F.A.Q. for Long Distance Moving
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK YOUR MOVER AND WHY
Are you an employee of the mover or an independent broker?
You may get a broker that plays a significant role in helping customers find the right moving company. Remember that a broker can’t give you a binding estimate an also that he is not responsible for any loss or damage to your property.
Can you provide me with a binding quote?
Keep in mind that a broker cannot give you a binding quote. Any quote you receive will not be binding. It MUST come only from the moving company.
Does your quote also include any extra charges?
Be certain that any estimate you receive includes extra charges for long carries from the van, stairs, parking charges, appliance charges, storage costs, awkward objects and fuel charges. Make sure the company also brings equipment necessary to move heavy and awkward items on their van.
Will my property transport without being transferred en route?
Sometimes it does become necessary to transfer your goods to another vehicle. Naturally, extra handling increases the likelihood of damages.
Tell me about payment. What will your company accept?
Some moving companies only accept cash, and it is not recommended that you choose one that does. Also be absolutely certain what amount will be due upon delivery as opposed to the deposit amount and whether or not deposits are refundable or credited against your final bill).
What about insurance coverage and costs? What else is available?
You know that basic coverage is limited to sixty cents per pound. Ask what upgrades you can get for better protection and what it will cost. Third parties (like insurance companies) may also provide coverage for your move.
Tell me about how you handle losses and damage from breakage? What’s the process?
This follows up on the preceding question and will tell you just who is responsible and for what. If you packed yourself, the company may not cover you for damage.
Moving Tips for Self Packing
If you decide to pack-up the house yourself instead of paying extra to have the long distance movers do it, here are the materials and supplies you will need and some useful packing tips.
- Keep the following supplies on hand for doing your packing: Marking pen; newspapers or unprinted newsprint paper; bubble wrap; tape; scissors and a tape measure.
- Purchase and utilize only strong boxes that you can tightly secure. Purchase extra-heavy box for packing dishes and wardrobe cartons for your clothes. Remember that people usually underestimate their need for boxes, so buy at least 30% more than you think you’ll need.
- Pack any computer, audio or video equipment in their original cartons (We hope you saved them). If screws need to be removed, affix hem to the object they came from with masking tape. Label all cables and tighten screw for transport.
- Avoid placing more than fifty pounds of items in any single box.
- Label each box plainly as to where it came from/where it goes. Example: Master Bath, Jimmy’s Room, Den, etc. Mark packed breakables as FRAGILE-This End Up.
- Label boxes as Load/Unload First and Load/Unload Last.
- Protect items with bubble wrap, tissue or even towels, blankets or throw pillows.
- Pack books tightly in small cartons. Remember, books are heavy. If they smell musty, sprinkle a little talcum powder between the pages. Store them for a month or two prior to opening to eliminate that musty odor.
- Rugs & Drapes should be dry cleaned before your move and left in their wrappers that the cleaner supplied.
- Medicines and drugs should be packed in a leak-proof carton. Seal any bottle of liquid by tightening the caps and holding down with masking tape.
Carry valuables and vital documents with you, not in the van; Check with the U.S. Department of Agriculture about the rules for transporting plants from state to state. Some states won’t let them in.
Other moving tips:
- Plan ahead to get the supply of boxes you will need. Moving companies will sell them to you, but you can save by buying them elsewhere or even collecting them from the local supermarkets. If you plan to use wardrobe cartons for your clothes, these are better obtained from the mover and come with a bracket to put hangars full of clothes on. Get your boxes together 30 days or more before your move.
- Select the appropriate sized cartons. Heavy items including books, record albums, cans of food, etc. should be packed in smaller, stronger cartons. Special cartons for mirrors, oil paintings glass shelves, clocks and mattresses should be purchased from your mover, since you probably won’t find them anywhere else.
- Local moves won’t require some items to be packed at all. Mirrors, paintings and other things can be placed between mattresses for protection. They do need to be packed if they will be stored somewhere. Lamps and their shades should always be packed as they are very easy to damage in transit.
- Do one room at a time and label all those cartons when you’re finished. The total task seems much less daunting if done a room at a time.
- Tape carton bottoms. Do this before you pack them and know that they won’t come open when carried.
- Pack heavier items on the bottom of each box so they won’t break lighter items.
- Use plenty of paper. Wrap each breakable item separately in paper or bubble wrap. You can also line the bottom, sides and top of each box with paper for even more protection.
- Properly place breakables in the carton. Stack plates by size vertically with paper between each plate. Wrap and place smaller, lighter items such as cups on top of the heavier plates and platters. Fill the carton to the top but don’t over-fill so it won’t close. Place a layer of towels or sheets on the very top for extra cushioning of the contents.
- Close and seal each carton with tape. Nothing should be sticking out.
- Label every carton as to where it goes and if it’s fragile as already stated above.
- Stack cartons made up of the same sizes perhaps three or four cartons high. This permits the long distance movers to place them on a dolly and wheel them out quickly and safely.
