Author Archives: Heather Rohrer

How to Befriend Your New Neighbors During the Holidays

published by on December 3, 2015After You Move Tips

Holidays

Moving is difficult no matter when you choose to relocate, but it’s made even harder during the winter months for an assortment of reasons. The slick and stormy weather makes carrying heavy boxes more dangerous, and the cold tends to keep people indoors – meaning you might not meet your neighbors until the Springtime thaw.

However, if you want to celebrate the holiday season by making friends with the residents in your area, you can employ a few of these great tricks to break the ice.

Don’t be shy. Say hi!

The great thing about trying to befriend your neighbors is that you’re very likely to run into them. The yuletide season is a busy one, and the odds are good that you’ll bump into a neighbor or two while walking the dog or returning from shopping. When this happens, make sure you say hello. Introduce yourself and tell them you’re new to the area. Ask them for some local recommendations, like what cafe serves the best coffee or where the best brunch place is. Your neighbors will be thrilled to share their area expertise, and you’ll come away one acquaintance richer.

Bribe them with food

Of course, waiting to encounter your neighbors leaves a lot up to chance. You can skip the waiting part and just go knock on their doors and introduce yourself – but it helps if you have something to give them when you stop by. Bake some festive cookies or a delicious casserole and bring it to give away when you make your introductions. Your neighbors will enjoy the goodies, and you’ll get the opportunity to socialize with them. Bonus points if you give them a dish that needs to be returned to you!

Host a small holiday get-together

Now’s the time to seal this friendship deal. Once you’ve chatted up your neighbors a few times, you should be ready to up the ante and invite them over to your place for coffee, tea, or other beverages. This is a great chance to be hospitable, get to know them better, and demonstrate your eagerness to be a part of the community.


Packing Specialists: Worth Your Money?

published by on November 19, 2015Before You Move Tips

Are packing specialists worth the cost?

Preparing and packing for a move can be both a daunting and an exhausting task. The endless organizing, wrapping, packing, taping, and labeling is immensely time consuming — especially if you work a full-time job and only have evenings and weekends to get your packing done. Limited time to pack means you have to start the process much further in advance, leaving your home or apartment in a state of disarray for weeks, as you pile up boxes and painstakingly pack away your necessary items until you’re eating off of paper plates and living out of a suitcase until the move.

And then, there’s always the risk that you’ve packed some of your most cherished items improperly, leading to scratching, chipping, or breakage that can’t be repaired.

Of course, if you hired packing specialists to do the job for you, they can take your home from fully functional to completely packed in a matter of hours or days, depending on the size.

What does hiring a packing specialist entail, and is it worth the cost?

What do packing specialists offer?

Partial Packing

You pack as little or as much of your home as you want, and the specialists do the rest. This is a great choice if the thought of someone else handling your underclothing or family heirlooms makes you uncomfortable.

Full Packing

Your entire place is packed up by the specialists, and transported to your new home. You don’t have to lift a finger.

Partial Unpacking

Packing specialists will assist in the unpacking of a portion of your possessions, and allow you to unpack the rest at your leisure.

Full unpacking

Your specialists will unpack and place all of your belongings, so you can get settled into your new space faster.

What to expect from your packing specialists?

If you choose to hire a packing specialist, they will first want to determine which services you will want from them. Once you’ve selected your level of service, they will do a home assessment to judge how long it will take their team to pack your home and get you on the move. After the assessment, the specialists will also be able to quote you an accurate price for their services.

They will draft a schedule and a full inventory of your belongings to make sure nothing gets lost in the shuffle. If you have any particularly fragile or strangely shaped items, they will be able to create a packing solution to fit your items and appease your worries.

Why should you hire packing specialists?

There are plenty of reason to hire packing specialists. We’ve offered some of the most common below:

  • You have disabilities or injuries that make the process of packing and moving your goods difficult or painful
  • You’re moving a long distance, and you want to protect your goods during the drive across the country
  • You have a massive home of three or more bedrooms, or own a large number of antique items or furnishings that require special care
  • You dislike the labor and effort that goes into packing up your home, and you’d prefer to pay a specialist to do it for you

So are packing specialists worth the cost?

