5 steps to make moving easy
Once you get through the home-buying process, it’s time to move on to the next big thing: moving! It can be a stressful and tedious event, and you want to avoid scams. Whether you bought a home across the country or just a few blocks away, here are five tips to choosing reliable movers.
One of the best ways to find a reputable moving company is by word of mouth. Get recommendations from your friends, family and coworkers. Some of the best moving companies operate by word of mouth and aren’t largely advertised. If you don’t know anyone who’s moved recently, take a look at customer reviews on sites such as Yelp or Angie’s List.
After gathering recommendations, check the company’s credentials online. Email the American Moving and Storage Association to see if the company is a member, which means the company is licensed and insured, compliant with federal regulations and abides by ethical business practices. Also check its reviews on consumer advocacy sites such as Moving Scam and Better Business Bureau.
You should ultimately end up with three or four top companies to call for an in-home estimate. Get everything in writing and never sign a blank contract. Make sure all of your belongings are listed and look for the mover’s estimate, any extra fees and pick-up and delivery dates.
When you get estimates, carefully compare each one. Be wary of any company that has a much lower cost than the others, and if a bid is high, find out about the extra costs. Also note that if you’re charged by the hour, versus a flat fee, your move may cost more. For example, if you live in a high rise or top floor, it will take longer for movers to get everything in and out of your building.
Remember that you shouldn’t choose a mover solely on cost. However, if you have several reasonable bids from reputable companies, don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you live in a large city with a lot of competition, many movers will work with you on pricing.
When moving, the last thing you want is to never see your possessions again! That’s why you have to understand the different levels of protection provided by your movers. Under federal law, long-distance movers must offer customers two different options: Full Value Protection or Released Value Protection.
Under Full Value Protection, the movers are 100% liable for damaged or stolen items during the move. This type of protection typically costs extra. Released Value doesn’t require an additional charge and offers limited liability that pays you 60 cents per pound for any items that disappear or are damaged.