When the big day finally arrives, keep calm. Some people run around like chickens with their heads cut off and get all stressed out, especially when little ‘glitches’ pop up in the process. If you followed the plans we’ve provided, it should proceed smoothly.
If you had arranged for the movers to pack, they may come a day early to get most of it done. They do packing with a team of people who know just how to get the job done quickly and with a minimum of damage. They will bring all necessary cartons, tape and other supplies with them. Any damage they discover will be discussed with you and marked on the inventory as it is prepared. They will also label every box so they know where it goes and you should be there to advise them on this. Individual unboxed items will be labeled, numbered and inventoried.
The men and moving van will arrive at the specified time and go to work. They will load all your property on the truck and begin the transit. You should be sure they put all the right items in the proper rooms and that everything has arrived. If this trip involves a very long trip, separate drivers my take your load through. In some cases, the load is packed into a large shipping container for travel (especially internationally) by boat or train.
In the even your property is going into storage for a period of time, it will be driven to the storage facility and stay there until you’re ready to receive it. Then, it will be re-loaded on a van and driven to the final destination. If your load has been in storage, pay special attention to the condition of all items.
The first challenge in deciding whether to move yourself or hire professionals, depends on where you’re moving to and the comparative costs. For local moves, especially if you don’t have too many possessions, do-it-yourself moving is okay if you don’t mind the work. For long distance moves, you need to calculate what it will cost you to do the job vs. professional moving estimates. You need to consider the cost of the rental truck, supplies and pads; fuel cost; meals; lodging; etc. Don’t forget about insurance and the cost of any extra help you may need as well.
There are some very-good reasons for hiring professional movers as opposed to doing the job yourself. For one thing, the professionals will save you lots of time and effort plus all the stress that comes with doing the job yourself. If your move is a long haul interstate transit, professional moving men make good sense indeed. This may seem the expensive choice, but may not be so if you include time off from your job and perhaps a sizeable part of your paycheck for costs. Not only that, but the professional movers eliminate all the planning, packing, loading, driving, unloading so that you can concentrate on important things like getting settled.
Also, don’t forget the importance of your personal property. No matter how carefully you pack, load and transport your goods, you are probably no where close to being as skilled at it as the professionals are. After all, they do this for a living and with considerable skill. If something happens to your property while in their care, they are responsible and you will be compensated. However, if you do the job and items are lost or damaged, you’re just plain out of luck.
Six to Eight Weeks Prior to Moving Day
- Start working on the details of your move. Being organized will make the task smooth and easy, so get an early start.
- Be certain that your move is scheduled with the moving company.
- Decide what you will move and what you will sell, give away or otherwise dispose of. This might be an excellent time for a yard or garage sale.
- Gather all the necessary boxes, tape, and packing materials that you will need to do all or some of your own packing. Boxes and cartons can be purchased at supply stores or at truck rental firms like U-Haul or Ryder. They also can supply blank newsprint and bubble packs for wrapping and protecting your property. Remember that boxes purchased from a moving supply company are designed for the job. They are heavy and have consistent sizes for easy stacking in the van..
- Consider placement of your property in your new home. Knowing where you want to put all the furniture will eliminate last-minute decisions at your destination and require less time from the movers.
- Familiarize yourself with your new community. You can easily request information from the school system, community groups, parks and recreation facilities and, of course, the area Chamber of Commerce.
- Make travel arrangements early. This includes flight, hotel and rental car reservations. Keep this schedule flexible, because changes or delays can happen.
- Save all receipts related to your move in a special large envelope or folder. Many moving expenses can be deducted from your income taxes, but you need receipts in case you are audited later on. You’ll also want to have an IRS Change of Address Form # 8822, which you can get online at www.irs.gov website.
- Set up final details about any and all real estate or rental needs that you may have. Don’t leave any loose ends.
- Take care of changes of address by notifying the postal service, your insurance(s) carrier(s); doctors, etc. Also notify the publishers of all magazines and other periodicals.
- Medical and dental records should be obtained and kept with you on the trip. Some doctors will only send them to another doctor at your destination by request.
- Return anything you borrowed to their owners.
- Notify schools in old and new locations, arrange for records to be transferred and start the registration process for your children in their new schools.
4 to 5 Weeks Until Moving Day
- In the event that you haven’t already done so, obtain a change of address form from your local postal service office or online from www.usps.com . Once filled out, make enough copies of this completed form to send to friends and family members; insurance companies; banks; credit card firms; medical providers; magazines or newspapers that you subscribe to; and any clubs or associations.
- Decide whether you or professional movers will do your packing. It’s probably better that you let the moving company do most of it as they know how to pack to prevent damage and use the least amount of materials.
- Prepare a list of what property is going with the van, what you are taking and what is being sold, given away or thrown away if you haven’t already done so.
- Make your children part of this process. Let them pack some of their toys and games under your watchful eye. Talk with them about setting up their new rooms.
- Arrange utility shut off and turn on dates in your current and new locations. Don’t forget the cable TV people and trash collectors.
- Banking arrangements should be completed. If necessary, transfer some money to your new bank account at your destination city.
