3 Simple Steps to Hiring the Best Moving Company
Hiring a mover can be a daunting experience especially when simultaneously trying to organize the other aspects of moving to a new home. After more than a decade of experience coordinating cross-country relocations and helping folks with local moves, I’ve developed a list of tips and interview questions to help you find the most professional mover so you have the best moving experience.
1. Decide what type of move you need.
Intrastate or Local
For intrastate moves (moves within the same state) visit your state’s website for a list of licensed and insured movers. In North Carolina, you can find carriers who are in compliance with the state’s regulations here.
Interstate or International
For moves across state lines (interstate) or internationally you can search carriers using the federal motor carrier safety administration’s site.
2. Determine how much assistance you want with your move.
There are a few different levels of service and pros and cons to each depending on the specifics of your move.
Full Service Move
Choose this option when you want the moving company to safely pack every item in your home, supply all the boxes, bubble wrap and packing paper, pad and shrink-wrap all furniture, load, move, unload the truck and unpack as many of the boxes as you want, wherever you want.
This is the most commonly requested service. You pack and box your belongings. They pad and shrink wrap your furniture, load, move and unload the truck at the desired location.
Load & Unload Only
Movers can help you to load or unload your rental truck, storage pod, ABF truck, storage unit or garage. This option is most useful to people who are able to drive a rental truck or who want to use a freight service. While you can save money using this option, you take on the responsibility for your belongings while they are being moved. The moving company, truck rental or Freight Company will not be responsible for any damage while in transit.
Some companies will recycle boxes and packing materials after use. They can help you to obtain free, clean, sturdy and inspected recycled boxes or plastic bins to help lessen your move’s impact on the environment and your wallet. Some moving company’s trucks also run on bio-diesel to reduce emissions.
3. Interview Your Mover.
Once you have determined the type of move you need and the service level you desire, there are a few questions to ask each mover you interview to ensure everyone is on the same page.
“Do you work for the mover or are you a broker?”
Brokers play an important role in helping customers match up with moving companies. Keep in mind, however, that a broker cannot give you a binding estimate and a broker is not responsible for loss or damage.
“Do you give binding quotes?”
A mover or broker may give you a quote over the phone, but those are generally not binding. Upon reviewing your items in person, a mover might then give a binding or “not to exceed” quote. However, brokers don’t typically give binding quotes.
“Does the quote include extra charges?”
For example – flight charges, long carry charges, appliance charges, parking charges, storage charges, fuel charges, awkward objects, etc. If you have a piano, you should let them know up front. Ask them if they have equipment to help with heavy and awkward items.
“Will my items be transferred?”
Long distance moves can sometimes require your items be transferred to another truck. This extra handling increases the chance that damage may occur.
“What forms of payment do you accept and on what terms?”
I do not recommend you hire a mover if they only accept cash. Be sure you are clear about the amount that is due on delivery versus the deposit amount, and whether deposits are refundable. Most companies that have a merchant account will accept credit cards, so be sure to ask if credit cards are an option.
“What type of insurance is included in your quote? What else is available to me?”
Basic coverage is 60 cents per pound but your moving company may offer an upgrade at a reasonable price. You can also work with third party insurance providers to cover the move.
“What is the process if something were to break or is missing? Who’s responsible?”
This is a follow-up to the previous question that clearly breaks down who is responsible for what. If you’re discussing a self-service move, you may not get reimbursed for something that you packed poorly. Wherever the responsibility lies, it’s better to know in advance.
No matter which type of move you are facing, a little planning and preparation can go a long way to reducing stress. Whether you are planning a local move or a long-distance move, using an independent local moving company, a national carrier or going DIY, these tips can make your move a smarter, safer and smoother experience!
Written by Jen Woodward, Broker, REALTOR with special thanks to Sean Lallouz, owner of Dry Ridge Moving and Transportation LLC. With more than a decade working in real estate and relocation, Jen utilizes her personal and professional moving experience to assist buyers and sellers in the Asheville market and beyond.
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