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Why You Should Hire Piano Movers Rather Than Moving It Yourself

Considering the history and emotional attachment that people have with their instruments, there’s no reason to attempt moving an upright, concert grand or even a baby grand without the help of professional piano movers. Houston, TX has no shortage of professionals ready to help, whether transferring the instrument to a neighboring room or moving it to a different area of the state.

Pianos are massive, and there are several good reasons why they shouldn’t be transported haphazardly without the proper safety precautions, tools, and skills. The two biggest considerations involved are the risks to the precious instrument and the risks to the people attempting to help.

Minimize the Risk of Damage

Scenes of concert grands smashing to the ground and splintering to a million pieces are a hallmark of children’s cartoon shows. The idea of it happening to one’s personal instrument is terrifying, and without the right equipment, the risk of something similar happening is rather high. It likely won’t be falling three stories from an open window, but damage can easily occur nonetheless.

Many of these beautiful instruments carry with them sentimental value, and they can weigh as much as 1500 lbs. Even baby grands generally weigh somewhere between 500 and 800 lbs. Any attempt at moving the instrument without the proper equipment can end badly, to say the least.

Hiring piano movers in Houston, TX is a much simpler solution and doesn’t come with the same risks. Not only are these professionals skilled and experienced, they have the right tools to ensure the safe transport of the piano from one location to the other. Plus, they have the know-how to disassemble and secure every piece of the instrument if needed to reduce the possibility of damage and the need for a tune-up following the move.

Safety Considerations

On top of the risk assumed for the instrument, there is the risk of personal injury to consider. Unless the move is to a new place in the same room, the maneuvers required to bring such a massive object through doorways and up and down stairs call for help from the experts.

The task calls for as many as eight trained professionals that all know the intricacies of navigating obstacles with care. If one tries to attempt the job without the knowledge and proper tools, one small mistake can lead to a serious injury. It’s a much safer idea to seek the help of professional piano movers. Houston, TX is home to dozens of companies that offer moving help. Whether transferring the entire home or just the instrument, employing a team that is familiar with the intricacies of transporting specialty items such as pianos is a must.

There are so many risks involved in employing friends and family to help move a beautifully constructed piano to a new home. By attempting to do so, one is risking the health of those who agree to help, as well as the instrument itself. It’s much smarter to hire the professionals and rest in the knowledge that the instrument will make it in one piece.

Guide For Evaluating A Houston Mover For Your Move

In a city the size of Houston, there is no shortage of moving companies, but some of these businesses are movers only in name. Thousands of families are scammed each year by people presenting themselves as professional movers, when in actuality they are anything but. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of these scammers because they are constantly changing their names and addresses. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to detect a reputable (or disreputable) moving firm before committing to anything.

Know the Scam

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for providing oversight with the moving industry, making them the foremost authority on securing a reputable moving company. And when the FMCSA says that moving scams are a significant problem, that means consumers should be on high alert.

According to the FMCSA, about one in 10 people report major issues with the mover they choose to handle their belongings. Many of these complaints regard “hostage loads,” which refers to one of the most common scams in the industry. It typically goes like this:

  1. A consumer finds a moving company, usually online, and requests an estimate.
  2. The company provides an estimate over the phone or via e-mail, and it seems like a really good deal.
  3. The consumer agrees to the move and prepares their things.
  4. A group of laborers shows up, loads everything and delivers an updated estimate to the client. It’s much higher than the original estimate.
  5. The client’s belongings are held “hostage” by the moving company, which may threaten to sell everything off if the clients doesn’t give in.
  6. It can take weeks to recover everything. In most cases, the victim doesn’t get everything back, even if they pay the full estimate.

This is a particularly effective scam because a strong sense of desperation can set in, making it difficult for the victim to resist for long. For this reason, most scammers get away with it, and even if they are caught, they are rarely persecuted in any real way. At best, scammed victims can recover their belongings and the extra amount added onto the estimate, but only if they pursue a complaint through the FMCSA.

And the FMCSA is getting a lot of complaints. More precisely, they receive more than 3,000 every year, or more than 10 a day. Clearly, there is a major problem in the industry, and consumers have to do their homework to get a proper feel for a moving firm.

Information is Protection

If there is a standard method to looking for a moving firm, it’s using the internet. A quick search for moving firms in Houston will turn up hundreds of hits, but it’s important to note that a website does not mean a firm is reputable, experienced or certified to do what they claim to do. For example, just because a company advertises full service moving capabilities doesn’t mean they can handle commercial moves. Commercial movers require additional certification, more manpower and more equipment to execute commercial jobs effectively.

Online reviews on sites like Yelp, Angie’s List or various moving forums can turn up valuable information on a company, but again, scammers are always changing their identity, so reviews are only good for so long. However, reviews are effective at sifting through legitimate movers that are just plagued with other issues, like a lack of punctuality or professionalism. In this way, online reviews can provide a valuable first filter for moving services. But it’s just the start.