- Find out the requirements for your new driver’s license(s) and automobile registrations. Request any necessary forms.
3 Weeks Until Moving Day
- Notify your moving company of any changes or delays in your schedule or if you will require any extra services like packing and unpacking, moving a piano, or storage requirements and get the prices for these.
- Decide if you are going to do any packing yourself. Let the mover’s agent know if there is anything you wish them to pack.
- Make final arrangements for moving your car with either the mover or car carrier.
- Plants cannot be moved into some states. If you haven’t already found out about this, do so. If hey can’t go, arrange to give them away to someone.
- Pets have a tough time on long trips so plan for their comfort. Take them to your vet and make sure their shots, rabies vaccinations and health certificates are up to date. Get copies of the certificates. Some states require them.
- Take all valuable jewelry with you. Be certain that all valuables are accounted for now.
- Return any borrowed items if you haven’t already done it. It’s easy to forget at the last minute.
- If your new building has a freight elevator, be certain it’s reserved for the day you will be off-loading your goods.
2 Weeks Until Moving Day
- Transfer any family prescriptions to a drugstore in your new city. If you use a major pharmacy chain, they probably have a store where you’re going.
- Disconnect your computer system and back-up any files on disks first. Keep these with you.
- Finalize any packing decisions. Don’t forget to clean out the basement, attic and any closets too.
- Hazardous items should be disposed of as they’re not allowed on the van. Refer to the ‘Items Not To Pack’ section for details.
- Seal up all cleaning fluids and other liquids in plastic bags. Tape them closed first with masking tape.
- Drain all power devices of oil and gas so they are safe to transport in the van.
- Cancel delivery of all newspapers and other normal deliveries.
- Schedule the disconnection of appliances with service providers.
- Remove items from all gym and school lockers.
- Call your van line agent if you will need any storage options.
1 Week Until Moving Day
- Separate any items that you will take from those to be taken by the movers.
- Consider any repairs that need to be made in your house and arrange them.
- Mark cartons going on the van as “Do Not Load”, “Load Last” and “Fragile” at this time if not already so marked.
- Refrigerator should be cleaned and defrosted if necessary. Put in a container of baking soda to absorb odors. Clean your oven. Do this 24-hours before moving day.
- Pack up items you and the family will need while in transit. Confirm any travel arrangements.
- Mow the lawn one final time if it needs it.
- Be certain that the moving company has the address and telephone number of your new home. If you have a cell phone, provide them with that number so they can reach you in transit and give them the numbers of hotels you may be staying at.
- Make the financial arrangements so that you can pay the van’s driver at your destination. If this is COD, have the cashier’s or traveler’s checks on hand.
- Verify your insurance protection with the moving company’s agent.
- Pick up any laundry or dry cleaning still at the stores.
- Pay any bills owed to local stores and other merchants.
- Return all library books, videos or other items to the proper places.
- Make sure you have all necessary toiletries and other items for use while in transit packed up and ready to go with you.
- Clean and disconnect appliances that are going and those that will remain.
- Assemble all keys, alarm codes, and garage door openers so that they are ready to give to the real estate agent or new owner of your house.
- Notify the local police if your present home will remain empty for some time after you depart.
It’s Moving Day at Last!
- Work with the movers when they arrive. If you can’t be present, ask a friend or relative. Be certain they know what to do and what arrangements you made.
- Hand over keys, alarm codes, etc to agent or owner.
- Provide all the telephone numbers you can be reached at to the moving company and van driver. Give the driver clear directions to your new home as well.
- Go over all the paperwork with the van driver. Go with him when he inspects each item with tags bearing an ID number. They should all be on the inventory.
- Don’t leave the house until every item is packed and loaded. Check the inventory and make sure you go along with any comments made about an item’s condition.
- Clean the house as much as possible before the moving van arrives. Go through every room and closet and high shelves to be sure nothing is forgotten.
- Review the new house’s floor plan so you are ready to tell the men where to place your things. Stay close in case they have questions.
- In the event that you must be away when the van first arrives, have someone there to pay and accept the shipment for you. Make sure that person notes any damage or changes in condition of your shipment.
- When signing the inventory sheet for the movers, you are stating that you received your property in the condition noted. Be sure to write any damage or other notable errors on the sheet and report it to the moving company as soon as you can.
- Small kids? Get a babysitter to handle them during the loading and unloading stages. Lock up any pets somewhere too.
- Verify utility turn-offs in old house and turn-on in new house. Have phone turned on the day before your move-in at the destination.
Familiarize yourself with nearby post office, police station, hospitals, gas stations and firehouses. Also locate nearby shopping.
Find out when trash is collected and local recycling programs.
Arrange for local services such as banking, pharmacy, cable TV, cleaners, etc if not already done.
Exchange driver’s license and re-register car(s) at local DMV office.
Transfer insurance policies to local agent and provide doctors and dentists with your records.
Get library cards, voter registration forms and information on schools, churches and other facilities you may need from the local Chamber of Commerce