Quick question: how many of your closest friends would you entrust to move all your worldly possessions? Probably even with people you trusted, you’d be nervous about items getting lost or breaking. So you might be even more nervous about hiring movers. There are list of suggestions for questions you should ask.
What is the estimated cost of my move?
What you want is a “Binding Estimate of Charges” or a not-to-exceed quote. Both will protect you from the cost of moving going up unexpectedly between your old place and your new apartment. If you get a non-cementing estimate, the mover is legally allowed to charge you up to 110 percent of the original estimate.
- How and when do I pay? Movers who work on a cash-only basis will have a much easier time cheating you. Paying via credit card will allow you to dispute through the credit card company if you need to. Also, be wary of companies that insist on a deposit unless you’re certain they’ll show up on moving day.
- What state or federal state agencies are you licensed by? The mover should have a number for interstate moves from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the US Department of Transportation. It’s possible look up a mover’s number at the FCMSA Web site. Many states also license movers for moves within the state. See, for example, the lists of registered movers in Germantown, Washington D.C. .
- When do you need to know about valuable items? It’s a good idea to notify movers about “articles of extraordinary value,” whose value is greater than $100 per pound.
- What kinds of liability coverage do you offer? Two kinds of coverage: “full value” and “released value,” which only covers a certain portion of damages (usually no more than $0.60 per pound). Company should be able to provide you with a written copy of full details of the coverage it offers.
- What is the procedure if an item gets lost or damaged in transit? Again, it’s good to know this before a single box gets packed. If you know the procedure for damages, you can decide if some items should be moved by you separately.
- Will the movers disassemble and reassemble my large furniture pieces? Some companies will take apart large furniture pieces such as beds and entertainment centers and put them back together after your move. Whether this service is included and if you want to disassemble and reassemble, or pack, yourself, does that limit the movers’ assumed responsibility.
- How will you arrange delivery? Company should be willing and able to contact you to schedule delivery, rather than putting your items in storage. Find out how contact the company if the truck doesn’t show up as scheduled.
- Are there any additional charges you frequently have to include? This could include charges related to carrying items up stairs, storage charges, disconnecting appliances, loading and unloading goods into and out of an elevator, or carrying goods a longer distance than usual between the truck and your apartment. If you know the typical charges ahead of time, you can guess which of them might be applied to your move.