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Moving FAQs

Moving Questions

Questions & Answers

When is the best time to move?

The summer months, May 15 - September 15 are the busiest times for moving companies. For all professional moving companies the number of shipments at the end of these months is extremely heavy. You should take all of the factors into consideration when deciding the best time for you to move. If you have some flexibility in your schedule, provide the moving company with a five day period for loading your shipment. This allows the individuals who schedule the drivers and crew members more flexibility when scheduling your moving day. If possible, be flexible with your destination timeframe too. Remember that you most likely are not the only shipment on the truck. If you stay flexible, it should make a difference.

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When should I begin contacting moving companies for estimates?

The more notice the better, especially if you are moving during the busy season. Estimators can come into your home to complete what they refer to as a "visual survey of your household goods shipment" even six weeks prior to your move. Add even more time to make a decision if your employer requires you to submit estimates for approval. Four weeks before your actual load day you should decide which mover you will use and then call the mover to confirm your booking and schedule your packing, loading and delivery dates. However, this timeline can be shortened in the off-peak season which is September 15-May 15.

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What happens when a relocation consultant comes to my home?

The relocation consultant goes to your residence to complete the visual survey of your goods. After this is completed, the relocation consultant will calculate the weight, packing cost, and any other charge of the shipment. Remember that the relocation consultant must clearly see what items you're moving so he/she can provide you with an accurate estimate. Attics, crawl spaces, and cluttered closets can be deceiving, so organize your house before the relocation consultant comes.

Don't be alarmed if the relocation consultant goes through all of your closets and cabinets or even looks under beds and on top of cabinets. He/she must be able to see all the items that need packing and will be moved. Be sure to notify the relocation consultant of any items that are out of view but will need to be moved. Also point out any items you will be eliminating.

Getting rid of all items you do not plan to more will save you a great deal of trouble on loading day. If you don't do this, there may not be enough space for your shipment. This will not occur on one or two small items, but if you anticipated eliminating an entire bedroom suite and do not do so, it is probable that this action could violate the integrity of your binding estimate and/or make the driver run out of room on the van.

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What is a binding estimate?

A binding estimate is a contract that you make in advance that clarifies the precise cost of the move based on the services requested or needed at the time of the estimate. If additional services are requested or required at either the origin or destination, the total cost will still increase.

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What is a non-binding estimate?

A non-binding estimate is the mover's approximation of the cost based on the accessorial services requested and the estimated weight of the shipment. A non-binding estimate does not bind the carrier and the final charges will be based on the actual weight and tariff provisions in effect. The driver will weigh his trailer before loading your shipment, and once your shipment is loaded the driver will weigh his trailer again. All other charges are determined at your origin address. However, in rare circumstances, if there are any additional charges that are incurred during the delivery process, the driver will provide you with the additional cost.

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How is the cost of my shipment calculated?

The transportation charges for moving to a new state are based on the weight of your shipment and mileage. Be sure to ask your relocation consultant to explain each item charge that appears on your estimate. Some of the additional charges that may be included are packing, valuation or coverage, bulky article charge for oversize items, crating, and extra labor. Be sure you fully understand all the charges so that you can accurately compare the estimates you receive.

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How should I pay and what are the payment methods?

All charges must be paid before your shipment is unloaded at destination, according to tariff provisions. Payments can be made using certified check, cash, money order and/or credit card. Evaluate these options with your relocation consultant and/or the customer service representative assigned to your shipment. If your employer is paying for the move, the employer may arrange, in advance, to be billed via invoice. Whichever option you choose is fine, but just be sure to have all this arranged before packing and loading. If the method of payment is not organized before loading day, it can cause you problems on delivery day.

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What is an Order for Service?

This is a document that the mover prepares before they transport your shipment. The Order for Service gives you written confirmation of the services that you requested to be performed with your shipment. It also lists any special services that you ordered, the dates for the pickup and delivery of your shipment, the amount of valuation that you requested, and a place and telephone number where the mover can contact you during the move.

The charges that you will be assessed for your move also appear on the Order of Service. If you are moving a non-binding estimate, the Order of Service will show the amount of the estimated non-binding charges, the method of payment for the charges, and, in case the actual charges exceed the non-binding estimate, the maximum amount that you are required to pay at the time of delivery to obtain possession of your shipment (you will have 30 days after delivery to pay the remaining balance of the charges). If you are moving under a binding estimate, the Order of Service will show the changes that you will be required to pay upon delivery, based on the terms of payment and the binding estimate. Your mover and you must sign the Order for Service.

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What is a Bill of Lading?

Every move prepares a Bill of Lading for every shipment transported. It is the receipt for your shipment and the contract with your mover for their transportation. You should receive a copy of the Bill of Lading from the driver who loads your shipment.

Before signing the Bill of Lading make sure that you have read and understand all the information on it. The document lists the mover and specifies when the transportation is to be performed. It also clarifies the terms and conditions for payment of the total expenses, and it provides information regarding the valuation of your shipment and the amount the mover will be liable for in the event of loss or damage. If you are moving under a non-binding estimate, the Bill of Lading will also state the maximum amount required to be paid at the time of delivery.

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What is an Inventory?

Usually the driver will inventory your shipment as he/she loads it, but this is not required by law. The inventory gives a detailed, descriptive listing of your household goods and the condition of each item when received by the mover.

