Friday, May 18, 2012

5 Tips for Finding the Right Movers

Summer Mandell | Consumer columnist May 1, 2012 26 

After my husband and I decided that we should hire professionals for our move, we searched for the best deal for our budget. In addition to websites like Yelp, word-of-mouth recommendations are a great way to find out about movers, and your Texas REALTOR® is a good place to start.

We narrowed down the competition with these five tips.

Think three
There’s no harm in calling multiple moving companies for estimates, but decide on at least three that you want to learn more about.

Get an in-person assessment
Most people aren’t good at judging how much stuff they own, and while some companies have online tools to help you create an estimate with your best guess, you should have your top-three picks visit your home and take inventory for an accurate estimate.

You’ll be asked about what you’re planning to take, the moving supplies that you need, and about your heavy or fragile items. Your movers will need to know the layout of your new home, too, so don’t forget to tell them about the three flights of stairs or your lack of a driveway.

Ask questions
There are plenty of questions you can ask depending on your situation, but here are some you shouldn’t miss.
  * Are you licensed for in- or out-of-state moves? The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles licenses moving companies, which must display a valid TxDMV or United States Department of Transportation license number on the truck to operate legally. Find out if a company is licensed on the TxDMV website.
  * What type of insurance do you carry? (workers’ compensation)
  * What insurance coverage do you offer? (valuation or replacement coverage)
  * Can I pack myself? Will my items be covered if so?
  * Is your crew bonded? (protection in case of employee theft, vandalism)
  * Are there items you won’t transport? (light bulbs, batteries, gas)

Be honest
Be upfront about what you need your movers to do, whether it’s packing and unloading, assembling or dissembling items, or heavy lifting. You may think you can get a deal by glossing over details, but you’ll ultimately pay more for your hidden extras and your movers won’t be pleased.

Negotiate the deal
You’ll receive an estimate from your moving companies based on several factors, such as the distance of the move and the potential gas expense, the weight or square footage that your items will use in the moving van, and labor costs. This is where having more than one estimate will come in handy. Don’t be afraid to tell your top pick if you’ve received a lower estimate that appeals to you, or roughly how much you want to spend. Look for other areas in which you can negotiate, such as free hauling services or reduced rates for extra supplies or a different move date.

Your movers can be a huge help, but only if you put in the effort to choose the right one for your move.

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