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Finding a Mover, How to find a reputable moving company.

Finding a Reputable Mover      

Finding a Reputable Mover from BoxesandBags - GBE Packaging - Fast Professional Source for Wholesale Shipping and Packaging Supplies Since 1998.

Below are some suggestions or recommendations
you may find useful if you are getting ready for a move or relocation. 


Reputable movers? Is there such a thing, Well yes there certainly are we know lots of honest hardworking movers but you just may need to do some homework to find one that works for you. I have friends that have shippers in their families and I would use them anytime so remember to ask your friends and relatives first.

It can seem very stressful, Moving has been rated as the third most highly pressured experience next to getting married or being thrown in jail. Yikes - Allow us to make some more suggestions that may be helpful.

How do movers charge? Your basic move costs could be based on the weight of the shipment and the time involved to move the shipment and the cubic footage of the shipment or any combination of the three. Local moves are usually charged by the hour. The time charged usually includes 'travel time' which is the time it takes the move crew to get from their office to your residence, then back to the office after the delivery. Interstate moves are usually charged by the weight of the shipment although some of the newer companies charge by the cubic foot. Services like the use of elevators and stair carries are charged at an extra rate.

International moves are commonly charged on either weight or cubic foot basis.

Packing services are contracted by the mover but usually charged separately, usually at a specific rate for providing each carton and providing the packing labor. There are many other services that could apply also for special services like hoisting, special handling of bulky items like cars or boats, servicing of special items like washing machines or grandfather clocks etc. Your mover can tell you more about any extra charges when you have your personal inventory done. 

Payment to movers are usually done on delivery in cash or certified checks. Some movers take credit cards. No one will take personal checks.

Tip's - Do not feel obligated, If you feel the moving crew did a good job and want to tip them that is up to you, it is customary to tip the driver and let him take care of his helpers. Usually, the helpers work for the driver. Tipping is not mandatory while some movers actually put tipping on the bill and try to pressure you into tipping, it is illegal to require tipping. If you are not happy with the movers work and do not want to tip, you should not have to. Make sure they do not add it to the bill.

Many moving companies offer special deals if you belong to specific organizations such as AAA, Unions, the Auto Club, Masonic organizations, etc. Ask the movers what discounts do they offer? This could save you a lot of money.


Plan an Off-Peak Season Move. (when possible)

Call movers as soon as possible. Moving companies are extremely busy during the summer months. June to September is the busy season for movers. Movers report that the last week of the month in May, June, July and August are the busiest weeks of the year. Those dates can be booked 4 to 6 weeks in advance. If you can avoid moving during those months, you will likely receive better service. Movers are known to hire temporary help to assist during the busy months so if you do have to move during the summer make sure everything is packed well and secure. If you must move during the busy season, move mid-month, mid-week, and avoid the end of the month. 

It's important to find a moving company or van lines you can trust to move everything you own so take your time and start your search early. You do not want to be rushed and be forced to take the first lowest price you come across. Contact your mover at least 4 to 6 weeks before the move date. Have your written estimates created no more than 30 days before your move. 

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Start collecting your moving boxes and packaging as early as possible.

Don't wait until the last minute to start collecting any packaging you can while you are searching for a mover. Start collecting boxes and any packing whether you try to find free boxes or decide to order your boxes do it as early as possible and try to pack things you will not need before your move. Remember that time will fly when you are prepairing for a move so use your time wisely. Professional packers are costly! If you are planning to use the mover or a packing service to help you pack beware Packing services add up quickly. Movers charge top dollar for packing materials and boxes. 


We can offer some advice about finding free boxes here or you can buy your boxes by the bundle from a wholesale shipping supply distributer like GBE Packaging, and that's going to get you your boxes at the lowest price but for other packing supplies like packing tape, bubble, or kraft / tissue paper you may just want to buy that locally as they all have specials on tape 6 packs and bubble is too expensive to ship. Box distributors are your best price for new boxes the same box that is over $2.00 at the office store is .89 cents on line. That's if you don't have time to travel around asking for boxes or collecting used bubble wrap from friends. We recommend you do not use old food boxes for moving since they may come with critters or bugs. Boxes at your local office supply store or hardware store are quite expensive we suggest the internet to buy moving boxes. 

