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How to find your Mover – An informed Decision

30 Sep

Though this is an article about moving with the United states,I think ,may be some of these are universal facts and would be applicable when moving within any country.There are various sites that may give you most of these details ,though this article is a one stop shop for all that you need to know about moving.

It all began when one day my hubby confirmed that we have to move from  Rockford,IL.Rockford is not one of the easiest place to find things,one would assume since it is a smallish town it should be fairly easy to find the best services among st the available option.

And that really seems to be the problem!.Since it is a smaller place,things like movers /packers don’t really have offices out here and Chicago being one of the closest and larger cities,most of such services would have to be from there.

Fixing the Dates:

When I got to know the Dates ” I HAVE” to move,the first thing like anyone would do ,was to tell my home owners of my date to vacate the place! . OK,that’s the first mistake.More so if you are moving during the summer months .You need to first contact and fix the best possible date with movers and then confirm the dates with the home owners.Why ???Cos as most people find it easier to move in Summer during the vacation and also for the obvious reasons of weather conditions most of the movers are almost always booked .

Well I had to learn this from my this experience,what did I do? .Reverse, I fixed the date and informed the owners,only to realize that my dates were not working out for most the reputed movers.It was the ” IT” season for the movers and they were operating at maximum traffic.

Lesson #1

*****Fix dates,talk to movers,let Owners know about intent to move.When moving dates are  finalized  only then confirm dates with home owners.

Finding the right mover:

There are a lot of things one needs to know while finding the best mover.Now since I am from place outside US ,the words  Movers & Packers was synonymous to what the company was going to do for you,aka Movers will move the stuff you give them,Packer will pack the stuff you ask them to do, so the company you finally choose to allot the work to will do it all for one price and no specific differentiation is done between these tasks.Where are in US ,you can separate these 2 activities and choose to get done one or the other ,or both(Read Packing Vs Loading for  better understanding)

There fore when I was looking for Mover and Packers using the internet  it was pretty much throwing me a large quote since the distance was almost 1000 miles.Along with the  hassles of filling up a form online or  some times an excel sheet for the items check list ,so that the cost can be computed ,it would also include filling  in your address and phone number to get this quote.Which within a span of hours would be taken up by every known Movers and Packer in the country,each calling you for more information so that they can give quote.

Lesson #2

*****Do not enter details on any website which says it will give you quote.Most of these quotes are given by the brokering(see further) companies and therefore will not stand in the final negotiation.It is best to take the phone number of the carrier company and call them to schedule an appointment(Read further)

How to decide which Movers to ask for quotes:

This is very crucial,like mentioned earlier,if the dates and phone number are put on the internet you will be on the phone speaking to one Mover after the other and getting more and more confused about the right choice,each one will give you a reason why your last estimate was wrong and why they should be the provider you should go with.

In any case,you find any of them to be a genuine and good one,the best way to check their credentials is to ask for their DOT number & or MC number(US based data) and the COMPLETE name of their company.Beware!!,there will be many companies carrying the same name with little or no difference in the names .DOT number is unique and assigned by the US dept of Transportation,using this link http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/hhg/search.asp or https://www.protectyourmove.gov/ .

You can look up the  numbers of the company you would like more details about  like number of carriers,complaints ,type of complaints registered against the company etc.

Another website is,

http://www.bbb.org/credit-management/

this is more from the business perspective,but is a definetly a good place to look for reviews and about the credibility of the company.

For a more comprehensive list of top moving companies in US:http://www.moversreviewed.com/articles/100-largest-moving-companies-of-the-us-and-canada/,use this to decide which ones to begin with.

Once you have decide which of the companies you will be taking the quote from , there are a few key points which will decide the cost and quality of the service you would be provided with.

  • Cubic ft(ie the space that the stuff you want to move is gng to take on the truck) vs Ton(ie the weight of the stuff).
  • Broker vs Carrier Vs Forwarding :

Brokers basically have no vehicle of their own and they do not own any manpower/hardware etc,they simply facilitate the association between finding a carrier for you ,getting the quote and getting the carrier agent to pick the stuff from your place.Problem with this is that the Broker does not hold the cargo and has no responsibility of the cargo,there is also no control on the truck /transportation company that will be used to do the final move.

The Carrier on the other hand is the self handling service ,who will pick up the load from your place if they have their truck servicing that area or will send you on of their agent to do the same.The only problem with this approach is that the stuff might be held on the agents/carrier warehouse till the carrier truck finds its way into your area,if you plan well in advance this window can be shortened.Advantage is they are in full control of your cargo

Forwarding agent,is one who holds responsibility of your cargo,and arranges for the movement/truck but does not own trucks /vehicles therefore most times using for hire trucks.

        For further details:

https://www.protectyourmove.gov/consumer/awareness/glossary/glossary.htm#ff

Lesson #3

****Choose a  carrier company  that provides in your area either as  themselves or via registered agents(who will also be listed in the DOT site)

  • Sharing carrier vs own carrier

Most companies albeit carrier or broker tend to use large trucks for transportation ,where more than 1 households may be moved my allotting spaces on the racks setup .There fore based on the numbers of destination, the time taken to reach destination may alter.But the carrier manager as well as the driver of the vehicle carrying your cargo will contact you once the cargo is on board to let know of the dates of delivery once the item has been picked from your place.But nonethless there is a delay and may not be on the dot,in comparison to using your own carrier,ie one for hire where you have total control on the time ,owing to traffic ,weather and such uncontrollables and may be a better choice when it comes to moving locally or for same day distance.Some of the mover/broker also provide the loading /unloading services,alongside own carrier options there fore making it a more viable option for shorter distance moves.

