For many families, hiring a moving company is no small task. Because, let’s be honest, it takes a lot of trust to leave your belongings with a group of relative strangers. Not to mention it’s a rather hefty expense for most folks. That’s why it’s important to take precautions when hiring a moving company to help with your relocation.
Follow these consumer safety tips to help you when selecting a mover.
- Use Caution Selecting Movers From the Internet
Many people nowadays select their moving company from the internet. It’s a great way to survey different companies.
However, you want to be sure you’re selecting a licensed mover and not a moving broker. Some companies out there act as a middleman between you and a group of movers, giving you less control over who is handling your stuff.
Be sure to browse the company’s website for terms like “licensed” moving company, “certified” ProMover, or “authorized agent” of a major van lines company such as Mayflower or United.
That way you can be sure that you’re hiring them to be your movers instead of paying extra fees to a broker who may not have your best interests in mind.
- Get an in-person or virtual moving estimate
Use caution with moving companies that tell you they can provide an accurate estimate of the expenses without visiting or reviewing your home first.
Movers need to inventory the items they’ll be moving in order to provide an accurate quote. Most reputable moving companies will now be able to provide you with an accurate estimate through a virtual home survey, should you prefer that option. Using video call apps like FaceTime or Skype, movers will be able to get a reliable inventory for your estimate.
There are three primary types of estimates: binding, non-binding, and not-to-exceed.
Binding estimates are just what they sound like: the number they provide is the number you’ll pay regardless of the final weight of the shipment.
For non-binding quotes, movers will do the best they can to calculate the total weight beforehand but the final cost will be based on the total weight. So it may be a little bit higher or lower than the number provided in the quote.
Non-to-exceed estimates (sometimes called “guaranteed price” or “price protection”) have a maximum limit to the final cost. So if the total weight is lower than the initial estimate, you’ll pay less. But if it’s higher, your final cost won’t exceed the number the mover gave you.
Whichever type of quote your mover provides, be sure to get it in writing.
- Be Sure They Inventory Everything To Be Moved
It can be easy to forget items you have up in the attic, out back in the shed, or even in a storage unit. But if you need them moved, make sure they are inventoried before you receive the initial estimate.
Adding items after the fact will increase the final cost and possible cause delays.
- Knowing Your Rights as a Customer
Trusting a company to handle your belongings is a big deal to many people and there are laws in place to protect customers from unreliable, negligent, or even predatory moving companies.
Your mover should provide you with a copy of Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. This brochure is very helpful in outlining the moving process and explaining your rights when it comes to estimates, responsibilities, and claims and liabilities.
It’s also important to note that movers are required by law to assume liability for the goods they’re moving. However, there are several different types of liability agreements and it’s important to be aware of what is covered under each agreement.
Liabilities are outlined in the aforementioned brochure and your mover should provide you with descriptions of each level of coverage.
Moving can be an exciting but overwhelming process. One of the most important pieces of advice is to get everything in writing from the estimate, to the liability coverage, to the bill of lading.
Schroeder Moving & Storage is here to make the process as smooth and as stress-free as possible. We’re a fully licenced moving company and if you’re planning a move within or out of Wisconsin, we’re happy to serve you. Give us a call or submit a form to receive a free no-obligation in-home estimate!