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8 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Moving Company
10-16-2020 | Armbruster

8 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Moving Company

We all have times in our life when we take shortcuts. Times when maybe we don’t dot all of our i’s and cross all our t’s. One time you don’t want to take shortcuts is when you’re hiring a moving company. Take your time, do a little research, and you’ll avoid these eight mistakes. Mistake #1: Hiring the Cheapest Mover Moving comes with a lot of expenses, so it’s smart to keep an eye on your budget. It’s also smart to get a few quotes for your move to compare prices. It’s not always in your best interest to go with the cheapest price, though. Watch out for exceedingly low prices---that’s often an indication of an unreputable company. There are even some movers called “rogue” movers that start with an ultra-low estimate. On moving day, they add hundreds or thousands of dollars onto the moving costs and threaten to auction off your belongings if their price isn’t paid. (Check out if this ever happens to you.) Mistake #2: Not Researching Your Potential Moving Company Nothing beats a word-of-mouth referral. Find out if anyone you know has worked with a moving company they would recommend. Ask on social media, and you’re sure to get some recommendations. Once you have a couple of leads, check with the American Movers and Storage Association (AMSA) to see if a company you’re looking at is registered as a member. AMSA membership means that companies have met the screening requirements of state and federal government authorities and their local Better Business Bureau. Beyond AMSA membership, the AMSA certifies those members that pass a rigorous verification process as Pro-Movers. Don’t book your move without checking the AMSA website first. Mistake #3: Not Having a Home Survey Done If you want to get an accurate quote on what it will cost to move your belongings from one place to another, you need a home survey. Any reputable moving company will require that you do either an in-home survey or a virtual survey. During a home survey, the movers will be looking at:
  • the size and types of furniture
  • the dimensions of the rooms your currently have and how full they are
  • the insides of your cabinets and closets
  • specialty collections or high-end items (these may need special movers and valuation for coverage)
If a moving company is willing to give you a quote over the phone, without seeing your stuff, consider that a red flag. This ties in with low-ball offers that seem too good to be true. Mistake #4 Not Being Wary of Moving Brokers A broker is someone who acts as a go-between for buyers and sellers. When it comes to moving brokers, they are indeed sales teams that book your move and turn around and sell that move to moving companies. And some of them are legitimate. Then, there are others who run more like The Big Short. All they want to do is close the deal, get their deposit, and get to the next sale. They aren’t really invested in whether your move goes smoothly. A moving broker that can’t find a company to sell your move to may leave you without a mover on moving day. If you do an internet search for movers, you may think you are seeing moving company websites. Be careful to ask if you are talking to an actual moving company. A moving company with an actual brick-and-mortar facility is more likely to be very invested in making your move a positive experience. Their reputations are on the line with every move. They want happy customers who will recommend them to their friends and family. Mistake #5 Not Communicating Your Moving Needs to Your Mover When you’re moving, life can turn into one very long to-do list. Once you have decided on a moving company, keep them in the loop as much as possible. Be upfront about what needs to be moved and all the dates related to your moving schedule. For example, you want to let your movers know:
  • house closing dates on both ends of the move
  • whether you’re moving big appliances---washer/dryers, refrigerators, etc.
  • any access issues the movers may have---parking, elevator timing, etc.
  • specialty items that need special packing – artwork, sleep number mattress, pool table, etc.
  • any other unusual circumstances that may affect your move
Mistake #6 Misunderstanding How Your Belongings Are Protected Moving companies offer different levels of protection for lost or damaged items. It’s called valuation, and it’s similar to insurance. There are two levels of valuation that a moving company should offer you.
  • Full valuation is the better option and the one that movers should offer as the default option. It covers the full cost of any items that are damaged, lost, or destroyed. Full valuation means the company will cover the cost of repairing or replacing any such item.
  • Released Value Protection provides only .60 cents reimbursement per pound. Think what happens if you have dining table that’s worth $500 and it gets damaged beyond repair. If it weighs 50 pounds, you’ll be reimbursed only $30---not nearly enough to buy a new one.
Note that some less-reputable movers use this level of valuation when they provide their quote. It’s another reason to be wary of super-low offers. High-value items such as jewelry or fine arts may require an additional level of protection beyond what full valuation covers. (Check with your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if items such as these are covered.) One important thing to remember is that the protection you get from valuation can vary, depending on whether items are packed by the movers or by the customers. Most often, a moving company will fully cover anything their workers pack and move. Finally, don’t sign anything on moving day that waives your right to make a claim on any damages. You have up to nine months from the delivery date to make a claim. Mistake #7: Not Realizing Summer is the Busiest Time to Move People move more often in the summer than at other times of the year. Houses go on the market when the weather’s better, families plan moves around the school year, and college students move to and from campus during the summer. What does that all mean for you? If you happen to have a move planned during the summer months, you need to plan ahead. Start your research on moving companies early. Even if you don’t know your exact moving dates, choose the moving company you want and let them know your estimated dates. They can then let you know when things start filling up and when you’ll have to make a decision. If you wait until the last minute to contact movers, you may find they are all booked. Mistake # 8 Underestimating How Much Work It Takes to Pack Whether you have to come up with rent plus a security deposit or you’re parting with a down payment on a home, moving can be expensive. It makes sense to try to keep costs down where you can. A lot of people, though, underestimate just how much work it is to pack all of their belongings. You might think you can pack everything with the help of a few friends and family. If you don’t plan it right, you can end up scrambling and not having enough time (or enough boxes) to finish before moving day. You may even need to book a last-minute packing session with your movers---if you can get one. Last-minute help can cost lots more than planning for it in the first place. Don’t get tripped up by these common mistakes. Let us help with your next move!  
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