The MovingCompanyReviews team has been working hard this past year to make the best online moving resource out there. But what happens when we use the site for our own move? Are we getting it right? Are there parts of the process we could do better? I recently put our site to the test with my own move, and learned some things along the way.
1. Even if you’re a planner, emergency moves happen.
Here at MCR, we sometimes giggle at the last minute moves people request on our site. You want to move tomorrow? The day before a holiday? In the summer? Really? But, I recently found myself needing movers just 3 days in advance right after the New Year’s holiday. Not ideal, but I had realistic expectations, knowing that movers may not be available on my preferred date and time. Luckily it’s slow season, so there were no problems with availability, but this won’t be the case with spring/summer moves.
Take-away: If booking a move less than two weeks in advance, be prepared to be flexible. Request quotes from as many reputable movers as you can, and understand that you may not get the date and time you want.
2. Even in this online world, the personal touch matters
We’re all busy and most of us want to avoid talking on the phone to schedule things like moves. But, I found myself preferring the movers who contacted me by phone and who were friendly and helpful. When a mover only communicated with me by email, I found it cold and impersonal. Responsiveness was also huge – I carved out time in my day to plan my move and wanted it done; companies who didn’t respond to me within a few hours lost my business.
Take-away: We don’t require it on MCR, but we encourage users of our site to provide a contact phone number in addition to email. The experience you have with the mover’s phone rep can tell you a lot about how they treat their customers. And you’ll hear back from them more quickly, enabling you to move on with your day sooner.
3. Comparing estimates was difficult
I requested estimates from four well-rated companies. Each company handled their estimates differently. I found myself making a spreadsheet to compare # of men, estimated hours, transportation costs, materials costs (are wardrobe rentals included or extra? what about tape?) etc. In the end, I went with the company whose price was close to but higher than some of the others, because I felt confident that I knew every possible cost upfront and there would be no surprises.
Take-away: Understand every cost your mover could potentially charge you. If it’s not clear, ask them about it. Make sure you’re accounting for every cost when you make your final decision. It’s not easy to compare apples-to-apples. Soon, we’ll launch some tools to make this super easy for you.
4. Used boxes worked great
I used boxes from Usedcardboardboxes.com, which you can research and purchase here. They were strong, in great shape, and a good deal. They may look funny – check out my photo – but they work. Also, check out our box challenge video here.
Take-Away: Consider ordering boxes online here. . They’re fast, easy and you can cross one more trip to Home Depot off the list.
5. A great mover doesn’t flinch at bad weather
We live in Chicago. Winters are cold and messy. Our move weekend was no exception, but our movers were right on time and knew exactly how to deal with the weather. They didn’t complain. They took off their shoes inside my house (really!). We helped by making sure our walkway was cleared and salted, but when they decided to use a slightly different route, they did the shoveling.
Take-Away: If you live in a climate with crazy weather, ask your potential mover how they handle it. You should feel confident in their answer and that they’ve done weather-challenged moves hundreds of times.
6. A great mover shows feats of strength, creativity and speed
They should have an olympic category for this. Once you’ve used great movers, you’ll never want to move yourself again. And you’ll do everything you can to only move with the best. Our guys whipped shrink-wrap around our beds and couch in rapid time. They fit large furniture through narrow stairways on their backs. They flipped, they padded, they spun, they lifted. And they never seemed to tire. Go movers!
Take-Away: Good movers are professionals. This is their job. They’ve done it thousands of times and they can do a better job than you ever could. Go ahead, be in awe.
7. You’ll see dollar signs as that tape gun and shrink wrap whirls
I knew that my movers weren’t charging me to tape blankets around my stuff, which gave me peace of mind. Otherwise, I probably would’ve freaked out as I watched them do their Olympic-style moves as described in #7.
Take-Away: Refer to tip #3. Don’t have a heart attack. Know what the extras are going to cost you.
8. I was unprepared for tipping
We had cash on hand but I forgot how much I should tip. I had to look it up last minute.
Take-Away: Be prepared. Use our guide here and make sure you have enough cash to settle up when the movers leave.
9. Leaving a great review felt good
Sure, I manage the MCR site so I’ve gotta review my movers. But I took satisfaction knowing that I was applauding a job well done and hopefully helping others find a great mover.
Take-Away: Get some karma points for reviewing your mover on MCR. Good or bad. And especially if others’ reviews helped you make your decision.
10. I’m ready to do it all again
Yep, this was a temporary move. We’ve got to move back to our permanent place in just a few weeks. I’ll check back in after that move and let you know how it went.
Take-Away: If it hadn’t gone so well, I probably would be dreading this. Moving is never fun, but it doesn’t have to be terrible if you do your research, know what to expect and choose a great mover.
P.S. Fellow Chicagoans, you’d probably like to know who I used. Check out my review here.