Posted Dec 3, 2014
Hiring Professional Movers: What You Need to Know
Hiring professional movers can save you some major stress on moving day–but using the wrong moving company can cause a serious headache. If you’ve never hired movers, here’s what you need to know:
Check with the Better Business Bureau and consumer review websites to see what others have to say about the moving company you’re considering. Check with friends who have moved recently, as well. If your friends can’t give you a recommendation, always ask the moving company you’re considering for references; and be sure to call the references before you say “you’re hired!” Some moving companies may have reputations for showing up late, breaking things, charging more than agreed upon or treating customers rudely.
Request Full-Value Insurance
While professional movers usually have some type of liability insurance, it probably won’t provide as much protection as you think. Typically, the basic moving company insurance will cover any damage the movers cause that is not due to deficiencies in the way you packed your belongings.
However, that insurance may only cover a fraction of the damage, such as the cost to repair an item rather than the cost to replace it. Tell your mover that you want full-value insurance, which will pay the full replacement cost for anything the movers break or damage.
Provide a Detailed List of Items
Movers usually require a realistic estimate of the number of boxes you have, the pieces of furniture you’re taking with you, and the number of rooms you are moving from and into. They will also need to know if you have any heavy appliances, such as an apartment-sized washer and dryer, or a piano.
Providing all of this information helps ensure that your moving company shows up with the right-sized truck, enough moving people and the proper equipment, such as furniture pads and hand trucks. Keep a copy of your inventory list handy for moving day.
Provide Logistics Information
Movers also need to know what to expect both when they arrive at your current location to pick up your belongings and when they arrive at your new apartment to unload. No one likes surprises on moving day, and that includes movers.
Let your movers know if they will encounter stairs in either location, indoors or outdoors. Share whether there is an elevator, security gate or particular hazard or obstacle at either location. If there’s a designated place movers will need to park in order to load or unload, such as a back driveway with a loading dock, let them know. Additionally, if either address is difficult to find due to missing street signs or building numbers, make this clear in advance.
Always Review the Contract
Never sign a moving contract (or any contract, for that matter) without reviewing it carefully. The contract, called a bill of lading, should detail the terms of your agreement, including the movers’ contact information, moving date and time, payment amount, any insurance included and payment terms.
Make sure the details are exactly as you agreed, and then keep this document in a safe place (not packed in one of your boxes). If something goes wrong during your move, you may need the contract as proof of the terms and conditions of your agreement.
Be Flexible with Scheduling Your Move
If possible, avoid moving on Saturdays, during the summer or during the last weekend of the month. These are the busy times for most movers, which may translate into longer waits and fatigued movers. If you cannot avoid moving during one of the busy times, be flexible with your scheduling so that your movers can pick the least hectic date and time for your appointment.
Though you might wish for more sleep, ask for the earliest appointment your moving company can offer you. If you are the first move of the day, you run less risk that your movers will show up late. Likewise, they will be starting fresh for the day and less likely to damage things or make mistakes due to fatigue.
Check for Missing and Damaged Items
Use your inventory list to make sure everything has been delivered to your new apartment. Check items for obvious signs of damage to boxes, furniture and appliances. While you can’t unpack all of your boxes with the movers waiting, do so as soon as possible after they leave. Notify the moving company of any damaged, broken or missing property right away.
What’s the hardest part of planning your big move? We want to hear all about it! Share your gripes and groans in the comments below or tweet at us on Twitter.
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Photo Credit: Seth Anderson