An in Depth Guide to Hiring Movers for the First Time Customer
At some point in everyone's life, for one reason or another, we pack up all of our stuff and move to a new location. Some of us move for work. Some of us just need a change of scenery. Whatever the reason is for moving, the move it's self can be a huge challenge. After all, moving is one of the top ten most stressful things that every human being does in life.
When you decide to move, you have a lot of decisions to make. The most important of those decisions being whether to move on your own, or hire someone to do the work for you. In a lot of cases that I have seen, putting in the work to find a reliable, trustworthy moving company can be just as grueling as moving all that heavy furniture yourself.
Here I present to you an extensive to do list that will simplify the process of finding the right mover for you. Follow the instructions below and save yourself a huge headache.
Step 1: Decide What Services You Need
When you first decide to hire a moving company, the first thing you should do is decide the full extent of what you want the movers to do. It is important to do this first because in the next step, when we start compiling our list of potential companies to hire, we need to make sure that every company on our list can handle all of our needs. Some companies will handle pianos, but others might not. One company may be willing to load up your riding lawn mower, but another may not have a proper size truck for such a task.
Here is a list of things to consider and ultimately decide on:
- Will you be packing for yourself, or would you rather have your movers do the packing?
- Will the movers be taking everything, or just the big, heavy items?
- Are there any specialty items that may need to be moved, or that require special care? (Piano's, weight equipment, etc.)
- Will there be any extra stops? (Dropping off a bedroom set that is no longer used at a nephews apartment?)
You can create a table like the one below to help you organize what you need done.
Once you have thoroughly walked through your home and decided exactly what the game plan is, it's time to move on to step two.
Offers High Value Insurance
Disassembles Weight equipment
Two guys and a Pickup
Joe Shmoe Movers
Those one guys
Step 2: Compiling a List of Local Movers
So, you've got your game plan all together, and now you're ready to do a little prospecting. The easiest way to go about finding all of the local moving companies in your area is to search for them on Google. Google Places will pull up a list of every registered moving company in your area with one search.
Once you have them all pulled up, start flipping through some of their websites and seeing what their company has to offer. Most companies will state right on their web page what they can and can't do for you. Take notes on these things as it will save you a lot of time on the phone later.
The idea here is to get about five to seven companies on your list that you feel can handle all of your potential needs. Once you have five to seven companies on your list, we can move on to step 3 and start pulling out the bad weeds.
Step 3: Narrowing your List
Now, it's time to start narrowing that list down to find the perfect mover for you. Start with the first name on that list and do a little Google research. There are literally thousands of local review sites on the internet. Don't be afraid to bounce from site to site while researching these companies. It's best to get a very wide range of input on all the companies on your list so you can make an informed decision as to whether they should remain on the list, or promptly be removed.
Optionally, you can use a service like Angie's List. Paid services like this often times have the best results as anyone who pays out of pocket to be able to review places in their area are probably pretty serious and straight forward about what they have to say.
Read through as many reviews as you can find and look for these positive and negative keywords:
- In to much of a hurry to get the job done
- Didn't seem like they wanted to be there
In my experience, the type of movers that can be described with the words in the positive list are A class movers, who are experienced and make it their personal goal to take care of the people that they do work for.
The people who can be described with the second list are B class movers, at best. They don't care about you, your home, or your personal belongings that you have worked so hard to acquire. Keep in mind though, that when you see one or two reviews like these, it shouldn't reflect the company right away. Look for consistencies. If they have several of these bad reviews over the past year, scratch them off your list.
By now you have probably scratched off at least one name from your list, but probably more like three or four. Regardless, once you feel you have read through enough reviews and such, it's time to move on once again.
Step 4: Getting Estimates
Now that we have done all of our research it's time to move on and start getting estimates from the few companies that we have left on our list. With me personally being a professional mover for so long, there is one thing that I cannot stress enough when it comes to this phase of the process: Do not do estimates over the phone, only in person!
The reason for this, is phone estimates are almost never right. I've been on hundreds if not thousands of jobs that were estimated over the phone and went south extremely quick. You could easily end up with half the amount of men and trucks that you need to be done in a reasonable time frame. I've been on jobs that were estimated at six hours total, and it took us 16.
Long story short, you will be doing yourself a favor to call those companies and request that they send someone out to look at the job a week or two before the move date. This is the most accurate way to figure out time, man power, and truck needs. It also is the only way to get an accurate price range for your move.
A few tips:
- If the company is kind of sketchy about sending someone out to your house to do an estimate, or they just downright insist on doing it over the phone, scratch them off the list and keep moving.
- Watch your prices closely. If three out of four companies are between $120-$150 an hour, and one company quotes you $60 an hour, scratch them off the list immediately. These are the exact companies that I hear countless horror stories about from the customers that I work with after they call us in to finish what the other company couldn't. I can attest first hand that "you get what you pay for". That phrase is especially relevant in the moving business.
Step 5: The Final Decision
You've made your list, you've done your research, and you have all of your estimates in front of you. The only thing left to do is make your final decision. I'm sure that through this whole process there was one company that stuck out to you. Their reviews were great, the receptionist that you talked to when you made the call was amazing, and the price was perfect. This is your moving company!
NOTE: If you are having trouble making that final decision between two or three companies, don't be afraid to jump back online and do a little more research. Often times you will find something that you overlooked on the first run. You may not have noticed that one of these companies doesn't offer a service that you need, or maybe one offers something special that the others don't. One last look through doesn't hurt.
Now, you are all ready to rock. As I always tell my customers when I shake their hands on my way out, It's been a pleasure, enjoy your new home!