After gathering a few promising leads, which can be done by perusing company websites, checking the phone book or asking around locally, it’s time to get the process started. Here’s how it should go:

  1. Contact at least three moving companies and ask for an in-home estimate. Only accept in-home estimates, as scammers will usually pass up on people who insist on one. If a moving company won’t provide an in-home estimate, choose someone else.
  2. Do not hire a moving broker to manage the move. Brokers are mere middlemen who sell a consumer’s move to the lowest bidder. They have nothing at stake and provide no services other than a referral, while usually taking a sizeable fee for the job. Brokers will not do the deep research that is needed to find a reputable company.
  3. An in-home estimate helps both the client and the company out, as they can get a good idea of how much work will be needed to execute the move. It also affords the client an opportunity to get to know the company. As soon as a representative from the firm arrives, ask to see their licensing. Moving companies have to provide this licensing when asked, and most will do it willingly to demonstrate that they can be trusted. This licensing should come with a Department of Transportation (DoT) number. Write it down.
  4. Also ask if the company will be subcontracting out the move. Some companies lease out their license to people who may not be qualified or trustworthy enough to handle the job. Allowing a company to subcontract out the move is therefore a risk for the client, and should be avoided.
  5. After attaining a few estimates, review them and determine where any discrepancies are. If a company has provided an estimate based on cubic feet, then it’s probably best to avoid that company as well. Volume is easy to manipulate, which is why the industry standard is to base an estimate on weight. If there are any other noticeable differences between the estimates, ask about what services are provided or how much insurance is included, as this may be what is driving differences in price.
  6. Before picking a company, go over all of the paperwork provided during the estimate. This will provide information about the projected dates of the move, the valuation of the client’s belongings and details about fees.
  7. Now, here’s how to get the deepest possible look into a moving company. The FMCSA operates a database called SaferSys, and this database contains all licensed moving companies in the nation. Consumers can access SaferSys with the DoT number provided by a moving firm. Once a number has been punched in, SaferSys will return a wealth of information on the business. This includes how long the business has been licensed by the DoT, how many trucks it owns, what kinds of moves it is certified to handle, any infractions it has received recently and what insurance it maintains. This step alone can verify whether or not a business is on the level, and it is especially important for commercial clients, as many moving companies present themselves as commercial movers without the proper certification.
  8. One more thing before hiring a company. Reference it online at the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB also receives thousands of complaints every year from frustrated consumers, and the BBB is especially useful for figuring out which moving firms have had a lot of complaints lodged against them. A strong red flag are outstanding complaints filed through the BBB. Unresolved complaints are a sign that a moving firm is not committed to customer service, whether they are a scammer or not.
  9. Don’t hesitate to visit the company’s offices to get a better idea of how they operate. This can, of course, quickly reveal whether a business is truly legitimate, but it’s also useful for figuring out which moving companies are capable and professional. There should be someone there to greet clients. There should be plenty of trucks visible, each with the company’s branding.
  10. It’s not necessary to pick a firm that also maintains storage facilities, but it does offer peace of mind for clients that are downsizing or aren’t sure that they will have space for everything. Moving firms with storage facilities can easily unload everything that needs to be unloaded and take everything else to the facility in one swoop. Otherwise, a client will have to find a second company to store their things.
  11. On the day of the move, make sure everything is done professionally. The truck should be branded with the company logo and name. Make sure it is permanent branding, and not a stuck on sign. The crew should also have uniforms with the company branding as well. All of this verifies that the business has put effort into maintaining a professional image.

All of that may seem particularly careful, but when all of a client’s personal belonging are at stake, extra care is needed. Consumers are their own advocate in this area, and with some basic research, it’s possible to avoid a nasty situation.

Certified commercial

Commercial moves require advanced planning and additional expertise to pull off, so commercial clients should be a bit more selective in who they hire. The best approach is to figure out how the company handles its commercial moves. How much manpower do they have and what kind of equipment can they bring to the move? Powered lifts and even cranes may be needed if bulky items can’t be easily moved down stairs or into elevators.

How does the company ensure the integrity of office equipment like printers or computers? Printers contain ink reservoirs that can rupture with rough handling, and computers contain sensitive components that can’t withstand jostling either. Does the company have processes in place to protect equipment like this?

How does the moving service ensure that everything is placed where it needs to go? An extensive inventory will need to be put together to ensure everything is accounted for. Special processes should be in place to guarantee that important files are preserved and are made available immediately at the new property. A commercial moving company should also sketch out a floor plan of the new property with the client to determine where everything is going to be placed. This helps the crew stick to a plan and ensures the client experiences minimal downtime in getting their new property up and running.

Finally, a commercial movers should provide full moving services to a client, including setting up any office furniture and equipment at the new property.

Evaluating a moving company for residential or commercial services can seem like an exhausting endeavor, but it’s the most important thing a consumer can do to ensure they hire the right crew for the job.

What Factors Determine Movers In Houston Prices

Movers in Houston have prices that are close to the national average, though average isn’t a metric that will work for every household. There are additional costs involved in moving certain items or in navigating certain obstacles. As such, property owners should seek out a more accurate estimate from a reputable moving company. This will ensure there are no surprises when moving day comes around.

