Monday, April 25, 2011

How To Avoid Moving Nightmares

Our good friend Ferguson Weintraub just shared with us the following story . For those of you too busy to click on the link, I will summarize for you. A nice family from Pennsylvania moves to California and the company they hire to move them breaks their belongings and then assesses a series of extra fees that add on to the already exorbitant cost of their move. We all know the moving business is filled with sleazy operators. How does one go about finding a reputable and fair moving company?

Do you need a bonded mover
The first thing you must do is assess what you are moving. Are you an established denizen of New York with a fair amount of valuable items, or are you an ambitious climber with the standard array of IKEA products? If you are moving valuables it makes sense to narrow your search to moving concerns that are bonded. If the moving company itself is bonded, it means that a bonding company has secured money that is paid out to the consumer in the event they file a claim against the company. The money is in the control of the state, and not under the control of the company. If you hire a mover and they end up stealing, or breaking your antique credenza. You can file a claim against the company and, after an investigation, you would be paid out by this bond.

If the employees of the company are bonded this only means that the employees of the company have gone through an extensive background check and have been found to be bondable. It is important to understand that if you file a claim against the company that has bonded employees, but is not itself bonded there is no money set aside in a bond to pay out on a successful claim.

A moving company that is insured is not bonded. A company that has insurance is insured if someone gets injured on the job. If the company does not have insurance then the homeowner / building owner is liable. This is why perhaps your building requires you to use movers with insurance.

Whether you use a Vanstand mover that is bonded, or another company like Rabbit Movers the cost is going to be a bit more. If you have valuables it makes sense to pay the extra cost. A mover who is not bonded might be careful, but if an accident happens with your Ming Vase there is no way they are going to reimburse you.

If you are a student, or a young striver, the extra cost of a bonded mover is not worth it. A Man with a Van outfit should do the trick. Your items are fairly inexpensive, and if something happens to those items, your mover if they are honest should be more than willing to reduce the cost of the move based on the value of the damaged item. The small amount of valuables you do have(computer, ipad etc) you can take with you personally, or get moving insurance for those items you are worried about.

How to evaluate a mover.

Once you have decided what type of mover you need, you now need to evaluate whether your mover is a good one or not. Get a recommendation. Recommendations from people you trust are best. Review websites like Yelp, or for that matter this blog work, but they are not perfect. On Yelp for example, Many movers write fake positive reviews. David Segal at The New York Times wrote a great article on a similar topic. Friends, parents, family and co-workers work best. Moishe Mana's(yes that Moishe) advice is good 'Don't go only by recommendations. The one who gave it might have been lucky. Ask to see the movers on the job.' If they are good at what they do, a mover should have no problem letting you drop by a job site, or giving a number of customers as references.

Now that you have ascertained that a mover seems like they could be honest consider the quote. When asking for a quote does the mover ask you about the specifics of your move? For instance, does the mover want to know how large your boxes are, or whether or not your bookshelves can be disassembled? A good quote cannot be given if the specific variables are not taken into consideration. If you think your move is complicated, or idiosyncratic, it makes sense to use a mover who is willing to come a visit the pickup location.

If the quote that is given to you is much lower than the other quotes that you get it is probably too good to be true. It is important to remember moving is hard work, as such you are not going to get something for nothing. Ask the mover who gives you a low ball quote to give you a reason why his quote is so low. Claiming that the other movers are dishonest is not a good rationale. A low ball quoter if he is being honest, should be able to give a list by list reason why his quote is so low. Always ask if there are any other fees not included in the quote, and then ask the mover to email you the quote so you have a document that shows what you generally agreed to pay.

If you follow these general guidelines, you should get a good mover that will not screw you. If you have any further advice comment here, or on our Twitter page.

posted from Bloggeroid

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