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Are you looking for a moving company near Orlando, Florida?

Whether you are getting ready for a one-way, local move, or preparing to leave the area to move out of state, you want to find the right moving company for your situation. How do you identify the best mover, and how do you even know what to look for? An excellent way to start is by understanding some of the basic terms that moving companies use. Like most industries, movers have their own language, and it’s easy to feel intimidated if you don’t know what they are talking about. Being able to define a few key terms will level the playing field and help you choose the right partner for your move.

One of the most critical topics in moving is the estimate. Getting estimates will help you compare moving vendors, and while you go through the process, you will also have the opportunity to learn how they conduct business and decide whether you want to do business with them. That’s one reason that experts recommend that you get at least three estimates for any move.

The estimate will vary depending on whether your move is local or long-distance. A local move is less than 150 miles, and the mover will usually give you a quote based on how long it will take them to complete the job. That includes loading the truck, driving from the origin to the destination, and unloading.

While federal laws over interstate commerce do not govern intrastate moves, Florida requires that movers follow many similar rules and do the following:

  • Give you a written estimate that includes the total cost of your move.
  • Give you a written, signed contract before engaging in any work.
  • Disclose the limits of its liability for your shipment, either in the estimate or the contract
  • Accept at least two payment forms, including cash, credit card, personal check, cashier’s check, or money order.

A visit to your residence to complete the estimate is not a requirement in Florida for a local move as it is for Florida interstate moves. However, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recommends that you avoid companies that are only willing to provide an estimate based on a phone call or internet description of your needs.

If your move is to another state, the transaction is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA. In this case, the visual inspection of your household goods becomes a requirement, and the estimate must specify whether it is binding or non-binding. In either case, the mover will compile an inventory of goods that comprise the shipment and provide an assessment of the predicted weight of the delivery. You will carefully review the list for accuracy. If the estimate is binding, and you do not add any items or services to the quote, the charges will not increase. However, if the estimate is non-binding, the price that you pay can rise if the moving company misjudged the weight forecast.

Some unscrupulous moving companies will deliberately give you a low estimate, knowing that it will be attractive to you and that they can hit you with a higher final invoice when they deliver your goods. This practice is one of the best reasons to get several bids and compare them. If you have two close estimates, and one much lower, ask that vendor why and ask if they are willing to commit with a binding quote. Ask the other companies to give you supplementary price s based on the lower weight so that you can compare across the board, and ask the low-price vendor what the final charges will be if the weight is higher.

Take the time to review each mover’s tariff, a detailed description of what they charge for various ancillary services, like packing, storage, and moving large items. The mover will provide the tariff with the estimate and the inventory.

Another important term in the moving industry is valuation. Valuation is similar to insurance, and it is how the moving company will protect you from loss during the move. For an interstate move, your mover will give you two choices for valuation coverage. One is replacement value coverage, full protection against loss or damage, with some exceptions and usually a deductible. The mover will add a charge to your bill for this coverage, and the cost is on the estimate. You must agree with the mover on how much the shipment is worth. Anything of extraordinary value (defined as over $100 per pound) must be identified in advance. You can choose to waive the full replacement value coverage in favor of lesser protection available at no additional charge. However, this reimbursement is limited to $0.60 per pound—payable on a per-item basis, so it will cover very little if anything in your shipment is lost or damaged. For example, a 20-pound flat-screen television that is dropped and has a cracked screen would be valued at $12.00 under this coverage plan.

While these rules do not apply to intrastate, local moves, your mover may offer something very similar. You should ask about their protection plans and get the answers in writing. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs recommends that you also ask about their arbitration program or another system for settling disputes and also ask for proof that it has liability coverage and worker’s compensation insurance. You can check for complaints (or file one) at the Florida Consumer Affairs resource site.

What’s the best time to find a mover near Orlando, Florida?

Household goods moving is a seasonal industry. Most people prefer to move during the summer. Some of that demand is tied to the school year since parents prefer not to disrupt their children’s school schedules. And since the home buying season also peaks in summer, it makes sense for the demand for moving services to be higher in the warmer weather. Naturally, people like to move around the weekend, so they have a chance to unpack and settle in without taking too many days off work, so Saturday and Sunday get more bookings than other days of the week. Finally, days near the end of the month are popular for moving since rental agreements and leases tend to cluster around the calendar. All these factors combine to increase rates during specific high demand periods. If you have the flexibility to schedule your relocation—either local or long-distance—at a less popular time, you may be able to find a mover with some openings in the schedule that can save you money.

Remember, we all like to save money, whether by finding a low-cost mover or doing without the full coverage valuation. Just be careful. Don’t overlook quality for price. You can find a good moving company that will do a great job at a fair price if you check around and compare estimates. Make sure you are talking to reputable companies with experience in the industry, not fly-by-night operators out to make a fast buck. You don’t have to cut corners or skimp on protecting your belongings if you take the time to look at the options and find the mover that is right for you.

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