, fill out their online quote forms to request a quote on your moving cost.
How To Make An Accurate Inventory of Your Belongings
- Start with a clipboard
- Create a new sheet for each room
- Go through each room and note down:
- Furniture (will it need disassembly?)
- Items that will be boxed and the best type of box for them (book box, medium box, large box, specialty box)
- Items that will need special consideration (artwork, large, bulky items, TVs, mirrors)
- Items that are on hangers
- Don’t forget to look in closets, the attic and the garage
- Put all sheets together in a moving binder or folder, where you can also store receipts and paperwork from the moving company
Questions The Moving Company Will Need To Know:
How many floors is your home?
- They’ll make sure to bring the right tools and equipment and the correctly sized crew.
- Stairs may add overall time to the move.
- If your building has elevators, you should reserve one in advance.
Do you have a flat-screen TV?
- They can build a box for it if you don’t have the box it originally came in.
Do you have antiques?
- They will outline valuation coverage and discuss how to properly pack or crate the items.
Do you want someone to help you pack?
- They generally offer full-service packing or partial packing, tailored to your needs.
Do you want additional coverage?
- Valuation coverage is an optional added liability coverage. If you choose full replacement value protection, the mover will repair the article to the extent necessary to restore it, pay you for the cost of repairs or replace the article with an article of like kind and quality. With Basic Value Protection, the mover is required to reimburse you for the item based on its weight, at 60 cents per pound.
Is your location accessible by our truck?
- If your location is on a hill or in a hilly area, they will need to prepare.
- For inaccessible locations, we may need to arrange for a shuttle service to load items into a smaller vehicle for the final destination.
Is there a place to park in front?
- Where will the movers park in relation to your front door?
- Will they need a permit for street parking?
How to handle an inventory (virtual or in-person)
- A mover will go through your home with a clipboard or tablet, room by room to document furniture, artwork, and items that will need to be boxed.
- Be upfront with the mover about all of your items, so we can establish an accurate inventory and estimate
Be sure to tell them things you don’t want packed.
- Most movers work fast. Label the items you don’t want to be loaded.
- Designate a room or space for these things.
- Call the mover
- Once you have received your quotes, you should be able to choose a mover that meets your needs and your budget. Call the mover you are most inclined to hire and ask them more specific questions about your move like the type of services you need and ask if they are available for your moving dates.
What to Do On Move Day
On moving day, you need:
- To be present for questions and direct the movers where to go
- Review documents
- Create and review your own inventory checklist
- Sign the driver’s inventory list
- Provide payment
What To Do At the New Location
Set up cable, phone, wifi and yard maintenance
- Talk to the cable installers and other utility-related services for your new home four weeks ahead of the move to arrange for a connection
- Have utilities turned on a day before your move
- Arrange to have utilities turned off at your old home a day after you move out
Do you need a cleaning service?
- The best time to deep clean a house is before you move in
- Consider scheduling a cleaning crew a day or two ahead of the move
Do you need people to unpack?
- We offer unpacking services to help you move in quickly
- We can place your items on a counter for you to put away or place them in the cupboards and closets
- We can haul away and recycle empty boxes
After The Move
What to do if something is broken during the move or is missing after the move?
- Call your moving company and make a report. They may have a system for finding misplaced items.
- Consider filing a claim with the moving company.
- Have any proof of your items, such as photos from the move or your inventory list.
How to file a claim.
Call your moving company and ask how they file claims.
Here are some pro tips when it comes to preparing for a claim:
- Be sure to keep your broken items.
- Don’t throw them away, but set them aside in case the damage must be inspected for your claim. Submit claims as soon as possible in order to expedite the process.
- If you notice a missing or broken item on the day of the move, be sure to say something to your movers right then to protect your rights. If you don’t it’s hard to prove who is at fault.
How Much Will I Recover as Compensation?
Don’t expect to get the full value back for your lost or damaged item. The moving company may ask how much you paid for the item or what the condition was like before. You may be able to negotiate how much you receive back, but this is up to the moving company itself.
Full or partial valuation: if you opted to pay for full valuation for your moving company, you will receive more compensation for your item. Partial valuation is typically dependent on the weight of your items and can be as low as receiving back $0.60/pound of your item.
Movers are able to limit their liability coverage on more expensive items. However, the exact cost of value protection varies by mover, so it is beneficial to ask your mover about their plans and have a clear understanding of your Rights and Responsibilities before signing the paperwork.
Let the company know if you are not happy. Or leave a positive review online.
Bad experience? Contact the moving company. More than likely, they will have policies and procedures set in place to help rectify the situation.
Good experience? Leave a review for them online, such as on Google or Yelp to let others know they are a great company to work with. Informing the moving company about your experience also helps them to better serve their customers by informing them what they did right and what they can do better.
Moving is a specialized industry and you’re likely to come across terms you’re unfamiliar with. We’re here to break down commonly used moving terms and what you need to know:
Accessorial/Additional Charge: Charges for additional services, such as packing/unpacking.
- These charges may show up for unexpected issues during your move, such as having to use a shuttle service.
Bill of Lading: This is your receipt or contract with your mover.
- Read the bill of lading before you accept it.
- Ask your moving company questions if you don’t understand something.
- By signing this bill of lading, you are entrusting all of your belongings to the mover for transportation.
Binding/Non-Binding Estimate: this is what is provided before the move as an estimation of how much the move will cost. The full charge amount will be given after the move is completed.
- Binding: The mover quotes a flat price based upon a given inventory. No matter how long the job takes, the flat price is always paid. It is given only when an onsite estimate is performed
- Non-Binding: These estimates are based upon the movers’ previous experience of jobs similar to yours. As the name suggests, these estimates are subject to change
Carrier: the mover or company you’re working with.
C.O.D.: stands for “cash on delivery.”
- Payment is required at time of delivery (before the move),
- Some movers take cash, cashier’s checks or money orders.
- Be sure to discuss payment options with your mover before your moving date.
High-Value Article: an item valued at about $100 per pound.
- You might need to fill out an inventory form for each article considered as a high-value article.
Interstate Move: Any move that crosses state boundaries regardless of miles.
Intrastate Move: A move within the state.
Order for Service: The document that authorizes the moving company to move your items.
Order Number: The number used to identify and track your shipment. It will be found on your order for service and the bill of lading.
Shuttle Service: When a smaller vehicle is used to transport your shipment to its destination. This usually happens when a road is too narrow or there isn’t enough parking to get the moving truck to its destination.
Storage In Transit (S.I.T.): Temporary storage for your belongings if your new home isn’t ready.
- The time in storage may not exceed more than 180 days.
- Note that you will be charged for storage fees.
Valuation: This is not insurance, but a specific amount a moving company agrees to pay if the item is damaged or lost by the mover.
- Options for minimum or full coverage
- Federally regulated
- Often determined by the weight of goods
With all of this, you’re fully armed with all the moving knowledge you need to have a successful moving process. You know what to look for in your movers, how and what to pack, and some frequently used terms to help you navigate around your moving contract. You are now at an advantage–you’re going into your moving process knowing more than the average Joe.