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Ask the Expert: I'm Using Professional Packers - What Should I Be Aware Of?

Tooley is a certified moving consultant with over three decades' experience in the moving industry.

Question: I'm using the moving company's packing services. What should I be aware of?

Answer: You're using the moving company's packing services to save you time and effort, but you should still stay on top of the process so that you're pleased with the results.

Ask the packing service (sometimes moving companies subcontract out the packing job) about how items are packed and wrapped, and be sure you're comfortable with the answers, particularly if you're packing fragile items.

Then, watch the packing crew while they work, and if you're concerned with something, speak up – you're paying a pretty penny for packing, so you deserve to be completely satisfied.

Finally, be aware of how you're going to be charged for packing services, whether it's by the box, or a flat rate (as a rough estimate, expect to pay 25% of the moving cost for packing services).

If you're paying by the box, look at how the boxes are packed – movers might try to pad the bill by not fully packing the boxes. It's a distinct minority of movers who will try this, but it always pays to be vigilant. We've heard from one consumer who paid $500 for the move itself – and $700 for the packing. Outrageous.

The good news: Because the packing is often done well before the actual move, you have some leverage because the moving company doesn't want to lose your business, so be sure to call the moving company right away and complain if you're not satisfied with the packing.

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