Best Moving Checklist and Tips »
Staying organized on moving day is key, and planning is a big part of it. Keep this checklist handy before and during your move to keep things stress-free.
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Staying organized on moving day is key, and planning is a big part of it. Keep this checklist handy before and during your move to keep things stress-free.
Moving takes a lot of planning, and that includes knowing what your moving rights are. Read on to find more about your moving rights and what you can do to prepare.
We've put together a small list to get you started on your journey -- and the first step starts with a single box.
This was a long distance move, from Ann Arbor MI to Houston TX. The first thing that happened was that the moving representative Mike Engelhardt misquoted the amount that it would cost to have my things packed. I did not find out about the correct rate (about $300 more than agreed on) until after I made the agreement to go with their company. Next, I was charged a fee that I was not informed of; I specifically asked if this fee (for delivery to a storage unit) would apply, and I was told "no." This was cleared up, but I was starting to worry that my move would not go smoothly. The next thing that happened was regarding the delivery of my items. The window of delivery dates that I was given were June 30 to July 3. Since I had not heard from anyone by the afternoon of July 2, I called my move coordinator Beverly McCuaig on that afternoon to find out when my items would arrive. When I finally got a hold of her, she had no idea where my shipment was and did not even know if they had left Michigan. She said she would find out and call me back. I did not hear from her for a few hours, and so I called Mike to find out what was going on; he was very short with me and told me that I should be talking to the move coordinator. When I told him that she had not called me back, he gave me her direct line. I left a message for her, and finally heard from her a few hours after that. Apparently my items did not make it onto the truck and she had no idea when they would be delivered. I called the customer service at Allied and again was met with rudeness. The representative (Tom) I talked to basically told me that they were under no obligation to deliver my items within a certain time frame and the only thing he had to guarantee was that items would be delivered. After much prodding on my part, he finally looked up who would be available to pick up my shipment and gave me an estimate as to when my things would leave. A few items were damaged in shipment and the claim form I was given had the wrong address, so a few weeks after mailing the form, it was returned to me. I did finally get my claim in and received a check today for the amount claimed. I did finally got my shipment, though I wish I had followed my initial instincts and hired someone else.
After being recommended to this place I was excited I'd convicned the hubster NOT to move the old college way, us and 10 of our friends. We did a great deal of the stuff ourselves and left the BIG stuff to the professionals -- otherwise we would have gotten a U-Haul and done it ourselves. After this experience we just should have. The guys they sent were promised to be experienced, but the whole day they seemed to take their time. Sure, moving our stuff out of a one level open floor plan ranch was a breeze, but into a 100 year old two story home, they balked at every turn. "Oh, ma'am, that's not gonna go." Well, GEE, I hired professionals so YOU could figure it out. I warned them ahead of time about my French door refrigerator, and after moving it back into the house, the guy tells my husband and brother "Oh, I messed one of those up before I won't touch it!!" So my brother and husband had to put it back on. They refused to try to get the King mattress upstairs till I pretty much threatened them. Did not try to get my upright freezer nor 54 inch couch down the basement, BOTH of which my electrician and brother managed to do after they left!!! I hired PROFESSIONAL movers so THEY could sleuth out how to move items into probelmatic areas, yet my family and other hired help were the ones figuring it out. To add insult to injury, I was assessed an additional $180 for all the "extra" time. I complained vehemently to "Ashley" and never had any recourse or followup. Now that the dust has settled, I'm writing this review. I've yet to contest the additional charge with my credit card company. I mean what kind of racket is that? They work hourly and take their time? Doesn't smell right to me. I gave a *very* detailed list of moved items and Frick and Frack showed up off the short bus to move my furniture. I shoulda found a couple college kids here in town and got the U-Haul myself!