Lesson #4

******Sharing carrier works best for whole household moving over more than half a days drive.

  • Online vs walk in estimates

Most of the time when we have decided that we have to move,we are looking to decide if it is a expensive option  to use a moving service.Well movers are surely  a more expensive that moving yourself,but the best way would be to invite the agents for a personal visit so they can estimate the size of your cargo and any special needs etc and them give you an estimate.On the flip side along with many  other appointments in your calendar you will have to make one for the agent to come visit your place,as against the online agent,who will either ask you to fill the excel sheet which you might miss a few things here and there or will call up and ask you to give each and every details you can memorize which takes about 30mts a call.

Lesson #5

***** walk in estimates by the agents are mostly provided by carriers and not a charged service,it is best to get them before taking a final decision.

Lesson #6

******Get atleast 3-4 quotes before taking a decision.

  • Binding  Vs Unbinding:

 Once the inventory has been review by the company ,along with the any special request etc a quote will be provided to you,which would contain details as to how much the estimated weight would be,any special packing,flight of stairs etc,distance to be traveled, estimated Date Range of arrival etc.Now in an unbinding quote,mostly given by brokers,they would give you an estimate price,and once the loading is done,they will take their vehicle back to the weighing station and based on more weight, the difference will have to be paid.Some of them allow the owner to travel back with the truck to weigh the cargo or one has to just rely on them.In a binding quote,once the quote has been given and the agreement done between the Moving company and the owner,it does not change even if the weight changes from the estimate,some of them even lower their cost if the weight is less than estimated.Therefore you are not in for any surprise once your cargo is with the moving company.

Lesson #7

****Binding estimates definetly is a better choice.

  • Packing Vs Loading:

Having  understood packing to be  the service provider would pack everything I would ask them to,and loading to be that, they would provide the manpower to load into the truck synonymous to mover.

There ,was I wrong!! when it comes to packing I was right,but when it comes to loading I wasn’t,most of the people who were either  the mover/packer provider would pack each and every furniture item that we had not in boxes in their own packing material/boxes or what ever it takes to move the items without damaging. Isn’t that fantastic,you need not really worry about packing the large stuff like your Sofa ,Bed,dresser,Dining table etc.That is quite a relief!!

To top it they do not charge you extra for any packing material used by them since they would be taking it all back ,unless there are special items which needs custom packing like Glass/Mirrors.

Lesson #8

****Ask if packing materials will be charged,let know there are mirror/glass that will need to be detached and packed,if not doing o your own.

  • Miscellaneous terms that effect the final price.

One point which needs to be talked before agreeing for the quote,is to ask with any extra charges with respect to number of flights of stairs,distance from the truck to the entrance .Each of these are charged in case the distance is more

for eg one of my quote included 135 $$ for each flight of stairs,so to be on safe side

Lesson #9

*** Discuss the availability of lift or number of stairs,possibility of Larger Canter(vehicle that carries your stuff ) needing to parked at larger distance at both your destination and origin.

Having got a quote,and dates being fixed is early 30% of task completed.

Before the D day

  1. Most moving companies will call a couple of days before the agreed date for the confirmation of the same and give you the name of the person who will be doing the pickup,if that does not happen one needs to call up the company and make sure they remember the contract and have assigned a pick up truck /agent for the same and gives u his/her contact number.
  2. Make sure all rooms are packed ,before the movers arrive
  3. A day before the move call the truck for confirmation of the time of move ,if they dont call you first.

Final Moving:

  1. Make sure you carry all the valuable and documents on your own ,and not to put into the movers boxes.The good movers are reliable but even they don’t guarantee a 100% fool proof plan and would coax you into taking insurance for protect yourself against any calamities.
  2. Separate luggage u are carrying personally from the ones that will be cargoed,
  3. Mark each box with a Room code/Item  for instance-Room1/books.Keep track of what exists in the box my writing on top,so the FRAGILE items are also known to the movers so they can place it safely too.
  4. Be with the movers ,it works best if there in one person monitoring the people ,boxing any stuff inside the home and one person who monitors the person who is taking the inventory.
  5. Make an inventory list of your own-Which mentioned items boxed by you,and number of boxes in each room and add the items packed by the mover.-There fore you have your own final tally.
  6. The Moving company inventory list is very practical and thorough,therefore all you need to do is tally the number of boxes/ items in ur list with the final numbers in their list.
  7. A copy of the final inventory will be given to you,if not it is best to ask for it.

Shake you hands,and you are good to go!.

90% of the work is done here.The moving company will contact you when they have arrived at the destination/are due to arrive at the destination and setup and appointment to do the final deliver.

This is the time when your inventory list will be help ful,as the boxes come in cross out the box from ur list.This will help you to know whats in and whats on its way.

Named boxes can be redirected to the rooms planned when it is being unloaded,so it saves one the task of moving on your own.Items packed by the moving company will be unpacked by them as well.

Check for any missing boxes,tally the numbers ,check for damages.Note any damage in the moving final contract/bill.

The Move is completed!!!

I used Bekins for my move and they did an exemplary job!!

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Posted by on September 30, 2012 in Experiences

 

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