Have you ever noticed how busy your friends and family members become on your moving day? Can you blame them? Moving is tough, manual labor. The only reason that folks might be willing to help is in the hopes you’ll reciprocate when it’s their turn to move.
Being able to round up enough people to help with the move is just one consideration when determining whether to hire a moving company or just do it yourself. Here are a few other considerations:
- Time: How much time do you have to devote to the move? If you’re relocating because of a new job and you’re on a time crunch, professional movers will save you a lot of time.
- Distance: How far away are you moving? Interstate moves involve a lot of driving with possible overnight stops along the way. Do you feel safe leaving your belongings in the parking lot overnight?
- Money: If you’re on a tight budget, a full-service mover may be out of the realm of possibility for you.
Types of Moving Companies
Moving companies have evolved from the days when the massive truck pulled up to the house and loaded pre-packed boxes and furniture for the move to a new location. Today, you have a number of choices to consider when hiring moving assistance:
- Pack it yourself and hire professionals to load and deliver.
- Hire professionals to pack, load and deliver. Some companies offer unpacking services as well.
- Hire a professional with a truck. You pack, you load and he drives.
Of course, like most things in life, the more services you desire, the more you’ll pay.
Choosing a Moving Company
Finding the right moving company for your needs is probably one of the most challenging aspects of the moving process. Ask friends, colleagues and family members for a referral. If that doesn’t work, the National Association of Realtors® suggests that you choose a mover that is a member of the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA).
Interview representatives from several companies and ask lots of questions:
- Ask about the moving company’s responsibilities if items are damaged while in their care.
- Are employees bonded?
- Verify the mover’s license.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau for complaints against the company.
- Don’t accept telephone quotes. The only way to get an accurate quote is for the mover to assess your situation in person.
- Ask for an itemized breakdown of all fees the company charges and explanations of any that you don’t understand.
Federal law requires movers to supply you with the booklet: “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.” In it you will find information about your mover’s responsibilities and how to make the move go smoothly.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) warns consumers to never sign a mover’s blank documents. These papers are binding contracts and should be read thoroughly before signing. If there are blanks, other than one for the weight of your items, line them through or refuse to sign until the blanks are filled in.
For help with choosing a mover and information on how to protect yourself and your belongings during the move, visit the DOT’s website.