By Charlie Morris, CMC
Relocation.com's Charlie Morris is a certified moving consultant (CMC) with over 30 years of experience working with moving customers on local moves and long-distance moves. He's seen it all, and in this column he shares some of the most important tips for a smooth move.
1. Decide in advance what things you want to take to your new home and what is best left behind. If you have not used that bread maker you got as a wedding gift three years ago, you will probably not use it at your new home -- why pay to have it moved? If you think the major appliances will be moved but are not 100% sure, include those items for now; they can always be removed from your list of things to be moved at a later time. Particularly in long-distance moves, weight matters.
Work With Your Moving Company:
2. Do an in-home walk-through with your moving company representative(s) in order to get moving quotes. This is not something that can be done easily over the phone or by filling out an Internet inventory. You are likely to forget things, and your moving company representative is a trained professional. Be thorough: Make no assumptions about the care given an item for which you have a concern, and ask your movers questions about the handling of those items.
3. If you are getting several moving quotes, the same person should do the walk-through. You want your estimates to be equal. Also, pay attention to suggestions from the moving company representative. How the survey is conducted should be a factor in your selecting a trustworthy moving company -- a representative who did not seem to be giving his full attention and then prepares an estimate with charges considerably lower than others you receive has probably forgotten something.
4. As moving day approaches, check the forecast. If you live in a colder climate with a chance of snow or ice in the winter months, make sure driveways and sidewalks are cleaned off before your movers arrive. Most movers will have protection for the floors in your house. Discuss the protection of your home with your moving company representative during your in-home survey/walkthrough.
5. Notify your current and new neighbors of loading and unloading dates. Most trailers are 53 feet long, and with a tractor attached they take up a fair amount of space. Managing the parking situation as well as neighborhood children and animals will help the process.
6. Whoever met with the moving company representative should work with the moving crew. This will ensure the items to be moved are the same items identified in the walk-through. Also, when the driver arrives at your home, he will probably want to do a complete tour of the home. Walk along so you can answer questions as they arise -- to make your move a success, work with your movers.
7. Prepare refreshments and snacks for the moving crew at both origin and destination. It is money well spent: The crew will be most productive if they do not have to leave the job site, and they will appreciate your consideration. Minor things can have a major effect on the move. You may want to let only the driver know where you have those things; normally the crew is on the driver's clock and he determines break time.
8. Respect your driver and crew. I'll never forget a crew that came back to the office about 30 years ago extremely upset that a customer clutched her purse the entire day; it immediately gave them the feeling she did not trust them. They were offended and I'm certain it had an effect on the move. Being a mover is not easy -- it requires heavy physical exertion with a gentle touch.
9. Walk through your home with driver as he is preparing the inventory. This is the best time to ask questions and express concerns. The driver will do a condition report of your furnishings. The inventory is not one-sided – yes, it will protect the driver and the moving company, but it can also make the claims process easier for you should there be damage to any of your furnishings during the move.
10. Have room schematics of where you want your furniture placed in your new home. This will help the crew as they move in the furniture. Enlist the assistance of other family members or friends to help with furniture placement. Also, check items off the inventory as they are brought into your home; occasionally something can turn up missing or be damaged. Checking off the items at delivery will make the claims process easier, should that be necessary.
11. I'm often asked by customers about how much to tip movers, and it's never an easy question. Gratuities are not required, but they are appreciated by the driver and his crew. A gratuity should be equated with the quality of the service provided. You may want to take some notes throughout the move to help you determine if a gratuity is warranted and how much it should be.