Tuesday Tips: Choosing a Moving Company
The last time my husband and I moved, we hired three guys who were recommended by a neighbor. They showed up in an unmarked truck covered in graffiti to move our pitiful collection of furniture. It was a little sketchy but in the end our stuff arrived at our new house in pretty good condition. Things are a little different now with our second move. We have grown-up furniture and a lot more of it. So after several weeks of researching companies and gathering estimates, here are my tips on shopping for a moving company:
Tip #1: As soon as your house hits the market you'll start getting promotional cards in the mail and phone calls. Look through them for interesting deals. Research some of the names and see how they fare on consumer review services like Washington Checkbook magazine and Angie's List.
Tip #2: Get recommendations from friends and family. Anyone who's ever used a moving company will have strong opinions about whether they were good or not. Some of the best moving companies just get business through word of mouth, so you may not even get a promotional card.
Tip #3: Get several in-home estimates. No company will be able to tell you an accurate figure of how much it will cost to move your stuff over the phone. A salesperson from the moving company will walk through your home, making note of large furniture, breakable items like china and how much furniture needs to be broken down for moving purposes. Don't forget to show them the attic, garage and basement where many items get stored. Moving companies kept telling me that my attic would be the most expensive piece of the move because of how much stuff we have stored there.
Tip #4: If you're working with a local realtor, ask if they have any discounts or coupons with moving companies. My realtor was able to get me a 10 percent discount with a large local moving company.
Tip #5: Pack your own stuff, especially if your moving date is a few weeks down the road. Having a moving company pack your items will double the price of the move. Even tackling a few boxes every weekend is worth saving the money. I've even heard of people having packing parties where they get a few friends together for food and drinks and some packing.
Tip #6: Most moving companies will offer a few options for insurance to cover items that are broken, damaged or lost. You pay a certain amount, usually $4 to $9 for every $1,000 of your items' value. Movers aren't perfect so insurance is probably a good way to go. But check with your own insurance policies to see if you already have coverage for moving damages. If not, choose an insurance plan based on the type of items the company will be moving. If you have lots of sentimental antiques, more coverage may be the best way to go.
Tip #7: Don't plan your move for a holiday weekend like Memorial Day or Labor Day. The rates go up on three-day holiday weekends, especially those that fall at the end of the month.
Tip #8: Once you get a few estimates, figure out who your favorite is and ask if they can tweak their estimate to compete with the others. All the moving companies I spoke to said they would consider bringing down the price if the other lower estimates were from companies that were about the same size and caliber as their company.
So what are your tips for hiring a moving company? Who are some of the better moving companies out there?
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: diamond2 | April 14, 2009 7:36 AM
Posted by: metoscano | April 14, 2009 9:21 AM
Posted by: rschenk | April 14, 2009 9:55 AM
Posted by: ZebraLover | April 14, 2009 1:34 PM
Posted by: lalalu1 | April 14, 2009 1:34 PM
Posted by: LawDancer | April 14, 2009 11:34 PM
Posted by: 1shot | April 15, 2009 3:55 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.