Choosing a moving company is something you don't need to do often, but when you do, you need to make the right choice. Here are some tips to help you make that right choice the next time you need to call a moving company.
You need plenty of time to research different companies and get your questions answered. Start as soon as you know the basic details of your move. In the end the details may change, but starting early helps you narrow down your choices to just a couple of companies. Reservations should be made 2 to 4 weeks prior to the day you plan to move.
Get a Moving Company Recommendation
Find friends at work, or in the neighborhood who have recently used a moving company to get a recommendation. While you should not blindly contract the first recommendation you receive, you may be able to rule out certain moving companies because of bad experiences.
If you don't have any friends who have moved recently, look for movers either loading or unloading at a house (preferably unloading). Watch for a minute to see how they handle the boxes and especially how they handle large, awkward items.
The owner of the house should be present for the loading and unloading process. Kindly ask the person for a few minutes of their time. You won't need long. If they are having a bad experience with the mover, it will be obvious. They are in the "heat of the battle" at the time you are there. While you may not get the most glowing recommendation because the owner is tired and preoccupied, you will certainly find out if using that moving company is a disaster or not.
Check with the local Better Business Bureau for moving companies in your area. Many times they may not have information on good companies, but they can certainly tell you which companies they get complaints about. The Chamber of Commerce can also give you information about local moving companies.
Get Various Moving Company Estimates
Many moving companies have a website where you can fill out information about your move. Some have estimate calculators that give you a good idea of how many hours it will take to pack and unpack your household items. Most will want to call you or email you with the estimate. You may be hesitant to give your information without an idea of the price, but this is the best way for a company to give you a realistic idea of the cost involved.
Unless you contract a flat-rate price for the move, no company can tell you exactly how many hours you will be charged, but they can give you a good guess. Remember that they are just giving you an estimate.
When you have your choices narrowed down to a couple of companies, request that each one come by your location to give you a more exact estimate. This is not as critical if you are moving from a 2 bedroom apartment as it is for a large house. The moving company should have enough experience to know how long an apartment will take to pack, load and unload. They may even be familiar with your apartment complex and can give you a very close estimate based on that. However, if it is a large house then it is beneficial, and less frustrating, for the moving company to send someone to the house for a more precise estimate. It is still an estimate though. Prices can change as you get closer to your move date. Stay in constant contact with the moving company and have the estimate adjusted upon any changes so that you are not surprised on moving day.
After the Move
Unpack your boxes as quickly as you can after the move. Work on unpacking the fragile items first. This will help cut down on problems if you need to file a claim with the moving company.
If the moving company did a good job, let others know. Of course the moving company would like to know how their workers did as well. If the company did a poor job, let the company know that too. The only way they will know how to improve is if their customers inform them of problems.
Here's to hoping you have a safe move the next time you need to call a moving company.