Choosing the Right Movers: Reclaiming Moving Day

Every article I’ve read about moving goes on and on… it’s a chore, it’s a hassle, it’s stressful. Actually, I’ve even written a few of those myself.

Let’s reclaim the process of moving. It doesn’t have to be stressful. It can be fun. Just close your eyes and picture this: a happy day, not a cloud in the sky. You wake up early and your best friend—who helped you pack the night before—brings you scones and a hot coffee. You’re wearing your favorite PJs and you slept with that eye pillow you rediscovered while you were packing.

Life is good.

And then the movers show up to your place. An hour late. There are four of them and they’re saying something about “hourly rates” and asking you to sign “the new version of the contract.”

Hold on a minute!

In the heat of the moving moment, things can get complicated. Contracts, hourly rates, mileage… there are a lot of things to consider and it’s up to you to be ready.

Here are some tips to keep the process of working with professional movers under control.

Ask your friends for recommendations.

There’s nothing quite like the recommendation of a trusted friend. Ask friends who have moved to or from your neighborhood about their experiences with professional movers. Then, when you call to schedule your move, let the company know that they were recommended and who recommended them. If the rate you’re quoted sounds high, ask what your friend paid. And remember: everything is negotiable.

Do your homework.

When I needed a mover in the Bay Area, I found a group called “You Move Me.” Honestly, I loved the name so much I looked them up—and everything I saw was good. You can also check Angie’s List for ratings of local movers.

Carefully estimate the amount you have to move.

One person’s one-bedroom apartment is another person’s estate. The ultimate cost of your move will depend on how much you’ve packed into your closets, cupboards and on-site storage. If you have the time, pack up 90% of your things before you ask for a quote from a moving company.

Have a yard sale.

Before you call for an estimate from a professional moving company, take the time to cull out as much as you can before you move. My clutter-busting hero, Dorothy the Organizer, offers all the tips you’ll need on clearing out superfluous stuff before your move.

Who knows? You might make enough money at your yard sale to offset the costs of professional movers. Here’s a hint: sell big things (couches, tables, treadmills) that you don’t plan on using in your new place.

Take the time to meet with your professional moving company before the move.

Oh, those contracts. We’re all so used to clicking the box online that reads: “I have read and agree to the terms and conditions.” In real life, when all the things you own are on the line, don’t be too quick to sign. Take your time, ask questions, get a quote for the full cost—and ask if insurance is included. If the moving company cannot or will not give you a quote, move on to the next provider.

Be upfront about the details of your move

If you have steps leading in and out of your house, let the company know. If one of the items that needs moving is an antique piano, let the company know. You don’t want the movers to be caught without the right equipment, and you want to make sure that your quote is accurate. Not mentioning something doesn’t mean that you won’t pay for it; it means that you won’t know how much it will cost.

Smile, smile, smile!

Finally, when moving day comes, keep it happy and sunshine-y. Have some snacks and bottled water for your movers. Make sure that Fido is with the sitter (check out DogVacay for doggie daycare). Have cash on hand to tip the movers, if you decide to do so.

Congratulations! You have reclaimed Moving Day.

Conna Shannon

Conna Shannon

Conna is a writer, editor and aspiring filmmaker. She's into DIY, upcylcing and macrobiotic cooking. She lives in Monterey, California, with a yellow lab named Daisy.
Conna Shannon

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