Carry Me Home: Picking Professional Movers
By Karen Alley
You’ve bought the house of your dreams, but now you’re faced with the daunting task of getting all of your precious cargo moved safely and efficiently.
Professional movers can be an asset, especially if you’re leaving anything larger than a one-bedroom apartment. They not only take away some of the stress and hassles that come with relocating, but they can also save you valuable time.
Many movers also offer packing services, another aspect that can save time in the move. Of course, you might cut costs by packing yourself, but keep in mind that the movers have more experience and will pack your belongings in a way that ensures that they make the trip safely.
Before you choose a moving company, make sure you do some research.
- Get recommendations from friends and neighbors, or ask a moving company you’re considering to provide references.
- Get three to four written, in-person estimates. These should include the cost of labor, vans, packing materials and insurance. Federal, interstate shipping regulations require that moves from one state to another be calculated based on the weight of a shipment, not cubic feet. Movers who calculate costs based on cubic feet may be trying to pad their fee. You will get a more accurate estimate on labor costs if you can give a moving company details about the house you’re moving to, such as accessibility and number of stairs.
- Check out the company’s credentials. You can do a background search with the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org. You can also verify license and insurance information for the company through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Web site at www.safersys.org, or by calling 202-385-2423. Another indicator of a company’s reliability can be membership in a trade association, such as the American Moving and Storage Association. ASMA members, for example, must follow all federal consumer protection regulations in the industry.
- Ask how the company handles payment, and also inquire about how they’ve handled past complaints.