Moving away from an old home to a new one can be more than just a physical transition. It can also be an emotional experience that you do not want to compound with instances of movers being unable to deliver as promised, in more ways than one. Before you pack your bags and bring out the packing boxes, take time to sit down and organize everything for a stress-free moving day.
Last year, the Better Business Bureau reported at least 8,000 complaints about movers stealing or losing personal possessions or even damaging them. As if that was not disturbing enough, they also reported going after moving companies that quoted estimates and fees that were either too good to be true or too high to even be considered. Some companies even had the gall to hold on to the possessions of homeowners who refused to pay the astronomical rates.
When you hear horror stories like these, it's enough to make you put off your moving day for another week or so until you are able to find a legitimate company that will not rob you blind or hold your possessions against you. While finding the best moving companies can be a daunting task, it is not an impossible one as long as you exercise careful thought and consideration and pay attention to signs and indications that the company you are considering may not be as reputable as they claim to be .
The first thing to remember is to search for moving companies based on reputation. Word of mouth was and still is the best form of advertising but if you do not know anyone who's used a moving company before you can always go online. However, the key here is to look both for the best and worst companies so you'll know what to avoid. There are websites that are specifically targeted for rating moving companies and more often than not the reviews you will find on these sites are honest and detailed enough so you know why they were rated by consumers as the best or worst.
Also, avoid getting company names from the newspapers, phone books and even online ads as more than likely, these will contain outdated information. Always make sure shortlist at least three or four moving companies and move away from those that can not give licensing information or even a local address. Also avoid those who claim that their insurance covers everything that is to be moved and those that will not take the time to visit your home and take an inventory of the items you will be moving.
Make sure you get all your estimates in writing and cross off your list those movers that demand a huge deposit even before they start to pack your stuff and those who insist on providing your estimates over the phone or by email. When you check your moving company's websites, make sure their service history is listed there, along with a local address and a contact number to call in case of issues or concerns. Some websites will have their own customer testimonials but due to the nature of moving personal possessions, do not expect all-positive reviews.
It is also within your right to demand for booklets explaining your rights, like the federally-regulated “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” which is primarily required for those who are moving interstate but even if you're just moving within your state, you can also request for a copy of this booklet. It is also in your best interest to ask questions when hiring moving companies and examples of questions you can ask include the following:
* What do your rates really include? Do you base your rates on weight or distance?
* What are your policies regarding delivery timeframes (this is a question you should ask if moving to another state)
* How will my stuff be labeled and protected?
* Do you have insurance?
* Can I see your license to operate?
One more thing to remember is to ask if there are additional fees that will apply like will they be charging extra for awkward-sized items or if the location is not easy to access. To avoid extra charges, take note of places where the moving vans can park and which entrances they can use to haul your stuff in. And lastly, ask the company for referrals. A good company will be more than happy to provide you with letters of recommendation from satisfied customers.