Whether you are moving down the street or across the globe, the thought of packing up all of your belongings and transporting them safely to your new home can be paralyzing. If you think of it as being akin to “eating an elephant” (one bite at a time), it will all fall into place.
Your first “bite” is to create a timeline of what needs to be done (and when) within the two months leading up to the move.
Hire Movers or DIY?
This should be your first decision: Will you hire a moving company or do it yourself? Typically, the distance between where you are now and where you need to be will determine what services you need. The further away you are moving, the more you’ll require.
That is, unless you have the money to hire the deluxe, everything-included mover – even if you’re moving across town.
Obviously, the least expensive move is one that you do yourself, but even this method has variations:
- Rent a truck and load and unload it yourself.
- Rent a truck and hire people to help load and unload it.
- Hire a driver for the truck, someone to help you pack and a labor crew to help you load and unload.
Hire a labor crew at sites such as Craigslist and U-Haul’s Moving Helpers® service.
Warning: Laborers you hire over the Internet might not be covered by Worker’s Compensation Insurance. If they are hurt on your property you may be legally liable. Only hire workers that can prove coverage or speak with your insurance company to find out if your homeowner’s policy covers this possibility.
Professional movers aren’t inexpensive but for a long-distance move, they are necessary.
So, how does one go about finding the perfect moving company? The experts at MovingScam.com suggest that this is one task that is best done NOT on the Internet. While many reputable moving companies advertise online, “nearly all of the victims that contact us found their moving company on the Internet,” they claim. They offer the following tips:
- Don’t hire a company that won’t come to your home to give you a quote.
- Look for a moving company that has been operation a minimum of 10 years.
- Avoid any moving company that is going to sub-contract your move to others. These are known as “moving brokers,” and you have no say in who eventually moves your belongings.
- The law requires movers to give you a booklet entitled “Your Rights and Responsibilities when you Move.” If this isn’t given to you, don’t use the company.
- Ask the companies to show you their Department of Transportation (DOT) and Motor Carrier Authority (MC) license numbers. You can use these numbers to research the company online and learn about their safety record, insurance coverage and more. Go to SaferSys.org or ProtectYourMove.gov. The latter is for interstate moves only.
When the mover arrives at your home to give you a quote, ask about what may cause the cost to go up, such as additional mileage, excess weight, stairways and any add-on costs for equipment, such as dollies. Ask that the answers to your questions be put in writing with your quote.
Once you’ve found one or two movers that seem to fit your needs take one last step to ensure they’re the right ones. Check the companies’ reviews at Yelp.com, check their rating at the Better Business Bureau website, see if there are complaints on the Moving Company Super List at MovingScam.com and, finally, RipOffReport.com.
Next time we’ll discuss key points to be aware of in the mover’s contract and additional details of relocating.