I’ve received several questions over the last few months asking for advice about relocating. Mostly I have been shooting back a quick “Oh! Excellent question! Because I will soon be relocating, too! Stay tuned!” email and then curling up in the corner, rocking back and forth in the fetal position, and moaning.
Because moving? Is horrid. Horrid. Nothing is more disruptive and more expensive and more nerve-wracking.
Anyway, the time has come to face my fear, and I’m going to start tackling this topic a piece at a time. Today: What you need to know to hire a mover.
First of all, let’s just nevermind the fact that your cheapest option is to rent a truck, throw your stuff in, and do everything yourself. We all know that. We also know that for most adults, this isn’t a viable option—either because you have too much stuff or you’re moving too far, or both. I’m talking about hiring a moving company, here.
So. The first thing you need to do is bookmark this website. Read up on the information there and keep it handy. They maintain a blacklist of known scamming companies, as well as a big honkin’ master list of great articles and resources about moving. I love them.
Next, here are a few basic tips to get you started:
- Get at least three estimates on your move. These estimates should be performed by an actual human walking through your house and basing the cost on an estimated total weight. Over-the-phone, sight-unseen estimates are garbage. Also keep in mind that the company that comes in way under the others may be leaving something out, like adequate insurance coverage, or doesn’t have any sort of guarantee of final cost in relation to the estimate.
- Start lightening your load. The more you have to move, the more it costs. Have a yard sale. Put stuff on Craigslist. And when you’re getting your estimates, ask for estimates for varying weights so you have an idea of what you’ll be saving by getting rid of stuff.
- A reputable mover doesn’t require any money upfront, gives you a contract with guaranteed dates of service, and offers an estimate that guarantees pricing within 10%. That is, the total cost of your move cannot exceed 110% of the estimate. Some people will tell you to get a binding estimate where the estimate is the cost, but in that case you lose the option of saving money if your load is lighter than estimated. Go for the “binding within 10% option” where your actual cost is based on certified weigh-ins.
- Ask questions. These people are trying to get your business. Make them earn it. Don’t be afraid to ask how things are packed or what your options are. You’re the consumer.
More moving tips to come in the days ahead! And then all of us who are relocating can curl up in the corner together!