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Moving house is one of life’s most stressful experiences. It eats up gobs of your time, is always more complex than you expect, and risks damage to your precious possessions. Then there are the unknowns of a new home in a new town. So you don’t need unpleasant surprises from an incompetent or unethical moving company. In fact, you want your moving company to make it all easier!
Here are seven steps to help make a wise choice:
Do your homework. Before you look for a mover, sort out the job to be done:
Cut out everything not worth moving, plus all hazardous goods and plants.
Include all other goods to go. Don’t forget your attic, garage, basement, etc.
For high-value items, prepare accurate descriptions including value. Check whether your household insurance covers damage or loss in a move?
What kind of mover do the load size, value, and distance imply? You don’t want a full-service, long-distance mover for a local move that would fit in a pickup truck.
Find out any move-in challenges at destination, e.g. long carry or narrow stairs.
Start early to find a mover.
Sometimes they are all booked up, in monthly or seasonal peak periods.
You don’t want your decision to be rushed.
Benefit from other people’s experiences.
A valuable source is word of mouth. What do your friends say?
As moving companies for references from previous customers, then talk to them.
Call your Better Business Bureau about any mover you are considering. Were there complaints? How was resolution? (Bear in mind that the BBB is complaint-oriented, some customers are complainers, and movers with more business are also open to more complaints.)
Screen movers by easily available information.
A mover that offers full-service and long-distance moves has a solid commitment to the business.
Membership and/or certification in a trade association probably implies good quality and ethics.
Is the mover an agent for a major van line network? These networks protect their name by watching the quality of their agents.
Get a detailed, written quote from each mover you are considering.
Good movers usually quote free. Use the quotation process to help judge the mover.
Make sure the estimation is done in on-site, and be there in person.
Provide complete information about the job, and discuss all your concerns e.g. time.
Observe the estimator: Does he/she listen carefully, explain everything in detail, and take care to avoid later surprises?
Ensure that promised timing and other factors fit your needs.
The lowest quote is often not the best.
Check the financial aspects
Get the quote in writing, and know in what circumstances the cost could change.
Make sure that at least your higher-value items have insurance coverage. If you get it from the mover, get the terms in writing.
Know the mover’s claim procedures, in case of loss or damage. Even the best companies sometimes break things.
Find out what payment options the mover allows.
Trust your gut feeling. If you feel comfortable with this mover, after talking with the estimator and checking things out, this mover is probably a good one.
If you follow these seven steps, the moving company you hire will happily provide the move you expect, and will probably also offer lots of tips to manage your moving and actually help to reduce your stress.
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