Choosing a moving company can be stressful and take time. Though it seems easiest just to call a local company and schedule the move, doing your homework can save you time and money in the long run.
We have put together a few steps we think everyone should take prior to choosing a moving company. It is important to select the best company for your move and ensure said company has a good reputation.
Selecting a moving company should be done as soon as possible after finding out your move date. Keep in mind that if you are moving during a peak moving period, scheduling movers early is especially important. Peak moving periods are generally:
- The beginning or end of a month
- Holidays, especially holidays that coincide with schools being closed
- Summer, as most families try to schedule moves between school years
STEP 1: Find Two or Three Companies to Interview
Searching online is the best way to get this step done. Find a few companies that specialize in your type of move, either local or long distance. Look at their websites, read their reviews and determine whether or not you think the company may be a good fit.
Pull out two or three companies and call them to schedule an interview. When making this call, it is important to ask if the company will send someone to your home for a walk through and free, no-obligation quote.
STEP 2: Conduct the Interviews
When a representative or two from a moving company comes to your home to give a quote, be prepared to spend a little time walking through the house. Moving companies should agree to give you a free, written, no-obligation quote. Ask whether or not the quote will be honored later, or for how long it will be honored. Will it be honored and guaranteed when you schedule the move? Or must the move be scheduled and completed within a certain amount of time for the quote to be honored?
Request references at this point in the process. It is important to be able to actually speak with someone else who has used each moving company prior to making a final decision.
Local Moves – If you’re moving locally, the estimate will most likely be based on an hourly rate. This hourly rate will depend on how many workers are needed, how much time it will take to pack (unless you’re packing yourself), load, transport, and unload.
Out-of-State Moves – If you’re moving further, out of state or across the country, the quote estimate will be a little different. Along with the factors considered for a local move, for long distance moves, companies have other things to consider as well. Both distance and projected overall weight of your move will influence the cost for long distance moves.
Other Factors that Influence Cost – There are many factors that will influence the overall price of your move. Some of those factors include:
- Packing and Unpacking – Many moving companies offer the services of packing and unpacking your belongings. While this may sound great, it can cost quite a bit. If you are able to pack most of your items yourself, you will definitely save money. Having the moving company wrap up large items (curio cabinets, large mirrors, etc.) can be a good idea. This is to ensure it’s done properly and with the right materials. But for clothes and toys, most people are fully capable of packing those themselves, which saves money.
- Buying Boxes – Almost all moving companies will supply new boxes for a price. To save some money, you can ask if they have used boxes you can buy cheaper. Another great way to save on moving boxes is to check for local yard sales of people who just moved in, check Craigslist, or just ask people on social media if they have any boxes they’d like to give away or sell cheap.
- Special Packaging – As previously mentioned, large, bulky or very fragile items may need special packaging to ensure they reach the final destination in one piece. Moving companies should include these items and their packaging costs within their quotes. If you think an item within your home will fall into this category, make sure to point it out to the company representative during his or her walk through of your home.
- Special Handling – Some items require special handling during a move. If you have a piano, it will cost more to move than something like a kitchen table. Again, make sure to point these items out to company representatives to ensure your quote covers any such items and the costs to move them.
- Insurance – Most moving companies have some sort of liability insurance. However, you may want to get additional insurance if you have a lot of unique or valuable items. Ask companies whether or not they offer additional insurance, and if you want it, have them include it within the quote.
STEP 3: Choosing a Moving Company
Now that you have a few quotes, have spoken to references, and have a better idea of what you will be doing yourself and what you’d like the movers to do, it is time to make your decision.
When choosing a moving company, price, availability, and customer service will be key factors. Obviously, a moving company that is way out of your price range is out. A company that cannot move you on your required date is out, unless you have some wiggle room. A company with terrible customer service and terrible references is probably not the right choice, even if their quote is lower.
Consider all these factors prior to making your choice. As soon as you have made a decision, call the company and schedule the move. If you are having a company pack for you as well, they may need to start that process prior to the move, so keep that in mind as well.
For more information on moving, check out our Moving Tips!