Is there a move in your future? Congrats! A new home can be so exciting. However, with a new home comes a lot of work. Stressful work. In fact, moving is one of the most stressful events one can go through in life—over even relationship breakdowns and starting a new job. Fortunately, by hiring a mover you’re already ensuring getting into a new place will be less stressful than doing it yourself.
Here are a few things you can do to choose a reliable moving company and ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Find Great Moving Companies and Read Reviews
The first thing you’ll want to figure out is who’s going to handle your move. A site like Thumbtack will match you with movers in your area and you can read verified reviews to make sure the movers come recommended and that they’re a good fit. Picking a mover based on a good reputation is definitely the way to go when it comes to trusting someone with all of your worldly possessions.
2. Get Several In-Home Quotes
It’s very important that the moving company come to your house to give you the estimate in-person as it’s simply impossible to relay how much stuff you have over the phone, despite how specific you think you’re being. Having someone come to your home also gives you a chance to discuss what will need to be packed or disassembled by the movers and ensure that’s included in the quote. You really want the person doing the estimate to look in every crawl space and closet so that the quote is as accurate as possible. Be sure to mention items you’re donating or throwing away so those aren’t included. You’ll also want to get more than one quote and it doesn’t hurt to leave the folders with your other quotes visible so the companies know you’re doing your due diligence and give you their most competitive numbers. Finally, you may not want to necessarily go with the lowest; instead, chose the company that best fits your needs and makes you feel the most secure.
3. Ask More Questions Before Making a Final Decision
Now that you’ve narrowed it down to one or two companies, this is the time to ask questions like how long they’ve been in business, what the time table will be for the move date and delivery, if there are any restrictions on what they’ll transport, if they’re licensed, if they’ll be consolidating your belongings with someone else’s (for a long move), what the cancellation policy is, what supplies they provide, how they handle disputes, and if they have any questions for you.
4. Get Everything in Writing
The contract you sign should have your mover’s estimate, all extra fees, and the pick-up and delivery dates and times. Be sure to give the mover as much information as possible, including any stairs or elevators or parking difficulties they’ll have to navigate at your new home. And be sure to sign an inventory form listing everything that’s on the truck before your mover hauls your belongings away.
5. Don’t Pay for Everything Ahead of Time
Though a deposit may be required, you should only pay the mover the final bill upon delivery; if you pay everything in advance, you give the movers all of the control surrounding if and when you see your stuff next.
Will your moving company be contracting the gig out? If so, are you okay with that? You’ll also want to have a contact number so that you know exactly who to call if anything goes wrong the day of the move. Also, have copies of all of the moving contracts on hand the day of the move so that you can easily reference the agreement.
7. Get Insurance
Bad news for those with homeowners or renters insurance: your belongings aren’t actually covered when they’re on the move. Find out exactly what the moving company will cover (usually they’ll cover breakage if they pack your stuff), make sure that’s all in the contract, and then look into moving or relocation insurance, especially if you have valuable belongings or are moving a long distance.
8. Take Photos of Your Belongings
The only way to prove your property wasn’t damaged before the move is with photographs. Hopefully you won’t need them, but if it comes down to it, photographs offer an added layer of protection should anything go wrong.
9. Save Money by Disassembling Your Furniture
Movers can spend a lot of time disassembling and reassembling your furniture. It’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to pay for that time, but just know that you can save money if you do it yourself.
10. Protect Your Home
You don’t want walls to get nicked, carpets to get stained, or doorframes to get damaged during the move out of your old home or into your new one. Make sure the moving company is bringing door pads and rug runners and, if not, make alternative plans.
No matter how much you plan ahead of time, you should still expect the final cost of the move to be more than the estimate. Also, if you’re happy with how the move went, it’s appropriate to tip 10 to 15 percent of the fee, or $100 per mover if it was a big job.
12. Check Your Stuff When It’s Delivered
It’s impossible to go through every box on the day the movers arrive, but at the very least, you want to go through the checklist you made and make sure everything was delivered. This is also the time to check big and valuable pieces to make sure everything is still in good condition.