Moving is a multi-step planning process that can take several weeks or even months to fully have thought out and planned from start to finish. You have to figure out where you’d like to move to, what your budget for the move looks like, what all you’re planning on taking with you and what you’re planning to get rid of, and so much more.
One of the most important parts of your move is figuring out how you’re going to make it happen. Typically, you’ll pick from one of two choices: You can either rent a moving truck and do it all yourself, or you can hire the cheapest moving company in your area to give you a hand, or you can go all-in with full service moving companies who will handle almost every aspect of your move for you, from start to finish.
How you decide to handle your move will depend largely on your budget, and you might have some questions about the process that you’d like to have answered before you start making definitive plans. Some of the most common questions asked about moving companies have been compiled and answered below so that you can make the most informed decision possible.
I’m trying to get an estimate. What are these estimated terms, and what do they mean for my move?
When you meet with your moving company for the first time to get a price estimate for the cost of your move, you might be presented with some terminology you’re not too familiar with. Here are some of the main terms you can expect to come across when conversing with your moving company about your estimate.
1. Binding estimates
A binding estimate is a cost estimate for your move that will have all of the charges and fees figured up in advance before your move even begins. Basically, it is a set price that will not change after it is agreed upon by you and your moving company.
It acts as a legal agreement between you and your chosen moving company which must be presented in writing, guaranteeing that the price agreed upon will be the price that is due when services are complete.
2. Non-binding estimates
On the other hand, a non-binding estimate is more like a rough cost projection that could change depending on a few factors. You might see it change if you would like to have the movers provide additional moving services or something else that could see you charged an extra fee.
Like binding estimates, non-binding estimates must be provided to you in writing by the moving company, and the document should state that it is a non-binding estimate.
3. 110% rule
This rule states that if the final cost of the move goes over the estimated amount put forth in a non-binding moving estimate, the moving company will deliver your stuff once the estimated amount plus an additional ten percent of that amount. The moving company will have to defer the charges for at least 30 days if this happens, to make sure their clients are able to pay the extra amount on time.
Is there any information my moving company will be required to provide to me?
Your movers should present you with the following items either when you have your moving cost estimate done, or before the move begins.
You should have received a copy of your binding or non-binding price estimate for your move, so you will always be able to remember what the final or projected cost of your move is going to be.
You should also have received a copy of the publication released by the United States Department of Transportation (also known as USDOT), called Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.
You should also get copies of contact information for your movers, as well as know where to send any customer questions or complaints you might have, along with information on how disputes are settled or arbitrated.
There are a few other items you will be presented with during the actual moving process, as well. You can expect to sign a copy of the moving order of service, as well as receive a copy for your records. When loading time comes around, you’ll be given a copy of the bill of lading, along with a completed version of the same bill when the services have been paid for.
Make sure you keep any documents related to your move in a safe place, just in case you ever need to reference them again for some reason.
Do moving companies provide insurance for my stuff while it is en route to my new home?
Yes. You can usually expect to have at least three different options for insurance so you can make sure your stuff is going to be replaced in the unlikely event that something might happen to it while it is being transported to your new house.
Limited liability insurance is the most basic insurance that is required by law for movers to provide. This type of insurance won’t cost you anything, and you will have it with your move by default. With this type of insurance, the moving company will be responsible for 60 cents per pound, per item if you’re doing a cross country move.
Added valuation insurance lets you receive the replacement value of the damaged item (or items). It is important to remember that the amount of money this type of insurance costs will depend on how much you claim your items to be worth.
The third and most expensive type of cover is full value insurance. It will cover the full cost of an item to be replaced or repaired if it is damaged while in transit to your new home.
If my stuff does get damaged while being moved, how long do I have to file on it?
Legally, you will have up to nine months after the date of the final delivery of your stuff to your new home to file a claim if you find something was damaged during the moving process.
What should I be aware of when scheduling pickup and delivery dates with a moving company?
This should usually be decided when you are first meeting with your moving company for a price estimate. Normally, you will tell them the range of time you would like to set your moving day, they will see what they have scheduled, and pencil you in as close to your desired moving day as possible.
Regardless, you should also make sure you receive your scheduled pickup and delivery dates on your service order. Always make sure this is scheduled well in advance.
When it is time for pickup, you should ensure you receive a bill of lading for your move. It should show the name of the movers who are going to be in charge of transporting your stuff from your old house to your new one. It should also show the moving company’s contact information, such as their address and phone number.
When it is time for delivery, you will be the one in charge of making sure someone is there to receive the items. You or someone you authorize should be in your home to sign for your stuff when the moving company arrives to deliver it. If you need to know when your projected delivery date is so you can plan to be home (or have someone else be home for you), check your bill of lading.
Is there anything else I should know about having my stuff delivered to me?
While the delivery process is usually fairly straightforward, there are a few things you will probably want to keep in mind. For one, you should remember that it will be your sole responsibility to verify that all of your items are present on the moving truck and in good condition.
Your moving company will also have an inventory sheet with their description of your items, as well as their conditions. It will be up to you to examine this inventory sheet and decide whether or not you agree with what it says. If you find something is missing or is damaged, you will need to make a note of it on your copy of the inventory sheet, as well as on the movers’ copy.
If you are transporting highly fragile items, mark the boxes with colored tape or a big X using permanent marker so you will easily remember which boxes you need to inspect first for damage. If everything looks fine to you, then you’re good to go.
Asked and Answered
Hopefully, if you still had questions about the moving process, some of these questions and answers cleared things up for you. Now that you know a little more about what to expect from the moving process, you should be able to tackle your move with no problems at all.