Shifting house? Here's what to avoid when hiring a moving crew

You're moving house. It's a stressful time. Make sure you've done your research and hired the right people to look after ...
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You're moving house. It's a stressful time. Make sure you've done your research and hired the right people to look after your household goods.

After months spent finding a new place to live, selling your current home, and then packing up your entire life, selecting the crew who will move your stuff is likely last on your to-do list.

It's kind of ironic, because you'll be entrusting them with all your life's possessions, as well as getting things out of your old house and into your new house on time.

The process of hiring the right moving company starts with knowing what not to do. 

READ MORE:
* Why I love moving house
* Surviving a house move with dogs
* How to survive the stress of moving house

 

WAITING TOO LONG

If you procrastinate on hiring a mover, you won't leave any time to do adequate research and get estimates. That means you might not get the best rate, and guess what - moving a whole house can be expensive. Industry experts suggest you take the time to get three in-home written estimates before you make your final decision.

There are times when last-minute booking can't be avoided, but frequently it's just a task that's put off for too long. Delaying selecting a mover can reduce your options - and unfortunately, unlicensed and unethical operators rely on this aspect of human nature to take advantage of consumers.

BEING A TOTAL CHEAPSKATE

You'll want a company with professional, experienced crews who are able to avoid or solve any problems along the way.
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You'll want a company with professional, experienced crews who are able to avoid or solve any problems along the way.

You don't want to pay more than you have to for a move. But often the largest mistake you can make is going with the cheapest estimate. A super-low bid typically means the company uses casual, inexperienced labourers who don't get paid enough to care about your things.

Higher-end estimates almost always assure trained, professional crews will show up and move your stuff safely and efficiently. If there is a problem, they will have the on-site experience and any needed support from their head office to figure out a solution.

Disreputable movers often lure customers with crazy-low prices and then hit them with unreasonable charges or, in extreme cases, leave them in the lurch or even hold their belongings for ransom.

NOT ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

Going with the company that gives you the lowest estimate isn't a great idea. Sometimes people just aren't paid enough ...
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Going with the company that gives you the lowest estimate isn't a great idea. Sometimes people just aren't paid enough to care... you don't want that.

A professional mover will be happy to answer any questions you may have, so if they seem uncertain or won't give you straight answers, that's probably one to avoid. Ask them about the process so you understand what you'll need to do and when you'll need to do it; and what they will be doing and when they will be doing it, from start to finish.

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Ask the following questions before selecting a moving company:

1. Are you licensed and insured?

2. What price are you willing to put in writing as a "not to exceed" threshold?

3. What are the dates and times you can commit to for pickup and delivery?

4. Can you give me some references of people you have recently moved?

5. How are your crews selected?

6. How do you ensure that the people who come into my home are skilled, professional, and safe?

IGNORING THE WARNING SIGNS

The internet is a great resource, but unverified info can lead you astray. Be sure to follow up your initial online research with a real conversation.

Be aware of these warning signs that the company may not be what it seems:

* Super-low cost estimates from a company that hasn't been in business long.

* The lack of a physical address. 

* Movers who refuse to visit your home to provide a written estimate.

* Companies whose vans look like the crew's own vehicles.

* Movers who seem uncertain or unresponsive, especially when you ask about their claims process if something gets damaged or lost.

* If you're moving long-distance, your moving company could request a deposit. But make sure it's reasonable. In general, a deposit should rarely exceed 20 per cent of the total cost.

* Similarly, avoid movers that demand cash instead of allowing payment by credit card.

 - Homed

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