Summer is a popular time of year to move. If you’re planning to hire professionals to help with your move, apartment rental site RentHop has outlined nine tips to help you choose a reliable moving company.
(RentHop also notes that these tips should not be treated as legal advice, but just as a helpful consumer guide).
Look at Publicly-Available Information
The first tip is to do your homework and research the company that will be handling your stuff. RentHop notes all interstate movers are required to be licensed and registered with the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which will have complaint records for registered movers. If your mover isn’t listed on the site, RentHop recommends investigating further. The company might not be listed because it only performs intrastate moves.
Identify potential moving company scams at MovingScam.com or with your local Better Business Bureau to avoid getting ripped off.
Get an Estimate
Movers should provide you with an estimate after a walk-through, says RentHop. If the mover refuses or insists that you sign a contract or put down a deposit before a walk-through, find someone else. This is important because of the “110 percent rule” which prevents interstate movers from requiring you to pay 110 percent of the price of a non-binding estimate in order to get your property from them. Expenses incurred over 110 percent of the estimate usually must be paid within 30 days. Next
Pay Attention to Insurance
Make sure your mover is insured, otherwise hire a different company. Also, note that federal law requires interstate movers to offer liability coverage for damage to your property. Movers are required to offer baseline coverage of 60 cents per pound per item, regardless of the value of the item. Movers must also offer you additional coverage, for which they can charge a fee.
Also note that some apartment buildings require a certificate of insurance from the mover to cover damage incurred during a move. If your mover can’t or won’t provide the insurance certificate, you may be required to provide a security deposit with the building. Next
Ask Questions Up Front
Inquire about the moving company’s hourly rate, and whether the rate applies to each mover or the whole team. Ask about fuel charges, the cost of packing materials, and other variables. Also, consider what you want the movers to pack and what you want to pack yourself.
If it’s in your budget, RentHop suggests allowing the movers to pack for you, since they will likely work faster and do a better job. Next
Look at the Paperwork
The most important document to pay attention to when your move rolls around is the “Bill of Lading.” This is the receipt for your transaction which details what should be moved, the origins and destinations, and the cost. Be sure to review the document closely, including the fine print.
RentHop points out that movers are required to provide you with a pamphlet titled, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.” Next
RentHop advises you or someone you trust be on hand to supervise the entire process. Next
If you can’t move all of your stuff at once, or if some of your stuff won’t fit into your new living arrangement, you’ll need a place to store your stuff temporarily. Many movers will offer you temporary storage. Ask how much the space will cost you, as well as what the cost of moving in and out of the space will be.
Be sure to double-check that your property is insured while it is in storage. And be sure to check if there have been any reports of bedbugs or vermin at the storage space.
When moving out of storage, be sure to review the Bill of Lading to make sure all your stuff has arrived. Next
RentHop points out you are not obligated to tip your movers, but it’s a nice gesture. Offering a hot or cold drinks will probably be the best gesture.
Please note it is not a smart move to offer the movers an alcoholic beverage. According to RentHop, this is illegal because federal law and many state laws prohibit carrying alcohol in a commercial vehicle. You could also get your moving crew into trouble with their employer since many moving companies will fire workers if they consume alcohol on the job or take an alcoholic beverage into the company vehicle. Next
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