When you’re getting ready for a move, there are many things going on. It is crucial to hire the best moving company. This can make the difference between a successful, smooth move and one that is a disaster as you see on television or in the newspapers.
Here is a great list of questions to ask any moving company that you receive estimates. These questions should be asked in writing, either by email or paper.
Ask questions about a local mover
Are they willing to come out to do an “in-home assessment”? In-home estimates are a common service offered by most reputable businesses. It’s a good idea to have someone visit your house so they can assess if there are any special circumstances that could make moving more expensive or more challenging. You should be available to them to visit the home and to talk to you about any issues with delivery.
As many questions as possible, ask for written answers or indicate that you’re taking notes. Hidden charges may be added by unscrupulous movers to compound problems. You can ask them about hidden charges, such as:
Are there any charges for using the stairs?
Are there any charges for awkward or heavy items?
Are there any charges for furniture disassembly or assembly?
Are they able to use their own tools?
Are they able to provide floor runners, shrink wrap and moving blankets?
Are basements, garages and sheds subject to an additional charge?
Are there additional charges for attics, floors or other areas?
Is it possible for them to provide an additional list of fees? Get it in writing again!
Ask about the equipment they use. A professional movers will have a specially designed moving van with either a power lift or proper ramp. It may seem obvious, but they might not have one. There’s a good chance that your items could be damaged if they need to carry them up on a deck. Most moving vans have a side door that allows you to load your items from the curb. It saves time and makes it easier to maneuver in tight places. Properly moving dollies should be available that can be used on steps. To transport heavy objects up or down, they should have shoulder straps.
Ask the men how many are coming and the labor rates for additional people if they require more assistance.
Request a copy their worker’s comp insurance. Don’t use them if they don’t offer insurance. You are liable if a laborer inflicts injury on your property, even if he’s not insured.
Are they covered for contents insurance? What is the cost and the deductible?
Get references. Are there any references? Are they local residents? What is their tenure in the business?
Although this may sound like a lot of questions, any professional moving company should be able and willing to answer them all. You can always ask someone else if the person you are speaking with isn’t interested in answering your questions. Many times, movers will advertise very low rates. This is a way to convince you to contact them. You may get a different price as soon as you hear their answers. Moving is where the saying “Price vs. value” comes to life. If you have to pay a lot of extra fees, what good is an initial low price?
Asking questions to a long-distance mover
You should ask additional questions about long distance moves. You should still use many of the above questions.
If you have to file a case, ask for all documents in writing.
What is the method they use to calculate their estimates? Does it come down to the volume or the pound? It can be a huge difference. My couch might be made from feathers, while yours may be made out of concrete. Long-distance moving is based on the truck’s weight limit. Request the certified Weigh Scale.
Find out about their insurance. What is the maximum amount of insurance you have on your goods? How much is your deductible? Is it possible to purchase additional insurance?
Request an “in-home estimate”. For long distance moves, this is especially important. To determine the exact weight and value of your items, as well as size and type of truck required, they will inspect them. Moving companies must also keep to a minimum of 10% the estimate. The law states that they cannot go beyond 10% if the estimate is incorrect. Try other companies.
Are they going to show up at your destination or will you have to subcontract to another company? It is crucial to know this because you don’t have control over sub-contractors and will be dealing with two companies if anything does go wrong. Do you want the delivery company to deliver your goods from the same company?
Is the inventory labeled with all items that are being moved by the company? It’s an excellent idea to create your own inventory, or take a picture of every room. Once you have taken the pictures and put them on your phone for the delivery date, the movers can see them. Reputable movers use an inventory label system. They attach a number to each item and record the numbers for each space. They then check all inventory items for accuracy and track them down on delivery.
Ask your company for their replacement value protection. This should be done in writing. You may be able to purchase additional protection. The company will only pay $.60/lb for lost and damaged items if you do not ask. The mover can tell you if the coverage applies to items that you pack yourself or items that are packed by the company.
Find out more about the truck that they will send. Is it possible to transport the truck from your place?
What is the time frame for moving? Is the truck allowed to remain in the vehicle overnight? If so, do you have any arrangements with storage facilities? It is secure. Is it secure? What are the contact details and where can they be found?
Ask your potential employer if the Canadian Moving Company is a “Good Practice”
There is some great information that the Canadian office of consumer affairs has put together that can be found at http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/ca02030.html.
Ask as many questions as you can, do as much research as you can, and get as many answers in writing. Also, make sure to ask for references. This will help you make the move smoother!
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