As a Windsor real estate agent for over 20 years, I have often heard of the many scams that are out there with moving companies. While most businesses in this area are reputable and do an excellent job, there are some problems that can occur if you don’t do some research.
Here are a few tips we have gathered in the past several years that you may find helpful when looking for movers.
1. Get referrals: Ask your real estate agent, friends, family or business associates for reputable movers. In fact, if your business has a large Human Resources Department and work with relocation companies, they may have a list of good companies that they would recommend. Whatever you do, don’t start looking online. Even the bigger scammers can have professional and beautiful websites. Word of mouth is the way to go.
2. Research: Movers that are out to scam people often name their companies close to the more popular and professional companies. Again, this does not pertain to all smaller moving companies, but there are some with questionable reputations that try to align themselves with more reliable movers.
3. Interview at least three moving companies. Get everything you discussed and were promised in writing and if one company is much lower, be suspicious. If a moving company doesn’t send a representative out to look over your furniture, but instead offers to give you a quote over the phone or via email, run away. Weight is a very big factor when determining the price. Another bit of advice: Never pay up front or requires a substantial deposit.
Questions to ask your mover:
1. Can I get a list of references?
2. How long have you been in business?
3. Is your company licensed? Insured?
4. What are your extra services and how much do you charge?
5. For moving locally, do you charge by the hour, weight or number of movers?
6. Do you charge extra time for travel to and from my house?
7. What is your cancellation policy?
8. How do I pay? Do you require a deposit?
9. How are special items packed, such as electronics? Antiques? Piano?
10. What is the inventory system you use?
11. What supplies do you provide?
12. How do you handle complaints? If an item breaks?
Understand your contract:
Make sure that everything is completely written down and there are no hidden charges. If you don’t see something that was clearly discussed, or you don’t understand or agree with a certain clause, then ask questions. I can’t tell you enough that this contract needs to be read carefully and with a fine-tooth comb. Don’t sign anything until you are completely in agreement with the contract.
Make sure that you also thoroughly check the coverage and understand how you and your belongings are covered if something is damaged. Also, in case of fire or accident, how are you protected?
How to save money:
Needless to say, moving is expensive and can cost thousands of dollars. Here are some helpful tips on how to save some money.
1. Be flexible on dates. Much like when you book an airline ticket online and say your dates are flexible, you can find a better deal. Most moves take place during the summer and on Fridays and Mondays. Ask if you move during the middle of the week if you can get a better price.
2. Get rid of stuff! Why move anything that you plan to later get rid of in a garage sale or donate? Do it before you move and you might be able to shave off quite a bit from your moving bill. Furniture can be expensive to move, so if you know it won’t fit in your new home, get rid of it now.
3. Pack yourself: While time-consuming, you can save money if you pack your belongings yourself. However, double-check to see if a mover guarantees anything that they don’t pack themselves. If you are nervous about an heirloom fragile item, then pay the extra money and have the movers pack. Handle the less expensive and valuable items yourself.
4. Move harder and special items yourself: If you still have the box or container of your flat screen TV. or paintings, you can move yourself if able. Movers often charge extra for these items. If you feel comfortable, do it on your own.
5. Don’t over-insure. Check with your homeowners or rental insurance policies to see what coverage you have when you move. Don’t pay for what you don’t need.