Hello, I just would like to relay to you the truly excellent experience and service my husband and I received on December 6, 2008 through your company. Our moving team was composed of : Matt Raszkowski and Ray Gutowski, the day was terrible weather-wise, and I anticipated the moving experience being a nightmare. However these two young men who worked with us never complained about anything and immediately put my husband and myself at ease. They were courteous, timely and polite beginning with the initial contact with my husband at the storage unit. Upon arriving at our house (our house is brand new, completed construction Nov. 2008), they promptly went to work insuring that my new hardwood floors and carpeting would be adequately protected as items were moved in. They were also careful to insure that they did not walk on the floor with wet shoes, as it was snowing quite hard at this time. Matt & Ray work well as a team and constantly strived to make sure everything was where we wanted it as they brought it in. They took time after the truck was empty to make sure all our items were damage free, clean and intact. We chose your company as you were the only ones who would protect flooring, and your fee was very reasonable, we were very pleased!! While I hope we never have to move again, if we did, I would contact your company with no hesitation and ask to have Ray & Matt move us. We will definitely refer your company to anyone we know moving. Please commend this team for their wonderful job, and for making our moving trip that much less hectic. Thank you! Sincerely, Katie & Brian Smedley
Choose a different mover. The estimate for my move was for less than half the time that was clocked by the workers. A crew arrived late after unloading a different truck when my job was supposed to be an 8-hr job. 14 hours later the men were obviously tired and didn't put disassembled furniture together completely. They left at midnight and a second crew returned on Monday and still didn't put everything together. We felt that the estimate was dishonest and that the workers were being asked to do too much by doing a second job the day of our move. I am very upset and still haven't found all the items that should have been in the delivery, as everything is disorganized and the move occurred 15 days ago. I should have gone with someone who was personally recommended to me and should have read the reviews you have here. My BIG mistake!!!
Every move is different, so it's vital to choose a moving company that's right for you. The first consideration you should make when hiring these professionals is how far you're moving.
Depending on the moving company, local moves are typically anywhere between one and 100 miles within the same state. Local moves are less complicated to plan, both for you and the movers you decide to hire. They're typically priced based on how much you need to move, how many movers the company plans to provide and how long the job is estimated to take.
Long-Distance and Interstate Moves
Even if you're staying in the same state, you may still technically be planning a long-distance move - though the exact mileage varies by moving company, these are typically moves that are more than 50 to 100 miles long or across state or country lines. In fact, even if you're moving within the same state but you have to go through another state or country first, it's likely considered an interstate move, rather than a local one. That's because the movers are technically transferring items between state lines, which means they'll be responsible for having the correct licensing and insurance in place.
Long-distance moves are much more complicated to plan, typically requiring you to pay numerous extra expenses for everything from shipping items to renting storage space.
Are you making a big move and trying to figure out exactly how much you should plan to spend? Or are you on a tight budget and looking to hire a mover who can keep costs low? Either way, it's important to understand how exactly moving companies charge their customers.
As mentioned above, for local moves, companies will charge based on the number of movers they provide and the amount of time they'll need to spend on the project. Generally, the more rooms in your apartment or house, the more movers and time you can expect to be charged for. The price of long-distance or interstate moves, on the other hand, will be based on the amount of belongings you have - and more specifically the weight of those belongings. The heavier the boxes or items you're shipping across state or country lines, the more expensive your move will be.
Moving costs will vary greatly, depending on where you are. Local moves in a small town in the Midwest will be much less expensive than comparable moves in New York City. For that reason, it's best to do some research about the going rates in your area.
No matter what type of move you're making, you can reach out to prospective moving companies for estimates - this is the best way to determine how expensive your move will be based on where you live and what services you're looking for. Typically, the moving company will send someone to your home who will do a walk through of each room, making note of the furniture, valuables and other belongings in each one. Then, he or she will provide an estimate. The exact amount you pay may, however, be different from the amount declared in the estimate. That's where the type of contract comes in.
Nonbinding vs. Binding Contracts
For any move, a company will ask you to sign a contract. It's crucial to know exactly what type of contract you're signing, though, to understand how much you can expect to pay. In basic terms, there are two types of moving contracts: binding and nonbinding. Binding, as well as binding not-to-exceed, contracts are the most preferable for people hiring movers. These list an estimated price the moving company cannot charge more than. So, even if your local move takes an hour longer or your belongings are heavier than expected for an interstate move, you're still only responsible for paying a fixed amount.
Nonbinding contracts, on the other hand, have no fixed final number. Instead, they list a rate - by the hour or by the pound/kilo - and you're responsible for paying exactly how much your move costs in those terms.
