“Moving is fun!” said no one ever. Honestly, what’s to like?
The dozen paper cuts acquired while building corrugated boxes? The crunching sound of a piece of the good china bearing the weight of the oven that you packed on top of it? Or how about the black soot stains on your clothes because you thought you’d save time by removing the air conditioner yourself? I can keep going!
These days, we are all about cutting corners to save a few bucks, but when it comes to moving homes, you are putting all your worldly possessions at risk. It is not as easy as Googling “cheapest moving service.”
After all, you are going to be trusting the people you hire to treat all of your stuff. Choosing the right moving company is just as byzantine a process as the packing itself. Here, we give you a guide to making sure you do it right;
Do your Homework
Hiring movers is not like buying an airline ticket. There are broad ranges of prices and tiers of service providers.
Most companies can put out one or two good crews, but few moving companies deliver a consistently great relocation experience because they lack the infrastructure and training. You are trusting all of your treasured possessions to the movers, so ask for recommendations.
If possible, take the time to visit the moving company’s facility. The condition of the trucks, the cleanliness of the warehouse, the crew uniforms, and how you are treated at the door all speak to the culture of the company.
Let the Professionals Do Everything
If you can afford it, consider letting the home movers handle both the packing and moving.
The whole process is stressful enough, and letting the pros take care of everything takes away a lot of the anxiety.
If a full-service move is not an option, an alternative is to let the movers pack specific items of concern, such as china, stemware, and artwork.
The better prepared you are, the smoother the process will unfold. From a practical standpoint this means that three weeks before your move, you should begin to purge or donate unwanted items.
Take the time, in advance, to map out the layout of your new residence so that you can direct the movers where to place the furniture. Notify the utilities, phone, cable, and internet providers to avoid service delays.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Pack
Packing always takes longer than anticipated. Use appropriate moving boxes and materials to ensure the safe transport of your belongings. Tape boxes along all three seams.
Make sure that all boxes are full, and use packing paper to fill out any empty space.
Remember that the strength of the box comes from the inside. All boxes should be labeled on two sides and the top with your name, the room that the items came out of, and a brief list of contents.
Stack boxes around the periphery of the room so that all items are easily accessible for the movers.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Surprises are no fun on moving day and can be expensive. If you live in an apartment or condo, check with your building management about relocation policies and communicate these to your mover.
Does a certificate of insurance need to be supplied? Does the elevator or loading dock need to be reserved? Is a parking permit necessary?
If there are changes in scope, packing requirements, or building access, make sure that these are communicated to the moving company.
By default, and at no additional cost, movers are required to offer a basic level of coverage in the event of loss or damage. Although it varies by state, typically this option equates to 60 cents per pound per article.
This option provides coverage against loss or damage in the form of repair, replacement, or an appropriate cash settlement.
Be Kind to Your Movers
Moving requires technical skills, customer service skills, management skills, strong backs, and problem-solving abilities. Movers are often placed in very challenging situations and have to balance the requirements of the job with the demands of the client.
It is a job that few people are equipped to do well, and the great ones do it with a positive attitude and a smile. If the crew does a great job for you, a tip is always appreciated. There is no formula for tipping the movers.