What Questions Should I Ask Before Hiring Movers?

Question Mark - credit to Eleaf

Have a big move coming up? Choosing which type of move help you’ll need may seem daunting but don’t worry! I’ve got 7 helpful questions you can ask and answer that will help you make the best possible decisions when booking your movers.

Do I need a full-service moving company or just help loading & unloading (aka moving labor)?

First, think about the two options you have for movers. You can choose a full-service mover – these guys come with their own truck, move all your boxed items & furniture into the truck, drive to your new location and then unload everything again there. This option is a “hands-off” approach and leaves all the work up to someone else! Nice right? It is, but it’s also pretty expensive. It’s also not a great choice if you’re moving out of town because most full-service moving companies don’t offer long-distance moves. And if they do offer long-distance moves, they will charge you the driving fee, labor time and gas prices to and then back to their city of origin. The second option you have is to rent your own truck or storage container, possibly through PODS or 1800PackRat, and then hire movers to help you load and unload at your two different locations. This second option is much cheaper and works for both short and long distance moves. It basically boils down to whether or not you have the cash to have someone do all the moving for you and if you’re moving a short distance. If your answer to those is “yes” then you can choose a full-service moving company. Otherwise, like the majority of people, you will want to rent your own truck/container and then hire the muscle to help load/unload.

What size truck or storage container do I need?

If you made the decision to rent a truck or container, the next step is to decide on the size you will need. Some truck and storage container companies, when estimating how big of a truck/container you’ll need, will ask you the bizarre question of how heavy your load will be. Are you kidding me?? Who knows the total weight of their household furniture and belongings? That is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. However, HireAHelper has a great resource for those who haven’t a clue how much everything weighs. It helps you pick a truck size based on how many rooms your apartment or house has, how many boxes you’ll have, and the size of bed and furniture you have. You can check out that resource below.

Truck Size Guide

Do I have oversize items that will cost extra? Will movers charge extra for stairs?

These are great questions to ask. Typical oversized items that incur extra fees are pianos, pool tables, gun safes and any large furniture that will require special attention – like a large “L” shaped sofa, for example. It’s also wise to make sure the company you pick actually has the necessary equipment needed to move these items safely. Check with your mover before booking! When thinking about this, be realistic with yourself. Is there anything in your house that is ridiculously heavy and/or awkward to move? If so, discuss that with your mover. The guys you hire to help may be strong but they’re not super human!

Regarding extra charges for stairs, that depends on the movers you choose. It varies by company and even geographical location. Usually there won’t be an extra charge if you live on the third floor or below but it’s always good to check. Another thing to consider is how far the moving truck/container will be from the front door. Will the movers have to walk a block with all your belongings? They might charge you what’s called a “long carry” fee. Again, consider all these details and discuss them with your mover well before move day so you’re not surprised by those extra fees.

Do I need insurance? How do I find out if a mover has insurance?

To be honest, I’m still new to the moving insurance gig. Standard movers insurance covers $0.60 per pound on each item moved. For an example of how that works out, take a $500 flat screen TV that only weighs 30 lbs. Receiving $18 for a damaged $500 TV isn’t great coverage. That’s why most legitimate moving services also offer the option to purchase full-valuation coverage. For an extra fee, you can rest easy knowing that every item is protected by full replacement coverage, regardless of weight.

Whether or not you should purchase insurance is up to you. If you have items of value (i.e. a flat screen TV, nice furniture, or anything else costly to replace) I would say “yes.” But I’m that type of person who has renter’s insurance while there are people who think that’s crazy. I’m a “take precaution” type gal. It’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

How do I decide which movers to use?

When you have several options for movers, take two things into consideration. First, check their reviews. I cannot stress this enough. They may have super low prices but if they have a bad reputation for damaging items or not showing up at all, that awesome deal doesn’t really matter! Always, always check their reviews online. After you check reviews, look at the cost. Typically local movers charge per hour based on how many movers you hire. I’m aware that cost is an important factor, and that you may need to hire that cheaper mover, but just know who you’re hiring before you choose them.

Bottom line, consider everything we’ve already discussed – extra fees, special items, cost and reviews. All these aspects are important. Balance everything out and see who best suits your needs.

How far in advance do I need to book movers?

As early as you can! If you know a couple months ahead of time the exact date of your move, book your movers! Especially if you’re moving in during the summer months, which are the busiest moving months of the year. Give yourself the advantage of having lots of moving labor options available so you can take your pick! This doesn’t mean you’re doomed if you have to book move help to show up within the week, but your options are much better when you book farther in advance.

When is the best time to make a move?

This is sort of a trick question because the best time for you to move is when it’s best for YOU! There are busy and less busy times of the year to move, but if they don’t work with your schedule, it doesn’t matter!

That said, summer is the busiest time of year for moving companies. If this is the best time for you, try to book a bit in advance. However, if it works to move in the spring or fall, take advantage of movers having a slower time of year! They won’t be so rushed to help you and get on to their next customers.

Another important factor is to consider the seasonal driving conditions if you’re driving the truck. Maybe it’s just me but I would not favor the idea of driving a massive moving truck on ice-covered roads! However an easy way around that would be to rent a shipping container that can be shipped to your new address. No driving required!

All in all, consider what is best for your life and schedule and then make a decision based on that. If the summer works best, make sure you book early and you’ll be good to go.

What are your top questions when moving? Leave a comment!

By Victoria Volkman

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