That disclaimer aside, what is the average cost of hiring movers in Houston? In general, moving companies charge either an hourly rate or a rate based on the load’s weight, depending on the move’s distance. For shorter distances, property owners can expect to pay somewhere around $2,000. If a longer moving distance is expected, the average price of the job will be around $4,000.

These prices, again, are just starting points, and the actual cost may be lower or higher, depending on the property owner’s exact situation. It’s best to ask for an in-home estimate to get a clear idea of what price to expect for the move.

What factors affect moving prices in Houston?

Several factors may come into play, as every home and every move is different. The only way to know what the cost will be is to request estimates from several moving companies. And don’t take estimates over the phone or online, either, as these are almost always inaccurate.

Some of the factors that may alter the move’s cost include:

1. Intrastate, interstate or long-distance moves – Every moving company is a bit different in how they calculate moving fees, but most will charge hourly rates for intrastate moves that remain below a certain mileage threshold. This hourly rate normally runs between $25 and $50 per hour, per mover, and for a three-bedroom house, four movers are typically needed to efficiently get everything out of the building, loaded and unloaded.

If the move will take the crew over state lines, or if it exceeds a specified mileage threshold (usually 100 miles, one way), then the cost will be calculated using weight. This will drive the price up some, but it also produces a stable estimate that property owners can plan for in advance.

2. Particularly bulky or heavy items – Moving companies usually charge an additional fee to handle extremely heavy or bulky items. Any item that requires special care in packing and transporting it will result in an additional fee as well. This includes items like pianos, pool tables, lawn mowers, particularly large pieces of furniture, motorcycles, artwork and the like. Some of these items are particularly difficult to move, while others need additional protection in order to arrive intact. The extra care that goes into these items merits the extra cost.

3. The property’s size and layout – A standard moving estimate assumes that the workers will be able to easily access the property. If anything slows them down or poses an obstacle to the moving crew, the company may assess an additional fee. This is something that will be made clear during an estimate, so it shouldn’t be sprung on a property owner.

In most cases, this fee is assessed when the distance from the building to the truck is especially long. That’s not a problem in most cases, but for expansive properties or properties where there is no parking nearby, it can be an issue. Also, if the only way up and down the property’s interior is via elevator, there may be additional fees assessed for dealing with it. And, obviously, if the property is such that the only way to get some items out is through a window, then an additional fee is all but guaranteed.

4. When the move takes place – Moving companies tend to charge more during times when they are expecting peak business. In other words, typical supply and demand. Most property owners prefer to move at the end of the month, during a weekend and during the summer months. To keep costs down, try to schedule the move so that it is executed during the middle of the week, and at a time outside of summer.

5. If additional services are made available – Some homeowners hate packing and unpacking as much as they hate lifting and carrying. For these people, letting the moving company do the packing may be an attractive option. It’s also recommended for properties where there are a lot of fragile or bulky items present. Packing and unpacking services cost extra, so get a quote for that service as well.

Should I consider the movers in Houston with the lowest prices?

Everyone wants a deal, but caution is warranted whenever a particularly low estimate is given. In the moving industry, like most industries, people get what they pay for, and in this instance, a very cheap estimate means the property owner is going to get very cheap service. What does that look like? Unlicensed, uncertified companies are usually the ones who submit the lowest estimates, as they get by without insurance and maybe even without an actual truck. They just rent one when hired and take it back when the job is done.

A very low estimate may also be a warning that this is a fraud attempt. A common moving scam is promising a ridiculously low estimate, loading everything up on the truck and then ambushing the client with additional fees. If the client refuses to pay, the moving crew may hold everything on the truck hostage until the owner pays up. This is a difficult scam to deal with, as rental trucks are notoriously tough to track down, and authorities don’t usually have the time to dedicate a lot of resources to running down a rental truck.

Important Factors To Consider When Comparing Professional Movers

One of the main concerns involved in moving from one place to another is choosing a trustworthy mover for the job. This can be a difficult decision since factors like distance, company reputation, and price are not always simple to evaluate, and they can either fluctuate wildly or, in some ways, be misleading.

When traveling a long distance, such as out of state, it might be tempting to go for a cheaper company, but price is not the only factor that should be taken into account. In addition, price assessments are complex in their own right, so it’s not always as simple as getting a quick quote. There are many factors that movers take into account when figuring a quote, and that brings in a whole host of issues that their customers need to be aware of. Thus, going by price alone can be problematic.

When comparing professional movers, some of the factors one should consider include the mover’s reputation, their experience and services, and their process for determining a quote.

Reputation

Most people have probably heard one or two stories about shady movers. A moving company’s reputation is among the first things people should consider when deciding whether to trust them with their household belongings. An untrustworthy company could mean damaged or stolen property, and getting those items back can be difficult, if not impossible.

