By Charlie Morris, CMC
If you have requested moving quotes, soon your phone will be ringing from moving companies looking for your business.
Do not worry, we can help. With the initial call, ask the movers for basic information about their company – address, how many employees, are they a member of any moving associations, etc.
The answers are not as important as how the moving company treats you: Do they answer every question? Do they appear interested in winning your business?
After you have narrowed down your list of movers to three or four, have them visit your home so they can see what possessions you want moved, as well as other services you will require, and give you an estimate based on that.
This 'in-home survey' is the ONLY way you will get an accurate assessment of what it will cost you to move.
What do you look for when the moving consultant comes to see you? I worked for over 30 years in the moving industry doing this exact thing: I would visit people looking to move and give them moving estimates.
During that time, I learned a great deal of what it took to build a level of trust with the consumer.
Based on that experience, here are the questions you MUST ask the moving companies, and the kinds of answers you should get. You are not looking for just the right answer, but how the question is answered – a caring and meticulous salesperson usually represents a caring and meticulous moving company.
1. How long have you been giving moving estimates?
You want someone who has been doing this for awhile. Experience counts for a lot. Ask the salesperson about their background. Were they a driver or did they work in some other aspect of the moving process before being an estimator? The more experience the individual has, the more comfortable you will be that you are getting a true estimate. Let's be frank: Most salespeople love to talk, so if they are unwilling to discuss their experience, take that as a red flag.
2. How long has your company been around?
If the moving company has been in business for some time, say around 10 years, it is usually a good sign they are doing something right and have been providing good service to their customers. You should not base your decision on the time in business alone, but it is a good insight into the company.
3. What pricing options or types of estimates do you offer? You can learn a lot about the moving company representative – as well as the moving company – by how knowledgeable he or she seems, and how willing they are to take the time to explain the pricing options for your move. If someone rushes through the explanation or seems to not understand the options and how they might apply to your move, you should be a bit concerned.
4. What is my delivery schedule?
You want the answer to be realistic. For long-distance moves especially, it can be difficult to be precise to the exact day. Most movers will ask for the option of a couple days for the delivery period. Beware of anyone who offers dates that seem just a bit too good too be true.
5. Does your company do any repeat work for businesses in the area? Lots of people will ask a moving company for references of individuals who have used their services, but let's face it – what mover is going to give you a BAD reference? However, if the moving company does a lot of repeat relocation work for a particular business, it is a good sign they consistently do quality work.
6. How will you handle (fill in the blank)? If you are moving a treasured heirloom or a large, cumbersome object like a piano, find out how it will be moved. Again, this is another test of the moving consultant's knowledge, as well as a test of how you can expect to be treated. If they take the time to give you a thoughtful and complete answer, chances are good this is a company that cares about the customer and their possessions.
7. The last question is for you, the mover: Is the sales representative just telling you what you want to hear? This can be a tough call and may require the ability to read body language. You probably do not want to work with someone who disagrees with everything you say, but sometimes the moving consultant may make a suggestion that is different than your thinking. Did what they say make sense? If it did, it's a good sign the salesperson is someone looking out for your interests.
After you meet all the applicants, compare notes. Don't let price be your only guide; in fact, a much lower price may indicate that something was missed in the assessment, or indicate you'll get hit with additional charges later. Follow-up after the ‘in-home estimate' is also important.
Finally, and this seem elemental, but which moving consultant worked the hardest for your business?
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