Category Archives: Before You Move Tips
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?
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.
Your entire place is packed up by the specialists, and transported to your new home. You don’t have to lift a finger.
Packing specialists will assist in the unpacking of a portion of your possessions, and allow you to unpack the rest at your leisure.
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.
Some research says moving counts as one of the top 5 most stressful things you can do. I believe it.
I’d like tell you a story – a story of how I spent 3 years finding a great mover.
First, some background. I moved more than 15 times in my life. Early on, I would move myself. As I acquired more stuff and got a bit older, I hired movers. Every single time I tried to find a mover online, I thought to myself, “wow, moving is the industry the internet forgot about.” Why could I not search movers? Why could I not read verified reviews? Why could I not see photos of movers, or get any info on them at all?
When you search for other things online, reviews, prices, photos, and other great information guides you to an informed decision. I wanted an Amazon, or Orbitz, or Tripadvisor, or Cars.com, or HomeFinder for moving. Heck, I would have settled for a list of licensed movers in my area. Instead, I constantly ran into a blind lead form – one that asked for all of my personal information, without showing me any of the movers that would contact me. You know what happened when I submitted that lead form? I got called by not one, not two, but by SIX movers. Argh!
Making it better
3 years ago, Shannon Cullins, then HomeFinder’s VP of Product, and I decided to change things. We learned everything we could about moving, and decided to build an incredibly trustworthy, consumer friendly service to help consumers find great movers and experience happy moves. We called it MovingCompanyReviews.com (MCR for short). Shannon took over as General Manager, and we launched the site in February of 2013. We launched with a few key features to guarantee we focus on helping people find the best movers:
- We verify every review with either a moving receipt (called a Bill of Lading), or a move confirmed by a quality moving company
- We prominently display each mover’s review rating
- We prominently show every mover’s state and federal licensing information, links to their federal complaint history, and any other pertinent government information
- We put caution badges on movers with suspect quality, or fraud complaints
Finding my mover on MovingCompanyReviews
Fast forward to today. I moved last week, and found Olympia Moving through MovingCompanyReviews. Interestingly enough, I chose a different mover than I thought going in. Reading all of their verified reviews swayed me to them initially, and then their fantastic customer service during the quoting process won me over.
I am happy to report that Olympia made my move wonderful. They were, by a wide margin, the BEST movers I have ever used. Their attention to detail stunned me. They wrapped things meticulously, carried things extremely carefully, pointed out existing damage before wrapping or moving anything, and went way above and beyond what I expected. For example, they expertly squeezed an huge armoir into a bedroom by taking some of it apart and putting it back together again. Every other mover who moved that armoir just gave up, or damaged walls trying to shove it in. The Olympia crew took such great care that we had no damage to any items, or any walls, other than a tiny smudge here and there.
Here’s the best part – they estimated 12 hours for the move, and it only took them 8, so we saved a bunch of money versus our quote.
I almost forgot the icing on top – I got a free pizza from MCR by leaving a voice review about my move. Nothing tastes quite as good as a free pizza on move day.
My best move ever
It feels great building something that makes a difference. Moving delivers loads of stress. Having the fantastic movers from Olympia made this move much better and much less stressful than any other time I moved. I’d like to thank the whole MovingCompanyReviews team for their work the last few years, you guys rock.
Planning to move soon? Find your mover and get free estimates at MovingCompanyReviews.com.
Yesterday, this article came across my desk: A “fake” mover stole $60,000 of someone’s belongings. Unfortunately, we see stories like these all the time. A consumer books a move with the company (or person) that offered them the lowest price, only to be completely swindled; their possessions held hostage or stolen. Even our colleagues here at work are tempted to ignore MCR’s advice to only choose a licensed mover when they find someone willing to do the job at a ridiculously low price. “What’s the worst that can happen?” they say. The worst that can happen is pretty bad…and it often includes people stealing your stuff.
We have tons of tips on how to choose your mover, but we’ve boiled them down to the simplest and most important.
Here are our top 5 rules to follow when choosing a mover.
1. Check their license.
Every state has different rules and they can be confusing. Check a mover’s profile on MCR; it’ll show you the requirements for your state (or for out-of-state moves) and whether the mover meets them. Click through to the state website to confirm the license is active.
2. Are they who they say they are?
Here are some ways to check:
- Do they email you from an @companyname.com email address (e.g. email@example.com) or an @gmail, @aol, etc (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org)? Choose the former. If a mover doesn’t have their own domain, chances are they aren’t legit.
- Do they answer their phone professionally? Someone who grunts and says “Hey” isn’t a pro. If they call you, call them back for a question you “forgot to ask” just to test them out.
