By Trish Romano, Certified Self Storage Manager
Choosing a moving company can be very difficult this day in age. Having personally purchased my first home, the closing date kept getting pushed back which displaced me for a week when I had to move out of my apartment and stay at a motel until I could move into my house. Even at that point I wasn’t given an exact closing date so I did not have the luxury of shopping around for a moving company. I was fortunate that the moving company I chose did a fantastic job.
Hopefully my experience is an exception, and you have the time to shop around to find the right moving company for you. Here are some tips that can help make one of the most stressful experiences in life a little bit easier:
Word of Mouth.
Ask your family and friends what their moving experience was like and who they used to perform the move. Getting a first-hand report from someone you know and trust is fantastic. You can ask them questions and see if there were any issues that cropped up and how they were handled. This is probably the best way to receive reliable and honest input.
Check Online Reviews.
Before you take the time to start calling movers, you can see if they have a website that includes customer reviews. You can get a general idea this way but don’t take it as the absolute truth. I’ve found that there are people out there who don’t have anything good to say about anyone and give everyone they’ve come across a bad review. You can check Google, Facebook and Yelp as well. These platforms are a great way to see the overall tone of past customers and see if the moving company took the time to address any negative reviews to find a solution. You want to choose the company who reads their reviews and replies to every single one – good or bad.
You should never receive a moving quote over the phone. This should be done in person so the moving company gets an exact inventory of your items. But, you can use this phone call to get a feel for them and schedule a time for them to come and do an on-site quote. You can ask about their experience, how long they’ve been in business, if they own their own equipment or contract out, and if they’re a member of the American Moving and Storage Association. You can also request contact information from their past customers so you can call or email them and find out how their move went.
The In-Home Evaluation.
It’s a good idea to choose three companies from your phone calls for this evaluation. Be sure to show them everything that needs to be moved and take into consideration any obstacles that may be encountered such as stairs. This may add more to the cost. You need to visit both homes if you are able, so they can see where they are moving the items from and where they are moving the items to. That could really affect the pricing and how many movers need to be on site.
Have each company who performed your in-home evaluation go over the estimate with you so that you understand it completely. Be hesitant of a low-ball price. It’s probably too good to be true. If you’re moving to another state, make sure the mileage is included. Make sure the moving company has all your items inventoried correctly. If everything is not included, you may end up paying more. Ask questions here and make sure you are comfortable with the end result.
You shouldn’t be required to put down a security deposit with a reputable moving company. You should only have to pay upon delivery. If you pay in advance, you have no control of when you will see your belongings again. Make sure you read the contract fully and learn when payment is due.
If possible, pack up your items yourself. This will save you increased prices for boxes and packing material along with time and labor. If you cannot tackle this one on your own, be sure you have an accurate estimate on the time they need, the boxes and other packing materials so there are no surprises when you get the invoice. Ask if you can provide the boxes and supplies for them to use, which could be a cost saver. You know if you buy through them there will be markup on each item. We offer a full array of boxes, packing paper, tape and more in our retail shop located inside our rental office.
The Final Check.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of movers, you can check them out with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to make sure they don’t have any unresolved complaints. You also should ensure they are fully licensed and insured in the state(s) you are moving from and moving to. Better to be safe than sorry!
Start Packing and Move!
Hopefully you’ve found an awesome moving company and you can now focus on the next step of your move. Organize your belongings in each room and get packing! Tackle one room at a time so as not to get overwhelmed. And plan to start at least two months in advance so you have time for breaks and your whole life doesn’t become packing!
If you have any questions, you can contact us or talk with any of our friendly and knowledgeable property managers. We are here to help you with everything moving and storage, and we can even recommend some local moving companies that we partner with.
If you find you need more space to help with the packing and moving and would like to secure a self storage unit, you can rent a unit online 24/7. We wish you a safe and stress-free move!