Moving Companies Boston To Washington DC
Planning a move down the Eastern seaboard from Boston to the Washington, D.C. area is less than 500 miles, but it may seem like moving to a different world. The winters are much milder in D.C., but the political storms can be harsh. Of course, our country’s independent spirit was conceived in the Boston area, which remains an important historical treasure. Whatever the motivation is for your relocation, some solid planning will help make the move stress-free and have you settled in no time.
How should I start planning my move from Boston to D.C.?
Be organized. Start with a checklist and a calendar.
- Two months before the planned moving date, start looking at everything in your house with a critical eye. Are there things that you have displayed on a shelf that you can eliminate? Moving is the ideal time to declutter. Look in every closet and drawer and ruthlessly discard anything you don’t have a good reason to keep. This process serves several purposes. First, it helps you reduce the number of things you are moving, and second, it allows you to start fresh in decorating and stocking your new home. Use a skeptical approach when you consider the furnishings, too—you may want a new look in your new house or apartment. It’s undoubtedly better to make that decision before you move a bunch of stuff all the way to D.C.
- Donate the items you decide to get rid of or have a yard sale.
- If you have school-aged children, contact their current school, and arrange to transfer their academic records to the new schools in D.C. Some arrangements may need to be made in-person. Verify the new school policies and calendar in advance of the move date.
- This is an excellent time to begin researching moving companies.
What do I look for in a moving company?
The trip from Boston to D.C. is an interstate move. That means the Department of Transportation regulates the movers involved, and they will need to have a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, known as FMCSA. In addition to licensing, FMCSA maintains information about movers’ safety records and any claims or complaints filed by consumers. You can find this data on their website, along with helpful resources about moving and the rules that interstate movers must follow.
One of those rules requires long distance moving companies to visit your residence and complete a visual survey of what you are moving before giving you a price. The mover’s representative should walk through the house or apartment with you, ask questions about what is or isn’t included in the movie, look in closets, and assess the contents‘ weight. Interstate move prices are mostly based on the shipment’s weight, so the mover needs to look at what the shipment includes to come up with an accurate assessment. They will create an inventory, which is a comprehensive list of everything you want to move, and attach that to the rate quote.
There are three types of estimate: nonbinding, binding, and binding not to exceed. The kind you get is important, so make sure the rate quote is specific. A nonbinding estimate is not a guaranteed price. If the local mover estimates your shipment’s weight at 5,000 pounds and offers to complete the work for $4,000, you will pay more than that if the weight of the load is higher, and you have a nonbinding estimate. If you have a binding estimate or a binding not to exceed price, then even if the mover underestimated the weight, you don’t have to worry about paying a higher price.
FMCSA has provided some protection for you, so as long as you have engaged a licensed mover, you won’t encounter a huge rate hike after the load is weighed. FMCSA rules limit the increase that a mover can apply to a nonbinding estimate to 10% of the bill on the day of delivery. You may hear a mover say that the total bill can’t exceed 110% of the estimate, but that isn’t strictly true. The company can send you an invoice for more money but can’t hold up your delivery for the higher amount.
What else do movers charge for?
Besides the weight, other elements of the mover’s bill include services that you either ask for or need. Moving companies will give you a copy of their tariff along with the estimate. The tariff is a list of the various charges they have and when you might need to pay them. Usually, you will know about these in advance, and the fee will be on your estimate. For example, if you decide to engage the mover to complete some or all of the packing for you, they will give you a per hour price for labor and a cost for the packing materials. You may also pay to rent the moving blankets and the clever wardrobe boxes that make packing your closet so easy. One thing to remember about packing is if you do it on your own, ensure that you pack fragile items very well. Your liability coverage does not protect anything that you pack if it breaks inside the carton. If the mover prepares and packs it, their coverage will be in force, to the limit of the protection you have in place.
Other services include labor for moving heavy pieces of furniture or disassembling and reassembling specific pieces like beds. Movers may or may not be willing to disconnect appliances, but they will impose a fee for the service if they are. If you have stairs or an elevator, be prepared to pay extra for the labor involved, and if the mover can’t park close to your door, they will likely charge you for a “long carry.” If these conditions are at the destination residence, and the mover is not aware of them in advance, they may add charges to the bill when they make the delivery. Again, FMCSA imposes a limit on how much the mover can increase the invoice at the time of the delivery for such unexpected items.
Shady moving companies sometimes operate scams in which they hold a consumer’s shipment hostage, demanding double or triple the agreed-on amount of money before they will deliver the household goods. The best way to protect yourself against these rogue operations is to choose your service provider wisely. Verify the DOT license number of the vendor you are considering and check the safety and complaint history on the FMCSA website. Then go to the Better Business Bureau and look for reviews about the company. Ask for references, and ensure that the mover has a local address, not just a P.O. Box or a call center operation. Finally, be very wary of a company that wants a big deposit in advance and insists on payment in cash. Most moving services performed by reputable companies are paid for when completed, and you should be concerned if the mover asks you to pay upfront. The company may be planning to disappear with your shipment.
Most movers are honest and hardworking. Don’t get tangled up with a bad apple that will turn your move into a nightmare. Plan ahead, do your research and choose a great moving company.