It’s 2017, and the ever-increasing demand for moving companies shows no signs of slowing down. This presents many people with a dilemma – they can either dig into a colossal haystack of faux movers in search of a needle or, in this case, a respectable moving company… or blindly hire a van to save precious time and run the risk of being overcharged, receiving their goods in a damaged state, or have the latter stolen. If you’re looking to protect yourself and your items from scammy or incompetent movers, here is what you need to do to make the right call.
Make a Brief List of Companies You Wish to Contact
Before doing anything at all, grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down a handful of companies whose man and van services you would like to hire. If you don’t have the slightest clue where to begin, simply inquire your family members, friends, co-workers, or your neighbours. If you use the services of a real estate agent, make sure to ask them for advice as well.
Another way to fish for references is by doing an online search. Visit each company’s official website to check their accreditations and whether their services can match your needs. For example, if you are planning an international house move, but the company is more comfortable performing short-distance ones, then it’s best that you scratch it off your potential movers list.
Put Each of the Movers Under a Magnifying Glass
Learn who you’re doing business with by reading online testimonials on the Google search engine, on the company’s Facebook page, and in the YouTube comment section. Covering several platforms at once will ensure that you will be less likely to stumble upon fake reviews that praise the movers and are more likely to read first-hand experiences from real individuals.
If the complaints outweigh the positive reviews, avoid contacting the company at all costs. If, on the other hand, the movers have received lots of positive feedback, then there’s a good chance that they will deliver on their promises. However, in order to find out the company’s true intentions, you will need to dig a bit deeper and ask a few important questions.
9 Questions to Ask When You Pick Up the Phone
- Are the professional movers licensed and insured? Needless to say, stay away from companies that hesitate to answer your question or do so with a resounding “No”.
- What does their insurance cover? This one is especially important to ask if you’re packing on your own. In some instances, for example, you may need to contact your personal insurance company to help you cover some of your valuable possessions.
- Is the moving team comprised of employees or contractors? The presence or absence of full-time movers will tell you if the company is willing to invest in quality (i.e. honest and seasoned movers) or cuts back on costs by hiring inexperienced amateurs.
- Do the movers wear uniforms and use branded vehicles? Besides helping you to easily recognise the movers from afar, uniforms will also serve as a sign of professionalism and good discipline. Be wary of movers that arrive in casual wear.
- Is the company part of the British Association of Removers (BAR)? If so, then that means that the company is ran by true experts in the field. Members of BAR receive extensive training, are fully insured, and know how to handle moves both big and small.
- Do they accept credit/debit cards and cheques in addition to cash? Sound the fraud alarm if your movers accept cash and upfront deposits as the only means of payment.
- What is their parking policy and how do they deal with delays? Make sure to inquire the movers if sorting out parking permits at both destinations is something they do. If not, you will need to reserve the parking spots yourself. As for delays, see if the firm adds any extra fees for each hour of delay. If that’s the case, call another company instead.
- Can the removals firm provide you with packing materials? It’s a good idea to ask if the company can lend you some packing boxes and bubble wrap since this will save you quite a bit of money. You can also ask the movers if they have the tools to disassemble and reassemble any of the bigger furniture that you have in your house or flat.
- How does the company calculate its price rates? The price for your service is usually determined by many factors, for instance: the amount of items you wish to transport; the distance between both properties; the team’s size; insurance and packing taxes; hourly and overtime rates; storage costs. Knowing everything in advance will help you judge if the company cares about its clients and whether their work can fit within your budget.
Make Your Final Choice by Scheduling a Survey
Insist on receiving an on-site price quote
Request a quote from at least three companies that have passed your questionnaire. At this point, the operators should offer you a free survey to assess your property on site. This is done to assess the volume of the items that you want moved, as well as to diligently note any obstacles, such as narrow staircases or hallways. Never accept vague quotes over the phone!
Show each surveyor what needs moving
Once the company representative knocks on your doorway, take a small tour and point at all the possessions that you want to take with you, be it books, glassware, a king-sized bed, electronic equipment, paintings, a foosball table, or even a piano. Let the surveyor know if you’re planning on packing some of the items yourself or want to put them away in a storage facility. However, fight the urge to let your guard down. See your surveyor off and call another company if they:
- Tried to convince you to pay a cash deposit before the move;
- Arrived late or were unable to answer all of your questions;
- Showed up in a rented and unbranded moving van.
Wait for your quote before making your decision
In a few days, you should receive a written estimate containing all of the topics you’ve discussed with your surveyor. Such information should include the day and hour of your move, your old and new address, the number of packing boxes used, the dimensions and estimated value of your items, and the cost of the packing service (in case you’ve hired both movers and packers).
The estimate should also state the amount of hours and number of movers needed to complete the job. If you received several quotes that meet this criteria, your choice will boil down to picking the company that offered you the lowest price. That’s it – all you need to do now is to call the movers back to confirm your quote and, hopefully, move out with a smile on your face!