There are many things to consider while planning a move. Whether you’re a first time mover or consider yourself practically a nomad, you should always go over the moving options available to you. Comparing moving costs is relatively simple but there are other, less obvious, things to consider as well. For instance how much "stuff" do you own and are many of these things heavy? Will you need special equipment? If you get friends to help will there be a strain on your relationship if something of value breaks during the move? What if you or your friend gets hurt?
More and more people are turning to professional movers in order to avoid all of the hassles and problems that are involved with moving yourself. Although choosing the right company has as many questions as the move itself. If you do hire a moving company, which one should you get? How do you decide who to pick and what should you look for?
To help shed some light on the topic, we’ve invited Dan Hopkins, COO and Vice President of Development at Two Men and a Truck Canada to answer some of the questions that come up when hiring a moving company.
Question: What key things should people look for when hiring a moving company?
Dan: When selecting a moving company don’t compare the price only and assume all companies will provide you the same level of service, they don’t. The key things you should be looking for when hiring a moving company are:
During your initial conversation with a moving company ask if they will provide you with a free in home consultation and a written quote prior to your move.
Ask friends, family and co-workers if they know of any good moving companies and don’t be afraid to ask the moving company you are considering for references.
Research the moving company you are considering on-line, look at their web site and check them out on your local Better Business Bureau website.
Ask if the Movers coming to your move are trained, insured full time staff or if they are part time or day workers.
Check out the Canadian Association of Movers web site at www.movers.net and give preference to moving companies located in your community to reduce the travel costs to you.
Question: What are the dangers and pitfalls of moving yourself versus hiring a professional mover?
Dan: A professional mover knows all the problems you will encounter doing it yourself and has already made accommodations for things going wrong before you even know about it. Most people are not experienced movers so they run into the following common problems.
The moving truck you will need to rent is difficult to find, large and hard to maneuver. If you do rent a moving truck, be sure to get the extra insurance to cover any damage to property your volunteer driver might cause.
People moving themselves typically underestimate how long it takes to move their belongings by one third of the required time. If you think it will take 8 hours to move, most likely it will take 10.5 hours and you and your volunteer movers will be very tired if you underestimated the amount of time needed.
The people you are counting on to volunteer their time helping you move often back out at the last minute because of a “Family Emergency”, sickness or experience car problems and leave you short-handed on an already stressful day.
Your volunteer movers are not properly trained to disassemble and reassemble your furniture and will not have the proper equipment (Appliance Dollies, Moving blankets, stretch wrap etc) to move your furnishing safely.
More often than not volunteer movers hurt themselves during the course of a do-it-yourself move that could put a strain on your friendship and your home insurance policy.
Question: Is there any advice you would give to people living in rental apartments who are considering to move?
Dan: Keep the following advice in mind when moving into or out of rental apartments.
Make sure your moving company is insured for damages they cause to the flooring, walls or elevator of the building. If not, you will be held financially responsible by the property manager.
Give the Property Manager lots of notice of your move date so change of address and forwarding Mail arrangements can be made long in advance.
As soon as you confirm your move date, select and book your moving company and ask them for a recommended time to book the elevator to accommodate your move. The elevator booking is critical so get this firmed up as soon as possible to reserve your optimal time.
Prior to your move day and elevator reservation, take as many packed boxes down to the main floor as possible so you don’t take up valuable freight elevator time. This also reduces time for the movers and should reduce your moving cost.
Go through your storage locker in the basement to sort and de-clutter your stored items in advance of your move. If you have not used an item over the past year, most likely you don’t need it. Save the cost of moving it. Donating gently used items to Goodwill is a good solution.
Question: When hiring a mover for the first time, what do people find most surprising about your service?
Dan: We request and track customer feedback from every move we do. When our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® customers use us for the first time they are pleasantly surprised at how professional and stress free the experience was and are always impressed with how organized and efficient our movers and drivers are. Because of our extensive training and customer service we generate a 94% customer referral rating from the moves we do so we generate a lot of repeat business and referrals from our existing client base.
Question: What can people do to minimize the costs of moving when hiring a professional mover?
Dan: Professional Moving Companies provide customers quotations based on the estimated time to complete the move. Some companies like TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® - The Movers Who Care® provide free in-home consultations with written estimates and only charge for the time dedicated to completing your move regardless what the quotation indicate, so if the move goes faster than the estimated time, you only pay for the time the movers are dedicated to your move. Ask your moving company if they have a similar policy and if they do, here are some tips you can use to reduce the time and cost of your move:
Disassemble any furniture not being used in advance of your move day so the movers don’t dedicated valuable time taking things apart.
De–clutter and donate any unused furniture, clothing etc prior to your moving day to make it easier and faster for the movers to move your belongings out of your old home and into your new home.
Begin packing early so you don’t get rushed approaching moving day and find yourself holding up the movers as you pack the last 25 boxes. If possible, move your pre-packed boxes to an area close to the front door to make it faster for the movers to load the packed boxes onto the moving truck. You can also store you packed boxes out of the way in the garage.
If you are closing on the purchase of a home on the same day you are moving, make sure you have a confirmed time you will be receiving the keys to your new home. It can get expensive having the movers wait until your new home closes and you receive the key.
Two Men and a Truck Canada
Chief Operating Officer and Vice-President of Development