- Have you seen their trucks anywhere in your neighborhood? Particularly in the spring and summer, moving trucks are everywhere. Never seen their logo before? (or they don’t have a logo?) Keep on searching.
3. Get a written estimate.
- Seriously. Get it in writing. And make sure their name and address is on the estimate, see #2.
4. Check reviews.
- All of MCR’s reviews are verified with a bill-of-lading (move receipt). We also run reviews through several fraud checks. Read them. They’re real. Don’t go with anyone who doesn’t have at least a 3 star rating.
5. Go with your gut.
- If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts; if you get a creepy feeling, your move probably isn’t going to go well. Follow the steps above to find someone you can trust. Saving a few bucks isn’t worth the risk of losing all of your precious stuff.
Good luck with your move!
As the housing market continues to recover, MovingCompanyReviews.com anticipates that competition within the moving industry will intensify, due to an increasing number of home sales. According to the National Association of Realtors, home sales are expected to be higher in 2015 and this growth in home sales will benefit both buyers and sellers, as improvements in inventory, slower price gains and pent-up demand contribute to the trend.
MovingCompanyReviews.com (MCR), a site that connects consumers with reliable moving companies, identified 2014’s moving industry trends and predicts how housing trends will impact the moving industry in 2015.
Moving on up
According to MCR data, 2014 was a year of expansion as consumers moved into larger sized homes. The median square footage of homes consumers moved from was 1,100 square feet, and moved into homes that were a median of 1,728 square feet.
On a national level, consumer moving trends indicated:
On the move
According to MCR data, out of state moves make up approximately 20% of moves on the site. In 2014, the top five states where the most consumers moved from were:
In 2014, the top five states where the most consumers moved into were:
Preparing for 2015
As home sellers, buyers and renters prepare for 2015, hiring professional movers is likely to be on their moving checklists. MCR anticipates the five below trends will be prevalent in the moving industry in 2015.
1) Mover availability will be tight in spring and summer months. 2014 was the strongest move season in years according to MCR’s moving company customer feedback. This increase resulted in a nationwide truck driver shortage, making it difficult for consumers to book the move dates they wanted. Consumers can expect this same problem in 2015 and should book a moving company as soon as they know their moving date. The average person books their mover only two weeks in advance, so beating that timeframe means consumers will have a better chance of getting the date they want. This is particularly important between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with moves peaking in August.
2) Major metros are still hot. In 2014, MCR reported the most moves in the nation’s largest cities, including Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Denver and Dallas. Continued urban population growth and the return of post-recession new construction will continue to fuel moves in these cities. For consumers looking to move in these cities, MCR advises to book a mover at least one month in advance.
3) Interstate moves will expand to smaller cities. MCR anticipates growth in some of the mid-size cities that are joining the trend of urban development, with investments in jobs, housing, retail and dining. The 2015 Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, published by PwC and Urban Land Institute, lists Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham and Nashville as “markets to watch”. MCR data identified a healthy number of moves in these cities in 2014 and expects the trend to continue into 2015.
4) Square footage will remain flat. According to MCR data, 2014 saw an upgrade in home sizes, by a median of 628 square feet. MCR does not expect any more significant upgrades. While the economy is improving, the rental market is still strong.
5) Mover scams are still a threat but more controlled. 2013 and 2014 saw the rise of illegitimate companies that preyed on unsuspecting consumers. These individuals and companies marketed to consumers looking for the lowest price, and then scammed them by drastically increasing the rate at the point of delivery or even holding goods hostage. In 2014, the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) and state moving associations made significant efforts to educate consumers on how to choose a vetted, licensed mover. Using a site like MovingCompanyReviews.com helps consumers understand the industry rules and regulations and identify the licensed movers with verified reviews from real consumers.
Are you making a big move in 2015? Before you start packing, take time to crunch some numbers and set a realistic moving budget. We’ve listed five unexpected moving costs below. Avoid sticker shock by considering these costs when calculating your budget.
Packing supplies can be a huge surprise expense if you don’t do your research. Avoid purchasing boxes from standard mailing centers and use a wholesale bulk retailer instead. After selecting your mover, you can purchase packing supplies kits directly on MovingCompanyReviews.com that are specifically tailored to the size of your home. Also, don’t skimp on bubble wrap or packing paper — that extra layer could mean the difference in your items arriving in one piece.
Assuming your movers do a good job, it’s best practice to tip them. The industry standard for a full day move is between $20-$30 per person, or $10-$15 per person for a half or partial day. Assuming you have three workers performing your move, this could add up to an additional $60 or more on top of your basic move costs.
