Moving Resource Center
Hiring a Mover
If you do hire a mover, there is still lots to consider. Base rates are dictated by the ICC (interstate) or a state PUC (intrastate) so you need to compare the effeciency and reputation of a company. Choosing a moving company may seem like an overwhelming task. Where do you start? What qualities should you look for? The following checklist can help:
Give yourself plenty of time.
Planning well in advance makes it more likely you'll find a good company, and also gives you time to figure out how much the move will cost. Start your research at least eight to ten weeks before the move. Ask people you know for recommendations - were the movers on time? Were they professional? Did they have enough people and the right equipment for the job? Did they damage anything? If you need more information than your friends can provide, contact local consumer protection groups for performance records on movers.
If your employer is transferring you, ask your relocation agent. Determine the size, distance, and timing of your move How much do you want to spend on your move? How much work do you want to do yourself? Knowing these important facts will help you get a cost estimate and decide what company is best for you.
Factors that influence the cost are:
Size: The weight of your move. The more weight, the more cost.
Distance: The number of miles you're traveling and the states of your old home and your destination. Some carriers only serve certain states.
Time: The time of year you decide to move. Moving during peak times, such as the summer or holidays, means that you'll pay more for your move.
The final major cost factor when hiring a professional moving company is deciding between a "self-service" and a "full-service" move. In self-service moves, the company transports your belongings from old house to new, but you have to pack and unpack everything at both ends. In a full-service move, the moving company not only transports everything, but also packs and unpacks all your household goods. Most people who hire professional movers choose full-service. Although you could do a self-service move to save money, long-distance moves with lots of heavy, valuable items are best left to the professionals. In addition, cargo insurance for do-it-yourself moves is limited to $25,000 and covers only damage caused by such disasters as crashes or fire.
Obtain a written cost estimate - Most companies give free estimates, so be sure to ask ahead of time. If the estimate is not binding, however, the final cost may differ.
Don't deal with any company that is not licensed. A licensed company should also be able to demonstrate that it carries worker's compensation insurance to protect the company and its customers. When you contact the licensing authority, ask if the company has been in good standing for several years. You don't want a company that lost its license and is now operating under an new name. Here, you need to know the names of the owner(s) to track their license history.
Visit the local moving company office and talk to the owner. If you can only take the time to talk to an owner by phone, ask about the firm's experience and client list. If the list includes corporate clients for executive relocation services, call the client contact to verity references.
Consumers who have disputes with moving companies usually file complaints with local business bureaus or associations. Call your local Better Business Bureau to determine if the company has any outstanding complaints.
Never, never, invite anyone into your home for a cost estimate until you have performed a background check. Don't be tempted by persuasive telemarketers with empty promises.Take the time to protect yourself, your belongings and most importantly, your family. Factors that might affect the cost of the move include:
Many moving companies will help you pack, but keep in mind that help costs money. If you want to save money, it's best to pack as much as you can on your own, leaving only the hardest tasks for the movers.
Appliances: Many movers will disconnect major appliances (for example, washing machine, ice maker) at your old home and reconnect them at your new home. However, movers typically charge for this service.
Staircases: Do you love your new four-story house? Movers won't. Expect additional costs based on the number of staircases they need to use.
Pianos: Despite the beautiful music they make, pianos are big, unwieldy objects. Movers typically charge extra for each piano they move. Many companies will provide quotes online.
It may not pay to move some things. Consider the value of a donation to Goodwill or the Salvation Army against the cost of moving something near it's life expectancy.