Must Ask Questions for Moving Companies
Finding a moving company is like hiring a new employee – there are some questions you need to ask. We’re sharing the 5 most important here.
Choosing the right moving company can be intimidating. Trusting all of your worldly possessions to strangers can be stressful, but knowing the right things to look for can make all the difference, and will put you at ease.
Using these 5 Must Ask Questions when hiring a moving company can help you decide which one is best for you, and help you avoid scams.
1) What kind of reputation does the moving company have?
Just like any other company, or employee you may hire, it is always a good idea to look at its background and reputation.
Questions like how long the moving company has been in business, is the company licensed and insured, and what the size of their staff is are good indications of its rate of success. Does the moving company offer customer reviews if asked?
Also look for reviews provided by customers from outside sources. Check to see if they are accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Does the company also carry any AMSA certifications, such as the ProMover designation?
Get a feel for the reputation of the company in the community, and avoid any that have had suspicious activities reported.
2) What are the Fees?
Moving companies can vary in how they charge for transporting your items. It is essential to find out what criteria they use for creating your quote. These could include the number of items or boxes, the distance of the move, the weight, or even by the number of movers needed.
There may be additional fees for extra large, awkward or heavy items, such as appliances or pianos, so be sure to ask about those kinds of items up front. Do they charge you fees for materials, such as packing supplies, blankets for the move, or additional equipment to help move those extra large or heavy items?
Ask if there are extra fees for additional services, such as if the movers have to go up or down stairs? Then, there may also be additional charges for transportation extras, depending on the distance of your move. Charges and fees could be charged for truck changing, storage, flight charges, long distance travel fees, parking and fuel.
It is also important to know how those fees are paid. Generally, payment is split between a deposit paid before moving, and what is due upon delivery of your items. Avoid movers who accept only cash, demand a large deposit, or a full payment before delivery. It is also good to clarify if the deposit is refundable.
Before you pay in full, always check over your items upon delivery to ensure they have no visible damage and that all your items are accounted for. Make sure the mover is notified of any damaged or missing items.
3) What services does the moving company provide?
The different services provided by each moving company may be a deciding factor in the one you choose.
Moving across province or territory lines, or even outside the country, may carry additional fees and considerations that all moving companies may not provide. Whether the company offers a direct delivery, or needs to load onto different trucks or change hands, may be deciding factors when making a decision.
Some companies will offer packing services. They may also provide packing materials, such as boxes, tape, blankets and stuffing. Specialized materials may be available for fragile items, electronics, glass, or extra large or heavy items. They may be included in your estimate, or may be available for additional charges, so be sure to clarify ahead of time.
Does loading onto or off the truck carry any additional costs, or are they included? How about stairs? Make sure to note the way on and off the truck and ask about such incidentals.
Lastly, check if the company provides any tracking information or guarantees of delivery.
4) Is your quote binding?
It is very important to know if the quote you are given is binding, or if you can incur additional fees above and beyond what was estimated.
If you go through a broker, know that the broker is not an employee of the moving company, and cannot give a binding quote or be responsible for any lost or damaged items. A mover, however, may give a binding, or a “not to exceed” quote once your items to be moved are inspected.
A binding estimate will clearly state the services provided by the movers, and the charges you will incur. A “not to exceed” quote would allow you to pay the estimated cost or a lesser amount if the actual cost of the move ended up being lower.
A non-binding estimate is what you need to look out for. This quote is based on the movers’ estimate of your move, but the final charges are what you actually pay. Sometimes, this could be less, but often the amount is much higher than you were quoted.
Make sure your estimate, and any contracts you sign, are clear in stating the services provided, and what the charges are for. Be sure that it includes additional fees when applicable. And always be aware of any fine print, such as a moving clause stating additional fees.
Be sure you are provided a copy of any and all paperwork for your own records.
6) What happens if something happens?
Accidents do happen. Items can shift in moving, get dropped, or worse, get lost. Because of life’s accidents, it is essential to be sure you are covered.
Find out what kind of liability insurance is included in your quote to reimburse you for any loss or damage to your items. If it isn’t included, it can usually be purchased, and should be a serious consideration.
Ask about the protocol for such loss or damage to items, such as how you can submit a claim, and what you will need to make that claim.
Inquire about any insurance provided for the movers to be sure you are not liable for human accidents.
In the case of a cancellation or a rescheduling, make sure you know the policies and possible fees. Also, clarify the protocol for a delayed delivery, and what you need to do on your end to insure you do not have to pay any additional charges if that happens.
And, just in case, find out how to process a complaint or dispute.
Asking the right questions can make sure that the next big move in your life goes smoothly, and allow you to focus on your making your new place a home.
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