Moving is often ranked as one of the more stressful events in life. So it’s totally natural to feel a little anxious if you have a move coming up. Perhaps you or someone you know has had a bad experience. Well, not to worry- you’ve come to the right place. This guide will help you navigate through the process of hiring a moving company!
Following these three simple, effective steps will ensure you have a solid, reliable crew show up at your door come moving day.
Step 1 – Utilize Better Business Bureau Sorting Tool To Find Member Companies:
“Furniture Movers” is by far the most researched category at the BBB, and is a great place for you to start your search for a moving company also. To do this visit the BBB Website and click on the
- “USA Site” or “Canada Site” link (this will generally work better than the option of entering postal or zip code).
- When the next page comes up, click on the orange link titled FIND A BBB ACCREDITED BUSINESS.
- Next, click on the “Type of Business” Tab, and enter “movers” for type of business, and your city and province/state. Also, make sure the “Limit my results to BBB Accredited businesses” option is ticked.
- Then click “movers” again, to further specify what type of business you are looking for. What should come up next is a list of BBB accredited movers in your city listed in order of what is closest to you. This is handy, as movers usually charge for travelling time to and from their office, so all other things being equal, finding a mover located nearby is best. Most companies will have a direct link to their website in their BBB company profile.
Step 2 – Arrange 3 IN PERSON Quotes
Each company will have a rating anywhere from A+ (highest) to F (lowest). Look for companies with a decent rating and whose information on their website appears to fit your needs and makes sense to you. (For example, if you are moving long distance, focus on companies that specialize in moving long distance). Hiring a moving company is not the same as ordering a pizza or a taxicab, so unless you move is a simple one, it should not be simply booked over the phone. Note that not all companies will be willing to come over and give an in person quotation, and so you may have to contact several companies to get your 3 quotes. Be prepared to set up an extra quotation in the event that one of the companies don’t show up, or don’t get back to you with a quote once they’ve visited.
Step 3: Evaluating the Quotes
Now that you have your three quotes in front of you, it’s time to complete the final step – choosing the best company from these.
The central and most important part of the quote will be correctly evaluating the amount of furniture, which should be listed somewhere on the quote either in cubic feet or pounds (1 cubic foot = 7 pounds).
Everything else necessary to plan and price your move will follow from this – number of movers, number and size of trucks, and so on. If moving locally, the quote should provide a minimum of 1 mover for every 400 cubic feet of furniture, assuming average moving conditions. Note that if your move involves difficult access (many stairs, steep driveway or what have you) this 400 cubic feet per mover ratio should be lower.
If any of the quotations do not include an estimate of how much furniture there is (or have an abnormally low estimate*), the resulting estimate of time and cost will at best be a shot in the dark, and will almost certainly appear lower than the other quotes that have calculated this figure accurately. If you encounter this, be mentally disciplined and resist the temptation to get seduced by a low sounding price.
In the end you will most likely not save anything, and will be putting your move at risk. A firm or “not to exceed” quote is a special treat, if offered!
*A general rule of thumb when moving locally is 1 cubic foot of furniture for every 1 square foot of living space. A 600 square foot apartment will have 600 cubic feet of furniture, a 1200 square foot home would have 1200 cubic feet of furniture, and so on. Note that for moves going across the country, the amount of furniture is often pared down, and this ratio would typically be lower.
Make sure you are happy and can abide by the Company’s Terms & Conditions before making the hiring decision, especially regarding breakage. Both sides should be clear before the move starts what their respective obligations will be in case of any damage (ie partial/full replacement, deductible payable etc). If these are not included with the quote, politely ask the company to send them to you.
Your estimator is point person for your move, and it is a good sign if he or she, while giving your quote, recognizes and proactively solves any problems that could come up on moving day such as reservation of elevators & parking while loading/unloading, move out and move in deadlines, or hard to move items like pianos.
Extra Questions to Ask:
Does the quote include any specialty wrappings, such as mattress bags for mattresses, shrink wrap for sofas?
The cost of these wrappings are nominal, and it’s a good sign if your estimator automatically includes these without asking. But make sure to request these if your quote does not automatically have them included.
Are the truck(s) equipped with ramps or tailgates (or neither)?
A truck without a ramp will take much longer to load and unload. A company that passed screening step #1 is likely to be equipped properly, but it doesn’t hurt to do a systems check anyway.
By this time you’ve done your homework and you are ready to make your decision. Once you have the decision made, let the company that you have chosen know right away that you would like them to book you in. Don’t put it off, as moving companies often get booked up. You don’t want to procrastinate and have your moving company chosen for you by fate rather than your good choice. As in anything else, good things come to those who act decisively. There will always be an element of taking a leap of faith, but if you’ve done the hard work and followed these steps, you’ve maximized the chances of having a good crew show up on your door come moving day.
Extra Tips On Making Your Move Go Smoothly:
- Avoid scheduling your move right at month end, if you have this luxury. Moving companies are generally more stretched for labour and resources at month end. You have a good chance of getting the company’s finest movers & equipment dispatched to you if you book your move right before or after month end. (As an added bonus, your hourly rate is often lower if you schedule mid month).
- Make sure that you are fully packed when the movers arrive on moving day. If your furniture is not packed properly, it will literally take twice as long to move, and the chance of something breaking escalates. In addition, your moving company will likely insist that they not be held to the original estimate of time. If you need help in this area, visit the Packing Section at VanCityMoving.com to get a step by step guide on packing your belongings.
- When it comes time to start unloading, the process will go much faster if you station yourself beside the door and give direction on where each furniture piece goes. Your moving crew needs you at this time, resist any urge to abandon your post and start unpacking.