"Your mover, if reliable, should be prepared to cover small accidents. Insurance is typically considered for major accidents such as truck load damage, or irreplacable artifacts." - Thunder Movers
Choosing a Moving Company Questions and Answers
What do I look for when choosing a Moving Company?
Is the company licensed? Look for a company licensed with all appropriate agencies such as state department of transportation and federal, USDOT. They should have numbers supporting both of these. Secondly, what are they licensed to do? A "licensed Mover" in the state of Oregon requires a special license than a company who is just allowed to pack, and load your truck.
Is Insurance Important?
Professional movers must be insured, registered with the state and federal government. They will have additional levels of coverage if you desire. Your mover, if reliable, should be prepared to cover small accidents. Insurance is typically considered for major accidents such as truck load damage, or irreplacable artifacts. In some cases your home owners coverage will be a source for specific item coverage. Talk with the moving company; they should be able to provide answers.
Does the moving company employ their own full-time staff or use day laborers?
You want to hire professionals not just a well known company. A company doesn't necessarily have to be well-known to have a great team. Professionals work in the industry full-time, have professional experience, and expereice with many types of moves (house, apartment, office, pianos, etc.). Where as a day laborer may never have been on a move other than moving their friend (day laborers are typically from temp-to-hire agencies).
What Should it Cost to Hire a Good Moving Company?
Cost is always a factor, especially in todays' economy, be it auto repair, new shoes, or a mover. As with shoes you do often get what you pay for. Does this mean you have to spend alot? No. It means, try them on, see if they're a good fit. You should feel comfortable with your mover, from the first interaction on the phone, email, or in person. They should be reliable with either references, recommendations, or on--line reviews (from a reputable source). They should be able to answer questions, know the business, and together you should be able to get an idea of what you need. They should be sensitive: meaning, they should understand you have a job that needs done, you're on a budget, but you want the best. Ah, so you want it all at a low cost... Cost can't be your first or only determining factor.
Is the moving company qualified for the job you need done?
Do they handle small jobs as well as large? Don't assume they do either or both. Some companies shy away from jobs that aren't big money makers, and others don't have the ability to handle a large job. Not everyone can move a Grand Piano, or any piano. Ask, ask, ask. Get a reference; be comfortable with the answer and the moving company. You need a company that fits your needs. Remember you want a professional you can afford who can do what you need.
Does A Mover need to Be Able to install appliances?
The most honest answer to this is yes they can but no they shouldn't. You need to know that the mover is not an electrician or a plumber and while they can do lots of handy, helpful tasks you can not ask them to do these jobs and hold them responsible. While they will want to be helpful and most are: They are professional movers, period.
Is there anything I should NOT let my Moving Company handle?
Do not pack expensive jewely, or other small valuables. Do not leave these items out for your mover either (your engagement ring belongs on your finger. Don't try to "test" your mover. It just isn't cool). Movers can not pack or move guns, ammo, flamables, or pets. Also, don't leave cash or pack cash. Keep your important paper work with you, such as medical records, passports, etc., and phone numbers of mover, or other important details you may need during a long-distant move or while in storage. Keep medications, or other necessities out of the pack -- some people like to make a travel or over-night bag to keep during the move as it may take a while to unpack and re-organize.
Shoud I Get an Estimate or Bid?
Most movers work using an estimate. An estimate is established generallly only after a walk-through and a thorough discussion of details. It is important to disclose as much information as possible to your mover. Purposely leaving things out does nothing to help your level of satisfaction of the cost of the job. An estimate is not binding unless specifically disclosed. Be cautious of very low estimates. While low-balling is not ethical it is done. Your mover should be upfront. You might not like the estimate but most would rather have an honest answer they don't like (up-front) versus a huge difference in cost at the end of their move. Be wary of anyone offering a guaranteed price, especially over the phone, or one that doesn't have enough information to give you an accurate estimate but does so anyway. The adage: "you get what you pay for" can be true... Remember all the factors and remeber what mom said, "if it sounds too good to be true it probably is".
Why hire a family owned, local, moving company?
One, help by keeping your local community working; stimulate the economy of your friends and neighbors. Two, families tend to have a much more vested interest in a job well done. Three, you can go knock on a door and see a live person, a mover. Basically, the local mover is just that, local. They live and work in the community.
What costs might be "hidden" that I should ask about?
Your mover should not try to hide costs; yet it is often difficult to get every question answered in a phone call. Ask if there is a charge for stairs? Extra heavy items? Mileage charge, or drive time? Lunch, or breaks? These things will vary depending on the companys terriff, the legal document registered with the state that defines what the company can and should charge. Cost should not be the determining factor when choosing your mover. There are many things to take into account: your comfort level, the reputation of the mover, estimate, and yes cost.
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