Are you moving soon?
While it’s an exciting new chapter, moving home is one of the most stressful times of your life. Not only do you need to close the deal on your new home, but organize the logistics of the move.
From canceling utilities and setting up new ones, to moving furniture, there’s a lot to do. Hiring a team of expert movers can help take some of that stress away if you get the right ones. But finding a reliable mover can be a daunting task if you haven’t done it before.
Don’t worry, we can help! Read on for these 8 tips on choosing the best moving companies to help your move go as smoothly as possible.
1. Check They Take a Moving Inventory
Moving companies worth their salt will take full stock of your items and work out the rough bulk weight. This will either be a virtual or in-person survey.
Your estimator will check all your storage areas including bookcases, garages, and drawers. The weight of your stuff is what movers use the most to base their price on.
They also have to consider how much space your items take up in the truck, and how many trucks they might need. Make sure your estimate is as accurate as possible and the mover breaks it down for you.
2. Make Sure They Do a Thorough Walk-Through
A moving company that does a quick walk-through isn’t giving your items the attention they need. A good mover will take stock, as above, and also ask you about your move.
They want to know what you’re taking, and how your new house layout will work. Will you pack up in a way that allows the movers to put boxes in the right rooms at the other end? Those are the details they’ll ask for.
Your movers want to know the items you’re taking AND the items that aren’t making the cut. Include whether you’re throwing out any items, donating them, or leaving them behind.
3. Don’t Pay Up a Huge Deposit
Some less trustworthy, cheap moving companies may ask you for a deposit. Any reputable mover though won’t ask for cash upfront or a big deposit before the move.
You should only hand over cash when your items make it to the new house. If you pay up in advance, you can’t control when or even if you’ll see your items again. A good tip is to use a credit card to pay. This will offer an extra layer of protection for any fraudulent activities.
4. Avoid Companies With a Name Change
Some companies avoid a Better Business Bureau assessment by trading under many names. It’s always best to choose from local moving companies that have a local address.
Check they have a license to operate in your state and check their insurance coverage. Employees should answer the phone with their full business name. Check the state and federal license numbers for that name, and any others it uses.
Check online for any bad reviews about the company under each name. You can also contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for more information.
5. Check References and Reviews
If you can’t get recommendations from friends or family, check out reviews online. A good place to start is the American Moving and Storage Association.
Any movers you talk with, ask them to provide references from past customers. You want them to refer you to local references who moved in the last 3 months for accurate information.
Call them up and ask for details on their experience. Would they recommend using them? How did they handle their items? Were they satisfied?
6. Avoid Packing Costs
If you’re packing yourself, moving and storage companies usually aren’t responsible for any damage. This goes for local and long distance moving companies too.
But if you get them to pack, they may charge you inflated prices for the packing materials. Not to mention the extra time and labor needed for the packing.
If you decide on this service, ask about their packing experience. Most reputable movers will take care of your items, but you want to make sure. You don’t want a mover who will chuck them in any box, taking little time or care. Especially as you’ll pay extra for the service.
7. Beware Added Hidden Fees
Are you leaving or moving into a 2-story house? Is your apartment on the 11th Floor? If so, you’ll likely face extra charges if there are stairs to negotiate or other access issues.
Will a narrow street prevent the moving truck from getting to your house? Expect an extra charge for a smaller vehicle to transfer it to the larger truck.
Before you hire a mover, ask them about their services and their charges. Explain your properties and their needs. A reputable mover will tell you what extras will apply to those situations and what they will charge for it.
8. Don’t Sign a Blank Contract
Don’t sign a blank contract, you need to get everything in writing. It should list their estimate, and extra fees that apply, and your pick-up/delivery dates. Read through and make sure these are the terms you agreed.
Check the item inventory too and that it matches your own. If an item isn’t listed on the inventory before the driver leaves, you can’t expect it to be there when he arrives. And, you can’t claim anything that isn’t on that list.
9. Don’t Accept a “Guaranteed” Quote
This type of contract doesn’t exist, and if someone offers it to you, it’s a good idea to walk away. There are 3 kinds of moving contracts that reputable companies use.
These contracts mean that the moving company can’t ask for payments over 10% of the estimate given. You then have 30 days to pay that extra amount.
Non-Binding to Exceed Estimate
This means that you won’t have to pay any overages from the estimate. The estimate you got will be the most you have to pay for the services you receive.
This should be the guaranteed price for all the extras, services, and your move. If you then ask for added extras (like unpacking), you will have 30 days after delivery to pay those fees.
Choosing the Best Moving Companies Made Easy
So, there you have it! Now you know these 9 tips you’re sure to find the best moving companies in your area.
Make sure you check reviews and only choose a licensed, insurer mover. It’s best to choose a local company for you, as they’ll know the area and most often offer more competitive pricing. When you meet them, you’ll get an idea of their work ethics, but trust your gut. Only go with a mover who you think will respect and look after your belongings to get them to your new home.
If you’re looking for a reliable, local moving company in the Chicago area, contact us today. At Moovers Chicago, we’ve got the knowledge and experience to suit all your moving needs.