Choosing a Mover

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Relocation can be one of the most exciting endeavors you may experience in life. The challenge of pioneering your family to a new home, community, and job opportunity can be full of rewards if you take the time to make the moving process easier. It is not without reason that moving is cited as one of the most psychologically harrowing experiences, but it doesn't have to be. If you do some planning in advance, a little homework to find the best moving professionals, and learn about the process, you will find much of the tension of moving is relieved.

Finding the best mover for your particular needs and at the right price involves a simple evaluation of your needs. Like many service-oriented industries, the moving companies of today have expanded to offer a wide range of services in order to be competitive. From planning your move, to packing and unpacking, to decorating and organizing your belongings in your new home, you can choose the extent of services you will require and have them tailored to suit your moving budget. Choose your mover at least four to six weeks in advance of your moving date.

If you are being transferred, ask your relocation agent which moving companies their company recommends. Personal friends, family, and employees of your company who have preceded your relocation may also be able to suggest a reputable mover. Consumer organizations such as the Better Business Bureau can give you additional insights.

When you compare price and service estimates from several moving companies, you will find that estimates are based on the weight of your household items, the distance they will be moved, and the amount of packing and other services you will require. Be sure to show the estimator every single item that will be moved. Find out if your mover accepts credit cards, third-party payments from your company, and whether the mover operates by cash only.

If you are not sure how to estimate the value of your belongings for insurance purposes, Charles Zalkovsky, vice president of marketing for Central Moving Systems (an agent for North American Van Lines), suggests the following formula: $8,000 per room, or approximately one-half the value of your home plus items of special value such as heirlooms, paintings, or collectibles. In the event of damage to an item, he suggests that any claims be filed immediately. Be sure to save the packing materials to show to the adjuster, should there be any problems.

Negotiations with your mover should include a clear understanding of rates and charges that will apply, the mover's liability for your belongings, pick-up and delivery schedules, and claims protection. For example, if you decide to pack some of your own things, your mover will not be liable. If your estimate is binding, it will not cover non-itemized items. Non-binding estimates are not guaranteed rates.

If you are starting a new job right away and need to have your home unpacked and in working order immediately, you may want to take advantage of move-in specialists who can customize their services to your needs. These companies specialize in executive relocations in which they, instead of you, meet your arriving furnishings. Quickly and efficiently, they will clean, decorate, and organize your belongings. When you arrive, you will find your home live-in ready with lights and sound system on, cable TV wired and ready, computer booted, clothes hung, beds made, pillows fluffed, and all of the moving boxes and debris gone.

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