In general, movers who have been in business for a long time will tend to be more reliable. This is due to the fact that having dissatisfied customers is generally bad for business, so a reputable company will try to avoid that as much as possible. In addition, sources such as the BBB can be useful in evaluating a mover. In this case, it’s important to give the BBB a call and ask about complaints. Just because they have a satisfactory rating on BBB’s site doesn’t mean they don’t have an extensive log of complaints.

Another source is social media. Doing a quick search on Facebook, for example, can help individuals and families determine whether a company is truly reliable based on comments from past customers.

Services

Some families and individuals prefer to pack their belongings up on their own. Others will want help. Some moves are short, while others may be out of state or even out of the country. Determining what services a mover will offer—and what they’ll charge for them—can help with making a wise and cost-effective decision about which company to go with.

Experience

The level of experience a mover has indicates two things. First, as has already been mentioned, it helps indicate reliability. Second, it can show the competency of the company as a whole. Certain licenses and permits are sometimes required to successfully make a move, and it helps expedite the process if the company is familiar with those protocols. In addition, if the mover offers packing and loading services, an experienced team will ensure that the processes of packing everything up will be handled with skill and care.

An experienced moving company staffed with skilled and knowledgeable workers will also be able to provide more reliable quotes, which helps prevent unpleasant surprises along the way.

Assessing Quotes

In some cases, a company may give a quote over the phone based on one’s estimate of how much needs to be moved. This is called a “sight unseen” quote, and it’s very seldom reliable since homeowners and movers alike can be far off the mark when estimating the total volume of the belongings. A quote is far more reliable when the mover sends someone over to make an estimate in person. Naturally, this should be done only after the reliability of the company has been established.

Most movers give a quote as a sum total of expenses. To make a more informed decision, homeowners should ask for a breakdown of their quote, including the costs of packing, loading, unloading, transportation, and so forth.

Comparing Movers

In summary, selecting the right mover involves not only evaluating price, but also researching their reputation, services, and experience in the industry. Once it’s time to determine price, going with a full breakdown of costs and getting a price assessment in person will help tremendously in making a wise decision when comparing professional movers.

Eight Things To Add To Your Moving List

Moving can be a busy and stressful life event, and creating a moving list can be the key to streamlining and simplifying the entire process. Below are the top eight most important things all homeowners should ensure are on their lists.

1. Create a Folder or Notebook
Organization is essential to having as stress-free a move as possible. Whether you prefer online documents and lists or physical notebooks and folders, create a singular space where all move-related items will go for easy reference. Here you should have your moving to-do list, all pertinent forms and documents related to the move, as well as any essential travel or identification documents that you do not want to risk losing in the packing and moving process.

2. Consolidate
The less items there are to move, the better. A couple of months before the move, be sure to consolidate everything in the home, from clothes to dishes. Whatever you and your family have no use for anymore can be donated or sold to help compensate for expenses. A couple of weeks before the move, begin to use up all perishable food items so there is less waste when the fridge, freezer, and pantry are cleaned out.

3. Get Packing Materials
The earlier you can get your packing materials the better. In addition to helping decrease costs right at the time of the move, grabbing your packing supplies early means you can get an early start on packing items that will not be needed immediately. Important items to remember to add to your moving list are:

  • Boxes
  • Tape
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Packing Popcorn or Filler
  • Labels or Markers (for labeling boxes)

4. Research Moving Companies
Experts recommend getting at least three or four quotes before selecting a company. Adding these separate quotes to your moving list ensures you get a well-rounded view of your options. In addition to referrals from friends and family, be sure to check companies that are rated highly online. Also, remember that the longer a company has been in business, the better. It’s also helpful to hire movers who are familiar with the area in which you are moving from or to. Familiarity with the area helps the crew more safely navigate city roads and observe any special considerations.

5. Find a Form of Storage
Inevitably there will be items that you can’t take with you immediately or items that will not fit in the new location. It is always smart to consider renting a storage unit prior to the move. In addition, you could also contact friends and family to see if they are willing to help you store items pre or post move. Reusable storage bins are great to have as well, as they can double as packing boxes and then can be used as storage when you arrive at the new home.

6. Change of Address/Transfer Records
Another important item to add to a moving list is to change your address and transfer all important records. You can change your address online via the postal service, but remember to change the address directly with billers, banks, and employers. You will need to transfer your medical records as well if you are moving out of state.

7. Pack
This is the big one! Though packing may be the most overwhelming part of the process, with proper planning and organization it can be a breeze! Within your moving list, create a section where you have a checklist of areas around the home that need to be packed. These areas can be as big as an entire room or as small as a single chest of drawers. Make a family goal to pack at least one or two areas a day and you’ll be packed in no time! Also, add essential items you’ll need on the day of the move to one box and set it aside for later.

8. Clean Home
Whether you were renting or you sold your home, cleaning is something the new residents will greatly appreciate. In addition, a clean home may be part of the rental or purchase agreement. Some choose to hire a service to do this after the move has been completed and others prefer to do this on their own. In addition, be sure to clean and dust items as you pack them. This way, when you arrive at the new home everything will be clean and ready to put away.

