Whether you are moving into a new home, helping an elderly parent move into senior housing or ushering your child to a dormitory for the first time, one thing is for sure: moving is the pits! It is costly to hire movers you can trust. Here are 10 tips to guide your search for the best movers possible:
1. Know What You Need
Oftentimes, we don’t properly estimate our needs. Ask your family some hard questions. How much are you taking? What can easily fit into your new digs? Are there things you are willing to part with? How much will you be giving away? Can you have a yard sale or list items on eBay or Amazon? Take inventory of what you own and be honest. See this as an opportunity to let go of old baggage and start anew in some areas.
2. Plan Ahead
Some things cannot be anticipated, but plan as much in advance as possible. Having a target date that is at least 1-3 months in advance allows you some leeway and a saving period. It also maximizes your options. Rather than being fueled by desperation, you can lead by practicality and stick to a set budget.
3. Shop Around
Make use of websites like Angie’s List for reviews of movers in your area. Ask friends, family, co-workers, and members of your community who they would recommend. Avoid using unregistered, unlicensed contractors, if at all possible. They may be cheaper, but will offer no guarantees. You may find items broken and you will not get insurance on your valuables. They also may not use your valuable time wisely, thus adding to your stress.
4. Always Be Sure They Have Their Own Truck
This speaks volumes as to the seriousness of the business you are working with. If they are asking you to incur the additional cost of a truck (plus a driver and insurance) this is a business you may want to bypass in favor of one with an expense for use of a company truck included in the cost.
5. Ask How Many Movers Will Be Working
You need to know how many movers the company will be sending on the job because most companies charge by the hour and have a per hour minimum. The fewer movers there are and the larger your house, the longer it will take and the more it will cost you. Always ask how many movers, how many hours and what the minimum number of hours is they require.
6. Packing and Moving or Just Loading and Moving?
This is a personal, family decision. Maybe you don’t want the hassle of packing up the entire house, except for personal and intimate items. If that is the case, then you want to look for a company that does packing, loading and moving to the new location. You will also want them to do the unpacking at the new location under your direction. Perhaps you don’t have it in your budget to do that or you want some sort of control over the packing part of your move. In that case, you may just want a mover to load pre-packed items, drive them to the new location and unload them. It is best to get quotes for both situations.
7. Get It In Writing
Get every estimate in writing. This is simple enough. Any company not wanting to honor this request is one not wanting your business.
8. Deposits and Money Back Guarantees
Always ask how much of a deposit is required up front to secure your date and time. Ask whether they will refund deposits if you change your mind or if plans to move are changed. Also, find out if there is insurance or a money back guarantee if your items are lost, stolen or damaged.
9. Ask for References
The best way to decide if you really want to do business with a company is to ask for references. If they can’t provide them for confidentiality reasons, check with your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) or look online for reviews.
10. Always Go With Your Gut
If it doesn’t “feel” right for you, it probably isn’t. As humans, we tend to have pretty great instincts, go with yours. Should you get through all 10 of these tips and a company doesn’t give you comfort, then take the advice of Brian McKnight and, “start back at one.”
Do you have additional tips for our readers? Do you know of a moving scam? Tell us your story or contact us for more information! Feel free to shoot us an email to on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website!
About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!