Monthly Archives: August 2014
A peek inside the Idea Machine
You may have heard us say that we’re a “small team.” Well, it’s true – there are just 8 of us (one out on maternity leave) cranking away to make MCR the best moving site around. It’s hard to do everything we want to do with such a small group, but a lean team helps us work quickly and smart. We are constantly debating and prioritizing which new features are going to make consumers happy and drive more business for our mover partners. These are always tough decisions because there’s so much we want to do.
But once a month, we get to roll up our sleeves and join the HomeFinder team in Prototypes Week. Here’s how it works: Someone has an idea and pitches that idea to the company in an attempt to form a team. Anyone in the company can join a team, whether it’s a customer service rep, salesperson or a software engineer. Then, for 2.5 days, the team cranks away at building the idea into a “prototype.”
At the end of the week, the teams present it to the rest of the company over beer. Awards are handed out for “Best for Business”, “Best for Technology” and “People’s Choice.”
Real-time chats with hot prospects
This past week, the MCR team swept the awards with their Mover Chat prototype. Here’s how it works:
- Consumer is searching on MCR for a mover
- They find a mover they like and can click “Live Chat” to chat with them immediately
- Or, they may still be deciding on a mover and ask to chat with an available mover in their area
- Before initiating the chat, the consumer will provide some basic info about their move
- The participating mover will see chat notifications in their dashboard and have the opportunity to respond back to the prospect in real-time.
- With the chat, they’ll receive the info that the consumer entered – name, move date and contact info – so that they’re up-to-speed when they begin chatting
- The mover and consumer can chat about things like availability and price and even schedule the move on-the-spot. The consumer doesn’t need to hop on the phone, but the mover still gets to ask the questions they need to price out and schedule the move. Instant gratification!
Why do we think this is cool? Consumer want quick answers, but movers sometimes complain that consumers – even when they’ve submitted a Request for Quote - are difficult to reach. Voila! Movers and consumers can immediately connect. And participating movers can get a leg up on their competition by being the first to respond.
What do you think of our prototype idea? Would you use it? Share your comments below!
Your Moving Insurance Options
Any idea how much will your mover is required to reimburse you if they break your flat screen TV during your move? $20.
Yep, that’s right. Just $20. The standard liability coverage your mover offers you is based on the weight of your items; not their monetary value. Your mover is only required to compensate you for $0.60 per pound, so for a 46″ flat screen TV, that could be as little as $20.
Particularly if you have precious belongings and/or are moving long-distance, consider investing in supplemental move insurance. First, check with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance provider to see if you’ll be covered under your existing policy. If not, consider one of the following options.
Mover-Provided Coverage - Released Value Protection
- This type of coverage MUST be included in your mover’s quote and offered at no additional charge
- In the event of loss or damage, your mover will reimburse you for $0.60 per pound. So if they damage a 5 lb stereo speaker, you would be reimbursed $3.
- Boxes you pack yourself are not covered
- You must sign a statement on your Bill of Lading to agree to this type of coverage
Mover-Provided Coverage – Full Value Protection
- This coverage is offered by your mover at an additional charge
- The cost may vary according to your mover and may have different deductible levels impacting your possible premium rates
- In the event of loss or damage, your mover will repair, replace or reimburse you for the item.
- Your mover will not cover “high value” items unless specifically detailed by you prior to the move (e.g. jewelry or china)
- In most cases, boxes you pack yourself are not covered
3rd Party Moving Insurance or Protection
- Your mover may recommend a 3rd party for Released Value coverage, or you may choose one on your own
- You make this purchase yourself and not through your mover
- We recommend our partner, MoveProtection.com, which offers affordable premiums for some of the most comprehensive coverage on the market. Unlike most insurance companies, MoveProtection.com also covers boxes you pack yourself.
Learn more about all of these options at ProtectYourMove.gov.
Relocating to another state is no easy feat. To help make your transition as smooth as possible, we’ve broken down the top 10 tips you should know when moving cross-country.
1. Plan Ahead
Good movers’ calendars fill up fast, especially during heavy move season (June through August). To reserve the mover of your choice and save yourself from last-minute headaches, start planning for your move at least six weeks in advance.
It’s crucial that you hire a licensed, reliable mover when trusting them with your stuff across state lines. Check the following credentials when researching possible movers:
- USDOT License: Movers that cross state lines are required by the Department of Transportation to have a USDOT license. You can easily find a mover’s USDOT number on their MCR listing (shown below), website or on the written estimate they provide you. Always make sure the USDOT number is accurate and up to date at Safersys.org.
- Reviews: Read reviews on MCR to learn about other customers’ experiences with the movers you’re considering. All of our reviews are verified, so you can trust that they came from a real consumer for a real move. Look for review referencing interstate moves in particular so you know what to expect in terms of timeliness, communication and professionalism.
- Rating and Complaints: Finish up your investigation by sizing up a mover’s complaint history. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Better Business Bureau are both great resources to check on a company’s history with consumer complaints.
3. Know Your Options
Request quotes from at least 3 qualified movers; keeping in mind the cheapest option may not always be the best. Be aware of any hidden charges and the type of estimate offered. Non-binding estimates factor the weight of your shipment into the final cost. While binding estimates or, better yet, binding not-to-exceed estimates put a limit on the amount you will pay for your move.
Don’t trust estimates over-the-phone. Insist on an in-person estimate to help prevent surprise costs come move day.
