Tips for hiring the best moving company

Tips for hiring the best moving company may not be that easy to come. Yet with millions of moves every year in the South Africa, it’s a minor miracle that most of them go smoothly, with no issues whatsoever. But even with so many smooth moves, scams or shoddy practices do occur. It’s in your interest to be informed about every step in the process 

Finding a quality moving company you can trust should be a priority on anyone’s moving checklist (unless you’ve decided to completely DYI your move). Here are 8 tips for hiring movers.

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Tips for hiring the best moving company

Here are our 8 tips for hiring the best moving company:

1. A moving inventory is a must

A reputable moving company will take inventory of all your belongings and determine the bulk and weight of your move either in person or through a virtual survey. The estimator should be thorough and check all of your storage places such as cupboards, drawers, garages and bookcases. A large component of the mover’s price is based on the weight of your stuff and the space your goods take up in the truck. Be sure you understand this estimate and that it is as accurate as possible.

2. Get a thorough walk-through

An estimator who performs a quick walk-through without noting what you plan to move is going to be off the mark. A good estimator will ask questions about what you plan to take from your current house to your next home. So, be sure you are prepared to tell the estimator which items you don’t want on the truck — the items you plan to give away, donate, sell in a yard sale, or leave behind for the new owners.

3. Don’t pay a large deposit

Reputable movers usually don’t request over 50% deposit to secure booking in advance. Avoid requesting service at last minute where you may be required to make full payments to secure a booking. If you pay in advance, you have no control over when you will see your belongings again. When you do pay, use a credit card to help protect you from possible fraudulent activity.

4. Avoid moving companies with a name switch

Some companies avoid being assessed by doing business under a variety of names. Be sure the company has a local address and information about licensing and insurance. Their employees should answer the phone with the full name of the business. Search online to see if there are complaints about the company.

5. Get references for movers

Ask your friends and family for recommendations, or alternatively check for online reviews on sites like google, hellopeter, facebook or home improvement. This is one of the most important tips for hiring the best moving company. If the company does not have reviews, ask any mover you speak with for references. Tell them you want a list of three customers from your area who have moved in the past three months. Call those customers and ask direct questions about their experiences.

6. Avoid packing costs

If you pack your belongings yourself, the mover generally isn’t responsible for damage to them. However, if you have your mover do the packing, you may pay inflated prices for boxes and packing materials, not to mention time and labour. If you decide to have the movers pack, ask about the packers’ experience. Most packers are careful, but you want to avoid the chance of getting someone who tosses whatever they can into a box and then seals it up with little regard for breakage.

7. Beware of extra fees

Do you live in a two-story house or are you moving into one? Moving to or from a 10th-floor apartment? If so, you’ll likely be charged extra for the movers’ having to negotiate stairs and elevators. Have a narrow street that won’t fit a moving van? Expect a surcharge for the transfer of your belongings to a smaller truck for delivery. Make sure to ask your mover about any additional fees that may apply to your situation.

8. Avoid a blank moving contract

Never sign a blank contract. Get absolutely everything in writing. The mover’s estimate and any extra fees should be listed, as well as your pickup and delivery dates. Read your contract and make sure all of your belongings are listed. If your laptop isn’t labelled on the inventory form you sign before the driver leaves, you can’t expect it to be in the box when the truck arrives. You can’t file a claim for something that doesn’t appear on the inventory list.

Bonus Tip: Tips for hiring the best moving company 

You’ve done your diligence and got at least three quotes, researched the companies you’ve selected, checked their reviews, and learned about your rights and responsibilities. You are ready to hire a moving company. One of the important tips for hiring the best moving company before you take the plunge, is coming up with questions to ask that will help you learn more about the moving companies you’re considering. They should also uncover any that will indicate you should move on, like lowballing the estimate or lacking moving insurance. Some good questions to ask are included here.