Moving can involve a lot of hiccups, including those that will require you to put your items in storage. Storage costs vary widely by area, so research companies in your new community to find an option that works for you. For a temporary fix, we recommend renting a self-storage unit.
Deposits and utilities
When planning your move, budget for current utility bills that may overlap with deposits and bills for your new home. This unexpected cost catches many homeowners by surprise and can make the first few months in your new place stressful. If you rent, thoroughly clean your apartment so you receive your full security deposit.
Unexpected Moving company fees
When using a mover, there are several fees that could drastically increase the cost of your move. Read the fine print of your contract so you fully understand each individual cost.
Some surprising fees include:
- Driving charges: Most movers charge for the time it takes to get from their primary location to your home. In most cases, they will charge their hourly rate, or pro-rate it to the quarter or half hour depending on your home’s distance. Ask your mover about this cost if it’s not called out explicitly in the estimate. If there is anything unusual about your location, including nearby construction or closed roads, let them know to avoid paying for the time it takes them to find your home.
- Long-carry fees: You may be charged a long-carry fee if your movers have to carry your items further than their standard “distance limit.” Ask your movers what their distance limit is and if they think it could be an issue. Apartment or city-dwellers beware, as this fee normally results from limited available parking and if your condo or apartment unit is more than a few units away from the elevator and the movers have to carry your belongings down the hallway.
- Elevator fees: If you’re moving in or out of a high-rise, your mover and/or building may . charge an elevator fee. Your building may also charge a move-in/out fee. Make sure to check with your building management before you move.
- Supplies fees: Many movers will wrap your belongings with blankets and tape, and pack your clothing into wardrobe boxes. You may then be surprised with charges for these items on your final bill. Understand the cost for any packing materials before you book your move, and work with your mover to estimate what you need to include in your overall budget.
Once you’ve established your budget, use these apps to make your move as smooth as possible.
Moving can be an exciting and stressful time. The anticipation of closing one chapter in your life and exploring another can have you filled with curiosity with what the future holds. But before you can get to your next adventure in life, you need to pack. Probably the least exciting thing about moving, you will be left wondering how you will get all of this stuff organized, packed, labeled and on the truck.
Rejoice techies! Here are some of the most useful apps to help you get the job done. So take a break from your social media and start putting that tablet and smart phone to good use.
Planning Your Move
The most difficult of tasks when packing for a move is creating a plan of action. Whether you are relocating from an apartment or a four bedroom home, having a plan will have your home packed in no time. Certain apps will help you create a plan or checklist allowing you to pack each room with ease.
Move Planner- This app will allow you to create a checklist for your entire move. Keep track of what has been packed, which room has the most items and sort through your inventory in a snap.
Sortly- Never forget where any of your possessions are with this app. We all have items in the attic, storage and closet that we need but have completely forgotten about. This app provides an easy solution to enter and track all of your possessions when you are planning your move.
The day has finally arrived. It is time to have everything packed and load it on the truck. But what is in each box? How will you know where to put your belongings when you get to your new home? You need a way to keep track of what is in each box and these apps provide the solution.
Moving Day- This app will help you keep your items and boxes organized on moving day. Create your own inventory. Now you can make sure that everything is packed, loaded and delivered without skipping a beat.
Moving Van- Now you can easily identify what is in each box. You can forget about tearing into a box to see what items are in it. Create a label and identify the contents of each box. It will make unpacking as simple as it can be.
For The Drive
If you are moving cross country you will need some help during your travels. Stopping to fill up, finding a place to eat or just needing to stretch your legs, it is important to find the best places along the way. These apps will provide the necessary assistance to help you on the road to your new home.
Road Ninja- Why read each exit sign with anticipation that there will be affordable gas and some good food? Road Ninja will just show you where they are. Now you can find the best gas prices, your favorite food and whatever you may need on your journey.
FuelMyRoute- Moving is already a financial burden, so why pay even more in gas during your drive? This app will help you find the best prices on gas throughout your drive to help you keep more cash in your pocket.
So don’t go through moving alone. After updating your status, go ahead and download one of these apps the make your life a little easier. There are even apps that will help you with moving pets, moving overseas and so much more. Use that smart phone for what it was made for.
Guest Post by Caleb McElveen, a media relations specialist and writer for HigherVisibility. Caleb contributes tips and advice on real estate, finance and relocation.
Whether you’re trading in your city condo for the suburban life, or you’re an empty nester ready to downsize, many moves require getting rid of your current furniture and belongings. Instead of leaving your spare couch curbside, consider giving your gently-used items to charity organizations. Give back during your move by donating to one of the six national charities below.
