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Step One: Arranging The Interviews
Whether you are moving across town or across the country it is important that you allow plenty of time to go through the process of selecting the moving company that will best suit your needs.
Make your calls to interview movers as soon as you know when the actual move might take place. If it appears that the move will occur during a peak moving period, then it is even more urgent that you begin this process well in advance of your projected move date. Not only will a move during a peak period be more difficult to schedule; it is also apt to cost more due to the demand that the movers face. Peak periods may vary per mover and may be influenced by local economies.
In general, peak periods include:
Step Two:Conducting The Interviews
Moving companies will agree to visit your home in advance of your move to provide a written estimate of your move. Inquire as to whether the estimate is binding or non-binding, which tells you whether the estimate you are receiving during the visit will still be good in two months when you actually make your move. Also insist that the estimate be written with as much detail as possible so that when you review the estimates, you can assess the points of differentiation.
If you will be moving within a local or regional area, the estimate will probably be based on an hourly rate. The company will project how many men they will need to complete the work and how much time it will take to pack (if you require this service), load, transport the goods, and unload at the final destination. The more moving companies you interview, the more likely you will get an accurate picture of just what your particular move will entail and how much it is likely to cost.
If your move is out of state, the estimates will be based on the distance of your move and the projected weight of your shipment. The mover will need ample time to walk through your home and inspect each room for furniture and loose objects that will be transported. Make sure that all storage areas in the house are visited including the garage, basement, attic, and outbuildings. The mover will need to view everything that will be going to the new location in order to provide you with an accurate estimate.
There are many factors that can influence the price of your move. Your ability to impact the eventual price of the move centers on the services that you will require. Once you have identified the services that you will require, make sure that each estimate addresses each service individually so that you will have a legitimate basis for comparison.
Some of these optional services include:
Step Three: Making Your Selection
Your decision will be driven by several factors. First, there is the issue of price. You will find that price alone will probably not lead you to making your choice. The weight estimates will probably differ per mover, as will the prices on the individual services that you request.
Second, there is the issue of availability. In some cases, the mover you prefer to work with might not be able to work you into their schedule. If you move during a peak time, you may find yourself coordinating your move to the calendar of the mover, instead of having the mover design his schedule around your move.
Third, there is the issue surrounding reputation and references. The moving business is a service business. Past customers will have opinions about their moving company. Request references beyond the letters of recommendations that you should be offered in the interview. If you want to do a little more research, call the Better Business Bureau or the State Attorney General to see if there are complaints against the company.
Finally, take note of the person who is providing the estimate. These individuals often will act as the key contact for you up to and during the actual move. Are they experienced, confident, good communicators, and seemingly interested in satisfying your needs? In short, are they someone that you feel you can work well with during a stressful time?