Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, finding the right mover to haul everything you own without breaking any of it is a tough job.
Angie’s List asked highly rated movers how to make the most of any move.
• DIY, hire help, or both? The first thing to decide is how much of the moving work you’ll do yourself and how much will be handled by professional movers – splitting up the work can help you save in moving costs.
• Plan ahead for busy season: Start researching moving companies four to six weeks in advance, especially if you’re moving during the peak summer months. Movers tend to charge higher rates during this time. Try to arrange your move for the middle of the month – the first and last days of the month are typically a busy time during the summer.
• Identify high-priority items: You don’t want to lose track of items like family photos, birth certificates, passports, etc. Plan on packing these yourself and transporting them so they are never out of your control. Ordinary household items can be replaced if lost or damaged. If your grandma’s china is priceless to you, you should carry it.
• Be available: Make sure the mover knows how to contact you. If you cannot be reached at destination, the mover may place your shipment in storage to avoid delaying other shipments and that could mean additional charges for storage and handling.
Angie’s List tips for hiring a moving company:
• Research your mover: As in all professions, there are scams in the moving industry. Be on the lookout for red flags which can include an unmarked truck, dirty packaging materials, and employees without uniforms. Reputable movers do not require large deposits or payment in advance.
• Check credentials: Ask for the company’s U.S. Department of Transportation registration number. Twenty-eight states require both state and U.S. DOT registration.
Ask for information on the moving crew’s status with the company. Are they employed by the company, temporary hires – do they perform background checks on all?
• Got insurance: Ask for proof that your mover is insured against damage and be sure you understand how you would file claims and be compensated should something go wrong. All movers must assume liability for the value of the goods they transport. “Released value” is a no-cost option that provides minimal protection, requiring movers to cover any damages at 60 cents per pound, per article. “Full value” is the most comprehensive option, but cost varies.
• Get at least three estimates: Have the companies come to you for an in-home estimate because most jobs require a physical inspection. Local and intrastate moves are usually priced by the hour, while moves across state lines must be based on the certified weight and distance shipped, plus the amount of special services, such as packing. Be as detailed as possible with the services you need on moving day so the company can provide the right size crew and truck.
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