Are My Movers Licensed And Insured?

paperwork largeFirst of all, I want to say, “well done.” If you’re taking the time to ask this question and figure out the answer, you’re off to a great start! Nothing will ruin your move more than becoming the person in that horror story who has all their belongings stolen by their movers or is charged 300% more than the original quote. It’s important to protect yourself from the rogue movers and scammers operating nationwide this summer.

What is a licensed mover?

Regulations and requirements for licensure vary from state to state. You can check out your state’s requirements here. Some states require movers to register with the state as a moving company and to offer at least two options for insurance (full-valuation or released-value). Some states have additional requirements. Beyond insurance, states might set standards regarding estimates, liability, mover agreements, etc. Continue reading

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How to Find The Safest Neighborhoods in Your City

There’s no doubt that moving is a stressful time, but what happens when you’re ready to move but don’t know which neighborhood to choose? For most people, one of the biggest priorities is finding a place that is, first and foremost, safe. The problem is that while you’re looking at potential properties, there is little you can do to figure out the safety level of any given neighborhood. Real estate agents are not permitted to give either positive or negative comments about a particular neighborhood’s safety due to fair housing laws. This means it’s time to strap on your gumshoes and do a little detective work.

Trulia.com's Austin, TX Crime Map

Trulia.com’s Austin, TX Crime Map

Online Data

Fortunately, the question of neighborhood safety is so common that several websites have sprouted up to answer this precise inquiry (for example, checkout Trulia.com’s Austin crime map pictured above). You’ll be able to find fancy overlaid maps with crime statistics and tons of data, but it often doesn’t tell the whole story. Obviously, you’ll want to avoid areas with high instances of property or physical crime, but how comprehensive is the data you’re looking at? In most cases, the incidents are only those that are reported and a police report has been filed. While this information is useful, nothing beats an actual visit to the neighborhood to see what’s going on.

The Seeds Of Crime

One of the most interesting correlations in neighborhood crime rates is found in houses that are in disrepair. For some reason, criminals prefer areas that have plenty of broken windows, abandoned lots, and houses that are falling apart. The psychological theory is that vandals feel more confident attacking these types of neighborhoods than those that are in a more pristine state. From a positive perspective, this means that areas with what appear to be more modest housing options may actually be safer if they are obviously well-maintained with mowed yards and no litter on the ground. On your walk through the neighborhood, be on the lookout for these signs, especially in the close vicinity of the property you’re thinking about buying or renting.

Talk To People

The general feeling of being a neighbor may not be as common as it was 50 years ago, but the truth is that your potential neighbors will have the best information about how safe the area is. In addition, they will generally not have a vested interest into whether you move to the neighborhood or not, meaning that they will be likely to give honest answers to your questions. Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure to knock on some doors with a nice gift of flowers or chocolates and a list of safety-related questions. Chances are high that you’ll get the exact information you’re looking for.

While nobody can predict how crime can rise and fall in the coming years, it certainly helps to move into a neighborhood that is currently safe. Doing due diligence will take very little time and the rewards for making the right neighborhood are immense. Follow these tips and you’ll stand the best chance of finding a safe place to live in your city.

President Shawn Wood of Student Movers

About the Author
Shawn Wood is the founder and President of Student Movers, a California moving company that helps families and businesses relocate across the Golden State. Shawn is a member of the California Moving & Storage Association, supporter of many charities, and an avid snowboarder. Connect with Shawn on Facebook and Twitter. You can also book a moving labor crew from Student Movers to load or unload your belongings through HireAHelper.com.

Keri’s Moving Checklist

Okay, so our last moving checklist didn’t quite cover everything you’d need on a checklist if you were moving last minute, but it covered the big four. Our very own customer service superstar, Keri, wrote up the following definitively more comprehensive list of things to do to prepare for your move. This moving checklist is based on her extensive experience helping customers get ready for one of their most stressful life events. Here is Keri’s Moving Checklist.

Keri’s List of Things To Do Before Moving

This is a list of things I’d want to have completed so that the customer is organized prior to a loading helper arriving:

Photo Credit to Georgie R

No One Likes a Cold Shower

  • Call to Turn On Heat/Electricity at New Location – this can be one of the mistakes with the biggest repercussions. Many gas and electric companies take 2-3 business days to get a technician out to turn everything on and switch accounts to a new customer’s name. After a huge move into a new place, with lots of unpacking to do, no one wants to take a cold shower by candlelight (or smartphone flash light, the candles are probably packed up right?).
  • Write Up a Move Day Plan – Customers know their items best and what their needs are. So, it’s always a good idea for customers to compile a move day “to-do list” prior to their move date. This way, on moving day, when their brain is going in 100 directions they can review their pre-planned list to confirm all criteria are met.
  • Pack & Label By Room – All boxes should be packed and labeled properly according to what contents are inside and what room it belongs in. Color coding boxes or markers makes for a smooth move. Everything should be packed before the movers arrive.
  • Liquids in Bags – Pack all liquid items in a zip lock bag separately to avoid messes if/when they open.
  • Empty Drawers – Take out all items from dresser drawers, the entertainment center, end tables or kitchen drawers and place them into packed boxes.
  • Stack Boxes by Room – As you finish packing each box, organize them into piles by each room they’ll be going to in the new house.
  • Spread Out The Furniture Pads – Each piece of furniture should have a furniture pad placed on top, helping the truck loaders take less time organizing materials.
  • Have Tape Ready – Have a stack of tape easily accessible for the helpers to use if/when needed.
  • Rope and Tie Downs – All straps and rope should be tidy and ready for use within the portable storage container/truck.
  • Disassemble Furniture – Make sure all furniture is broken down – i.e. bed frames, desks, entertainment stands, break front china cabinets. It’s true that most moving crews can disassemble for you, but it’ll stall their momentum and slow down the whole load.
  • Furniture Pulled Away from Walls – This will make it so much easier for the helpers to place the furniture onto dollies and wheel to the truck (not completely needed but if you can, then doing this will cut down on time).
  • Prep Sofas – Prepare all sofas for moving – make sure the “legs” are removed and placed into a plastic bag that is labeled and placed into a box labeled “open first.”
  • Clear Walkways – Make sure no items are left on stairs or in tight hallways, impeding traffic (no twisted ankles are needed).
  • Disconnect Appliances – Be sure that the washer/dryer are already unhooked and blankets or packing kits are inside both drums for transportation.

PLEASE NOTE – Customers storing furniture for a long time or moving in areas with high humidity should NOT use plastic wrap on upholstered furniture. This should only be used on wood furniture if needed. This is because black mold will grow on the items that can not breath due to the plastic wrap.

How to Avoid Moving Scams

Picture of a Moving Truck Not to Hire

By Daniel Horning

Hi world wide web. Just wanted to say, as I was reading through moving-related news today, I noticed most the articles were about moving scams. What frustrates me the most is that we’re now going on decades of this behavior without a clear end in sight. You’d think at some point the criminals would be caught and locked up leaving the rest of us a little less stressed about our next move. Moving is stressful enough even if it all goes perfectly. So I put together a quick note with some tips on how to avoid moving scams. Continue reading

When Gypsy Moth’s Attack

Scene from Godzilla vs. Mothra (Video after the break)

We’ve been hearing some disturbing news that a group of Gypsy Moths have banded together to create a plot to take over the world. No this isn’t a twisted Pinky and the Brain cartoon, and while I might have exaggerated a little in saying they’re trying to take over the world, the truth is, Gypsy Moths are harmful to new eco-systems. When people move it’s easy for these little guys to travel too, stow-away style. Thanks to the USDA for this cute & cuddly video of little fuzzballs Continue reading