Packing - Your mover can do all of your packing or just specific items. Pieces of furniture, including televisions, bookshelves and large electronic items, should be blanket padded at no charge. If you want to save money, you can do most of your packing yourself. 

If you don't want to do it yourself, your mover can do any or all of the packing for you, but it will be at a price for both the cost of the cartons and the packing labor. Consider letting your mover professionally pack your breakables. You can pack non critical items such as books, clothes, blankets, linens, etc.

Leave clothes and linens in dresser drawers so long as it does not leave the dresser too heavy to safely move and the shipment is not going to storage for any length of time (this could cause mildew). Mattresses and box springs do have to be packed. Usually the mover will do this, but expect a cost for this as well.  Here are more packing tips to help you get everything packed and ready.

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Searching for a Reputable Moving Company

You want to search for several movers, at least three or more reputable moving companies and you will narrow it down later. 

Use the internet, it's a great resource for information. We have seen some people blame the internet for scams and dishonest movers but in most cases it still comes down to old fashioned homework to find a good honest mover. Almost every moving company has helpful links and information. Take notes about packing and things you might find useful later. Bookmark any sites you want to return to later. You can also use the many sites by the Department of Transportation, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, all can be found on our *******************Moving Links
One suggestion Never use a mover who's main source of advertising are signs posted on trees and telephone poles. Ask for recommendations from neighbors, friends, and relatives regarding any moving experiences, good or bad? Perhaps they can recommend a mover for you to check out.

Don't stop there. It's only being safe to research anyone you intend to use. Every mover has done both good and bad moves, so check further. Your local Better Business Bureau should be a must. Do not be afraid to search on Google or Bing as deep as 20-50 pages or more as reviews can be hidden when half of each page is sponsored ads. Also you will see many sites that are just paid reviews that just seem to be fake and they most likely are. Make sure you deal with a reputable firm. There are sites such as LinkedIn and they have many registered moving companies it may be worth a look but check for reviews on anyone your interested in using. 

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Most van lines don't have the authority to do local moves

If you want to use one of the national familiar firms, you must understand, most of these companies use 'agents' in most areas that are not really the company you may think you are calling. This is pretty normal, it's how the industry operates. The major van line companies  work with smaller local movers who sell the van lines services, and do local work for the van lines including contracting any packing, local pickups and deliveries, etc. Many times they do limited hauling as well. Remember to check out both the van lines and the agent as it is common for a major van line to have more than one agent in a given location. Ask questions now so you can check them out properly. If they do not like answering questions do you really want to use them?

If you call a major van lines agent for a local move thinking the van lines will do the move, you might be mistaken. The agent might do the move on his own authority. Again it's the way the industry operates. Most van lines don't have the authority to do local moves so they use local movers. If you are moving internationally, you may not get the van lines you think you are getting either as most agents have no obligation to use their primary interstate van lines for international moves. There are smaller local movers you may contract, Two Men and a Truck, and so on. You might have a small apartment and a small mover is all you need. Check your local listings.  

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Some of the Best Moving Resources are on the Internet

It's homework time. Use the internet and investigate all the movers on your list and try to narrow it down to no more than 3 movers. Do a Google or Bing search on the names and see what you find. Search for any complaints or warnings about the movers and go 20 to 50 pages deep, if someone complained on a moving forum somewhere it most likely will not be in the top 20 or the top 100 it costs money now to get on those pages. Look for Moving Forums? or Moving Blogs? Sure people love to share their good and bad experiences so use that to your advantage. Check YouTube and other video review sites like Vimeo or Shop Wiki. Be creative in your search. Search for such things as "That was the worst mover I ever worked for" or I cant believe the get customers to move. If you find employees complaining you may want to depend on them to move all your valuables. Also use "Quotes" on your searches to narrow down the scope. 

If you search on Google for Reviews on Movers you will get lots of results, some of the best sites allow customers to enter feedback like movers.com. Consumer Affairs maintains a website called Best Moving Companies with lots of reviews of movers. Also dont forget about Consumer Reports they have a site called Find a Moving Company You Can Count On. More popular moving company review sites are My Moving Reviews and Moving Company Reviews.com

The BBB Better Business Bureau website has an entire section on Hiring a Mover with moving Tip's and adviceWhether moving across town or across the country, nearly a third of consumers choose a professional moving company to assist with their relocation. Movers are one of the top categories of companies searched on the Better Business Bureau website, bbb.org, which has BBB Business Profiles on more than 20,000 moving-related companies.  

