With your research completed, you now have a list of at least five moving companies that you feel confident will provide you with good service. The next step is to ask all the moving companies for moving quotes before making a final decision.
- Give Yourself Enough Time
Choosing a mover can take anywhere from 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the time of year. Summer months between end of May and end of September are the busiest, so if you're planning your move at this time, allow some flexibility in your schedule where possible. Not only will it be more difficult to book your move during the summer, but arranging estimate interviews will also be harder.
- Take Stock
Make detailed notes on what is required with your move, such as how many rooms they’ll be moving, what type of rooms (bedrooms, kitchen, living room, family room, study, etc…), any large, awkward items, and how many boxes you estimate for each room.
Also note the content of the boxes. Books will weigh more than your crystal wine glasses, so to ensure a close estimate, try to assign a fairly accurate weight to each box.
Keep these notes with you and make sure you give the same information to all companies you're interviewing so when they assess your house or apartment, and providing you with an estimate, each company will be evaluated fairly.
In addition, watch out for companies that give you a low estimate only to ask for double the amount at the other end. To avoid this, make sure the estimate is in writing and includes a “Not to Exceed” clause or a statement that indicates the estimate they provided is binding.
- Written Estimates
The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association) requires that the moving company provides a written estimate. You're entitled to a copy of the written estimate and it must include an estimate of all charges, including transportation, accessorial, and advance charges.
Keep in mind that the mover's "rate quote" is not an estimate and that you and the mover must sign the estimate. The mover has to give you a dated copy of the estimate at the time you sign it.
- To Pack or Not to Pack
If you’re thinking of having the company pack your belongings, ask for an additional quote. This will allow you to make a decision separate from the cost of the move itself. Be aware that if you pack your own belongings, companies may not take responsibility for their safe arrival. So pack carefully, label fragile items and have clear moving instructions written on each box.
After you’ve reviewed your estimates and checked the company’s references, you’re ready to decide. If your decision rests on the practical, which company provided the lowest quote, just remember moving can be stressful and when it comes to your belongings – your home – it’s always worth paying a little more for that extra peace of mind.