Relocating homes is a delicate and challenging task. As houses are the keepers of our privacy as citizens, they are also packed with the most delicate and treasured possessions that we have. Moving out of a home to a new one means that our personal belongings, even the ones that hold sentimental value, will be managed by strangers.
In addition to contemplating the safety of your belongings, the difficulty of moving requires that you consider many factors other factors: budget, schedule, etc. One of the most important considerations, though, is the people you will trust to help you. How do you correctly choose a moving company? What do you ask them?
Here are a few questions you should ask a moving company before you book them.
What services do you offer, and what are their rates?
Of course, there is no doubt that you’re already considering the companies’ rates. The question is, however, up to what extent should you ask for prices?
Here’s a tip: ask first about the range of services they offer before you ask for rates. In this way, you can get a complete picture of how expensive the services of a moving company can be. Here are some service variations that might differ in rates:
- Services vary if your move is local, interstate, or international.
- Services vary depending on institution: corporate (moving employees), commercial (moving an office), military (moving with stricter rules), etc.
- Some companies have special services, such as moving a grand piano or antiques.
- Some offer packing and unpacking supplies and services with extra fees.
- Some offer short or long-term storage facilities in case you need them.
Of course, it is also essential to compare different companies to get the best options. Here’s specific advice from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): Obtain estimates from at least three movers, and compare costs and services of your chosen options.
Can I ask for references on your service?
Quality comes before the price. Choosing which moving company to book is like shopping. You have to pick the best option, right? And in selecting the best, backgrounds and reviews about the companies is a great anchor for your decision-making.
Aside from asking friends and families who have previously booked moving companies, you can also gain insights from the companies’ websites themselves. Although they will obviously give you only positive reviews, you can still gauge their service depending on which factors their customers usually point out in their reviews.
Another tip from the FMCSA is to check with institutions such as the Better Business Bureau that aids consumers in deciding which businesses are trustable.
Where are your offices/branches located?
Aside from handling objects, moving is all about managing time and distance. You must be able to know which moving company has the best locations relative to your point A and point B. Maybe you like this particular company because they are the closest to your current house until you realize that they don’t have a branch anywhere near your target location.
Aside from asking companies themselves, you can also check out the North American Van Lines database, which contains different moving companies in North America. All you need to do is input your location and destination. They will give you all the information you need regarding company locations.
Are you legally cleared?
Nothing builds company credibility better than clearing out the legal requirements. Ask if the companies are registered with FMCSA and if they have a U.S. DOT number.
You can double check their answers with the FMCSA website. In here, the information you can find include company headquarters, contact details, registration status, type of authority (e.g., carrier, broker, freight forwarder, etc.), complaints, and safety rating (if provided).
What liabilities have you got covered?
Because moving is a delicate task, it is important to consider what losses and damages will be covered and who will cover them. According to the FMCSA, there can be two options for this:
- Full Value Protection: the moving company is held liable for damages and covers the replacement value of any damaged or lost moved goods
- Released Value Protection: the protection of your moved goods is minimal and the mover is liable for only 60 cents (or less) per pound of goods
Do you have a dispute settlement program?
Moving can cause many disputes between you and the moving company you book. There’s a chance the workers could make a mistake or have an accident and their liability for costly damages could be minimal.
A good dispute settlement program can significantly ease the situation. Make sure to ask about this when meeting with moving companies.
Here are other crucial inquiries you might like to ask moving companies:
- What will be the exact time for pickup, arrival, and delivery?
- What equipment do you have?
- How many people will be involved with the move?
- How will we contact each other before, during, and after the move?
Moving can be stressful. It is a timely and sometimes expensive process that may require a lot of time to arrange. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Some simple planning and questions asked of the moving company can make a big difference when it comes to the move. Ask these questions sooner rather than later and your big move should be a breeze!