Move for Hunger
During a move, most food is typically thrown away. Move for Hunger is an organization that works with moving companies across the country who donate their time to deliver your food to a local food bank. Choose from their network of movers and donate your food here.
Goodwill prides itself on using revenue made from donated items to fund employment programs for veterans, seniors, single mothers and people with disabilities. There are over 165 Goodwill locations across the country where you can drop off your gently-used items. Learn how to donate here.
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture and home accessories to the public at a fraction of the retail price. You can donate at several locations in the U.S. and all proceeds from your donated items will go to building homes and communities across the country.
When you donate gently-used furniture to the Salvation Army, the proceeds fund 142 Adult Rehabilitation Centers across the world. These centers provide housing, work opportunities and therapy for people struggling with addiction. Learn how to donate here.
Furniture Bank Association of North America
The Furniture Bank Association collects gently-used furniture and household items and provides them at little or no cost to families struggling to furnish their home, including those impacted by domestic abuse, homelessness, fire and other natural disasters. Find a furniture bank in your area here.
GreenDrop collects gently-used household items and sells them on behalf of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the National Federation of the Blind. All proceeds from your donated items will go to organizations that support military veterans and the visually impaired. GreenDrop also provides a free Home Clean Out Concierge Service, where a representative will come to your home to pack your unwanted items and prepare them for pickup.
After you clean house, pack like a pro with our top packing and moving tips here.
If you’re looking to add a pleasant move experience to the top of your gratitude list, it’s important to do your own online research before booking a mover. To make it easier to identify the most insightful online reviews, MovingCompanyReviews.com (MCR) data revealed the qualities of a top rated mover review (according to five star reviews for the top 10 movers nationwide on MovingCompanyReviews.com). When you’re searching to book a mover, make sure the below qualities are mentioned in the online reviews.
Top five qualities that make up a five-star review:
- Worked hard and efficiently (as indicated in 100% of reviews )
- Staff was friendly and professional (as indicated in 97% of reviews)
- Movers were on time or early (as indicated in 73% of reviews)
- Movers handled belongings carefully and protected the homes e.g. in bad weather (as indicated in 66% of reviews)
- Staff was easy to communicate with and proactively followed up post-move (as indicated in 52% of reviews)
Traits to identify when reading online reviews:
- Expert knowledge: When hiring someone to move your belongings, you want a crew who works quickly, efficiently and knows expert tricks of the trade. You will be in awe of how quick and seamless a move goes when it is clear that the movers are experienced and professional.
- Respectful: The best movers have friendly and respectful crews. These crews will make you feel comfortable, despite the fact that they are strangers who are in your home and handling your belongings. MCR reviews have mentioned that the best crews are even funny and enjoyable to have around.
- Timeliness: Top ranked movers on MCR repeatedly mention timeliness. No one ever complained that a mover came too early.
- Thoughtfulness: The best movers will take care of your home and belongings using the proper protective materials (blankets, shrink wrap etc) and will take special care to protect a home during bad weather like rain or snow.
- Honesty: If a problem occurs, the best movers are proactive about addressing it. Complications will happen, but it is the way that the movers handle issues that really matters. Several reviewers acknowledged that something went wrong but were impressed that the company owner or foreman stepped in to make things right – promptly and professionally.
Need a place to start your research? Visit http://www.movingcompanyreviews.com/ to search by your location.Before booking a mover, interview at least three different moving companies to avoid booking an unprofessional or unlicensed mover.
Sometimes there’s no such thing as a “simple” move.
Just Five Days To Find A Mover And Move Out
When Heidi Weclew hired local moving company, Mr. Mover, based in Orlando, to move her out of her two-bedroom apartment into a new one just 15 minutes away, she had no idea it would become one of the worst consumer experiences of her life.
Weclew, a real estate agent, has several moves under her belt and has had generally positive experiences with movers in the past. But when her job transfer unexpectedly fell through last Spring, she only had five days to hire a mover before she had to be out of her apartment.
So she went online and searched for local movers, checked out reviews and ratings and requested quotes. Mr. Mover quickly became the frontrunner because of their reasonable hourly rate, availability and temporary storage options.
“There were no red flags I could find online or from my conversation with them during the estimate process,” Weclew said. “Everything checked out and they seemed pretty straightforward with what they would and wouldn’t do and how much it would cost.”
$2,000 In Damages And $120 In Protection
On her scheduled move day, Weclew recalled the movers showed up on time, but the crew was unkempt, had no uniforms and showed up in an unmarked truck. They also immediately hit a pipe while backing into her apartment’s loading dock.
