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There is a glut of moving companies in the market. A look through Google or any online search for movers in your area will offer you a confusingly large number of companies to choose from. However, beware, they are not all the same. After all, you are going to trust people, you do not know, with all your possessions. So, how can you be sure of choosing the right mover? Before you decide to go with a mover, it pays to do your research and ask some questions. Some due diligence may save you a lot of hassle later.
Remember, not everyone with a truck is a mover. Also, there is no cheap move. You pay the market price, or you end up bearing the cost of a cheap option in some other fashion. Moving is essentially hired labor doing a low skill job. This low skill coupled with low barriers to entry can let some less than scrupulous entrants into the industry. They then offer a super low price to get your business. Do not fall for them. Would you want to work with someone whose workmen are not insured, for instance? Here are ten steps that should suffice for your scrutiny of moving companies to pick the right one for you.
Packing services is one of the key services provided by moving companies. This service is very useful for long-distance moving and for people who are unsure about packing their items properly. Moving companies use high-quality packing boxes and materials to carefully pack everything to ensure that your items remain safe during the move. Some movers can also provide you with packing supplies and a little guidance for you to pack on your own. They are qualified and trained to help customers pack and move.
Packing on your own is one thing but loading and moving on your own is not necessarily a good idea. This is a formidable task that most people are not used to, especially when it comes to lifting heavy things. It could cause damage to your items as well as injury to you or someone else helping you. Professional movers are trained for doing laborious tasks involved in moving and to keep your items safe from harm.
Movers also offer many other services associated with moving for instance, disassembling and assembling furniture items, additional insurance, moving specialty items, clearing and forwarding etc. You should only take note of the services you need for your move as we describe below.
Now you know that there are a number of moving companies in the market, offering a wide variety of services. Before you embark on your search for mover, decide what is it that you are looking for. Are you looking for someone to arrive at your home with a crew, load your already packed boxes onto their truck, and unload them at the destination? Or do you want the movers to also provide you with the packing boxes and supplies?
On the other hand, you can also engage a full-service mover that will take care of everything for you: packing all your stuff, disassembling and assembling the furniture, loading and transporting everything, unloading and setting up on the other end, and then take away all the packing materials after unpacking. Therefore, before you start talking to the movers, be clear in your mind about different tasks involved in your move, which of those you can handle yourself, which you must outsource, and which you can opt to manage on your own if you find the price you get for them high.
Talk to family, friends, and colleagues to find out if someone they know well has recently moved and feel comfortable to recommend the company they used. An important source to check for mover references is with a real estate agent, especially if it is a local move. If you have a real estate agent working with you or know one it is worth your while to ask them if they know a moving company, they can recommend to you.
Online reviews can also be a good source of information. Really reading the reviews is more indicative then merely seeing the average rating because, unless there are hundreds or more reviews, the rating can be skewed either way by a few motivated reviews. Read for people’s actual experiences and how genuine they seem. Anyone who has had a terrible experience with a company will often be too ready to take to the internet to let everyone know how they suffered at the hands of a service provider.
You should also check out the Better Business Bureau if any complaint has been laid against the mover. Make sure that a mover has a physical premise and a business number and is not operating merely out of a cell phone. You can also check on a customer review website like HomeStars or ConsumerAffairs to check a mover’s credentials.
Ask movers these questions.
❇️ Do you subcontract any of your services? (If they do, then ask which subcontractors they use, and check them out too.)
❇️ Do you offer replacement value protection, and at what cost?
❇️ Do you operate under the Good Practice Guidelines for Canadian Movers?
❇️ Are you in good standing with the Workers’ Compensation Board in your province? (If a mover is not paying into Workers’ Compensation, and a worker is injured while handling your move, you could be held liable.)
❇️ If your goods have to be left overnight, find out what security the mover has in place to protect your goods against theft or damage.
❇️ Also find out if they will come out and do a home estimate. This is a good idea because the person that sees your home can determine if there are any special circumstances that need to be considered for logistics and for pricing. This is particularly true for long distance moves. Reputable movers do not give you an estimate for a long-distance move without seeing your stuff.
❇️ Clarify all aspects about pricing to make sure that there are no additional charges. You can ask them questions that may be pertinent to your move such as: Is there a charge for stairs, for heavy items, for disassembly and assembly of furniture, for the basement, or any other charge that they foresee for your move? Do they have their own tools and materials to use during the move?
