When relocating and hiring a moving company to take you across the country to another state, there are five things you shouldn't do. Some of them might seem obvious but something as simple as having a pen and paper ready to check off items as they're unloaded from the truck will save you a lot of time and aggravation later on.
- Don't hire a company that only takes cash. Ask upfront how you can pay the moving fees. While it might not seem like too much of a problem to hand over some large bills, companies that only take cash might also take your stuff and not ever return it. Moving long distances means your things will be out of sight for a while, so you need to be sure that the company is legit.
- Don't pay for the move until all your belongings have been unloaded into your new home. If there are any boxes or items missing, don't sign the paperwork. The move must be completed before you sign. Once you sign that you've received everything, it's hard to go back to the company to say that something is missing. Count the boxes and recount them, making sure you conduct a home inventory. This is your only chance to make sure everything arrived. Also, if there is an issue with the paperwork (see the next point) at least all your things are in your new space and not on the truck. This gives you some leverage with the movers, if needed.
- Don't sign anything that you don't understand. While this is true for all moves, long distance moving is even more tricky. Make sure you read everything thoroughly and ask questions when you need clarification. If you see a list of additional fees, ask the mover to explain what each means and how they apply to your move. If in doubt, ask to speak to the manager or supervisor.
- Don't pack items that are of high value and leave them with the mover. Important items, such as your passport, accounting records, school records, jewelry or other things that are critical, should be carried with you not with the mover. Check out a complete list of what not to pack so critical items aren't lost during the move and items that shouldn't be packed, aren't.
- Don't wait until a few days or weeks have gone by before you make a claim. This is where unpacking after a move and doing it quickly is essential. Often, I'll open every box first to make sure nothing has been damaged during the move before fully unpacking. The longer you wait to make a claim, the less likely it is that your claim will be accepted. For more tips, check out this article on how to file a moving insurance claim after you move.
- Research the company before you sign the agreement or contract.
- Ask to see the company's credentials and past references.
- Make sure you know how the company calculated all the costs. Ask that it's explained to you completely.
- Ask to see a copy of the moving company's tariffs. This will outline the maximum costs and how the costs are calculated according to weight and distance.
- Ask about insurance. New federal rules state that a mover must offer you the option of purchasing standard coverage. Most insurance policies are based on weight, not value. Make sure you're fully protected.
- Ask that your moving charges be based on weight, not volume. Most long distance hauls are automatically weighed than calculated per pound. Volume moves leave too much room for dispute. It's easier for a moving company to expand the truck space required than to add extra weight.
- Ask up front if your mover is a broker or a moving company. If your moving company is a broker, find out who will actually be moving your things. Research and investigate both companies. The law states the the company has to tell you whether they're hiring another company to actually do the move.
- Make sure the company isn't charging you for the weight of the truck. Ask to see a weight ticket after your goods have been removed or before they start loading. Deduct this from the total weight when your items have been loaded.
- Have someone at your old home for when the movers pick up your stuff, and someone at the new home for when they are delivered. Everything that goes on and off of the truck should be recorded and checked.