Pick the Right Mover
Before you make your final decision on which moving company you will chose to transport your belongings, you should take into consideration several different factors including the types of estimates you will receive, the moving company’s policies regarding different aspects of the move, and whether or not the company has the proper moving licensure and follows all moving regulations.
Every moving company has its own set of policies and it's important to familiarize yourself with these policies before you ultimately decide on a mover. By inquiring about what specific policies each company utilizes during your search and asking what their policies are regarding the various phases of the move (packing, loading, unpacking), you can get a better idea of which company is best for you.
If you are going to go for a full-service move, it's always a good idea to have the company come to your house for an in-home estimate. This will allow the movers to get the sense of how big your move is going to be and how long it will take them to pack everything. You will get a more accurate assessment and estimate this way.
When it comes to loading, it's also smart to inquire about whether the moving company takes all of the necessary precautions and has all of the proper equipment. Following all safety procedures should also be a top priority for the movers, as well as making sure the truck load is distributed evenly so your belongings do not shift and get damaged in transit.
Lastly, don't forget to ask about the transportation policies and how the moving company handles the transportation of your belongings from your old home to your new home. It's always good to inquire about the safety procedures that the company employs during transportation and you should find out how experienced their drivers are, especially the drivers that will be handling your particular move.
Once you have gathered all the information you need about each potential moving company's policies, you can make a more educated decision when picking your mover.
Next, you’ll have to decide which kind of estimate you will be receiving from the moving company. The first kind of moving estimate is a nonbinding estimate. After evaluating your goods, the mover will provide you with the estimated cost of the move.
Although they will attempt to provide you with the closest estimate they can, they won't be able to provide you with the actual exact price until moving day when your total shipment is weighed. Once they total the final weight of all of your belongings, then the movers will adjust the price accordingly.
With a binding estimate, the second type of moving estimate, the mover will assess your goods and give you an estimate for the move. This estimate is concrete and will not change depending on the actual weight of the shipment.
The good thing about binding estimates is that the cost of your move will not increase, even if the actual weight is high above what was estimated. However, if the weight of your shipment is below the estimate, you still have to pay the agreed-upon price. While this may be a gamble, binding estimates are helpful because they allow you to know in advance what you will pay.
The third type of estimate is a binding not-to-exceed estimate, which is typically your best option if it is available. With this type of estimate, the total cost of your move will never be above the original estimate that the movers provide you, even if your shipment weight is more than initially expected on moving day. Since the price will be adjusted only if it is lower, binding not-to-exceed estimates are your best option.
Now that you know about the three types of moving estimates, remember to ask any potential mover which types they will offer. Since not every moving company is guaranteed to offer every type of estimate, it's best to ask beforehand which kind of estimates the company offers when you first contact them via phone or email.
Lastly, understanding licensure and insurance requirements for moving companies, although it can sometimes be tricky, is one of the most important parts of picking the right mover. Usually the types of licensure and insurance requirements can vary between each state and also between the three different kinds of moves: long distance moving, local moving and international moving. Moving companies should always have the appropriate forms of licensure and insurance no matter which of these types of moves that they specialize in.
Long-distance movers must have a federal identification number, known as a United States Department of Transportation number. A total of 28 states require that all moving companies have one of these important numbers. The US DOT number is a way for the government to identify a particular carrier when collecting information from audits, compliance reviews, inspections, and other data sets. It is also used as a tool for enforcing and monitoring safety regulations.
Long Distance Movers must also be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This operating authority, which is more complex than the US DOT, outlines the precise type of operation, cargo, and area in which a carrier can operate. They also can dictate the level of insurance that a moving company must carry. Keep note of this mandatory amount, so you can compare numbers when you call the mover. Asking to see physical insurance certificates can also provide you with accurate comparisons.
Since there are no moving regulations enforced by any single country, you need to be particularly careful when moving internationally. No matter what, your international mover should have a Freight Forwarder permit or a Federal Maritime Commission number. Choosing a moving company that is also a part of the FIDI Global Alliance can also go a long way in ensuring that you have a trusted and reputable mover.
The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) also provides Registered International Mover Certification, a program that continually monitors international carriers.
As very few companies hold this certification, if you see an international mover that does, they are more than likely to be reputable.