Google “questions to ask your mover” as I just did and you’ll get over 400,000 hits. Click on the articles that appear in the results and you’ll generally get good advice.
Aside from the most basic questions – Can you give me references of satisfied customers? How long has your company been in business? What kind of liability coverage does your company provide? – here are five more questions worth asking:
1. How do you determine the weight of my shipment?
2. What kind of cancellation policy do you have?
3. Do you guarantee pickup and delivery dates and what happens if you miss one or both?
4. How do you pack items with special requirements, such as electronics, glass-fronted furniture, antiques and musical instruments?
5. Do you offer storage?
I could go on and on. But you know how to do a Google search as well as I do. So for the balance of this post I’m going to go “off the beaten path” and offer up a few questions and considerations about the moving process that might not come so readily to mind.
For example –
- Do I really want to fill out that online quote form? – It’s quick and easy so why not? For starters, you may be subjecting yourself to a lot of unwanted phone calls and emails. That’s because with many quote forms you’re not providing information to a moving company. You’re giving it to an aggregator of sales leads for the moving industry. That lead aggregator will then sell your information to five or six different moving companies. And then, well, let the fun begin. Some of the companies that buy these leads – even though it’s expressly forbidden by the aggregator – will turn around and sell your information again. Look, if you’re planning a move you have enough to deal with already. So make sure the information you’re submitting in that online quote form is going directly to a reputable moving company. You’ll save yourself time and hassle later on.
- Can you work with my moving budget? – With any binding quote for moving services the mover will visit your residence, gather pertinent information about your move, take an inventory of your belongings and give you a written quote. And for many movers that’s it. This approach might work fine for some people. For others though, especially those with tight budgets, that might not be the case. So if the moving rep that comes out to your house doesn’t ask about your moving budget upfront, you need to let the rep know. A reputable moving company will work with you to develop a moving plan that fits your budget. For instance, say you have a budget of $6,000 and the initial estimate is $7,000. A reputable, experienced mover will advise you on how to close that $1,000 gap. For example, as interstate moves are always priced on the weight of the shipment, he’ll likely suggest how you can reduce that weight. Such as, have your garage sale on this end and make your donations on this end. He’ll provide you a list of places to donate furniture…give you a checklist of things to do to pull off a great garage sale and offer to have that old refrigerator taken to the Salvation Army for you. Things like that. Then, once you’ve taken care of these things, the rep will come out and give you a new estimate. Keep in mind you’ll need to allow yourself more time in the planning process to ensure you have this type of flexibility.
- How do you handle a claim? – Most reputable movers keep damages and claims to a minimum. Nevertheless, they do happen. The most common type of damage is minor damage to furniture. What follows specifically applies only to Stevens’s claims procedures. That said, based on more than 20 years of industry experience, I know that most major movers handle claims similarly. Upon first identifying the damage, a Stevens customer has the option of filing a claim online or picking up the phone and talking to a claims specialist at our Saginaw, Michigan headquarters. In either case, an investigator is assigned to the claim and an independent appraiser will visit to the customer’s house. The appraiser will determine whether the damage can be repaired or if the item must be replaced. If the customer disagrees with the appraiser’s assessment Stevens, as a member of The American Moving and Storage Association , offers binding arbitration.
- What additional services does the mover offer that can benefit me? – Above all else, you want your moving company to be able to safely move your household belongings from point “A” to point “B” in a timely manner and for a fair fee. Assume you’ve identified two reputable movers that fit the bill. Who gets the business? Answering the above question can help you make the right decision. With the ability of either company to satisfy your most important needs, it’s time to consider what, if any, additional services the mover provides. For example, at Stevens Worldwide we’ve partnered with a network of experienced and trusted real estate professionals across the country to offer our clients cash rebates on the sale or purchase of a home. Simply use the Stevens network to buy or sell your home and you’ll receive a cash rebate of $5 per $1,000 of the transaction amount. Example: House sale price of $250,000 = Cash rebate of $1,250. In addition, Stevens has partnered with Support Squad to offer customers free telephone technical support for hooking up home electronics, internet connections, Wi-Fi – you name it. Plus, as moving can place you at greater risk of identity theft, Stevens has teamed with Experian to offer clients reduced-cost protection against this crime.
- Does the mover give back? – For more than 100 years Stevens Worldwide been a part of the Saginaw, Michigan community, supporting various civic and charitable initiatives. Recently, we announced corporate support for our first national charitable cause: the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Among other details about this program, Stevens will donate a portion of the proceeds from every private interstate move and each non-military international move to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
The moving business is very competitive. Chances are, if you get quotes from three established companies for an interstate move, those quotes are going to be within five to ten percent of one another. And odds are each company will do a good job of moving you. Of course, my very biased opinion is that Stevens Worldwide will do the best job.
In summary, to make your decision-making process and your move simpler, easier and less of a hassle…use the internet wisely…work with a mover that will work with your budget…be acquainted with the way the mover handles claims…explore all the benefits a mover has to offer you and consider whether the money you spend with them will serve any cause but their own.