HIRING A MOVING COMPANY
There are a few dreaded tasks in life that just have to be done. Cleaning toilets, paying bills, visiting the dentist, moving. Some of those things you have to do on your own; no one can do them for you. With a move, however, someone else can do it for you. But before you jump ship and throw your life savings into hiring movers, there are some benefits to doing it yourself. Here are a few things to consider when deciding if you should hire full-service movers, do-it-yourself or do something in between.
GET IT IN PRINT
We all love a good surprise. Key word there: "good." Surprises in a bill for a move, typically aren't good. Get an estimate in writing that includes everything you need moved including things you may not think about like patio furniture, items currently stored in the attic, large appliances, and more.
You don't marry your first date (typically) and you shouldn't hire the first moving company you call. Make multiple calls and get written estimates from several companies. You'll be surprised at how much the cost of a move can vary; sometimes thousands of dollars.
When you're heading to a new Chinese restaurant, you're going to find out beforehand if it's a five star or a two star. Do yourself a favor; if you're willing to check reviews for a $10 lunch, don't fail to check reviews for a company that will be man-handling all of your most precious belongings. Yelp, Google and MovingScam.com are good places to start.
ASK FOR LICENSES
And we're not talking driver's licenses (although that could be helpful). If you are hiring a mover to cross state lines, they must be licensed with the federal government and have a US DOT number. You can find this through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's website, ProtectYourMove.gov. If you are moving locally, contact your state's moving association to verify their license.
DON'T WAVE LIABILITIES
It's a dirty word, we know. But, you wouldn't sign a waiver for a total stranger to watch over the family jewels in your absence, and you shouldn't sign anything that "discharges" or "releases" a mover from liability.
It was true in junior high, it's true now. Ask questions. Lots of them. Do you perform background checks on your employees? Do you hire temporary or day laborers? You get the gist.
DON'T GIVE AWAY THE BANK
This may come as a shock to you: scams are real. Yes, folks, you read it here first. A "move" can breed ripe grounds for a scam. This is no reason to live in fear; most moving companies are legit. But be wise and do not pay for the entire move up front. You'll want to be sure that the moving company you choose requires a minimum upfront payment, with the bulk of it due upon delivery of your goods.
ASK ABOUT HIDDEN FEES
You know those fresh-mex restaurants that ask if you want guacamole in your burrito (obviously yes!) and then they charge you an arm and a leg for it? Yeah, well, make sure that doesn't happen with your move. Ask for a list of all fees; otherwise, it could end up costing you a heck of a lot more than a scoop of guac.
WHAT'S THE TIMELINE
A few days' to you, might mean two. 'A few days' to a moving company, could mean 11. Make sure to get clear communication about the moving company’s timeline for packing, loading, driving and unloading the truck.
Your home may not be loaded with exotic birds, AK-47s and 10-karat diamond rings. But, just in case you have a few atypical items sitting around that you need transported, be sure to ask if the moving company has any restrictions.
No, not with that cute neighbor you never got the guts to talk to, and now it's too late. Exchange numbers with the truck driver who will be doing your move. Make sure to get his or her cell phone number so you can track progress on your move and so he or she can contact you if there are delays.
Packing up a moving truck is an enormous pain. Which is why you may find it difficult to believe that some long distance moving companies actually transfer your stuff to another truck mid-move. Obvious issues here; namely, you may want your mirrors and artwork to arrive in one piece. More moving can equal more damage.
Your life is insured, your car is insured, your teeth are even insured. Don't forget to insure all of what you own in the world, as it makes its way across the country (or city). Note: if you're making a move across state lines, the mover must give you the option of "full value protection" and "released value." If moving locally, the mover must follow state insurance requirements. Check it.
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