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Key Factors To Help Separate Mediocre Houston Moving Companies From Reputable Professionals

With a thriving and multifaceted economy, excellent higher education schools, top sports teams, and a world class performing arts culture, it’s no surprise that the Bayou City has become a top destination for those relocating for work, school, or a new take on life. As the energy capital of the United States, the city has seen enormous growth in the last decade. With the popularity of Houston, TX growing, moving companies have become a dime a dozen, with hundreds of new ones popping up every few years.

When moving, home and business owners want to find trusted and reputable movers. After all, they are looking to entrust a business will all their belongings during an extremely stressful life event. Selecting movers should be done only after the proper research has been done. Yet the sheer amount of information out there can be overwhelming and confusing. When looking for movers, how can home and business owners separate the fly by night businesses with reliable experts?

There are a few key signs that will distinguish true professionals from other amateur Houston, TX moving companies.

Proper Licensing

In Texas, all movers must display the TXDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) number on every vehicle in their fleet. This number proves that the company has all the necessary certifications and licensing to operate in Texas. This number also allows customers to search the company via the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration (FMCSA) for current issues. A company without TXDOT registration is likely not operating at a truly professional level.

Bonded & Insured

When searching for Houston, TX moving companies, check for a firm that is licensed, bonded, and insured. These factors help to protect the customer and the business in the event of any unfortunate accident along the way. This includes coverage for damaged or lost items, which could make or break any move.

Customer Reviews

Likely the best indicator of the type of service a company offers is their past customers’ reviews and recommendations. Online searches can reveal a lot about a company’s reputation. In addition, the Better Business Bureau (the BBB) has a database where customers can read past reviews as well as see any negative black marks that the business might have against them and the resolution by the company.

Contract Offered

Many Houston, TX moving companies will not offer contract agreements. This is a red flag for customers, as the contract is what helps guarantee a certain level of service. From dates, costs, insurance coverage explanation, and more, a contract offers many benefits to the customer as well as the business.

Long Business History

Nearly anyone can grab a truck and call themselves a moving company, but when a business has a long history of doing business in the same area, customers can find peace of mind knowing they’re going into business with a reputable and trusted company.

When searching for Houston, TX moving companies, be sure to invest time into researching the company before investing money. By finding a professional company that meets all the above criteria, home and business owners can check one very important thing off their to-do list and feel confident in doing so.

What To Consider When Figuring Piano Moving Cost

Moving a house full of furniture is difficult enough, but when there’s a piano in the mix, it’s not a good idea to work with amateurs. Pianos, both upright and grand, demand a lot of attention even from knowledgeable and reputable movers. There’s no easy way to do it, and everyone involved has to be ready to sweat. Still, the allure of saving money can tempt do-it-yourselfers into going it alone, but this would be a major gamble. Any mistake during the process can leave a valuable instrument scuffed up, or worse, and the risk of injury is significant. The only reliable alternative is to find a moving firm that has experience in this area, and even then, it’s best to locate several options for further review.

Music to a Homeowner’s Ears

Pianos are among the heaviest instruments available, and some ornate pipe organs are, in fact, the heaviest instruments in the world. And though most homeowners aren’t moving a massive pipe organ, even a standard upright piano can weigh up to 800 pounds. Some grand pianos are even larger, clocking in at a scale-busting 1,200 pounds. That’s some heavy music.

The piano’s sheer bulk is the limiting factor for most do-it-yourselfers, as it’s not something that can be done with just a few pairs of hands. And even if someone has a truckload of friends who are willing to help out, someone is bound to wrench their back or twist a knee without the proper training in handling these instruments. If stairs are involved, it can be a complete nightmare.

This is where professional piano movers should be allowed to take over, especially if there are special considerations regarding the layout of the property. Experienced piano movers have seen it all, so they have the equipment solution for even the most challenging situations. Specifically, though, this is how a reputable piano mover can make the job easier:

  1. Professional movers can navigate challenging obstacles – Stairs can make this task difficult, forcing people into precarious positions and increasing the chances of injury. But there are even worse situations, like getting the piano out of a confined upstairs apartment, or even out of a high rise. It is in these settings where experienced piano movers really shine, as they have the equipment and experience to get the instrument out of some tough spots. If necessary, professional movers can even employ cranes to get the piano out of the building.
  2. Professional movers can ensure the piano’s safety – A piano is usually one of the most prized possessions someone owns, so it has to be treated as such. That’s easier said than done, though. Both the piano and everything around it are at risk of sustaining damage during a move. One slip, and 1,000 pounds of instrument will rip through the wall, or take out a banister. And if the piano is dropped or slammed against something, the resulting repairs may cost hundreds, or even thousands. That’s why experienced piano movers work hard to protect the instrument from harm, using dollies, hump straps and skidboards to guard every side of the piano and to keep it under control while lifting.
  3. Professional movers carry insurance – The mere act of lifting a piano can throw out a back, and is something to avoid without the proper training. But even among experienced professionals, injuries can happen. When they do, it’s the moving firm’s insurance that will assist the hurt worker. If the moving firm is not insured, the property owner may be responsible for the worker’s medical expenses – a situation no one wants to find themselves in. Insurance is an extremely important thing to have, and is something that piano owners should inquire about before entrusting their instrument to a crew. In general, experienced, reputable firms will have all the insurance they need. It’s the less professional outfits that need to be regarded with caution in this respect.
  4. Professional movers know how to transport a piano – It’s not enough just to get the piano onto the truck. In some respects, that’s the easy part. Transporting it, even locally, has to be done with expert care or the piano will smash against the truck’s walls or tumble over. This frustrating scenario is more likely if the instrument is to be moved long distance or internationally. But no matter how far the piano is going, it needs to be handled by an experienced truck driver, and secured by an experienced crew.

