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Before you approach any movers, decide upon three matters:
  1. What items are to be moved and what are to be sold or given away.
  2. Whether you intend to do the packing yourself or whether you would have the movers do it, and if the latter, what items you want them to pack.
  3. Will you need any additional services? For example, packing and moving extra ordinary items like antiques?
Next, ask around for recommendations and advice on movers- try your friends, family and neighbors.

Once you have a list of a few movers, get talking with them. You'll need to ask them questions regarding their services terms, and conditions.

What to ask:
  1. Will the movers disassemble furniture and all other items while packing and reassemble them at the destination?
  2. What type of packing material and boxes are acceptable, if I plan to do the packing myself?
  3. When do I pay? How do I pay? Cash on delivery? Credit card? Personal or Certified Check?
  4. Will there be an additional weighing to determine actual cost, after the initial weigh in?
  5. What is the estimated delivery time? Will the driver or anybody else notify me of expected arrival?
  6. Are there extra charges if the movers have to go up stairs? What if I do not know the exact details regarding the number of flights that need to be climbed?
  7. What is the process for making any liability claims, should the need arise?
All licensed movers are required by law to provide liability for the value of goods they transport. There are different levels of liability that may apply, and you need to understand the amount of protection provided and any additional charges that may apply. Quite often, you may require purchasing additional insurance.

References and credentials.

Ask the movers for references. The fact that previous customers agreed to provide a reference makes a big difference, and hearing what they had to say would be useful.

To check the reliability of the moving company you can contact the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) to inquire about the company's complaint record, its history of handling insurance liability claims and how those issues were resolved.

Check for their license number. All movers are required to be licensed.

Interstate movers are, in addition, required to:
  1. Publish their tariffs or price list and make it available to anybody who requests a copy
  2. Participate in a dispute settlement program and to offer neutral arbitration in the event a dispute arises.
A dispute may arise in the event loss or damage happens to a shipment while in the hands of the mover.

Before asking for quotes:

Provide the movers with complete information regarding your move, including potentially difficult or unusual situations, so that you may be provided with an accurate estimate. This is also helpful in avoiding disputes at a later stage.

For example, if the moving crew has to carry loads more than a specific distance from the transporting vehicle to your door, there might be an additional charge. If you are moving to a high-rise building where an elevator reservation is required, this can cause problems for the delivery schedule if the mover does not know about this in advance and additional charges will likely apply.

It helps to clarify such details before asking for and receiving estimates.

The cost of your move can also increase for such occurrences as accessibility parking problems, road access and delivery time restrictions or if there are any stairs or elevators involved.

Some neighborhoods may prohibit trucks over a certain weight. This might require offloading your possessions into a smaller vehicle for the last mile, which is a potentially expensive situation. Advise the movers or your relocation consultant if you anticipate this situation arising.

Ask for estimates

You should by now have learnt enough about the movers you have considered to move into the issue of costs. Ask for written estimates, and clarify for how long the estimate is valid. Also ask whether the estimate is binding or non-binding. A is provided by the mover to give you a general idea of the cost of the move, but it does not bind the mover to the estimated cost. Do not accept any estimates over telephone- make sure you have a written or printed copy of the estimate before you accept it.

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