Along with death and divorce, moving is one of the most stressful events in life. On average, Americans make nearly 12 moves in a lifetime, and the stress is magnified when relocating with young children or downsizing. So how can you alleviate that stress?
A surefire way is to hire the right mover. Each move is different, and not all moving services are created equal. To find your match, first decide what you value most: a low cost or trust and care?
Consider these options:
• DIY: Rent a truck, bribe your beefiest friends with takeout, and cross your fingers. Then, factor in the true cost. Rental trucks charge per mile, plus fuel and insurance above the base rate. And account for damage: Volunteers aren’t professionals, after all. With plenty of time and a low budget, this may fit your needs.
Best for: college students and 20-somethings without many belongings
• Guys with a truck: They tout low rates and fast service on Craigslist. If they advertise “dirt cheap” moves, you have to wonder what they’re cutting — likely, licensing and insurance. You might get lucky, but this type of mover can sometimes leave you in a major bind.
Best for: single people on a budget or people with lower-value household items
• A premium moving company: You’ll recognize the brand name on the trucks. These movers are usually professionally trained and background-checked. They’ll arrive with proper supplies and — most important — reputations on the line. If trust and care top your needs, then compare premium services.
Best for: families or people with high-value items
4 Questions to Ask Before the Move
Failing to ask the right questions can spell disaster on moving day, so have the following list ready when you call for estimates.
1. Are you fully licensed and insured, and are your movers’ backgrounds checked?The answer should be a resounding “yes.” If not, hang up. You’ll be held liable for any accidents that uninsured and unlicensed workers have in your home. Do not open yourself up to this level of risk. Request a copy of the certificate of insurance, and ensure the moving service’s paperwork is current.
2. What supplies do you provide, and what costs extra? To keep your home and valuables protected, critical supplies are moving blankets, floor and door protection, shrink-wrap, and safety straps. Most movers include these in the base cost, but boxes and packing material are always extra. Some services may quote low base prices and charge more for “extra” supplies. Before you commit, get a written quote listing the supplies and associated fees.
3. What do you expect from me on moving day? Ask about logistics and who is responsible for which tasks. Unless you pay for packing services, you should be move-ready on the big day, which means handling your own boxing and labeling.
4. How do you handle damage claims? Who is my point of contact before, during, and after the move? When you get an estimate, ask how damage issues are resolved. Get the claims person’s name, phone number, and email, and make contact. If you can’t reach the claims person, don’t sign on. Make sure your move coordinator is available throughout.
Asking these questions will help you find a mover you can trust. The best services understand your stress and come prepared to make your life-changing move a positive one.
Omar Soliman is the co-founder and CEO of College Hunks Hauling Junk and Trash Butler. CHHJ is a junk removal and moving franchise that services more than 50 markets in 30 states, and Trash Butler is a door-to-door valet trash service.