Moving can be a stressful experience. Along with trusting a reputable moving company-and the horror stories people have encountered-it’s easy to be nervous about finding the right moving company. There are several things you can do to make the experience worry-free and stress-free. It’s a good idea to do your research ahead of time, so that by moving day you don’t encounter any surprises. Here are some valuable tips to keep in mind when choosing a moving company to make your move as stress-free as possible:
Look for recommendations: The best place to start is to ask your friends or your real estate agent for recommendations. Another option is to look at professional moving company websites, such as the Canadian Movers Association (www.movers.net). Several large moving companies have their own websites, which provide details about their company and the services they provide, but also provide helpful moving tips.
After you’ve narrowed your choices down to three or four companies you want to investigate, it would be a smart idea to make appointments to have a representative from each company give you a written estimate. It is also important for the company sees what you’re moving before they can provide an accurate estimate. Rule out a company that tries to provide a quote over the phone, or tells you that seeing what your moving isn’t necessary.
Questions to ask/Tips for an easy move: When speaking to the moving company, ask if their company and their employees are bonded, licensed and insured (long distance movers require a different license than local moving companies), and what their insurance covers, especially if you pack your valuables yourself. Are the movers employees, contractors, or day labourers? (Full-time employees tend to be the most honest, experienced, and conscientious than casual workers). How long have they been in business? If possible, visit the company’s office and explore their facilities. Are the trucks in good condition and marked with the company’s name? What about their storage facilities? Is the office clean and professional looking? Finally, ask for (and check out) references.
Identify items to be moved: After the moving company representative arrives, explain to them and provide a detailed list of what will be moved, point out special items such as mirrors, fragile antiques, a piano or grandfather clock. Provide instructions for what you want the movers to handle and what you will move yourself, such as packing or dismantling of beds or other furniture. Provide the movers with the exact address of the new home, and any obstacles such as stairs or narrow hallways, and any items needing to be put into storage.
Within a day or two, the company should provide you with a detailed estimate, outlining everything discussed: date and time of move, old and new addresses, estimated number of boxes, size and value of items, special needs, cost of packing (if you are not doing it), and a estimate of how much time and how many movers will be needed. Be cautious of a company that offers to waive GST/HST if you pay cash. Not only is this illegal, but it could void your insurance and leave you with problems. Disregard any companies that ask for a significant amount of the cost up front. It’s normal to pay the full amount upfront, or all but a token deposit, upon completion of the move.
Inquire about moving insurance: Several moving companies offer optional insurance at a reasonable cost, usually a few dollars per $1,000 of value. If you possess any valuable items, check first to see if your homeowner’s policy covers you. Many companies also limit their liability if you pack yourself, even though having the movers pack for you can double the fee. Only you can decide if its worth the extra cost. There may be several fragile items that you are able to pack yourself. Try to spread the packing over several weeks.
Supervise moving day: On moving day, make sure you are around to supervise, but try to resist the urge to micro-manage or get frustrated with the movers. Consider providing them with coffee or water. This may entice them to throw in services that normally will cost you extra. If you are pleased with their services, it is optional but appreciated to tip each the movers approximately 5% of the total move.
Once the move is completed, carefully examine your possessions. If anything is missing or damaged, notify the company right away. Reputable moving companies typically reimburse you for minor damages within a few days. If you have an insurance claim, it must be dealt with quickly or else it may be disputed. But if you’ve packed well and followed these tips, you should be able to experience a stress-free move.
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