It’s not easy packing your life up and sticking it in a truck and driving it miles to a new city before moving it all again. Thankfully there are some steps you can take to make things easier on you and your family like hiring professional packers and movers to help you along the way.
If you are a do-it-yourselfer, the first question you are likely asking yourself is whether or not you even need to shell out money to hire a professional moving company. The short answer is yes, you probably do. As anyone who has ever moved knows, improper packing leads to damaged items. The right moving company will save you time and a whole lot of stress during the process.
Tips for Hiring Professional Movers
When it comes to hiring the right moving company to transport, or even pack, your possessions safely, follow the sound advice below.
A quality moving company will take inventory
One of the first things a good moving company will do is ask you to come to your place. This is so they can have the chance to check out your house and see how many pieces of furniture you are going to be moving. By doing this, they can also give you an accurate estimate of how much everything will cost.
Since most movers calculate pricing by weight, the size of your stuff is going to matter. You must understand, as well as the movers, how much total stuff you have in your house. Doing a pre-inventory check yourself makes it easier to prevent moving companies from overcharging you.
If you hire a moving company and they tell you they won’t be there until your moving day, be a little wary of their services. A good packing and moving company will always come by beforehand to provide you with a solid estimate of how much everything is going to cost you.
Get exact quotes on total moving costs
There are many costs to moving and the last thing you want to do is get ripped off, especially if moving out of the state or country. The best way to ensure you are paying the right price is to do some research regarding what you can expect to pay. While having a thorough estimate is important, it becomes far more valuable when combined with a rough understanding of what you should be paying. Understanding what you should be paying can involve talking to friends, searching for online pricing estimates, or calling multiple moving companies and asking for multiple quotes.
PRO TIP: Read our comprehensive guide to shipping furniture if you’re planning an extensive move cross-country.
How much does it cost to pack and move a home?
According to HomeAdvisor, you can plan to spend anywhere between $270-550 to have a one-bedroom home packed, $540-900 to have a two-bedroom home packed, and $1,000-2,200 to have a three-bedroom home packed. You may also be asked to pay additional costs for things like materials, labor, and unpacking so be sure to have all cost included when you’re receiving your estimate. In addition, tipping movers is very common.
It may not sound like the best way to spend an hour or two of your time, but you want to make sure you go through room by room with the company you contacted while they are doing their estimate. If they are in a rush to leave or stick their head-in for a few minutes and then start spewing out prices to you, this is generally a bad sign. That’s not to say these people are going to destroy your house and furniture if you hire them. But odds are they will overcharge you, and if they do you will have no recourse. The time to talk about price is before the job begins, not after it’s done.
Don’t hire movers that go by multiple names
One thing many people aren’t aware of is that it’s usually a bad sign for companies to go through one or more name changes. There are certainly legitimate reasons for a company to change its name. Say, for example, a change in ownership or a change of brand. But if you notice the moving company you are considering hiring has changed names in the past. Ask why? It might be because they are trying to avoid bad reviews.
Because customer complaints and negative reviews are issued to the Better Business Bureau based on the company’s name, some bad business owners will switch their company’s name, so the bad reviews don’t hound them. One way to check for this is to search the moving company’s old name. If a bunch of bad reviews and customer complaints comes up, go with another company!
Save money by packing yourself
If you’re looking for ways to save on cost, many moving companies will work with you on price if you tell them you will be packing some of the items yourself or that you’ll be providing your own moving boxes. If you go with this option, make sure you stick to smaller items or specific rooms you want packed in a particular way that suits you, such as packing kitchen items or packing your own glassware or family keepsakes. Even just a few improperly packed items can cause damage to your belongings, so be smart on what you decide to move.
RELATED: Use this Ultimate Guide to Moving and Packing to ensure you pack all your items properly so they’re safe and secure during a move or while in storage.
Types of moving contracts to know about
There are three kinds of acceptable moving contracts. And no, a personal “guarantee” is not one of them. While it is sad to say, the days of personal guarantees are long gone. If you work with packers and movers based on nothing but a guarantee and a handshake, you will be left with very few options if they fail to live up to your deal.
There are three common types of acceptable contracts:
- A Binding Estimate: A binding estimate is an all-in-one agreement. In it, packers and movers will come in, provide a detailed estimate, and then sign a contract with you for the exact amount of the entire project. Binding estimates are great in that there are no surprises: The price you are quoted at is what you pay, plain and simple. On the downside, many moving companies will generally charge slightly higher rates if they are going to commit to a binding estimate. Why? Because they don’t want to get caught off guard and wind up losing money.
- A Non-Binding Estimate: A non-binding estimate means that the moving company you are working with cannot charge more than 10% what they quoted you at. This is usually a good option in most cases as it leaves moving companies some buffer room to cover additional expenses, which means they won’t be tempted to cut corners to save money.
- A Non-Binding to Exceed Estimate: A non-binding to exceed estimate is a maximum amount that you will have to pay. Like the other agreements, this is a contract. It states that you will not have to cover any additional expenses or overages beyond what you were quoted.
Hire the right professional moving company for you
If you are moving, it’s important to try to relax and take things as they come. It’s going to take time and patience, and there is no point in making yourself crazy. Whether moving to another country or just down the street, the first step toward a (relatively) stress-free move is to hire the right professional packers and movers to get the job done.
Browse all our guides for moving and packing:
- How to Move a Couch
- How to Move a Mattress
- How to Move a Refrigerator
- How to Move a Piano
- How to Move a Pool Table
- How to Pack Shoes for Moving
- How to Pack Dishes and Glasses
Other helpful moving resources:
- Ultimate Moving Checklist
- Where to Find Free Moving Boxes
- Tips for Hiring Movers and Packers
- How Much to Tip Movers
- Should you Stage your Home When Selling?
- Change of Address Checklist
- Moving with Kids
- Moving with a Dog
- Ultimate Guide to Unpacking
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