You’re moving again! But this time, you’re doing it grown-up style and hiring a company—not bribing friends with pizza and beer to help you. Stefan Marcali of Simply Moving in Bronx, New York, and Joy Hall of Joyful Movers in Cary, North Carolina help you navigate the world of movers to make sure your stuff gets delivered safely and for a reasonable price.
Read on for tips on getting a great mover.
What are important questions to ask when hiring a moving company?
Be clear on price and have the terms in writing or email. Both Joy and Stefan recommend inquiring if the company carries insurance—Joy suggests confirming it’s both cargo insurance and general liability. Stefan recommends asking what you have to do to get ready depending on what level of service you’ve contracted. You don’t want the movers to arrive and your part isn’t done. And, always be sure to read those online reviews, says Joy!
Are there security things I should consider?
In North Carolina, moving companies are required to possess a carrier number. Movers must go through an FBI as well as a SBI background check to be licensed. Moving companies in that state also have to maintain both general liability insurance as well as cargo coverage—be sure your company meets state requirements.
Stefan agrees you should always ask about insurance and what is covered. He requires background checks and drug screening for his employees to ensure safety. Don’t be shy about inquiring what protections your potential vendor has in place before contracting them to move your belongings.
How far in advance should I book a mover?
Across the board, spring and summer are the busiest time of year. If it’s a sunny time of year, Joy recommends booking at least two to three weeks in advance. Stefan says that, as a rule, the longer the distance the move, the farther in advance you should book. Local moves (within 50 miles) get booked within a week in his area, while longer distances (over 200 miles) require at least a couple weeks. Plan ahead to get the good guys.
What kind of moving services are out there?
Whatever your heart desires. Read reviews to ensure the company you’re contracting is not only reputable, but experienced with your needs. For example, Simply Moving is more than simply moving. They offer staging, local and long distance moving, packing, office moves, art packing and moving, storage, and furniture assembly.
Joyful Movers also offers a wide range from full service, labor only, heavy lifting, household and commercial moving, unpacking, and more. Inquire about saving money by bundling services with one company to provide many of your moving, unpacking, and furniture setup needs.
What should I expect when the movers arrive?
Before the move, you’ll fill out a Bill of Lading (BOL) that will be signed before any activity takes place. This should list all charges and fees upfront, so be sure to ask questions if there’s uncertainty. Joy says the BOL should also include the valuation chosen by the client. Basic coverage should be free, but extra coverage will cost extra. Don’t be shy about understanding what you’re paying for and what is and is not covered. An easy time (and money, if you’re paying hourly for the labor) saver, according to Joy, is to pack small items and have them out of the way and ready to be loaded. Additionally, Stefan says you should expect to have workers moving throughout the entire house, so be prepared to let them get to work. Moving day is not the day to also be painting walls or cleaning for the security deposit.
Is it safe to use movers for valuable or fragile items?
Both Joy and Stefan agree that fragile items should be safe in your movers’ hands. Personal items are fine, but Stefan recommends packing your jewelry box with you. Joy does say that it’s okay to move items of extraordinary value, but list them on an inventory sheet for both the client and driver to sign off on once delivered. That said, do your research and hire a reputable and licensed mover.
What tips would you give your mom if she was booking a mover for the first time?
Stefan would tell his mom to check the mover’s license and reviews online, and if the price sounds too low (relative to other quotes), it probably means there will be hidden costs later down the line.
Joy would tell her mom to check and recheck any mover. Look for Better Business Bureau accredited or reviewed companies, and make sure they have required state licensing. Read online reviews. And last but not least, she’d want her to know that the lowest price is not always the best—these are your belongings, your home, you don’t want to hire just anybody.