Double check that everything listed on the inventory is correct. This may not be the easiest task because some items may have PBO, which means packed-by-owner, written under their description. The content of these cartons can't and won't be listed because the driver is not able to look inside each and every box. Another thing you may find written on a line item in the inventory is CP, which means Carrier Packed container.

In the middle column on the inventory is a line that has many letters and number associated with a specific item but it may make no sense to you. This column is where the mover uses inventory code to record the condition of that particular item. In order to understand this code, look at the top of the inventory sheet for the key that explains what that code means. C - chipped, SC - scratched, 3 – right side of piece, and 8 for the top of the piece. This is a simplified way for the driver to note any existing damage or irregularity.

Remember that this inventory is for you to keep track of what is shipped and the condition of each item. If damage occurs on a particular item during the loading process, get the inventory tag on that item and make a note in the far right hand column on the line for that item. This document will be scrutinized when the claims process is initiated so it is imperative to have the damage clearly noted.

This inventory should be used at the destination when your goods are delivered. Use it to check that all items were delivered and that they all remain in the same condition. If there was damage to any items notify the driver.

In many cases a piece of furniture for example has been in your home for so many years that you grew accustomed to looking at it in a certain place and light. When you bring that piece into your new home, you may notice damage that has actually been there for a long period of time. The driver will have noted the scratch or chip at your origin address already though. If you are not sure if it was existing or new damage, ask your driver.

Drivers are very careful about the way they handle your items and the inventory is their safeguard against felonious damage claims. Use the inventory also. Ensure that you are protected just as the driver will use it to protect him/her.

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Can I pack anything in the drawers of my dresser or desk?

It is recommended that you pack all items and leave drawers empty. All loose items must be stored in boxes to prevent damage or loss.

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Will the driver load all the boxes that I packed?

Yes, as long as the driver declares them safe for shipment.

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How should I pack my waterbed?

Waterbeds must be drained completely. Fiber-filled waterbeds need to be professionally vacuum-drained before your move date.

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Can I pack and move my plants?

No, the stress and hear of being inside of the moving trailer normally causes them to die. Some states will admit plants under certain conditions but many states do not allow the entry of plants, while other states have no regulation at all. Check your state's regulations prior to moving the plants to your own vehicle.

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How do I prepare my appliances for moving?

Appliances such as refrigerators, dryers, and washers must be disconnected, and the washer must have a stabilizer installed. If you have questions, your estimator can help you understand how these items are serviced. All local moving companies have business relationships with local service providers that perform these services. Check with your mover to find out who your mover will be using because you will need to let these people into your home to complete their service.

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How will my upholstered furniture be protected?

Moves use a special procedure, stretch-wrap. It is a heavy, clear plastic wrap that will protect your furniture from being soiled.

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Am I protected against loss or damage while my goods are in transit?

Yes, but the degree of protection and how much its costs depend upon the valuation coverage you chose. This may be confusing but it is important that you understand all the parts of your contract and coverage.

The valuation selection you chose determines the basis upon which any claim will be adjusted and the maximum liability of your mover. The liability of a mover for loss or damage is based upon the carrier's tariffs and exclusions. Valuation is not insurance; it is the liability of the moving company. Check with the provider of your homeowners insurance to find out if you are covered for moving.

Released Value - This costs you nothing. This option provides only minimal protection and is not sufficient coverage for almost all shipments. It will pay you $.60 per pound per article if lost or damaged. That means a piece of furniture weighing 75 lbs would receive a settlement of $45.00. If you select this coverage, you will be asked to initial the Bill of Lading. This is only applicable if your insurance policy covers your goods for their entire value and this would be considered supplemental coverage for you.

Full Extra Care Protection – This is often referred to as "full replacement value" or "full value protection". If you purchase this, all items that are lost, damaged, or destroyed will be either repaired, replaced with like items, or a cash settlement will be made of the current market replacement value, regardless of the age of the lost or damaged item. Depreciation of the lost or damaged item is not a factor in deciding replacement value.

The cost of full value protection may be further subject to various deductible levels of liability that may reduce your cost. Be sure to ask your mover for the details of their specific plan.

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How do I prepare my home and myself for move day?

Your mover may ask you to select a window of consecutive days during which your goods will be loaded. This is referred to as a "load spread" and the amount of days depends on the size of your shipment and the time of year. Remember to try to be as flexible as possible especially during the busy season.

The customer service representative and/or driver will call you at least 24 hours before load day to notify you of the arrival time. At this time you should share any changes with your mover that may affect loading day, such as if the street in front of your new home is under construction, preventing the large over-the-road truck to get near your home. You may not have finished packing or forgot something; in this case you should call your mover so that they can send out a professional packer.

Make sure your new home is ready for the crew. Remove anything off the porch and clear walkways. If you know certain items will not fit through, take doors off the hinges. Remove all small throw rugs from walkways.

Drivers will prepare the home with door jamb protectors, railing protectors, and runners if applicable. All this will help save the little knicks that occur during the loading process.

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How will I know when my shipment is going to be delivered?

Your driver will contact you 24 hours before delivery. The moving company will assign a customer service representative as your primary contact and he/she will be able to update you with the delivery date.

Be sure to give the driver all your contact information. The phone number at the new home is only good if there is a person there to take the call. If you can be reached at a hotel, work, temporary residence, or by email let the driver know. If you will be impossible to contact, make arrangements with a family member or a friend to serve as the liaison between you and the driver and provide the driver with that contact info.

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