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How To Find The Best Palo Alto Interstate Moving Companies

Are you looking for a long-distance mover in Palo Alto? Whether you are moving within California or moving out of state, finding the right mover is incredibly important. It has probably been a while since you had to make a big move and likely that you have many other significant things on your to-do list. The good news is that you can make this move pretty easy once you invest some time and find the right mover.

Where do I start my search for a good mover in Palo Alto?

Start with people you know. Checking references is an integral part of selecting the right long distance moving company, so if you know people who have moved in or out of the area recently, find out how their experience was. Did they feel comfortable with their mover? If they encountered problems (most moves are not perfect), how did the company respond? Were they able to reach someone when they needed to? Was the communication at a level that felt appropriate? Perhaps most important, did the company live up to the promises it made?

If you don’t have friends who can make personal recommendations, ask at your company. Even if this isn’t a corporate-sponsored move (and definitely if it is), your procurement or even Human Resources department may have relationships with moving vendors to recommend to you, and possible discounts available. Other sources of referrals and discounts can include associations like AARP, AAA, and your church or college alumni association.

How do I make sure the mover is legitimate?

Once you find some companies for consideration, either through referrals or an internet search, check them out. Any move which crosses over a state line (interstate) is subject to regulations made and enforced by the Department of Transportation as interstate commerce. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), within the DOT, supervises the industry and publishes guidance for movers, brokers, and consumers. All moving companies must register with the FMCSA and display their DOT number in advertising. Registered movers and brokers must provide the consumer with a copy of the FMCSA brochure, which outlines the rights of consumers when engaging a moving vendor. A critical requirement for interstate moves is a written estimate for every customer. If the customer is within 50 miles of the mover’s business, the evaluation must be based on a physical survey of the items included in the move, unless the customer waives that requirement.

The FMCSA recommends that consumers avoid movers or brokers (brokers are companies that arrange moves but do not complete them) which do not register with the FMCSA, refuse to perform the physical survey of the household, or require cash payments. FMCSA maintains a database that identifies registered companies and also tracks information regarding safety history and customer complaints.

If your long-distance move from Palo Alto is not interstate, you still have valuable consumer protection within the State of California. Each state is different, but in California, there is a Bureau of Household Goods and Services, which outlines protections for consumers, including the following:

If you contract with a moving company more than two days ahead of the move, they must provide you with a copy of their moving services agreement. They also will give you access to two publications:  “Important Notice About Your Move,” and the “Important Information For Persons Moving Household Goods (within California)” booklet. The booklet provides rules and regulations that a moving company must follow and information about your rights.

  • A moving company may only provide you with an estimate after it conducts a visual inspection of the items you need to move.
  • Verbal estimates or estimates given online are illegal.
  • A moving company must provide a “Not to Exceed” price for all household moves. This price is the maximum amount you will pay unless you request additional services, and those requested changes must appear in a “Change Order for Moving Services.”

California’s Bureau also licenses moving companies for hire and guides consumers on finding a reputable company and how to file complaints if necessary.

How many estimates do I need for my long-distance move from Palo Alto?

Getting several estimates (at least 3, preferably 5) is a good idea. Not just to look for the lowest price, but to get an idea of whether the companies you are talking to are of high quality. You have determined that they registered with the FMCSA or the California Bureau of Household Goods and Services, or probably both. You have spoken to some recent customers about their satisfaction with the company. You met their representatives when they came out to conduct the physical survey of what you are moving. By now, you should have a good sense of whether they are an upstanding, honest organization. There are some additional factors to help you in your evaluation.

  1. Are they agreeable to offering you their written tariff? The tariff is a breakdown of the fees that the company charges for various services. All rates and service terms are published in the tariff, and the company should never hesitate to share it with you. It includes their charges for cancellation, unexpected services at the destination, such as long carries, steep driveways, stairs, shuttles, and storage.
  2. Are they willing to provide estimates based on various weights? If you are getting a non-binding estimate, the company should be prepared to outline the final cost based on alternative final weights. The actual weight is determined once the truck is loaded (and you are legally allowed to witness this weighing), but you should not encounter resistance when asking for more than one estimate.
  3. Will they provide a not-to-exceed estimate? Moving companies are required to provide this type of contract for moves within California and charge a fee for binding estimates on interstate moves. If the company does not do so, be suspicious.
  4. Do the contacts change every time you call? If you have trouble reaching the contact person, or the connection continually changes, you may be dealing with a rogue operator.
  5. Do they require a large or cash deposit? Payment for a move should be made upon delivery. If the mover requires a deposit, ask why, and only pay a deposit via credit card to retain the right to dispute the charge.

Should I pay for the extra insurance when I move from Palo Alto?

Probably, yes. The estimate you get from the apartment moving company will explain the two options for insurance. The default coverage, included at no additional cost to the customer, sounds better than it is, at $0.60 per pound for loss or damage. That means that each item’s coverage is limited to sixty cents per pound of weight for that item. That might be enough to replace an old, heavy table, but if your brand-new flat screen weighs 20 pounds, it is only worth $12 if it is lost or broken. The full value replacement coverage has an additional cost, but if something is damaged, it’s covered. Explore the limitations and exceptions, though, and never send exceptional value items like jewelry or possessions with high personal value in the moving truck.

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