One of the most stressful things to do in life is moving to another apartment, house, city, state, or country. The confusion and stress are endless, but it does not have to be that way if you plan and are well organized. That means having a good idea of what to expect and how to make it happen.
Create A Plan Or Checklist
Before beginning, it’s important to create a checklist of everything you will need. Being able to itemize and visually see what you need will dramatically reduce confusion and stress. Here are a few ways to help you get organized.
- Ask friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations. If you are moving locally, see what companies your social circles have used before. Please take note of each company and add them to your list of prospects.
- Do you need to rent a truck or hire a moving company? Movers will help you safely transport your belongings and can be a worthwhile expense. If you are staying in the local area, it may be reasonable, but if you are changing cities, states, or even countries, this will be more complicated yet necessary. If a moving truck is needed, make sure to list a few prospects.
- Prepare a Moving Binder – Use this binder to store all of your important moving information such as companies, contacts, phone numbers, and other important documents.
Select The Right Moving Company
Now that you have gathered your list of prospects, it is time to vet them. To start, check the American Moving and Storage Association. They have a wealth of information about moving companies that meet their standards for excellence. For further research, also check the Better Business Bureau ratings for any company you consider.
- Request estimates from the top 3-4 companies. Ask for a written “binding” estimate to avoid random fees. Out-of-state estimates may be based on the weight of your belongings and/or the distance involved.
- When the estimator comes to give the estimate, make sure you show him everything that you need moved, every room, item, and closet. Also, make sure the mover knows about any special conditions or situations in your new home, such as stairs, parking issues, permissions, etc.
- For each estimate, make sure you have the company’s full name, address, phone numbers, website address, etc. and the person’s name and title providing the estimate. Also, their US Dept. of Transportation (USDOT) and motor carrier (MC) license numbers and the US DOT booklet “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” or the local state version if staying in state.
Acquire And Select The Actual Estimate
This may be a combined document signed by you and the estimator. It serves as your order if you choose them and a bill of lading, along with an inventory list. Make sure “Written Binding Estimate” is written at the top. Keep each estimate in a separate folder inside your binder.
- Comparing Bids and Checking Details. After all your bids are completed, you will want to compare what each offers, including price, services, time estimates, and company documentation. This is a good time to read online reviews from customers. Take note of complaints or problems. Here are a few questions to ask:
- Is the company in good standing?
- Are employees screened for criminal records?
- How many complaints in the past year, and what type?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they have the proper licensing and insurance to move you legally?
Check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and enter the company’s USDOT number and click “Search.” Make sure they are authorized, have a Safety Rating, Active License, and no serious complaints.
Select The Moving Company
Once you have made your comparison and made your choice, it is time to notify your selected company. Before selecting, keep in mind that you want to save money in many areas of life. Hiring a moving company is not one of those areas. As the saying goes, do not be so penny-wise that you become dollar-foolish. To select, look for quality, consistency, and rating. It is also a courtesy to call the others to thank them for their time and notify them you have selected another company.
As soon and you decide or find out you have to move, there are several things you can do to prepare.
- Organizing Personal Files and Documents. Assemble and box all your personal documents such as Tax Returns, Personal Files, Identification, Insurance, Health and Dental Records, Licenses, and Certifications. Make copies of anything you may need immediately and set up a folder or binder with copies. Keep this with your personal items, with a trusted friend or family member, not to movers.
- Jewelry, Watches, Cherished Collectibles, or Mementos. Take pictures of all your jewelry and personal valuables and save copies. The actual items can be transported in a strong box or portable safe in your personal possession.
If you follow these 5 steps, you will eliminate most of the confusion and stress from moving. Enjoy your new home!