Moving is always a chore but moving at the last minute is no one’s idea of fun. There are many reasons you may find yourself in this position, but here you are. What matters now is what to do.
Luckily, unless you are looking for a same day moving company on one of the busiest days of the year, you will probably be able to get the help you need. Let’s look at a couple of different scenarios—small local move, big local move, and same day long distance moves.
If you have a few things that you absolutely need to move today, where you start looking may depend on what you are moving. If you just bought something, the seller may have a moving vendor to recommend. Often a retailer can supply transportation, even if it is not part of the negotiated price. If not, then you will need to look for small load same day movers. Some furniture moving companies specialize in small deliveries. This option is one way to avoid the minimum charge that other movers may assess for deliveries of less than a specific amount.
If you arrange to transport something that you already own or are buying from a third party, not a retailer, you will most likely need to engage a small local moving company. When you do so, keep in mind that the local move transaction is not protected by the jurisdiction of FMCSA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. FMCSA is the part of the Department of Transportation that regulates interstate moves and protects consumers against fraud. These regulations do not cover activities that occur completely inside one state (although some last minute movers near you that do both kinds of projects may still adhere to them).
Local movers are subject to state and local authorities, and who has jurisdiction depends on what state you are in. In many states, it is the department of motor vehicles or the department of consumer affairs. You can check with these agencies to ensure that the emergency mover you are considering does not have a poor safety record or history of unresolved consumer complaints. Check with the Better Business Bureau also, since many consumers will report bad customer experiences there.
Because time is short, you may want to combine the in-person estimate with the loading appointment. Usually, that isn’t recommended, but in exigent circumstances, it can work when you are only moving a limited amount. Be sure that the moving contract is specific about the charges, whether based on time, labor, or some other measurement.
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Emptying your house or apartment on the same day sounds like an impossible job, and hopefully, you have some helpers lined up. This is one time when the usual advice about carefully sorting through all your personal items to decide what to take and what to donate, give away, and dispose of doesn’t apply. With a situation as urgent as this, you will need to pack it all and sort it later. But you can still be smart about how you do it. Use clothing items, sheets, and towels to protect the dishes and other breakables. You will save on buying packing material and save space in the boxes. Pack, tape, label, stack like an assembly line, but don’t overlook the labeling in the interest of time, or you will likely regret it later.
One time-saving tip is to use large yard waste bags to pack clothes on hangers in the closet. Dresser drawers can either be left in place if not too heavy or dumped straight into boxes.
If the move is going from a residence into storage, take care to dispose of anything that will spoil (like perishable foods). Also, note that moving companies will not accept any hazardous materials in the truck. This prohibition includes the obvious things like ammunition and fireworks and some things that you might not think of.
Items Prohibited by Moving Companies
Whether this move is local or long-distance, finding the right mover will make it easier. If it is a local move, you will have the ability to supervise from start to finish. If you are sending your household goods on an unexpected trip to another state, you will be trusting the moving company to perform their part of the contract out of sight. It’s essential to choose carefully, so either way, research to select a reputable firm. Don’t let the lack of time result in a poor outcome.
Using a moving company broker’s services can be an effective way to save time in identifying appropriate moving companies to choose from. It’s important to remember that brokers are not movers—they facilitate arrangements between movers and consumers, based on their relationships with a set of moving companies. You save time by going through your project’s details once and letting the broker find the right mover for the job. Still, it is up to you to validate the terms and ensure that the mover is legitimate and capable of completing the work. Don’t rely on the broker’s word—the broker has a vested interest in making the deal happen; that is how they get paid.
Like movers, most brokers are reputable, but there are dishonest examples in any industry. If the broker arranges interstate deliveries, it comes under the jurisdiction of FMCSA and must abide by the same rules that govern interstate moving companies. One of those rules requires that it can only provide estimates on behalf of movers with which it maintains a written agreement and that the broker or the mover must conduct an in-person survey of the residence in order to provide an estimate. These standards are for your protection and should not be waived even though you are in a hurry. If the company is too busy to meet the requirements, then others can do so. It’s not worth taking a chance.