HomeownerHelpful Info: Home Maintenance


Movers Educational Content

To get the most accurate estimate from a mover, give them detailed information about your move. In most cases, a representative from the moving company will come to your house to see firsthand what you need to have moved. Be wary of movers who either do not offer or flatly refuse to do an on-site estimate. Also share any specifics about parking and the distance from the parked truck to the door. If stairs or an elevator will be involved, be sure to mention those details, too. There are a few different types of estimates used by moving companies. Get written estimates from at least two companies so you can compare your options.

Binding estimate. A binding estimate is a set price covering only the goods and services listed on the estimate. You will pay the set price even if the shipment’s weight or the job hours end up differing from the estimate. If you need additional services later, the moving company will revise the original estimate to include them.

Nonbinding estimate. Nonbinding estimates are approximate and can change. The price is finalized at the end of the job. That final number is based on the weight of the shipment or the total number of hours for the job. A nonbinding estimate is often lower than a binding estimate. However, with a nonbinding estimate, it’s possible for the final cost to be more than you were quoted.

The walk-through. Most movers will be glad to visit your house to give you an on-site estimate. Be sure to show the mover every single thing that you’ll be moving. This includes items stored outside and in the attic, basement, closets, and garage. Also let them know whether you have a storage unit or if you’ll need them to make extra stops on moving day.

Payment arrangements. Clarify payment arrangements with the moving company well in advance. Most movers do not accept personal checks. Many accept credit cards, but don’t assume that they accept all major cards.

Determine how and when boxes will be packed. Packing too far in advance can be inconvenient, but packing the day of a big move is stressful. To avoid these issues, plan ahead and use organized moving professionals. They will be able to determine and explain the best schedule for you shortly before the move.

You may choose to do the packing on your own. Remember that the moving company is not responsible for damage to things you pack yourself, unless the item is visibly damaged upon delivery. For many people, it’s worth it to hand off the organizing and packing responsibilities to the experts.

Check whether there is an inventory tracking system. Most long-distance movers use some type of inventory sheet. This helps them easily identify misplaced items. Local movers use dedicated trucks for your individual move. Since no one else’s items are on the truck, there’s no need for an inventory tracking system.

Find out if the truck is making more than one move at the same time. The more stops that are made during a move, the higher the chance for a mix-up to occur. To reduce costs on interstate moves, moving companies sometimes combine multiple moves on the same truck. In these cases, packed goods may have to be taken on and off the truck multiple times for deliveries. This can lead to more wear and tear on those items.

If you’re concerned about possible over-handling, ask the movers if they are making more than one move with the truck. Also find out if the truck will have to be unloaded more than once. Most companies use trucks with multiple entry doors so that shipments can be unloaded without disturbing any other items. However, you might also consider using a company that dedicates one truck to each move. This is typically the case with local movers.

Research your state’s moving regulations. Intrastate movers are regulated by the state in which the company operates. Some states do not provide any regulation. Interstate movers must be registered with the US Department of Transportation (US DOT). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the US DOT, is a good source of consumer protection information. Regardless of whether you are moving down the street or across the country, hiring a properly licensed and insured mover will help ensure a safe moving experience.

Move in the middle of the month. The moving industry is usually busiest at the beginning and end of the month. This is because most closings and lease expirations occur at these times. If you can move in the middle of the month, you may get both a better price and better service.

Move certain items yourself. You can potentially speed up the moving process by taking some items yourself. Start with your plants, lamps, and pictures. Leave boxes and furniture for the movers. They have more experience handling heavy and bulky items.

Damage is always a possibility during a move. The best companies will take precautions to minimize damage and quickly resolve claims. Some amount of liability coverage, usually $0.60 per pound per item relocated, is included in the price of a move.

Moving companies do sell additional liability coverage. Some homeowners’ insurance policies cover goods in transit. Check your policy before purchasing additional coverage.

Friendly interaction with the moving crew can make things go more smoothly. At the start of the move, meet the crew members, noting each person’s name. Take special note of the crew leader. Show the crew the basics, like where they can find the bathroom, trash cans, and drinking water. Make sure there is enough water, bath tissue, and paper towels for them. Remember that moving is backbreaking work. If you receive quality service, it’s customary to tip each member of the crew individually.

At least one responsible adult should be available throughout the move to answer questions. Keep pets out of the way, and discourage children from trying to “help” the movers. This can create a liability issue.