What to Know Before Hiring a Professional Moving Company

Featured Article, Living & Spending, Planning & Saving
on November 12, 2014
Moving Out? 5 Things to Know Before Hiring a Professional Mover

Let’s face it, nobody likes moving. While a change of scenery can be exciting, a major move is almost always expensive, time-consuming and frustrating. However, there are a few (often overlooked) ways to cut relocation costs and mitigate some of the other pain points associated with the process.

1. Avoid the crowd.

Most people don’t know that the beginning and end of each month are the busiest times for movers, so you should always plan your move for the middle of the month—if at all possible. Begging a mover to squeeze you into his schedule on the last Saturday of the month is a recipe for disaster. That’s when his schedule is most full and “squeezing you in” might actually mean you’ll be getting his least trained crew, exhausted from four moves before yours, showing up three hours late.

Also, recognize that summer is the busiest moving time of the year, so if you have a reasonably short move, consider moving in the fall or spring if you can. This is considered the “shoulder season” for the moving industry. If you must move in the summer, avoid major holidays like the 4th of July or Labor Day. Since most folks get these days off, everyone tries to squeeze in a move around the summer holiday.

2. Schedule a date that’s best for the moving company.

This may seem counterintuitive. After all, you’re the one paying for their service, right? Right, but you also pay for the services of a mechanic. And yet you always make sure, when scheduling your appointment with them, to ask how long you’ll have to wait for your car. You want to see the mechanic when he’s least busy, so you’re not left waiting and you feel you’re getting his undivided attention. The same is true when hiring move help. You don’t want to be left waiting, and you want their best crew giving your move their full attention. So when you call to set up a start time, if your mover says something like, “Well, yeah, I can have a crew there Thursday at 2pm, but it’d be better if we could do Friday at 8am…” you listen. You should jump on the 8am spot to get the best crew and the most timely service.

3. Request the first available start time of the day.

This is especially true in the summer, when moving crews are slotted for two, three, even up to five or six moving jobs in ONE day. If your loading request ends up as their fifth move, even if you get the best crew in town, they’re going to be exhausted, work slower and likely to even drop a thing or two. Work with the moving company to find their earliest available start time of the day, and work around it.

4. Be aware of common moving scams.

SCAM ALERT! One of the easiest scams used on people moving during the summer is what we call “The Hostage.” A moving company, or oftentimes just a handful of strong people posing as a moving company in the classifieds, offer their moving services at ridiculously cheap prices—far below the competition. They show up on move day, load everything into their truck, then show up to the unload location with a full, locked truck that only they have the key to. The lead rogue mover will then demand significantly more money for the move, often thousands of dollars. If the victim/customer doesn’t pay, the movers simply drive off with the customer’s possessions. If the victim does pay, they end up paying several hundred, if not thousands of dollars more for their move than they would have with anyone else in the area.

If you have concerns, avoiding this scam all together is actually pretty simple. Just don’t use the movers’ truck. Instead, consider a “hybrid move” by either renting a moving truck from a reputable company, like Budget or Penske—or reserving a portable storage container, like PODS or 1-800-PackRat, to be dropped in your driveway. Then hire moving labor (movers without the truck) to come load it for you. Once the truck or storage container is moved to its new location, hire a moving labor crew to do the unloading. By using a third-party transportation company, or by driving your own moving truck, you have complete control over your goods the entire time.

5. Request Full-Value Moving Insurance.

Insurance in the moving industry is a tricky thing. The most basic and most common form is Standard Repair Coverage Insurance. This level of insurance only offers $0.60 per pound, per item towards replacement or repair. Heaven forbid the movers drop your 30 pound, $500 flat screen TV. With Standard coverage you’d only see an $18 check to cover your broken $500 TV.

Most reputable moving services will offer another form of insurance, called Full-Value Replacement Coverage, which covers (just like it sounds) the full value of every item listed in your inventory. This coverage is generally available as a paid upgrade but is relatively cheap (for example, basic moving insurance via HireAHelper.com is free on each order booked at least 24 hours in advance and Full Value can be purchased for $9 per $1,000 of coverage requested).

While moving is never easy, if you follow these tips, you should see things move like clockwork—and you should easily get your money’s worth on the cost of the move.

Mike Glanz is the Founder & CEO of HireAHelper.com, a moving labor marketplace that debuted in 2007. Having worked in the moving industry for nearly 10 years, Mike launched HireAHelper to provide an easy place to find cheap, local movers to help with the heavy living.

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