Planning Ahead when it Comes Time to Move
Whether you are planning on moving soon — or helping someone else move, we’re sharing with you moving tips and tricks for eliminating the stress on moving day.
How to Interview a Mover
- Plan Ahead – You probably know that you are going to move at least 30 days before the actual moving date. Create a “To-Do List” of when you need to turn off the utilities, notify movers and change your mailing address.
- Transportation – Will you depend on family and friends? Will you hire a rental truck and move yourself or do you need to hire professional movers for long distances? You will need to know how much it will cost you to move so you have time to shop around for the best price and service.
- Get Rid of Stuff – It can be overwhelming but now is the time to go room by room to choose items that needs to be thrown away, given away, sold (garage sale or online) or donated to charity.
- Take an Inventory – This is critical especially when hiring a moving company. You may want to list the major items, your collectibles, your expensive possessions. You may also want to take photos or video each room.
- Label Everything – Label at least 2 sides of each box with the type of room (kitchen, master bedroom, Amy’s room) and a short list of what’s inside the box.
- Valuable Items – Back up your computers before your move. If anything is valuable or breakable, double check to make sure it is insured. Take personal items, such as jewelry, with you.
- Pets – Hire a pet sitter or ask someone to take care of your pets on moving day. They instinctively know that you are moving. Keep them in a safe place until you are ready to make the move.
- Moving Day – Set aside a box of items that you may need on moving day. Hammer, screwdriver, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, light bulbs, bottled water, garbage bags and maybe even a change of clothes.
- Disconnect Utilities – Create a list of utility companies, including cable and internet, who you need to notify to make sure they are turned off and where the final bill will be sent. Record the date you called and the name of the person you talked with to make sure you don’t continue to received invoices.
- Neighbors – Say goodbye to your neighbors and let them know where you are moving to (that is, if you’d like to stay in touch). On the other side of the coin, introduce yourself to your new neighbors. They may have useful information about the community, schools and the neighborhood.
Here’s a list of great questions to ask a mover—regardless of whether you hire a local mover that will move you across town or if you are planning to move to another city or state.
Oh, and if you have any friends who are planning to move, please pass these moving tips and tricks on to them!
- Is there a charge for packing?
- Do I have to supply my own boxes?
- What is the charge if the mover supplies the boxes?
- Can I get a discount if I pack items myself?
- If something is damaged, what is the deductible?
- What process do I have to go through to file a claim?
- What does my homeowner’s/renter’s insurance cover?
- What’s the cost to buy additional insurance?
- Are there any items NOT covered by insurance?
- If shipping a car, lawn tractor, large mechanical equipment, how will it be shipped?
- What are the extra charges for large items?
- What large items cannot be moved by the moving company?
- Do I have to hire someone else to move large items?
- Is there extra insurance needed for large items?
Timing of the Move
- How long will it take to load the moving truck?
- How many hours/days will it take to unpack?
- When will the items arrive at my new house?
- Is there a charge if truck is delayed by weather or road closures?
Moving Tips and Tricks to Avoid Moving Company Scams
- What are the payment terms?
- Do you require a down payment?
- When is the balance of the fees due?
- What are the extra fees that you could charge me with?
- Do you accept checks? Wire transfers? Credit cards?
Rogue movers typically work like this: Without ever visiting your home or seeing the goods that you would like moved, they give a low-ball estimate over the phone or the web. Once your goods are on their truck, they demand more money before they’ll deliver or unload them.They hold your goods hostage and force you to pay more — sometimes much more than you thought you had agreed to—if you want your possessions back.
Here are some “red flags” from ProtectYourMove.gov when you need to hire a moving company.
- No inspection-The mover doesn’t offer or agree to an on-site inspection of your household goods and gives an estimate over the phone or the web—sight-unseen. These estimates often sound too good to be true. They usually are!
- Payment first-The moving company demands cash or a large deposit before the move.
- Your rights and responsibilities when you move-The mover doesn’t provide you with a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” a booklet movers are required by Federal regulations to supply to their customers in the planning stages of interstate moves.
- No local address, license or insurance-The company’s web site has no local address and no information about licensing or insurance.
- Mover claims-The mover claims all goods are covered by their insurance.
- No company name-When you call the mover, the telephone is answered with a generic “Movers” or “Moving Company,” rather than the company’s name.
- Office conditions-Offices and warehouse are in poor condition or nonexistent.
- Generic rental truck-On moving day, a rental truck arrives rather than a company-owned and -marked fleet truck.
Protectyourmove.gov provides a short guide to selecting the right movers:
- Get a written estimate from several movers. The estimate should be based on an actual inspection of your household goods.
- Make sure the mover has insurance and is licensed by the proper authority. For moves from one State to another, a U.S. DOT number is issued by FMCSA. You can double-check a mover’s license on www.protectyourmove.gov. For moves within a State, requirements vary. Check with your State, county or local consumer affairs agency or your State attorney general.
- Remember your priorities when choosing a mover.
If you hire a mover based solely on the cheapest price, you may be sacrificing other things that are actually more important, such as getting your possessions moved and delivered on time. And remember, movers are required by law to deliver your goods for no more than ten percent above the price of a non-binding estimate. This is known as the 110 percent rule.
- Do your homework.
Read “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” a booklet from the Federal government that your mover is required to give you if you are moving from one State to another. This booklet also has information you’ll need if your goods are lost or damaged during the move. Finally, check the mover’s complaint history with local consumer advocacy organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau.
Moving can be stressful so it’s important to check out the moving company prior to moving day. Following this super list of moving tips and tricks will help you enjoy your new home without wondering where and when your possessions will arrive safely.
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