❇️ Ask them about their equipment. Does their moving van have a liftgate or a ramp? Do they have proper moving dollies, shoulder straps etc.? Will the truck they send fit your location?
❇️ Find out how many of them will be coming out to do the move. What is the additional charge if they require more persons for the move?
❇️ Does the company provide a labeled inventory of the items they move? While it is a good idea for you to make your own inventory and take pictures of your items, most reputable movers have inventory labels that they stick to your items and then make a list. This way they can track that everything has been delivered at the time of delivery.
Make a detailed list of the stuff you want moved. Having an inventory makes it easier for you to talk to the moving companies in a systematic fashion. It will also give you a tool to verify that none of your belongings go missing during the process of moving. If you have specialty items like pianos or pool tables, then you will have to tell the movers specifically about them. Certain items may require special movers.
You can learn a lot about a mover by how they communicate with you. A professional moving company will ask you a number of questions to understand and calibrate your move before they give you an estimate. They will look to know what it is that they are moving and will be thorough in collecting their information. This not only includes how many rooms and the size of your home but also any specialty items. They will also ask about the access to your current and future places, things like staircases, narrow hallways, tight corners, distance of walk, place for parking etc.
If your mover turns up to perform a walk through, they have to be thorough. If they just show up, quickly glance through your house, and then draw up and send an estimate then that is not a promising sign.
Narrow down your choice to three or four movers and then contact them. When you seek estimates, be sure to ask for any hidden or extra charges.
A professional mover should provide you with a written estimate, covering everything that needs to be done to get your stuff to its new destination. If necessary, they will visit your home to see all that needs to be moved. They will also look for any special considerations (narrow staircases, steep gradient, long walk etc.) that might make the move more challenging and entail additional costs. Be detailed and upfront with your mover, do not surprise them with additional asks on the day of the move. Make sure that the estimate is on a company letterhead and is detailed.
The moving companies are also required by law to bill within 10% above their estimate. This means that if they miscalculate the estimate, they can only go over their estimate by a maximum of 10%.
First understand how their estimate is derived. Is it by the weight or volume? This can make a huge difference as, for instance, the weight of a couch or a bed can vary by tens of kilos depending on what the item is made of. If it is by weight, ask to see the certified weight scale.
Compare the estimates carefully and choose one. Do not be tempted by prices that are way below everyone else. Check each estimate for any errors. An estimate must have all the necessary details needed to book a move like the company’s name, address, and phone number; type and quantity of your belongings; distance between your old home and new home; date and time of the move. It should clearly state the pricing either on a per hour basis or as a flat sum and should contain any additional services the company is providing such as packing materials or services.
Keep your eyes open to red flags. As we discussed above, an unusually low estimate for the job is a red flag. Another is undue desperation for your business. A reputable mover will of course be keen to win your business, but if they are overly importunate that may be a warning sign. Also, moving companies generally do not ask for money upfront, particularly if it is a local move. If yours insist on a reasonable deposit, use a credit card. Any insistence on a cash deposit is an alert sign. If they do not answer your questions to your satisfaction or are evasive, keep looking.
Do as much research as you can. Ask a lot of questions, get things in writing, look for references and reviews, and do your homework. It will make your move a smooth one. Some folks blindly consider the cheapest offer as a good one and end up choosing the wrong moving company. That can expose them to some damage to their items, an inefficient move, or an outright scam. Here we have tried to provide you with the right knowledge to stay away from such companies.
Keep an eye on what fees are applicable to your specific move and do not be reluctant to speak to packers and movers if you notice a fee you are unsure about. For example, if your move does not involve stairs, any extra charge for stairs is not applicable to you. Pay attention to details so that you do not end up paying for any services that you do not require. To know the above practical information would mean that you are able to delve into different quotes and can choose a high-quality professional, such as MPR Movers, that ensures you have dependable moving services to fulfill your needs and expectations.
Asif has authored four widely selling books –Happiness: A way of Life, The Stuff of Life, Sell to Excel, and Face Time. He also blogs at masrif.net and he also blogs at MPR. Subscribe and get Daily Life Tips from this Youtube Channel The Stuff Of Life