So you’re done creating a moving checklist, and have taken an inventory of your home. It’s time to start contacting some moving companies. Being prepared and choosing the right moving company can help avoid a lot of stress and headaches later on in the moving process.
1. Start looking for a moving company early. Moving is a time consuming process and can be very stressful if you rush it. The earlier in the process you find a moving company, the better. Not only will you avoid stress by taking care of it early on, but you may also receive discounts if you have more advance time and leeway on dates.
2. Compare moving services. Traditional full-service movers will load, move and unload the truck for you at your destination, but it’s not your only option. You can also have a do-it-yourself move if you rent your own truck, but remember that on top of the rental fees, you’ll need to pay for mileage and gasoline, as well as do all the loading and unloading yourself. Another option is a “self-pack” moving service. These services will deliver a container to your location, which you then pack your belongings into over as much time as you need. The service will then pick up the container and drop it off at your destination, letting you unload it when it arrives.
3. Find a licensed mover. The Department of Transportation requires all household movers to be registered and have a USDOT or MC number with which you can check their credentials and safety record. All legal movers can and should provide you with these numbers, which you can check against the info on safersys.org.
4. Confirm insurance coverage. Although you shouldn’t expect your belongings to be damaged in transit, you should be prepared and know the process for making a claim in case they are. Legal movers are required to have liability and cargo insurance, though coverage can vary from mover to mover, so ask for specific details from each. You can also request a ‘Certificate of Insurance’ as written proof. After hearing the details of their coverage, you can ask if they offer additional insurance should you deem it necessary.
5. Find company reviews. If you haven’t yet picked a moving service, ask friends and coworkers about companies they’ve used in the past. You can also call your realtor or apartment manager and ask what services their clients have liked in the past. A great source of information is the Better Business Bureau, American Moving and Storage Association, or the uShip Service Provider directory of course!
6. Asking for quotes. When you ask moving companies for quotes ensure that you get a copy in writing. Quotes in writing will tend to be much more detailed and accurate, as well as have more legal standing. Request that they include estimates of any fees and surcharges that may need to be paid during the trip. Make sure that you get the quotes in writing and that you know the difference between a binding and non-binding estimate.
7. Binding and non-binding estimates. All companies are required to give you a non-binding estimate. This is an estimate of the cost of moving based on weight and services but is not a binding contract, meaning that the total will likely be higher than the estimate. If your mover decides your move requires additional services, they must inform you before acting. A binding estimate is made before the day of your move but you will only be required to pay the quoted amount even if the weight exceeds the original estimate (within reason).
8. Finding great uShip Service Providers. The uShip Service Provider Profiles provide a lot of information to help you make your decision. All uShip providers are feedback rated, so you can see what their other customers thought of their service. They also include their USDOT or MC numbers, insurance coverage information, as well as other options such as uShip tracking. Make sure you check the profile of TSPs that place bids on your uShip listing and ask any questions that you might have before accepting a bid.
Finding a great moving company to trust with your belongings may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By being prepared and diligent you can find a great company and go a long way towards making sure your move goes smoothly, and your belongings arrive safe and on time.