Questions to Ask Your Movers
Moving is cited as one of the most stressful events in an individual’s lifetime. The chaos and turbulence of relocating your entire life can easily become overwhelming. Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of nightmare moves. I wish there was some magical way to have everything transported mess-free so your new house- whether it’s down the block or across the country- was ready and waiting as a proper home. Although unfortunately I can’t offer any spell to get your move done in a snap, I have endured enough relocations to know that the right moving company can make all the difference and has the ability to transform a hectic time with their experience and organization.
What’s important is hiring the right moving company. The market is saturated with over-promises and under-delivery so it is essential, when hiring movers, to know exactly what to ask in order to make sure you’re making the best and most informed choice. Although you should always feel comfortable to ask any question you have, these are just a few of the ones I’ve found are most important and make a huge difference when considering who to hire.
Is your company properly licensed?
You may think it’s safe to assume that a moving company is licensed but you’d be surprised. A company that is a member of the American Mover and Storage Association (AMSA) means that your move is in good hands. The association guarantees compliance with federal law and holds members to a high standard of service.
What kind of liability coverage do you provide?
I can’t stress the importance of this question enough. During a move, you want to make absolutely sure that your personal belongings are well taken care of which means you want a company that is insured and liable for damage.
The basic liability coverage is calculated by weight but the moving company should be able to offer you subsequent options for an extra fee. If you’re looking at better coverage you should be able to choose full value protection which makes the movers liable for the replacement cost of any damaged or lost item. You should also be able to insure pieces or valuables based on their cost not just on their weight. Although most companies offer a range of options for insurance and liability you always have the option of purchasing additional moving insurance through a third party.
Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions when it comes to liability and coverage. You want to understand exactly what is being offered before you make any commitments or put down any deposits.
Do you have all the necessary equipment?
This is another question that might seem obvious but consider your belongings and the situation of your move. Some moves require special equipment or hoisting gear for those extra-large or heavy items. You also want to make sure the company has enough experienced movers to be able to handle the job safely and efficiently.
What is your deposit and refund policy?
Don’t get suckered into an unfair deposit. Any deposit you make should never be move than 20% of the total amount you’re expecting to pay. Find out if the deposit is refundable or negotiable if you need to cancel or change your move date. Also, ask what happens to the deposit if for any reason the moving company doesn’t show up on the correct date or is unable to complete your move.
What do you consider extra services and how much do you charge for them? (Are there hidden costs?)
Maybe you haven’t experienced this with movers specifically but we’ve all been victims of those secret charges that make an otherwise affordable service seem extortionate. Different companies have different policies on these extra fees so make sure you’re thorough when discussing this. Most companies will be able to provide you with a list of extra services you might be charged for; these could include: moving up/down stairs, handling large or heavy items, and travel or parking fees. In order to avoid any needless charges, make sure you have an explicit understanding of what the company considers “extra” so you can avoid those fees whenever possible.
Do you provide inventory?
I would suggest always making your own inventory and keeping track of your belongings as thoroughly as possible, including taking pictures of your packed boxes or any large pieces of furniture. Moving companies should also provide some sort of inventory, usually the total weight of your shipment and the number of boxes to be moved or any special arrangements.
I hope this helps and good luck with your upcoming move!