Be sure to download the "Ready to Move" brochure and checklist is a handy tool to help you prepare for your move, and understand what you will need to know and do during each phase of your moving process from the U.S. Department of Transportation - FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). 

Find out what the mover's responsibilities are for damages or losses that may occur to your belongings. Ask if the mover has a Dispute Settlement Program. Before moving your household goods, interstate movers are required to provide you with information regarding their dispute settlement program. Movers must offer a neutral dispute settlement program as a means of settling disputes that may arise concerning loss or damage of your household goods.

Next you want to make sure the movers are properly insured. Many movers and fly-by-night companies do not have workmans compensation which is required by law in most places. If this coverage is not in place and a worker gets hurt on your property, you could be liable for his injuries. He could end up owning your home! 

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Once you have your 3 movers ask for three written in-home estimates

When you have your three movers that sound good on the internet searches and have good ratings on the BBB website you will want to obtain written estimates from each one so you can compare cost and all other services to be provided by the movers. It's important to take the time to have the mover send a representative or company estimator to personally conduct an inspection before generating your written estimate. Show the mover everything that will be moved, including items in attics, basements, garages, storage areas, sheds, etc. While the internet is a great resource to find movers, it should not be used as a means to contract with any mover or packing company. A fair and reasonable estimate can only be given if the movers estimator actually views the goods being moved. This is also your chance to ask any questions you may have, do not assume anything, ask questions and take notes, get everything in writting.


This is the biggest mistake most people make! Not having a personal inventory performed. See our warning before contracting with a mover. If you have a written estimate done by a representative who came to your house, you have certain legal protections against the price being increased or extra fee's being charged. So long as you do not make any material changes in the move, the mover can only collect within a certain percentage of his provided estimate on delivery. Many movers know if they give you a written estimate, they will be legally bound within certain limits to their estimate, so they may try to delay an estimate so they will not have time or actually talk you out of having them send an estimator. This is a BIG WARNING SIGN that this is a company you do NOT want to work with, no matter how nice or sincere the rep sounds over the phone, or how cheap they may seem. 

You also do not want to schedule your estimate too far in advance before the move. If you do, it is possible the prices will change. Also, you may change your mind about moving certain items or other services you may need. No more than 30 to 60 days before the move is recommended.

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When they perform your personal inventory Ask Questions, If you do not understand something, Ask Now

I hope you have been writing down any questions you may have for the mover as this is your best chance to ask those questions. Make sure they send someone to inspect your move and when your estimator shows up ask all those questions you have. Show them anything you may need advice on moving. If you do not understand something, ask now. Remember to show them your basement, garage, attic and storage areas, and any sheds or back yard items you plan to move. They will many times make recommendations whether it is a good idea or not to take a certain item or how to pack anything tricky. Remember that some things might cost more to move than it would to replace them new at your new destination like press board furniture. Consider selling those or giving them to friends. The moving business is complex and has its own language. If you aren’t satisfied with the answers to your questions or if the carrier hesitates when you ask for clarification, talk to another carrier. Again get everything in writing. The estimator won't be there on moving day.

Also look up all three to determine whether the interstate mover is registered with FMCSA, and has a USDOT number. While your on their site obtain and read the three “pre-move” required documents from your carrier. These documents include: Your Rights and Responsibilities and Ready to Move brochures, and information on the arbitration program that the carrier participates in. These documents are all required for every interstate shipment.

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Once you narrow it down to one Carrier or Moving Company

Once you narrow it down to one moving company its time to set up the pickup and delivery dates of your household belongings. Get contact information - Ask the mover how they can be contacted anytime, including before, during, and after the move questions. Remember to arrange any packing services you may need (Normally this work is sub contracted by the mover to a 3rd party packing service) If you are contracting a packer now would be the time to get any details about who will be packing your household goods and the prices of supplied packing materials. It's almost always cheaper to pack your belongings yourself no matter how many discounts they offer. If you do hire packers ask about their insurance and and Bonds they might have. Don't feel you cant ask who is packing your belongings?

