Moving: Top 10 Tips
- Plan your move at least six to eight weeks in advance. This will give you a much better chance of getting the move dates you need and will give you time to evaluate the cost and services of potential movers.
- Interview moving agents. Don't merely listen to their sales pitch. Ask specific questions and have them explain how you're move would work from start to finish.
- Get at least three written estimates. Beware of estimates that seem too good to be true. To avoid being low-balled, we suggest obtaining binding or not-to-exceed estimates. Make sure all possible extra charges, including special packing needs, long carries, and flights of stairs are included. Ask specific questions about what is and is not included in your move.
- Investigate potential movers. Before choosing your mover, make sure they have a license and a good reputation. Taking a little time to do this before you hire a moving company can prevent a lot of frustration later.
- Photograph or videotape your valuables. This will come in handy if something is lost or damaged in transit and the moving company disputes your claim.
- Consider your coverage. The various options for protection coverage can be confusing, so make sure you understand exactly what and what is not covered. If you're worried about damage to your possessions, spend the money for full-value protection.
- Read all paperwork carefully. Be prepared to be rushed through the paperwork when the movers get to your home. Don't be intimidated. Take the time to read all forms, front and back, and ask questions if you don't understand something. Make sure the delivery dates, coverage option, storage information, and any other services you have requested are on the Order of Service and Bill of Lading. Make sure these charges are the same as on your estimate. Keep a copy of all paperwork.
- Oversee your inventory. If your moving company prepares an inventory, make sure all items being moved are tagged. Stay with the driver to assure he makes legible notations and that you agree with him on any pre-existing damage. After your belongings arrive at your new home, note any damage to your boxes or furniture that occurred from the move on the driver's inventory sheet before you sign off on it.
- Don't give your mover anything that is priceless or irreplaceable. Move things like family heirlooms, photo albums, financial or legal documents, cameras, and credit cards yourself.
- Follow through. If you have a loss or damage claim, file it promptly. If you have other complaints about your move, report them to the company immediately. If you're not satisfied with their response, contact the appropriate agency (see book: Where To Turn For Help).