I'm going to be moving from PA to MD in the next couple of months. I've moved many times before, but it's always been a corporate move, where everything was handled for me and all I had to do was show up. This time, I'm going to have to do it all myself (and pay for it myself).So, I need to find a moving company. I have an apartment, but I have a fair amount of furniture, as well as many, many boxes. I don't really know anyone to get a recommendation - the only people I know either have never moved except with a friend and a U-Haul, or they did corporate moves and never dealt with a moving company directly.I looked up moving companies and found dozens - where do you start? And what do I need to be worried about as far as getting estimates and not getting gouged on the price? The internet is full of moving horror stories, and I'm not sure how much to believe.Karen
I looked up moving companies and found dozens - where do you start? And what do I need to be worried about as far as getting estimates and not getting gouged on the price? The internet is full of moving horror stories, and I'm not sure how much to believe.Ah - There are a number of ways to approach this - One easy thing is to go to the local BBB website and check on moving companies. Bare in mind that there are always going to be complaints, but there are some companies that have dozens. Avoid those like the plague. I don't put much store in websites like Citysearch, because it's way too easy for a company owner to put their own fake recommendations on it. As far as estimates go, get at least 3 - maybe more. Make sure that the companies you talk to are members of the AMSA (American Moving and Storage Assoc). You should also ask for Proof of Insurance. When getting estimates, you will probably get different results depending on whether you have a small apartment, or something larger. A lot of companies won't do an on-site estimate for small moves. But - for any long distance move, you really need to get an on-site, so insist on it. Also insist on a GUARANTEED ESTIMATE. I can't stress that enough. Basically this means that the moving company is going to charge you X dollars for your job, and that's all. If the company doesn't want to give you one, show them the door. And definitely get Full Value Protection. That means that your stuff is protected at $4/lb, which is pretty good for most items. Otherwise you'll get $.60/lb, which is pretty worthless. Ask for references - Any reputable company should be able to supply you with some sort of list of previous customers. Make sure they are recent, and not just some junk they've typed up themselves. My company gave each customer a survey sheet, and we also asked people if we could have potential customers call them for a reference. Most of them said yes. If things should go bad (say the guy parks his truck in your driveway, and wants to charge you an extra $500 for some BS issue), call the police immediately. Don't even bother arguing. Usually if the guy knows the cops are coming, he will shape up pretty quickly. If things do go bad, even if they get resolved, call the AMSA and report the issue. Also call the BBB.If you have any other specific questions, feel free to drop me a line...Zath
I looked up moving companies and found dozens - where do you start? Thanks so much for this advice. I've been reading a lot of these terms, but I wasn't sure what they meant! Now I'm ready to start getting estimates.Karen
I also noticed that the poster said they already packed their own boxes, which is very problematic for a moving company since if the pack was bad, then they are on the hook for damages. This makes for an awkard situation.It drives my wife nuts when I don't want to pack essentially anything other than perhaps clothing for that reason...the moving company is just going to have to unpack everything again as a matter of policy (and to protect themselves) unless it's in the original packaging that we may have saved.Quite often the mover unpacks everything from her carefully packed boxes, packs everything to their satisfaction, and then even packs the EMPTY BOX, leaving us with twice as much stuff to unwrap once everything is delivered.
I also noticed that the poster said they already packed their own boxes, which is very problematic for a moving company since if the pack was bad, then they are on the hook for damages. This makes for an awkard situation.I've been reading over the paperwork the movers left for me, and they make it clear that they're not responsible for breakage of any item that the customers packed themselves. Only for items that were packed and unpacked by the mover. (I've never had a mover that unpacked for me - even when I had a full service corporate move, unpacking wasn't included. But when they packed for me, they covered any items that broke.)It's a trade-off. Packing is very expensive. The cost to pack my apartment was 3-4 times the cost of the cost of moving alone. I couldn't afford it, since I'm paying out of pocket for my move, and honestly, I don't think my stuff is worth enough to make paying that much worthwhile. It's rather useless to pay movers $20 to pack up dishes that I bought at Target for $20 per set. But after watching movers pack my items several times, I think I can pack things so they won't break. My dilemma at the moment is whether to pay extra for full value protection. It's not terribly expensive, but breakage is excluded, and they also exclude any furniture you "put together yourself". That's probably 90% of my furniture. They also don't pay for electronics that stop working, even if they pack those items. So I'm not sure what I'm paying for - almost the only situation where they'd pay is if they actually lost something. Almost everything else seems to be excluded. Karen
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