Hiring Movers: 10 Lessons Learned
If you are thinking about hiring movers, you probably have several questions on your mind. Above all, you want to avoid making any mistakes in the first place, and one of the best ways to do that is to listen to wisdom from other people who have gone through the same thing.
Today, we are gathering up some of our favorite lessons learned shared by bloggers and reporters across the web. These tips can help point you in the right direction, so you are more prepared on moving day.
1. Research the Background of Your Moving Company
They say that the best form of advertising is word-of-mouth, and that is especially true for moving companies. Nicole from Movers.com has some great advice for all of us. Talk to friends and family, and find out which companies they have worked with. You are looking for all reviews, be they good or bad.
However, your work isn’t over after a few conversations. Be sure to check out online review sites like Yelp, as well as the Better Business Bureau. Ideally, you want to see far more positive reviews, but when you do find negative reviews, be sure to read them carefully and look for common complaints.
Finally, narrow down your list based on your research, and begin calling these companies. Ask questions based on reviews that you have read, and if anything doesn’t feel right, don’t sign any contracts with that company. Find a company that offers you transparency and that doesn’t hesitate to answer your questions.
2. Don’t Just Hire the Lowest Bidder
Jordan writes at Fun Cheap or Free to warn us against simply going for the lowest price tag, tempting thought that may be. Moving is expensive in and of itself, so it stands to reason that people will be looking to catch a deal by the time they began researching movers. However, that can put you in some potentially bad situations.
This goes hand-in-hand with our first suggestion of thoroughly researching any moving company you are considering. Someone may be offering you a “too good to be true” price because they are not licensed or insured. They may have substandard equipment, or they may show up with too few movers for the job.
Prices that seem significantly lower than their competitors ought to be more of a red flag than a gold star. Look for the movers with the consistently good reviews, not necessarily the consistently low prices.
3. Give Yourself More Time Than You Think You Need
Dawn wrote a great blog for Quicken about all the trouble she ran into while moving, and one of the points she raised was to give yourself adequate time.
If you are not using professional packing services, you will be responsible for all of the bubble wrapping, boxing, labeling, and taping yourself. As Dawn points out, and as many people have learned, you need more time than you think to accomplish this. This is the kind of work that can tire you out pretty quickly. So while you might think you have six hours of work ahead of you, it may be more like 10 or 11 when you factor in time for breaks and meals
Remember that the boxes must be completely ready to go by the time the movers arrive. It is always a good idea to give yourself a moving countdown calendar to help keep you on track, but in the days directly leading up to the move, you will want to take time off of work completely so that you can focus on the task at hand.
4. Label Everything Before the Movers Show Up
Christina at Invented Charm shares a tip that most people think they already know (in reality they probably don’t have it quite right). In short, her tip is to “label everything.” That makes sense, and most people are good about writing things like bathroom, master bedroom, or basement on their boxes. The problem is that not many people realize how specific you should really be getting with these labels.
For instance, in the immediate hours and days after unpacking you might have 16 boxes all labeled “kitchen.” Which one of those boxes has your cooking utensils? What about the salt and pepper shakers? In other words, you do not have to label every last thing that goes into each box, but it is a pretty good idea to give a general description of what is in each box, along with indicating which room they should go to.
More than that, being specific with your labels also means less work for you when it comes to unpacking. If you can label things like “bedroom, closet” that’s where the movers will put it, and you won’t have to haul it halfway across the room yourself.
5. It’s Okay to Negotiate!
Mike writes on Personal Finance Journey about something many people don’t think to do: negotiate. Now, while you will definitely want to get an itemized list of every expense from your movers, there may still be a bit of wiggle room to bring down the overall price. Your best leverage in this situation will be to get quotes from multiple companies, and to use those as your starting point. If you like a certain company but they are charging more than their competitors, you can point to a quote and ask them if they can beat that price.
You can also ask if there are any other ways to save money. If you are moving out of a one-bedroom apartment, you probably don’t need four professional movers to handle all of your belongings. This is why communication is so important, in your conversation with moving company representatives, you may find that your price goes down.
6. De-clutter and Simplify Before Packing Up
Barbara Friedberg reminds us on her Personal Finance Blog that moving is a great time to de-clutter.
Getting rid of unwanted items can help serve your purposes in several ways. First off, you will not have to pack up a bunch of stuff that you don’t ultimately need (nor pay someone else to pack it up), you will save time and money by lightening your overall load on moving day, and any money you make from a yard sale can help pay for professional movers.
If you know you’re the kind of person who waits until the last minute to begin packing, hopefully the promise of a less stressful packing and unpacking experience is enough to convince you to take this extra step. You get to de-clutter your life, your movers do not have to list as many boxes, and you do not have to pay as much money. Really, it’s wins across the board.
7. Be Realistic About the Physical Aspects of Moving (and Seek Help if it’s too Much!)
Mackenzie Horan shares her moving story on her blog, and in it she mentions that even though she handled most of the packing and even truck driving herself, she is still happy that she hired movers to load and unload the truck.
She knew that hauling heavy boxes and furniture was going to be too much for her to handle physically. Furthermore, she understood something that many people come to realize a bit too late: if you try to move something too heavy, you risk damaging the item, or hurting yourself.
Try to be honest with yourself about the amount of work that needs to happen on moving day. If it seems like it is too much for you, investing in movers can be very beneficial. Not only will it make the day easier and less stressful, but your items are much more likely to arrive in great condition.
8. Make Sure You Have a Grand Total in Hand Before Moving Day
The Dunmar blog raises an important issue in one of their posts regarding so-called hidden fees. Whenever you read negative reviews of a moving company, something along these lines is bound to pop up in the customer’s comments.
Here is the bottom line: your moving company contract should contain an absolute, all-inclusive grand total that you have both agreed to ahead of time. Each line item on your moving contract should be spelled out and explained, and if anything seems unclear to you, bring it up with your moving company before signing anything.
When your moving company arrives on moving day, you should not be paying anything more than what is explicitly stated on your signed contract. If you hear any reviews about moving companies not sticking to their contracts, it’s time to find somebody else.
9. Check the Weather Forecast for Moving Day
Moving.com shared a blog about some moving horror stories, and among them is an often overlooked aspect of moving day that can really complicate things: the weather. In this particular blog, there are some stories shared about moving trucks getting stuck in the mud on unpaved roads, or ice storms making driving down right treacherous. To a certain extent, there may not be much you can do about shuffling your moving day around to avoid a big storm, or subzero temperatures, so it is best to be prepared for any eventuality, just in case.
The weather can wreak havoc on your moving day in several ways. First off, there is the obvious issue of your belongings getting soaked in a downpour. But also of concern are the number of wet and possibly muddy feet going in and out of both your old and new home. Ask your moving company how they handle weather issues.
10. Find Out Which Items Can’t Be Moved, and Have a Plan for Them
The blog over at Friv200 focuses mainly on international moving, but in their posts they bring up something that is very important, even if you are just moving across town. Each moving company will have a list of items that they cannot take on the truck. For the most part, these include obvious things like household chemicals, gasoline, or very fragile items such as pianos or aquariums. However, there may be a few items on that list that really surprise you. For instance, fire extinguishers, delicate electronics, and batteries can’t go on the truck.
Make sure you have a good understanding of what can and cannot be packed, and have a backup plan to transport (or to use up) anything that can’t go on to the truck.
Hopefully, now that you have read through our list, you will not have to learn any of these lessons the hard way, as these bloggers did. It’s always a great idea to learn from the experiences of others. With that in mind, if you found this post helpful, be sure to share on social media with your friends, especially if you know someone who is moving soon.