How can I find professional movers for a long-distance move?
The moving industry is complex, and there are great companies that have been around a long time, and some fly-by-night operators here for a minute to make a quick buck and disappear. Moving long distance is fraught with anxiety because you have to give up control over much of the process, and your cherished goods are out of sight, maybe for a long time. Luckily, with some diligence, you can find a moving company with an excellent reputation that offers the services you need at a fair price.
How do I start my search for a professional mover?
Before you go online and search for movers, start by understanding the terminology. Movers have their jargon, and if you don’t understand it, you can get lost. Here are some helpful definitions:
- Accessorial Charges: Extra charges from a moving company for packing, unpacking, crating, or appliance disconnection. These fees are added to the baseline cost.
- Bill of Lading: A sheet of information that outlines the details of the move. It is legally binding.
- Binding Estimate: A binding estimate is an agreement for a price that will not change. It is based on the physical survey of household items, converted into the anticipated weight, plus accessorial services.
- Bulky Article Charge: Large items such as pool tables and exercise equipment incur extra charges.
- Cube Sheet: (also called inventory or table of measureme t). A list of goods and the amount of space they will take up in a truck. This list is then converted into weight.
- Elevator Charge: An additional charge applied when moving requires an elevator.
- Flight Charge: An additional charge for a mover to carry items up or downstairs. It can be negotiated.
- Full-Service Moving: When a moving company performs the entire moving process from start to finish for the customer. This service includes providing materials, packing, loading, transporting, unloading, unpacking, and household goods’ clean-up. It may also include rubbish disposal, furniture arranging, and storage.
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, is an agency within the Department of Transportation that regulates moving companies.
- Full-Value Protection Insurance: Insurance that covers the value of an item, an item’s replacement, or the cost to repair an item if it’s damaged or lost by a moving company. Not included in the price of the move, but available for an additional fee.
- Hazard Insurance: Insurance that protects against damage to household goods from fire, floods, wind, and other natural events. It is not included in moving company full value or default insurance coverage.
- High-Value Articles: Household items that have a value of more than $100 per pound. These must be noted expressly for valid insurance coverage.
- Impracticable Operations: Conditions that prohibit a moving company from carrying out a pickup or delivery with their standard equipment and require special equipment or additional labor. These terms are defined in a moving company’s tariff. Additional charges may be added to the final invoice for moving.
- Inherent Vice: When an item’s condition prevents a moving company from moving the object without causing it damage. The company may refuse to move the item or will exclude it from liability.
- Long Carry Charge: An extra fee applied when a mover carries goods a long distance from a residence to the moving truck or vice versa. The applicable length and the charge must be specified on the tariff.
- Non-Binding Estimate: A non-binding estimate of the moving cost based on the estimated weight of household items and any requested accessorial services. The final bill is determined by the correct weight and any added services.
- PBO: Stands for packed by owner. A term used by moving companies to designate when a customer packs items, which can affect insurance coverage.
- Peak Season Rates: Prices for moves that take place during the busiest season for moving companies. Typically, between the spring and summer months, when demand is highest.
- Reweigh: A customer may request a reweigh of the items on the moving truck. If a reweigh is asked for, charges will be calculated based on the new net weight.
- Released Value Insurance: A basic moving insurance policy required by federal law (for interstate moves) and offered at no additional charge. This policy insures your belongings for 60 cents per pound per item regardless of the item’s value.
- Valuation: A valuation is the estimated value of a customer’s belongings. Before the Bill of Lading is signed, a customer will declare the monetary cost for all the items included in their move. A moving company will use this number to determine its liability for damage to or loss of an object.
How do I know if they are the right mover for me?
A good moving company representative will spend time with you, carefully discussing the move and making sure they understand your needs. By mastering the lingo, you have taken the time to establish a basis for mutual discussion, so you should expect the moving company to invest the time to understand your circumstances and priorities. The mover must offer you a physical inspection of the moving items and a detailed inventory (cube sheet).
The reputable moving company will offer you options to make your move easier, and to help you save money if that is your goal. Their representative should explain how flexibility in timing of pick up and delivery can be useful, and what disruptions and obstacles at the origin and destination will create delays and additional charges.
The professional mover will explain the advantages of engaging them for packing services and share the details of potential ancillary charges ahead of time. If your mover seems rushed or is offering you a surprisingly low price relative to the others you are getting, you have reason to be suspicious and question their integrity. The professional mover will not pressure you but will give you time to make an informed decision. Their representative will abide by the regulations of the FMCSA, which include providing you with their DOT number, and a copy of or link to the brochure “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.”
The professional mover will offer information about other related services that may be useful to you. They might have a storage facility in your destination area or offer assistance with the establishment of home services. Full-service movers can help with specialty transport, such as automobiles, boats, recreational vehicles, even horses. If you do not choose to engage them for packing, you will have the option to purchase your packing supplies if you prefer and to pay for the use of materials such as wardrobe boxes.
Finally, the professional mover will have references from recent customers who have enjoyed satisfactory experiences with their service and are willing to share it with you. Don’t underestimate the value of reported customer experience. Check with the local BBB and online sites that collect reviews from happy and unhappy consumers.