Timing is everything! It takes time to do a move and you are not the only client that will be moved. Most interstate moves are done on large tractor trailers that typically hold 5 to 6 or more different household shipments. Movers rates are based on moving fully loaded trailers to and from origin to destination. For this reason they need some flexibility on the dates for both loading and unloading. Whether you have a small or large shipment, but have specific date requirements for pickup and / or delivery, be prepared to pay a premium price for this service. 

Also, if you are moving interstate, there is a possibility your shipment will have to be picked up by your local agent and moved and held at their warehouse as opposed to being 'direct loaded' on the truck that will bring it to destination. This extra handling increases the instances of loss or damage so again be sure everything is packed in boxes and sealed well.


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Insure your Property

Also remember to insure your belongings, it's the kind of thing you want to have, but hope to never need. Even the best moving company will have some damaged or missing items. Most movers offer several types of liability coverage many times referred to by movers as 'valuation', not insurance. If you need to know more, consult an insurance expert.

These break down into 3 basic types. A minimum amount of coverage which is usually provided for free, An actual cash value type coverage and a full replacement type of coverage. Know what type of coverage you want and how much. Do not get cheap here. Think about the worst case senerio. What if the truck caught fire, or was destroyed on the way. Adequately insure all your belongings and try to get a plan that pays full replacement costs. If you are not satisfied with the cost/coverage of the insurance offered by the insurance company then you may want to shop around for a third party insurance.

If something is damaged - You will have to contact the mover to file a claim. Do not assume the driver will pass this information to the movers claims department, They will not! Once they get a signature on the inventory at the destination they will be gone as they have more destinations to travel to. Contact the mover as soon as possible to file a claim. In case there are any lost or damaged items there it is very important that you DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!! In the preparation of Interstate and international moves the mover will usually prepare a document called a 'Conditioned Inventory'. This document is a list of all the items and the exact condition of each item you are moving. The list is numbered and there should be numbered stickers attached to each item.

You will be asked to sign this document twice, at both origin and destination. Your driver will sign it as well. At origin, when you sign you are acknowledging the items that were taken and their condition. On destination, you are agreeing you received all the items on the inventory and also to their condition. Take your time on this as it is vitally important you check the inventory carefully at origin and destination before you sign. Do not be pressured into signing until you are satisfied that all items have arrived safely. Anything missing or damaged at destination should be noted on the inventory. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING NOT RIGHT! This will be the claim departments main consideration when settling any claim. Many legitimate claims are denied because the customer did not take the time to review the inventory properly before they signed it.

On local moves inventories are not always prepared. If you wish, you could request an inventory be made, but if you are paying by the hour, making and reviewing an inventory will usually increase your time and cost. Still if you want one you should advise your mover (If they say they can't do one, you may want to re-think using that mover). In the absence of an inventory, you can still document anything damaged or missing on the bill of lading. Make sure you review this with the driver and have him sign any notations you make regarding damaged or missing items. After delivery, the law allows you up to 9 months to file a claim against your mover. It is always best to file your claim as soon as possible. Any delay can put questions in the minds of the people in the claims department and hinder a favorable decision regarding your claim.

 

Set the date with the Movers and Document everything in Writting


Moving day is all set and it's a solid deadline you cant miss. You must be ready when they show up with everything packed. Remember you want to be available to assist in the inventory on moving day and not last minute packing so start early with all the items you will not need, Basement, Garage, Sheds and Backyard items. One general rule to remember (If it can fit in a box - put it in a box) Here are some Moving Tips about packing and prepairing for the move.

One thing to remember - Nothing will ruin a movers day more than having to answer to the government. In the U.S., movers are granted authority and more or less regulated by some governmental agency. Each state has some Public Service Commission, or Department of Transportation or something along those lines. In the U.S., interstate movers are regulated by the Federal Highway Administration which is part of the Federal Department of Transportation (DOT) [up until 12/31/95, in the U. S., movers were regulated by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) but they are now no longer in existence]. If all else fails and you are having problems with your mover that you cannot seem to settle, grab a phone book and call the appropriate regulatory agency. The phone number fore the Federal Highway Administration in Washington, DC is 202-927-5520. We have most of these links on our                    Moving Links Page**************************************************************

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The tips on this page are friendly advice and suggestions. We do not accept any liability or give any guarantees that if you follow these tips it will change the quality of your move. Most come from our customers, please feel free to email us with any suggestions that you feel might be useful to someone who is moving. We will add them if possible.

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