By the end of the day, her estimated four-hour move took twice as long to complete, resulting in a higher move cost. She also said she sustained nearly $2,000 in damages to her belongings, including a new 50” flat screen, dresser, mirror and leather couch.
Weclew also did not see a contract until the end of her move and despite the company’s assurances that she would be fairly compensated for the damage, she was only offered $120 based on the mover’s Released Value Protection policy, which makes them liable for no more than $0.60/pound per item.
“In hindsight, I would have purchased supplemental insurance or moved delicate items myself,” she said. “I figured if I needed something extra, that would be told to me. I put too much faith in the moving company.”
To help others learn from her experience, Weclew has posted reviews on consumer advocate sites like MovingCompanyReviews.com, Ripoff Report and through word of mouth with her local Realtor groups.
More Tips To Help You Avoid A Move Day Nightmare
- Find a reputable mover that has been independently vetted.
A great place to start is by hiring a certified Pro Mover, administered by the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA). Some states like Florida also have their own Promo Mover program, administered by AMSA and the Florida Movers and Warehousemen’s Association (FMWA).
“It’s very easy for companies to misrepresent themselves online, through fraudulent reviews or by faking their license and insurance coverage,” said Andy Newitt, FMWA Chairman. “This is why we highly recommend that consumers get in-home estimates and review the documents given to them by the estimator. Florida law requires that movers provide all of the paperwork prior to starting the job.”
MovingCompanyReviews.com also shows whether a mover has the proper licenses, with links to the state authority to make sure they’re up to date.
- Good movers book fast so start researching movers and requesting written quotes at least four weeks before your desired move date.
- Be prepared for anything. Even when you book a great mover, stuff happens.
Look into affordable move protection for extra coverage of your belongings and make sure you understand what your mover is liable for (and if you’re willing to take the risk). Many movers also offer additional valuation coverage; so don’t hesitate to ask for more info during the estimate process if you prefer this option.
Remember, reputable movers are behind many happy moves. Check out more tips on how to find a trustworthy mover.
Moving can be scary enough – packing, address changes, purchasing what seems to be an endless supply of boxes. Avoid a nightmarish move by being extra precautious in the cites with the scariest movers (based on MovingCompanyReviews.com verified reviews with the lowest rated movers – as defined by two stars or less and/or the most caution flags). If you’re moving in one of these cities, visit MovingCompanyReviews.com, to find the top rated movers in your area to avoid your own moving horror story.
1.) New York: 44% of movers had 2 stars or less (as determined by verified consumer reviews).
2.) Houston: 38% of movers had 2 stars or less (as determined by verified consumer reviews).
3.) Miami: 31% of movers had caution flags (as determined by verified consumer reviews).
4.) Chicago: 20% of movers had 2 stars or less (as determined by verified consumer reviews).
Scariest Moving Tactics:
1.) If a mover is not licensed for the services they advertise.
How to conquer your fear: Visit MovingCompanyReviews.com to verify if a mover’s services are licensed.
2.) If a mover has multiple names or addresses listed online.
How to conquer your fear: MCR displays a caution flag on listings for suspicious movers. Also, perform a web search for the mover’s name and address. If results return multiple names for the same address, or if the street view is a storefront or home (and not a real place of business) run the other way.
3.) If a mover has bad reviews on reputable review sites
How to conquer your fear: Visit MovingCompanyReviews.com to see if other consumers have submitted a verified review for the mover in question. You can see how many stars the mover has, if the mover has a caution flag, and if the mover is licensed and insured.
4.) If they don’t provide a written estimate
How to conquer your fear: Require that any mover you hire provides a written estimate. If the mover declines this request, you’re more at risk for surprise charges.
5.) If the quote provided is significantly less than competitive quotes
How to conquer your fear: Get three quotes before you make your final decision. A scary mover might also lowball an estimate only to surprise you with charges on moving day, or even hold your items hostage until you’ve paid the higher amount. Avoid any quote that seems too good to be true.
6.) If the movers show up with an unmarked truck. This suggests that they’ve rented the truck and have uninsured and untrained workers performing the services.
How to conquer your fear: Choose a mover whose trucks you’ve seen around the neighborhood. They’re more likely to be a legitimate mover that others in your area have trusted.
7.) If the movers don’t come to your home to provide an in-home estimate for a large or interstate move.
How to conquer your fear: Don’t hire a mover who won’t come to your home to assess what the estimate will be if your move is an expensive one. An in-home estimate is the best way to make sure the mover completely understands what will involved in the job, helping you to avoid surprise charges.
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