QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK BEFORE SELECTING A MOVER
Picking a moving company to help transport all of your belongings to your new home can be a difficult and daunting task. Getting several estimates is the great first step towards selecting a company, but choosing a mover based on price alone could be a mistake. For us, communication is far more important than price. Look for a moving company that clearly explains the process for you from start to finish. They should be easy to schedule an estimate with and show up on time or call if delayed. They should let you know when to expect a completed estimate and explain how to read the estimate to you. Most importantly they should be available to answer any questions you have during the process. The following list of questions to ask your mover is by no means the only things to ask your mover, but it is a good start.
ARE YOU LICENSED AND INSURED?
There are a lot of different kinds of insurance that movers carry, general liability, workers compensation, cargo, truck liability, and more. Your mover should have all of these, but one kind of insurance that is critical to discuss with your mover is how are your items insured if damage happens during the move. This is often dependent on ‘Valuation’ which refers to how much an item is worth if it is damaged. This varies state by state but a common valuation that is included in moves free of charge is $0.60 per pound. This means that you are reimbursed for damage based on the weight of the item damaged. So if a 100-pound coffee table is scratched during the move you would receive $60 towards a repair or new table. Higher valuation options may compensate you for the replacement cost of an item but there are other considerations such as deductibles, whether the company has the right to repair a piece, and if a full value payout is offered they might be entitled to keep the item. Insurance and valuations are complicated subjects and a good moving company should be able to walk you through your options so that you can clearly understand what you are paying for and what you are getting. The answer to ‘Are you insured?’ maybe yes, but clearly, that isn’t a sufficient answer to the question.
WHAT TYPE OF ESTIMATE WILL I RECEIVE?
There are several different types of estimates that moving companies use for their services. It is important for you to understand what type of estimate you are receiving and how the company bills its moves. Most moves will either be rated ‘hourly’ or ‘flat rate’ and estimates tend to come
in 3 varieties;
Many hourly moves will be non-binding and you will be required to pay charges based on however long the movers worked. The estimate will show the approximate charges anticipated by the moving company.
This means that the price on the estimate will be the
price of your move unless there are significant changes which would
require an addendum to the original estimate.
Binding-Not To Exceed.
Is a guaranteed maximum charge for the move as long as you do not request additional services. After a move is completed, all charges will be calculated. If the actual charges are less then the written estimate then you are only required to pay the actual charges.
ARE THERE ANY ADDITIONAL CHARGES?
Moving companies may charge any additional fees and it is important to know which of these, if any, your move may be subject to. Inquire about all of these additional charges and if they apply to your move.
- Travel fee
- Truck fee
- Fuel surcharge
- Long Carry fee
- Elevator/stair fee
- Heavy/bulky item fee
- Overtime fee
- Minimum weight/distance
- Packing/unpacking charges
- Storage fee
- Trash disposal fee
DO YOU OFFER SPECIFIC DATES FOR PICK-UP AND DELIVERY?
This is an essential question for long-distance moves. Some companies will offer windows for pick up and delivery rather than specific dates and times. Oftentimes these companies are combining many shipments and delivering them in the order they were loaded. Also, ask if the company is a ‘sole carrier’ which means they only move one person at a time. A sole carrier is unlikely to combine shipments, offload them into a warehouse or different truck which greatly reduces the potential for damage and lost items.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?
A good moving company will treat your questions as an invitation to clarify
and connect with you. It should never be an imposition. A great moving
company will answer a lot of these questions before you even ask. There
are many other questions that you may need to ask that are specific to your
move but hopefully, these questions will get you off to a good start and help
you find a quality mover who can communicate clearly in order to make
your transition as smooth and seamless as possible.