Your choice of mover is like your choice of who cuts your hair or who works on your car; it depends on how important your stuff is to you. If your furniture is the equivalent of a 20 year-old car, there is not much sense in taking it to the dealer for service. Likewise, you may not need to pay $50.00+tip for a hairstylist if you wear your hair in a buzz cut. If, however, you have newer and nicer things, you may want to invest accordingly in what type of service people are going to be handling everything you own.
Like mechanics and hairstylists, the best way to find the mover who is right for you is by referral. The thing to remember is that what is right for your referrer may not necessarily be right for you. Try to make sure you aren’t comparing apples to oranges. Your boss is likely to have different stuff and therefore different needs than you are. The same applies to someone who works under you. Your most accurate and appropriate referral is most likely going to come from a neighbor or someone who lives in the same size home with roughly the same type of furnishings as you. If their movers did a good job on moving an amount of furniture similar to yours and roughly the same quality of furnishings as you, then you can logically expect them to do the same with yours. Ask them-delicately–how their bid compared to their final price, whether any price differences were fair or unfair and what they would do differently on their next move.
Whenever possible, try and get the names of the crew members with your referral. The reason being is that with service, who you get often determines what you get. There can be a large difference in skill and service levels between movers working at the same company. If you have friends or neighbors who are moving, ask if you can stop by and check out their movers in action. Even if you decide that this is not the moving company for you just watching the process can give you a lot of information on what you want–and don’t want–to happen on your move.
· Where to Look (If You Can’t Get a Referral)
The Internet and Yellow Pages are full of listings for moving services. The ads may look similar, but checking the details in their ads and websites can give you a better idea of the type of service they are. There are a huge number of listing services on the internet that look official and impressive and offer a wide variety of providers. These are handy if you view them as what they are–online Yellow Pages–and not as a qualified source of carefully screened companies. Nevertheless, the big advantage to using the internet to find movers is that you can also check their websites, rates and services provided, history, complaints and membership in professional trade organizations (a good sign) with just a couple of keystrokes.
Get at least three estimates. The estimates are free and you are always likely to hear something useful and informative from the more knowledgeable estimators. That being said, these estimates are also very much sales calls. One thing to remember about moving company salespeople: They want to give you the lowest estimate because that’s the one you’re most likely to take. Your estimator is like your accountant, lawyer or bartender in that you are better off telling them everything. To get the most accurate estimate, make sure not to leave out things like storage sheds or items in an attic or basement or things stored at friends or relatives’ homes. It’s better to have an estimate based on all of your goods upfront than one with additional charges added on later.