Creating a helpful moving list and organization system can be the difference when planning a move. Homeowners and renters will ultimately benefit from this bit of extra effort and will thank themselves when they arrive at their new home with their sanity in tact!

Why You Should Hire Professional Moving Companies Rather Than Moving Yourself

Moving is a hassle, whether it’s across state lines or just down the block, and hiring residential moving services rather than attempting a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach is well-worth the effort. Relying on professionals alleviates much of the pressure that people put on themselves as they plan their transition to a neighborhood.

High Costs of Moving Without Help

Residential Moving Services By JT Melia MovingPeople trying to avoid paying the costs of professional movers by buying their own boxes and renting a van for a couple of days may end up paying the same (or more) in the end. They will spend hours and hours doing research on truck rental companies, calculating what the cost of gas will be, and finding packing supplies, not to mention organizing everything and doing all the heavy lifting by themselves.

Trying to disassemble furniture and lift large items into the back of a truck is an easy way to break or damage one’s possessions, not to mention a good way to get hurt. While it may seem costly to hire experts to do these seemingly simple tasks, the alternative is risking one’s own well-being and the well-being of their valuable belongings.

While residential moving services are an added financial cost, the benefits of hiring the experts saves people more in the end.

Saving Time When It Matters

The bottom line here is that residential moving services save people time. Whether someone is starting a new job or the kids are starting school soon, it’s common for families that are moving to have a strict schedule of when they need to be in their new house. Within that timeframe, there is often a long laundry list of things that need to get done, like switching prescriptions to the local pharmacy and canceling newspaper delivery services.

Having the professionals come in and help with packing and transporting household items frees up time for people to focus on the smaller details involved with moving. Plus, these companies have all the right tools and supplies to do exactly what needs to be done in the best way possible and in less time. There won’t be any need for rolling boxes to the truck on a kid’s skateboard, because the experts are coming in with a hand truck!

The ‘Extra’ Benefits

Beyond doing the same job in a fraction of the time it could take, many of these companies simply offer more for their clients.

If a clients’ moving dates don’t align quite right, many companies can offer storage solutions for those days or weeks in between. The packing and unpacking services are still the same, and having a simple storage solution for that time can be a life-saver.

Lastly, knowing that their belongings are being cared for by seasoned professionals can give people some peace of mind, and the ability to easily purchase various insurance packages helps even more. Nobody wants to imagine their things being lost or broken, and having access to different insurance plans is reassuring as one makes the transition from home to home.

How Much Should You Tip Movers

One of the most common questions moving companies get, surprisingly, is whether it is appropriate to tip the workers, and How much to tip them if so. Moving is tough work, which is why most homeowners choose to hire experienced help. A single move can take up to 12 hours to accomplish, and there’s a lot of lifting and carrying going on, and possibly packing and unpacking as well. In short, there are good reasons to tip the workers, but exercise a little forethought before doing so.

How much should you tip movers?

That’s the big question, isn’t it? Again, moving is not a light expense for most households, so setting aside extra for tipping can feel a bit excessive. Here’s the thing, no reputable moving company should ever presume tips from the client, and a reputable moving company will always accept, with a smile, whatever tip a client is willing to give. But assuming a client wants to provide a tip, here are a few guidelines to tipping in a way that works for both the client and the workers:

1. If tipping with cash, consider the effort involved – A cash tip is always welcome, of course, and any amount is appreciated. And in truth, the tip amount is totally up to the client. If the client tips $10 a mover or $100 a mover, that will be received well. If the client is looking for some tipping standards (every industry has them), then consider a $10 tip per worker for a half day move, a $20 tip per worker for a full day move and a $40 tip per worker for a move that extends well past the 8-hour mark.

If the movers go above and beyond, then consider tipping a little extra. For example, a home that is packed with tight spaces or a home with a spiral staircase adds an extra degree of difficulty. Moving a lot of stuff out of the basement or attic is another tough obstacle that workers frequently encounter, and something that may warrant a little extra.

If the movers are well organized, show up early and complete the move earlier than expected, then consider a bit more. That is, of course, if the extra speed doesn’t come at the cost of safety or protecting everything from damage. If a moving crew beats the clock, that means they are working extra hard.

2. Don’t use a percentage-based approach to tipping movers – In most industries where tipping is common, using a percentage of the bill is the standard approach to calculating a tip. But in the moving industry, where a single moving bill can vary quite a bit, a percentage-based method doesn’t make much sense. Further, when a move costs considerably more money, it’s almost always because of travel distance, and that’s something that the moving crew doesn’t have much to do with. Sticking with a flat-tip-per-worker option is the better method.

3. Give the tips personally to the workers – There are a couple reasons for this. For one, giving a tip to each worker is a sign of appreciation that communicates to every individual that their efforts were noticed. Everyone likes to know when they’ve done a job well, and a personal tip to each worker is an easy way to say thanks for the work provided.