If any of the above reasons to hire a packing specialist really resonated with you, you should consider hiring professional packers. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you want to pay for the convenience and expertise of their packing skills, or if you’d prefer to do it yourself.


5 Last-Minute Halloween Costumes Made With Moving Boxes

published by on October 22, 2015After You Move Tips

Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, and Ghostly Crew

Moving takes its toll on your life, from the general chaos it causes in your home, to filling up your space with boxes, to forcing you to eat pizza for a week because your kitchen utensils are packed away. Moving during the fall season can also detract time from creative endeavors, like making fun Halloween costumes for you and your kids.

Don’t despair if you haven’t had the time to put together those All Hallow’s Eve get-ups yet. You can use your leftover moving boxes to create some fun, fantastic, and super-simple homemade costumes that will be ready for trick-or-treating in no time!

1. Candy Boxes

The only thing less crucial than finding a great Halloween costume is the sweet, sweet candy swag you receive for the effort of dressing up. Use those leftover moving boxes and a bit of clever painting to let your kids advertise the kind of candy they want most. Then head off to collect as much of those sugary treats as possible.

Candy Boxes  (Image via)

2. Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, and Ghostly Crew

With some imaginative cutting and spray painting, you can dress the whole family as Pac Man and friends. The colorful video game ghosts are certainly more fun that the traditional white sheet ghosts, and there’s the added bonus of being able to chase each other around in homage to the vintage video game. Just don’t forget to add eye-holes to these clever costumes, or you’ll be running blind!

Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, and Ghostly Crew (Image via)

3. Fish Tank

If you’re looking for a box costume that requires less artistic dedication, look no further than this fish tank ensemble. Just cut a hole in the top and front of the box, purchase a plain blue sweatshirt for the costume-wearer, and tape a few cute sea critters and bubbles to the sweatshirt. Voila! A costume that’s both simple and cozy for colder temperatures.

Fish Tank

(Image via)

4. X-Ray Vision

Were you craving some spookier moving box attire? This excellent X-Ray costume should do the trick. Paint a box black and add arm and head holes. For those who aren’t so artistically-inclined, you can simply print out a picture of the torso bones and glue or tape it directly to the box. No drawing required!

X-Ray Vision (Image via)

5. Crayola Crayon Box

Of course, if you love to draw, then perhaps this Crayola Crayon Box is the right disguise for you. With some clever box-coloring and the use of bright paper cones, the only costume question you’ll be left to ponder is: should you also include that built-in crayon sharpener?

Crayola Crayon Box (Image via)

What’s your favorite DIY Halloween costume? Share in the comments!


3 Email Etiquette Tips for Better Lead Conversion

published by on September 29, 2015For Business

Email Etiquette

In today’s digital world, your first interaction with many potential customers will be via email. Do your messages get the response you want? Try these email etiquette tips to impress potential customers and win more business.

Apply basic grammar rules

Non-traditional capitalizations and creative abbreviations (e.g. l8r) may be common in text messages or emails between family and friends, but these composition shortcuts are never appropriate when communicating with potential customers.

Whether you’re trying to schedule an estimate or sending a thank you note post-move, be sure to apply the grammar rules you learned in grade school.

  • The first word in a sentence and any proper nouns should be capitalized
  • Always use complete sentences
  • Start each message with a greeting that addresses the recipient
  • End with a professional closing

Stay away from all-caps and don’t assume spell check will catch everything, especially when it comes to client names. Take a moment to proofread your email before you hit send.

Save imagery and bold colors for your advertising

Email today provides a lot of opportunities for creative expression. From new fonts and extensive color palettes to animated GIFs embedded in the message, the sky’s the limit. Unfortunately those enhancements can make your message more difficult to read and may even get it routed to the SPAM folder.

Know when not to use email

The convenience of email makes it a prime communication tool between movers and their customers, especially if you own a smartphone, which enables you to email on-the-go. However, it isn’t always the best communication method and could be costing you business.

Before you start typing, take a moment to consider any communication preferences the potential customer expressed. Anything requiring an immediate response or potentially sensitive information may require a phone call.


Top 10 Tips For Cross-Country Moving

published by on August 21, 2014Before You Move Tips

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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.

2. Investigate

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.

Mover-Details

 

  • 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.

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!