Out-of-state moving tips: What to ask the moving company before your move
Relocating can be an exciting adventure, but few people get excited by the process of the actual move. Friends with strong backs and big trucks are handy when moving across town, but not for out of state moving. You could always rent a truck and do it yourself, but hauling stacks of heavy boxes all weekend is no way to start off a long drive. Hiring professional movers would make the chore easier, but which company do you choose? Trusting strangers to take care of your valuables is a big step, especially for a long-distance move. To make sure you get the best deal and the best service, know your rights and responsibilities when hiring a mover and take time to ask some important questions.
Have you been rated by the Better Business Bureau? The BBB has registered more than 17,000 reviews on movers nationwide. Ask the company about their BBB rating and follow up with some quick research on the BBB website.
May I see your storage facility? If a company doesn't want potential customers to see how and where they store other people's belongings, the chances are good that you don't want them in charge of yours.
Where can I contact your references? Any company can throw testimonials on a website or ads to look like the most beloved local mover in the area. Verify as many recommendations as you can, even those that come from friends and family.
Do you offer a written estimate? Get at least three estimates before signing a contract with a mover. Estimates are based on the services you're requesting and the weight of your belongings, as well as the distance of the move. Be sure to include all the items you'll be moving, including those in the garage, attic, basement or storage facility when you seek an estimate. Remember that the lowest bid may not actually be the best deal. Quality of service, reliability and reputation should also be considered.
Who is responsible for damage or loss? Be sure you understand the company's liability policy and get it in writing. Companies may not accept liability if you've packed your belongings yourself. Check your homeowner's policy - it may provide coverage if your items are lost or damaged during a move. Contact your agent if you're not sure or if you need to increase coverage.
How long will it take to relocate my belongings? Moving companies handle many shipments at once. Your belongings may be packed into a truck along with other items and delivered on a route, and long-distance moves may take much longer than you expect. It might only take you three days to drive to your new location, but it may take the moving company three weeks to show up. It's important to know this information upfront so you can plan accordingly and pack all of your family's immediate needs in the car or a small trailer.
An out-of-state move is always hectic, but you can make it less stressful by staying organized, being flexible and communicating clearly with your professional mover. You probably didn't buy or rent your new home without doing some research and asking questions; be a smart consumer and apply that same common sense to choosing a moving company and you'll be feeling "at home" in no time.