By the Numbers

There isn’t really a set price for moving a piano, as the final tally will depend on a number of factors. Some of those factors include the size and weight of the piano, the layout of the property, the distance the piano is to be moved, the kind of equipment that is needed to complete the job and the time of the year. Assuming no particularly challenging conditions exist, costs usually range from $250, for an upright piano, to $650, for a parlor grand piano. If the piano has to be carried over a longer distance or downstairs, there may be an extra fee. And if a crane is required to pull the piano out of a window, then an extra fee will be tacked on as well. The best way to get a firm price is to get an in-home estimate from a reputable moving company that can survey the situation first-hand.

If needed, many reputable movers can also store the instrument in a climate controlled facility. By combining moving and storage services, the piano’s owner may be able to get a better deal, so it’s worth considering if space is an issue.

It helps to shop around a bit as well to nail down an attractive price. A common approach is to ask piano shop owners for a referral, as they have to work with movers all the time. And like with any owner, it’s best to secure multiple estimates and have representatives come out to the property. That way, they can provide insight into the moving process, as well as paperwork relevant to the move.

It takes an impressive combination of expertise, technology and manpower to safely move a piano. Only an experienced firm can offer all that, and make sure their clients don’t have to play the blues over how to move their piano.

7 Reasons To Hire Houston Apartment Movers For Your Move

Every move has the potential to become a massive drain on a family, but apartment moves are particularly difficult, posing challenges that don’t come up in any other situation. These challenges, which may not seem like a big deal until moving day, will rear their ugly heads and can bring a full stop to a move before it gets fully underway. Instead of smashing into a wall and extending the move by hours or days, consider bringing in a professional moving service that has experience in dealing with the challenges of moving in to or out of an apartment. These professionals are ready to handle the standard range of obstacles that typically come up during an apartment move, and will ensure that all deadlines are met for their clients.

Apartment Moving: Not as Easy as it Seems

It’s true that single family homes are, in general, larger than apartments. And it’s true, for the most part, that these family homes have more stuff in them that needs to be moved. It might be assumed, then, that these homes pose a greater challenge, just due to the sheer amount of work that is involved. But that would be an incorrect assumption. Apartment complexes are more difficult to navigate for several reasons, and it’s for these reasons that experienced firms make sense for a move. Those reasons include:

  1. Tighter spaces – Normally, there’s plenty of room for moving crews to get in and out of houses, with sidewalks leading right up to the door and down the driveway. With this much space, it’s easy for moving crews to double or triple up on carrying stuff out of the house. This isn’t the case with apartments, where narrow paths usually dominate apartment complex layouts. This can be a real source of frustration for inexperienced movers, and furniture damage is a common outcome.
  2. Stairs galore – Another impediment to free movement are stairs, and they tend to be everywhere in apartment complexes. Most people prefer to live upstairs to avoid dealing with the noise of people walking around on top of them, but this will be a problem when moving day arrives. Getting up and down stairs is extremely taxing when moving furniture and heavy boxes, and can be a major safety concern as well. Carrying heavy items up and down stairs is a frequent cause of stress injuries, and if something is dropped, it can result in serious injury to anyone below. This, of course, doesn’t even address the profound damage that can happen as a result.
  3. People everywhere – When moving a single-family home, the only strangers involved are with the moving company, but this level of control is not afforded to those in apartments. Neighbors are always coming and going, and may end up getting in the way when carrying boxes or furniture. It’s going to happen – some random pedestrian is going to be caught on the stairs while the couch or a dresser is being handled. When that happens, it’s best to have professionals in charge who can keep things from falling apart. Otherwise, the likelihood of damage to the belongings or injury may occur.
  4. Fitting a massive moving truck into a compact area – It’s easy enough pulling a moving truck up to a free-standing house. Just pull the thing into the driveway. Obviously, this is not how it’s done at an apartment complex, where the truck has to be parked in a lot. For someone not experienced with handling a large truck, this can be a nail-biting experience. There’s always the risk of hitting other vehicles, which will effectively make moving impossible that day, and even if the truck is parked appropriately, it will probably block someone. Professionals have plenty of experience navigating large trucks, and won’t be fazed by claustrophobic parking lots.
  5. Keeping everything clean – Most apartment dwellers would like to get their deposit back when it’s time to move on to greener pastures. But it’s a near certainty that apartment complexes will look for any reason to hold onto that deposit. Don’t give them even more of a reason by leaving a huge mess behind. That’s easier said than done, especially when a family is exhausted from a long day of moving. When hiring a moving service, there will be energy left at the end of the day to properly clean the apartment. Professional crews also know how to avoid damaging the walls and door jambs in the apartment.
  6. Prevent injuries – It’s hard to get a move going when someone has to sit out due to injury. And it’s not just the kind of injuries that occur from dropping something. Injuries due to strain are common, especially for people with previous physical ailments, like lower back pains. For these people, it may not even be possible to move heavy items, and it certainly isn’t worth the risk.
  7. Too much stuff – Ideally, the truck and the new home would be able to accommodate all of a family’s belongings without any trouble. In reality, there are often issues with getting everything on the truck or into the new home. And when there is an issue in this area, families moving on their own have few options. Professional moving crews, though, can usually fall back on storage facilities to account for any overflow. And if a family enlists the same moving company for their storage needs, they can often get a nice deal on both.

It’s no fun making an involved move, and it’s even less fun moving out of or in to an apartment. Fortunately, experienced firms know how to do it without incident, and take the tough work off the client’s hands.

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 helpers. 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.