If you’re like most people, planning a move isn’t exactly your idea of a good time. Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, there are a lot of logistics to worry about before the big day. The good news is that you always have the option of hiring a team to help you with your move—and doing so can take some stress off your plate.
If you’re thinking about hiring moving help, this is something you’ll want to look into sooner rather than later. Moving companies can book up quickly, especially during busy seasons of the year (including summer). The sooner you decide on whether to hire moving help, the sooner you can get the ball rolling.
Not sure where to begin? Take a look at our guide to hiring moving help, which covers everything from determining whether you need moving help to what to look for when hiring a professional.
Hire Moving Help or Handle it Yourself?
Is hiring movers right for you? There are some potential pros and cons to think about for your next relocation.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Moving Professional
Hiring a moving professional can cut down on the stress involved in moving, especially when it comes to transporting your belongings from point A to point B. The right movers will have the experience, equipment, and know-how necessary to tackle your move efficiently. You can even have them pick up storage right from your doorstep so you do not have to do any of the heavy lifting yourself.
Of course, hiring movers isn’t cheap. You can expect to shell out a pretty penny for professional moving services—and these costs can be difficult to justify if you’re already on a limited budget. Availability for professional movers may also be limited, so you may have a hard time finding help if you’re moving during a busy time of year (like a weekend in the middle of the summer).
Pros and Cons of DIYing Your Move
The main benefit to handling your own move without the help of a professional is that of saving money. By loading up all your own belongings and transporting them yourself, you’ll potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars. And if you don’t have that much to move in the first place, this could be a wise choice.
However, you also need to consider the value of your time and labor. When you move yourself, you generally won’t have access to the same tools and equipment that a professional moving company would. You also won’t have the experience and expertise as somebody who moves furniture and boxes for clients on a daily basis. As a result, it could end up taking you several hours to do what a moving team could do in less than an hour.
When you begin to think of things this way, it can be easier to see why spending the money on a team of moving professionals may be worth it.
Tips for Hiring Moving Help
If you decide to move forward with hiring a mover, the first thing you’ll need to do is to decide when you would need moving services. Because moving companies can book out far in advance (especially in heavily populated areas), having some flexibility here will be helpful.
From there, be sure to keep a few key considerations in mind as you being exploring your options for professional movers.
Find Out What They Can (And Can’t) Move
Most moving companies will have policies on specific items they cannot handle or transport for liability reasons. Firearms, for example, are a common item that many moving companies will not deal with. The same may also apply for especially large or heavy furniture, such as pianos. If the company you’re looking at does handle these types of items, keep in mind that you may be expected to pay extra.
What Other Services Are Offered?
In addition to moving services, you may also be interested in other services to help you prepare for relocating. Some companies, for example, may offer assistance with packing in preparation for your move. If you’re looking to take a hands-off approach with your move and cut down on your stress, you may want to find a company that offers packing and/or unpacking services as well.
If you’ll need a storage unit after your move, you may also want to find a moving company that offers this as well. In this case, your movers may be able to drop your belongings off at your new place and then take any excess boxes or furniture over to your storage unit on the same day, saving you time and hassle.
Inquire About Their Pricing Structure
Cost is almost always a concern when hiring a professional mover, so be sure to find out how your moving company calculates their costs and how you’ll be expected to pay. For the most accurate estimate, you may want to find a company that can provide an in-home quote on your services; some other companies may provide a quote based on an itemized list of boxes and furniture that you provide.
Regardless of cost, be sure to also find out what type of deposit (if any) will be required of you and what types of additional expenses you can expect. For example, if your moving company doesn’t include gratuity with your quoted price, you may need to set aside some extra cash to tip your moving team. If you’re moving a long distance, keep in mind that there may be fuel surcharges added to your estimate as well.
Moving companies can also vary greatly in how they charge for their services. One company may charge a flat-fee for your move based on the amount of furniture and boxes you have. Another moving company, on the other hand, may charge an hourly fee based on the estimated number of hours your move will take.
Is Your Estimate Binding?
Speaking of pricing, it’s important to find out whether the quote/estimate you’ve received from your moving company is binding. If it is, then this means you should not end up with any added expenses or surprise charges. A non-binding quote, however, is meant to give you a general idea of the price but can fluctuate based on how long it takes your moving team to complete the job.
Ideally, you’ll want to find a company that will provide you with a binding estimate. This will help you avoid surprises down the road, which can help you avoid additional stress as you prepare for your move.
Ask What Equipment They’ll Use
A professional mover needs to have access to the right equipment to get the job done quickly, efficiently, and with no damage to your personal items. Don’t hesitate to ask a moving company for an inventory of their equipment. Furniture dollies can really cut down on moving time, so there should be at least one dolly available for each mover on your hired team. You may also want to ask what supplies will be used to protect your flooring or wrap your furniture items during transport, as well as what extra costs use of these materials may incur.
Make Sure They’re Fully Insured
Never hire a moving company without obtaining proof of liability insurance; this type of insurance is a must whether you’re moving locally or long distance. Specifically, liability coverage is designed to protect both you and your moving company in the event that any of your belongings are lost or damaged during the move.
With many moving companies, your quote includes basic insurance coverage for a specific dollar amount per pound of furniture/boxes. Make sure you’re comfortable with this amount, and don’t hesitate to ask for additional coverage if your moving company is handling anything especially valuable.
Find Out Exactly What’s Included
Always be sure to find out exactly what’s included with your moving estimate versus what may not be included before you book any services. After all, inclusions and exclusions can sometimes vary greatly from one company to the next.
For example, if you’re moving into a high-rise apartment building in New York City, you may need access to a freight elevator to move your furniture and other heavy items to your new place. Obtaining a reservation for an elevator is something your moving company should handle—though some moving companies may charge extra for this and some may not.
If any of your furniture needs to be dis-assembled and re-assembled, you’ll also want to find out whether this will cost you extra. With a moving company that charges by the hour, assembly should simply fall into the hourly rate. However, if you’ve received a flat-fee quote for your move, furniture assembly may end up costing extra.
Ask for References and Referrals
Ideally, you’ll want to find a moving company that has at least a few years of experience. However, a newer moving company can still be a great choice if they have great reviews and referrals. Don’t hesitate to ask a potential moving company for a list of references that you can follow up on, especially if they’re a newer company without a lot of experience.
A list of references can put you into contact with past clients who have used the moving company’s services in the past. This can help you get a better idea of what to expect from the company based on past clients’ experiences. Online reviews can also be useful for this, but it’s important to make sure the reviews you’re reading are legitimate.
What About Background Checks?
When you hire movers, you’re inherently inviting them into your home and trusting them to handle your personal belongings. With that in mind, it’s important to be able to fully trust your movers. Many moving companies will perform thorough background checks on the movers they hire for your peace of mind and protection. If you’re thinking about hiring a moving company, be sure to ask if they run criminal background screenings on their movers. If not, then you may want to find a company that does.
Other Services to Consider
Finding the right moving team for your upcoming relocation will take some time, research, and careful planning. At the end of the day, however, hiring a capable and experienced moving team can provide you with peace of mind and much-needed stress relief during this chaotic time.
To make settling into your new place go even more smoothly, you may also want to consider hiring a professional maid service. A move-in/move-out cleaning from Maid Sailors, for example, can save you the hassle of scrubbing your new place from top to bottom before you move in. Instead, let our team of professional cleaners take care of this for you so you can simply move in and begin getting unpacked!