Bonus tip: Watch out for another “catch”; be sure you understand the difference between a mover and a broker – learn more here. Your best bet is to stick with a mover since you’ll know exactly who is handing your stuff, and because brokers aren’t covered by current consumer protection laws.
4. Put It On Paper
After selecting a mover, obtain hard copies of the following documents:
- Estimate: This document describes the services for which you’ll be charged.
- Bill of Lading: The receipt for your shipment and the contract for its transportation. You’ll receive this from your mover on moving day, if it doesn’t look right, talk to your mover before signing it.
- Inventory: The detailed list of your household goods showing the number and condition of each item.
Having these documents on hand will ensure if something does go wrong, your bases are covered.
5. Consolidate Belongings
Consider this your chance to rid your home of extra junk. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you’ve used the item in the last 3 months; if not, it’s time to purge! Most interstate movers charge based on weight, so, the less stuff you have the cheaper your move will be. Don’t know what to do with your unwanted belongings? Think about donating to a charitable organization or hosting a moving sale!
6. Pack Accordingly
The further you move, the more potholes you’re likely to encounter along the way. To ensure your stuff is safe and secure, use durable moving boxes and packing supplies. Many movers will insist on certain types of boxes since they’ll need to fit well into the truck and sustain a long haul. Make sure to check with your moving company on any requirements. Move day kits can save you a bunch of time and money and usually come in standard mover-approved sizes. Kits contain boxes, tape, packing paper, markers and box cutters. The best part? If you order online, your kit will arrive, at your door in 1-2 business days. Check one more thing off your to-do list and find a kit that fits your move here.
Bonus tip: Some items are far too dangerous to be put in your moving truck, especially for a long-distance move, check out the 5 things NOT to pack in your moving truck here.
7. Protect Your Move
Even with great movers, accidents happen with 1 out of 4 shipments. In the event of loss or damage to your property it’s important to know your mover’s liability. Most moving companies are only obligated to compensate 60 cents per pound, and this often excludes boxes you packed on your own. Think about this… if your 46″ television gets damaged, you’ll only receive $20! To give you peace of mind during your big move, check to see what your current insurance covers. If it’s not enough, look into 3rd party coverage.
8. Moving Day
Be present on pick-up day to watch and direct the movers as they load your belongings. Typically, this is when your inventory sheet will be filled out. Be aware of the condition of your items and DO NOT sign your inventory sheet until both you and your mover agree on the condition. After your truck is loaded, walk through your home to be sure nothing was forgotten. Last but not least, exchange numbers and any important information with the drivers!
9. Be Available
As soon as your mover hits the road, have your cell on you at all times. Interstate moves are often done on a large tractor-trailer with 5 or 6 other household goods shipments. In these cases, movers need flexibility, so you’ll more than likely be given a “delivery spread,” the timeframe within which your shipment will be delivered. When given a delivery spread, you’ll be contacted by your mover 24 hours before delivery day. Arrange travel plans to meet the movers at your new place. If you’re unable to be there, you could be charged extra to have your items stored.
10. Delivery Day
Make the unloading process as smooth as possible by following these steps on delivery day:
- Have your payment ready. Typically you’ll pay your mover on delivery, before your goods are unloaded.
- Use your inventory sheet to check all items were delivered, and in good condition. Don’t sign any documents until you’ve confirmed this.
- When finished, don’t forget to tip your mover for a job well done! Learn proper tipping etiquette here.
Good luck and don’t forget to come back and review your experience to help others have a happy move too!
Great minds think alike.
Here at MovingCompanyReviews.com, we pride ourselves on impacting your bottom line… for free. One of the many reasons we started MCR is to provide a streamline service that connects moving companies with ready-to-move consumers. While we continue to grow our company, we’re keeping an eye on other awesome free online services that are impacting businesses in a big way.
Marketing your moving company.
Keeping a consistent message throughout your social media outlets with Hootsuite will allow your customers to better identify your brand. Using Mailchimp to deliver your brand via email, will set you apart from your competitors. Funneling customers to your Free Business Listing on MovingCompanyReviews will allow them to review you, and as a result attract potential new customers. Knowing how your company is performing by utilizing SurveyMonkey, will allow you to forecast for better results by sending followup surveys.
Click the name of the services below to check out their websites. Let us know your thoughts below!
Manage social networks. Schedule messages automatically and engage with your followers.
You can send one post to multiple social sites instantly with Hootsuite. Target the consumers you want to help move, by having a consistent message throughout your social networks.
MailChimp is a way to design, send, and share emails.
Everything from providing estimate requests to following up after a move can be accomplished via email.
Mailchimp provides templates to easily design around and provides insight into who’s opened your emails. Imagine the impact on your business by sending a monthly email to every customer you’ve recently moved asking them for a review or even a recommendation? Accomplish that, automatically with MailChimp.
Helping Moving Companies provide quotes to ready-to-move consumers.
What’s an editors choice without including our own company right? We provide leads, and leads generate revenue. On MCR, people search for a mover in their city and send a detailed email of their move to the selected moving companies. The moving companies are then emailed the estimate request, and respond via email or phone. Free of charge. I think of MCR as a “dating website”. The same rules apply. How do you attract more leads? Be more attractive, with reviews.
Survey Monkey allows you to build your own surveys and collect responses.
Know what your customers think about every aspect of your business by creating a survey and giving them the option to anonymously respond. That feedback is priceless. There may be small details about your company you haven’t been able to identify as a problem, that a survey may bring to your attention.