Also, and this isn’t a problem with reputable movers, but it still bears mentioning – giving all the tips to the driver or foreman may seem like an easy way to tip everyone at once, but there are some unscrupulous people out there that will pocket the tips for themselves. Again, reputable movers do their best to avoid hiring people who would do something like that, but tipping everyone personally ensures it’s not even a possibility.

4. There are other ways to tip – If cash is tight, and it often is, there are other ways to show the workers some appreciation. Moving takes a lot of energy and a lot of fluid, so why not offer some cold bottles of water or Gatorade? It’s hungry work, too, so a meal is something that workers will often accept with gratitude.

But before buying a meal, ask around to see what the workers would like. It may sound a bit presumptuous for the workers to offer food preferences, but think about how much pizza these guys get offered throughout the year. The easy, go-to meal options are the ones that the movers get the most often, and no offense, but eating pizza four times a week isn’t something that even the most ardent pizza lovers would seriously consider. Just remember that this is completely optional and not something the moving crew expects. Reputable movers know to bring refreshments and snacks with them to make it through the day, so don’t feel obligated.

5. Don’t offer alcohol – Yes, it seems like every beer commercial has people bonding over a tough day’s work, but in a professional setting, beer is not an option. For one, reputable moving companies do not permit drinking on the job, for obvious reasons, and it’s not something that workers will be allowed to accept. And for two, if workers are drinking on the job, that creates all kinds of liability issues for the worker and for the company. Offering beer will only put the worker in a tough spot, as they will have to refuse.

6. Tip what you can – Don’t pick a cheap mover so you can tip more on the backend. If tipping is just unrealistic financially, don’t do it. That’s a far better option than choosing a substandard mover and paying for it, literally, in other ways.

Moving is strenuous, unforgiving work, and the people who put their backs on the line deserve some attention now and again. The best way to show that attention is with a tip, as every worker will appreciate it, no matter what form it comes in.

Three Steps For Moving Computers Or Gaming Systems

There are three important steps for moving computers or gaming systems that every gamer should keep in mind. Moving is an adventure and may even provide a fresh start, but failing to take precautions with sensitive gaming equipment can quickly turn this exciting time into a virtual nightmare.

Problems and Solutions

Moving is considered a hassle by many, causing disruption, provoking stress, and, if done haphazardly, it can even be dangerous. A poorly planned and executed move can be a disaster. Precious possessions may go missing, beloved keepsakes may break along the way, and expensive electronics can easily become damaged in transit.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. By thinking ahead, doing a little research, and making the plans necessary to safeguard one’s possessions, moving becomes a smooth process and everything arrives in one piece. Planning ahead can make all the difference in getting acclimated as soon as possible without stressing about the condition of the household goods and electronics.

Some of the most prized and expensive possessions people own are their electronics and gaming systems. Electronic devices play an integral and even central part in everyday life, both for work and for play. So, carefully considering the safest way to move these items is very important. The following are steps that will avoid costly mishaps when moving electronics and gaming consoles.

Three Simple and Easy Steps

There are three primary steps for moving computers or gaming systems safely. The include backing up irreplaceable data, dismantling, organizing, and packing gear and related components safely, and moving electronics with safety and great care in mind.

1. Backup All Irreplaceable Data: The first step for any move is to make sure that all personal data is safely backed up. In the off chance that something does go wrong despite one’s best efforts, this ensures that important data can always be retrieved. This is a step that should not be overlooked. While electronics can be replaced, chances are that the photos and other important data the equipment contains can’t be.

For personal computers, this means backing up data with thumb drives and external drives or non-rewritable media, such as discs. Cloud storage is also useful in this regard as it requires no physical device and can be accessed from any device connected to the internet. Cloud storage’s disadvantage is that it may require a subscription fee to maintain and access over time. Consider the best option for your individual data needs.

No matter how irreplaceable data is stored, it not only acts as insurance in case of the unexpected, but it also provides peace of mind. If using a storage device for backup, put this in a separate, safe space until the move is complete.

2. Dismantle, Organize, and Pack Gear and Components: Once backups have been made for all irreplaceable data, it’s time to start preparing the electronics for the move. The second of the three primary steps for moving computers or gaming systems is to dismantle, organize and pack up all gear and associated components. This ensures that equipment will not be lost or misplaced and minimizes the possibility of damage during the move.

Computers and gaming consoles vary in size and shape, but the most common computers used today are laptops and units consisting of a monitor and processor, usually in the form of a tower. Eject all media that these devices may contain, such as discs, and place them in their original containers. Remove all cables attached to these devices. Coil cables firmly (but not tightly) and tie them off before placing them in a plastic bag.

Perform the same tasks for gaming systems. It’s also a good idea to gather and bag any associated cables or peripheral items that came with the computer or gaming system for easier retrieval later. It’s also an excellent idea to label cables at this point, especially if manuals have been discarded. Labeling can be done easily with masking tape and a marker.

Once cables and peripherals have been removed from the devices and bagged, retrieve the original packaging in which the computer or game system came in, if you still have the box. The original packaging typically has spacers of either cardboard or Styrofoam that keep the electronics from moving around inside. If the original packaging is not available, choose a box that will allow room for filler or cushioning for further protection. It’s important to be sure that the devices won’t move around or scrape against one another while in transit.