Keep in mind that movers provide a variety of services, many of which you may not require. These can affect how expensive your move will be. For example, a full-service move that includes packing and unpacking will be pricier than a local move that only includes loading the truck, driving it to the new home and unloading it.
For any move, there may be extra costs beyond the typical services offered. If you're asking your movers to transport large, hard-to-move items, like pianos, for instance, you'll likely pay an extra fee. Likewise, if your apartment building doesn't have an elevator or the truck has to be parked far from your home, you may be charged extra. Ask about these potential expenses when signing your contract.
Don't rush through the process of hiring a moving company. Make sure the movers you hire are dependable, reputable and the right fit for your needs.
Look for Reviews and Recommendations
When hiring movers, it's a good idea to both look at reviews online and ask your friends and family members for recommendations. Personal endorsements will go a long way toward helping you determine whether you can expect the company to do a quick and professional job.
Choose Top Candidates
As you're vetting candidates through reviews and recommendations, narrow your selection to three or four top options. Make sure the companies offer the type of move you're looking for, whether it's interstate or local. These three or four companies are who you'll contact for estimates.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
After receiving estimates, you'll have a better idea which companies are within your budget. However, this isn't the only factor you should use when choosing movers, especially for more complicated jobs. In fact, you may be willing to pay a little more to hire quality movers who can ensure the safety of your belongings. Don't be afraid to call these companies and ask questions.
During the hiring process, you want to make sure of three things: First, that the moving company is reputable and has the proper licensing and insurance. Second, that the movers are dependable, professional and committed to doing the job correctly. Finally, that the estimate provided is binding and that you're aware of any potential excess costs. With these factors in mind, here are some of the most important questions to ask a moving company:
As with any service profession, there are certain moving companies - though they are few and far between - that aren't reputable or that will try to take advantage of you. It's important to be able to recognize a scam if you come across one.
Call the FMCSA
For long-distance or interstate moves, you can easily check that companies have the proper licensing and insurance, which is a clear indication that they're legitimate. All interstate moving companies must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, so call 888-368-7238 to confirm the licenses, insurance and credentials of the movers you're considering. The FMCSA can also tell you if any complaints have been filed against a particular moving company.
Check with the American Moving and Storage Association
For both local and long-distance moving companies, AMSA is another good place to check out a company's legitimacy. Moving companies aren't required to be an AMSA member, but the ones that are have committed to the association's rules and regulations, which protect both the companies and the consumers hiring them. If a company isn't an AMSA member, that doesn't mean it isn't reputable, but an AMSA membership is a clear indication of legitimacy.
One of the most common fears people face when moving to a new home is that something they own will be lost or damaged in the process. While no company will be able to guarantee everything arrives safely, there are steps you can take to make damage less likely.
Pack and Transport Your Valuables
If you have items that are emotionally or financially valuable to you, do your best to pack and move them yourself. Keep jewelry, expensive artwork, inherited valuables and even costly electronics in your own car - that way you'll have complete control over their safety at all times.
Choose a Moving Company That Plans Ahead
Moving companies can better keep your belongings safe when the movers plan ahead. What does this mean? Many companies take extra time to measure doorways, halls and stairways to find the safest route in and out of your home. They should also provide furniture blankets, covers and moving pads to keep both your home and your belongings free of scratches or other damage.
Keep the Moving Area Safe
There are some things you can control on moving day and some things you simply can't, such as the weather. If you're moving on a snowy, icy or rainy day, keeping all of your paths, stairways and walkways clear and dry is crucial. This can help protect both the movers and the large items they're carrying to and from the truck.
The subject of tipping is relatively unclear when it comes to movers. However, there is a general rule of thumb that most people in the industry agree on: Tip your movers if they've done a good job and you think a tip is warranted.
Generally, a 5 percent tip is considered appropriate, though some people recommend paying $20 per day, per mover for basic, local moves. However, almost everyone agrees you should first do a quick walk-through of your home to check for any damage to your furniture or belongings and to make sure everything is where you'd like it to be.
If you do decide to give a tip, divide it evenly and give money to each individual, rather than giving the entire sum to the head mover and expecting it to be doled out equally. One type of tip to avoid: alcohol. It's usually illegal for movers to have bottles of alcohol in the truck or van, so tipping a bottle of wine or liquor could get them into trouble.