After the boxes are taped up, secure, and their contents are firmly in place, use a marker to label any boxes for easy identification. It’s also important that boxes containing electronics such as computers or gaming systems are handled with care. To reduce chances of rough handling, mark which side of the box should face up and consider adding highly visible FRAGILE notifications on all sides of the box.

3. Move Electronics with Safety and Care: Now comes the final of the three steps for moving computers and gaming systems, moving the packaged devices. During this stage, as with all others, personal safety should be a primary concern. Some computer systems can be surprisingly heavy, especially older models. In these cases, get assistance when lifting the boxes to avoid dropping the components.

When packing the moving truck, make sure that heavy objects aren’t placed on top of boxes containing electronics. In addition, make sure that boxes are snuggly placed together so the boxes containing electronics will not shift, move, or become crushed during transit. Another thing to keep in mind is not to expose electronics to very cold or very hot conditions (consult a device’s documentation for precise temperatures). Be mindful of humid conditions as well.

By following these three easy steps, you should be able to find and set up your computer or gaming console with little effort and get back to the fun as quickly as possible!

Comparing The 3 Different Types Of Movers Quotes

Figuring out a moving estimate can be tricky, and yet it’s something a homeowner will need to be capable of before committing to a moving company. Moving estimates are an essential part of the process, and include all of the relevant financial information regarding a client’s move. In addition to the total estimate itself, it should also include a fee breakdown and any special provisions that may affect the final price. For obvious reasons, a homeowner should seek out an estimate that is as detailed and precise as possible.

In the moving industry, two services can produce two estimates that vary by several hundred, or even thousands of dollars. Knowing what a reputable estimate looks like is therefore extremely important.

The Three Types of Moving Estimates

Moving companies will offer one of three types of moving estimates, including non-binding, binding and binding not-to-exceed estimates. Above all else, a client must know which type of estimate they are working with, because with some estimates, what a client sees isn’t necessarily what they will get. What does that mean, exactly? Consider the benefits and concerns with each estimate type:

Binding Not-To-Exceed Estimates

In general, binding not-to-exceed estimates are the best option for consumers, as they provide a chance to save money with no increase in risk. This is how a binding not-to-exceed estimate works:

  • The moving company will provide an estimate of the job’s cost, including a detailed fee breakdown and the expected weight of the client’s goods.
  • The moving company will weigh the client’s goods on the truck once everything is loaded. This is done at an approved facility and should be done while the client is present so they can verify the weigh-in results.
  • What makes a binding not-to-exceed estimate such a powerful option for clients is that the client always gets the lower price between the estimate and the weigh-in. Even when the client’s goods weigh more than the estimate, they will get the lower estimated price. It is effectively a no-lose situation for a homeowner.
  • With a binding not-to-exceed estimate, a homeowner knows what they will pay at the maximum, so they can plan ahead better and with less stress. And if the weigh-in comes in lower, then it’s a bonus for the client.
  • A binding not-to-exceed estimate is always given after a company representative has had a chance to survey the property prior to the move. It is always to the client’s benefit to have the company survey the property, as this will ensure the crew shows up prepared and with any equipment they need for the job. It also ensures the most accurate estimate possible.
  • After all, it is to the company’s benefit to be extremely accurate in this case, because if they are off, it’s the company that takes the hit, not the client.
  • The only problem with binding not-to-exceed estimates is that they are difficult to secure. The vast majority of moving services will not offer them, but if a client is insistent, they may be able to convince the company to agree to one.

For homeowners worried about being taken advantage of during the moving process, a binding not-to-exceed estimate offers the best peace of mind, and usually signals that the company is a reputable one. That being said, it is still important that a homeowner be present at the weigh-in and that they inquire about any fees they are unsure of that are listed on the estimate.

Binding Estimates

A binding estimate also offers stability during the moving process, as it guarantees a price beforehand. In short, the cost listed on a binding estimate is immovable, no matter what the goods actually weigh. Here are some things to keep in mind about a binding estimate:

  • Moving services will hold firm to what the estimate says, so clients that want to do some negotiating will have to do so early on, because they won’t have an opportunity to do so once the goods are weighed.
  • It is enormously important that a client only agree to a binding estimate if the company has actually visited the property and if the estimate details all fees. The weight of the client’s goods is not something that should be guessed at. When moving services guess at fees and pricing, it is almost always to the client’s disadvantage.
  • This means that homeowners should not accept phone or e-mail estimates. Moving services that rely on such estimates will charge fees that purposely overshoot the weight of the client’s goods. In short, the homeowner pays more for no reason.
  • The nature of binding estimates is such that a client may try to game the system. For example, a homeowner may hide items from the estimator while they are at the property, only to pack them up in boxes prior to the move. The idea is that the client overloads the truck without paying more. The problem with this approach is that items are insured by weight, so if a client sneaks in additional weight and items are damaged, there may be no insurance available for reimbursement purposes.
  • A binding estimate, like a binding not-to-exceed estimate, provides some certainty from a budgeting standpoint, allowing clients to organize their finances accordingly. Binding estimates are also easier to secure than binding not-to-exceed estimates, so they are a practical choice for many.

While binding estimates aren’t as favorable to the client, they can still be a perfectly acceptable option, as long as the estimate is provided following a thorough inspection of the client’s property.

Non-Binding Estimates

Non-binding estimates are popular among moving services as they generally favor the company over the consumer. They are also organized in a way that makes them easy to deliver over the phone or over e-mail, so it’s less effort on the company’s part to put one together. This added convenience can be attractive to clients too, but it comes with a lot of uncertainty regarding fees. Here’s a rough look at non-binding estimates:

  • It’s best to think of a non-binding estimate as merely an approximation, and one that will almost definitely change once everything is weighed-in. No matter what a client is quoted at the time of the estimate, they will pay the cost associated with the actual weight of the goods.
  • Because the client doesn’t get an exact price until everything is loaded on a trailer and taken to the company’s facility, this is the type of estimate that is most associated with bait and switch scams. Once everything is loaded on the trailer, the moving service has all the leverage.
  • If a client is only moving a modest amount of goods and is moving on short notice, a non-binding estimate can work, as long as the homeowner is certain they are working with a reputable company.
  • Non-binding estimates are usually given over the phone or over e-mail, which means the estimate will naturally be inaccurate.
  • Non-binding estimates rarely feature detailed fee schedules, so if the client has any particularly heavy or bulky items, like a piano or large sculptures, they will likely have to pay much more than the estimate, as these items require additional equipment and additional fees.
  • If the actual cost is higher than the estimated cost, the moving service may collect 10 percent of the difference prior to the move. However, at this point, they are obligated to transport the client’s goods to their destination. The mover will be able to bill a client for the remaining amount within a month of completing the job.

Non-binding estimates should be a last resort option for most clients, especially if the estimate is not offered in person. In fact, most oversight agencies, like the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration and Better Business Bureau, recommend homeowners only consider moving services that offer in-person estimates. Such estimates allow homeowners to review all of the related paperwork, including inventories and contracts, and this will protect the client from any unscrupulous behavior on the mover’s part.

A Few Final Thoughts on Estimates

While it is of paramount importance that a homeowner know the type of estimate they are working with, there are additional things to look for. They include:

  • All estimates should be calculated using weight values, and not volume. This is especially true when the move involves interstate travel. Weight is strongly preferred because it’s an extremely difficult value to alter, and therefore it is harder to scam a client using weight. Volume, though, is easy to alter and moving companies can wring an extra few hundred dollars out of a client by just moving the goods around on the trailer.
  • Clients should not expect to pay a deposit on a move that involves interstate travel.
  • Motor carriers are only required to maintain 60 cents of insurance per pound of cargo, which is usually a paltry amount compared to the actual value of the goods. If purchasing additional insurance, make sure this is reflected on any fee schedule.

Moving estimates are an all-important reference document for clients during the moving process, and should be regarded with care. Clients should expect their estimates to be thorough, detailed and transparent. If there is any doubt present about an estimate’s accuracy, trust that doubt and avoid wasting hundreds of dollars needlessly.

JT Melia Moving Fleet on the Road Helping Houston

As most of you know, we have been a moving company since 1969 here in Houston. And we have always helped in our community, to the point that people call us the movers that care.

Recent days have seen our city go through challenges many of us could never imagine.

Through the years we have moved thousands of families into their homes, many of which I am watching take on water on TV, and seeing the good families that we have come to know being displaced. We know our neighbors and their neighborhoods.

It has always been my hope that our clients know we care about them, and that the city of Houston knows we care about them. Since the start of Hurricane Harvey, we have been wondering how to put our fleet of movers to work for Houston.

In the early days, we have worked to get boxes in hands of those who were needing to pick their possessions out of the silt and mud in their houses. For some, the water got counter-high, so packing supplies were needed, and we have been helping those most vulnerable move their possessions into the safety of our warehouse.

Yesterday, though, we were able to make a real difference. The Northeast Baptist Church and our moving company partnered up to help take much-needed supplies to the 5th ward of Houston. For those of you that know the city, you know that these are some of the people with the greatest needs. I was so proud of my son Brandon and my crews as they helped unload trucks of supplies for Houstonians most in need.

At the same time, we donated a crew to go help a school teacher who, as a single mom, was having a hard time getting her son to safety. Although the second floor of an apartment complex was dry, her son had to be moved because of health conditions. We heard her story and were able to help move her son to safety, as well as help get her apartment packed up and moved to storage.

That is what being a Houstonian is all about. It is what owning a business in Houston is all about. We have marshalled our forces to help each family that needs help in our area.

I hope we never see anything like this again in our city. But what I do know is that this has made us all appreciate Houston and its commitment to our neighbors. As I think back over the last 50 years, this has been one of the best moments for our city, born out of the worst of circumstances. I am just glad that we could make something a little better for someone.