Experienced moving professionals are trained, certified and insured, and these are valuable traits to have in a moving service. Choosing a moving helper that doesn’t have this degree of reliability means homeowners put themselves at risk during their move. Risks like lost or damaged items, getting scammed or even liability if someone gets hurt. The cost of hiring a nonprofessional, then, isn’t just represented in the cheap rate they offer.
What are the risks of bringing in a nonprofessional moving helper?
Nonprofessional movers may offer a lower rate for their time, but consider the potential pitfalls of hiring someone you don’t really know:
1. No recourse if something goes wrong – Even if your mover is well-meaning, there is nothing backing you if they lose or damage something. If you’re lucky, they may compensate you for the loss, but if they decide not to, that’s that. There’s no manager or regulatory body that homeowners can take their complaint to if there’s an issue. You’re responsible for everything.
If there’s a problem with a professional moving company, the company will work to resolve the issue first. Further resolution can be attained through the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), all of which take homeowner complaints. The FMCSA and AMSA will also help mediate complaints and can help homeowners reach a solution. These organizations aren’t needed often, especially if you’re working with a reputable mover, but they represent a safety net in the worst case scenario.
2. A potential lawsuit – Certified moving companies are insured against liability, so if someone is hurt or something is damaged on your property, you’re more likely to be protected. No amateur moving helper can offer the same, and if they’re injured, that could equate to legal action for medical expenses.
It doesn’t have to be an injury, either. If an uninsured moving helper backs their truck into your neighbor’s house, that’s also grounds for liability. It only takes a single mistake to potentially cost you thousands or more.
3. Poor communication – Experienced moving companies know that the moving business demands responsive communication. This is especially true for a long distance move, where the moving timeline could be days or weeks. Tight communication means the homeowners always knows where the movers are, what their schedule is and whether or not any complications have come up. Just knowing these things offers peace of mind and allows homeowners to better anticipate what the movers are doing.
A nonprofessional may be friendly, but they may not be a good communicator. If they aren’t, not only will you have trouble nailing down a time for the movers, they may have trouble finding where you live or may not know where to pack certain things. With a nonprofessional, chances are you’ll have to micromanage the move to a frustrating extent.
4. Poor efficiency – Even if a moving helper is friendly, organized and a good communicator, it’s unlikely that they will have the training they need to do the job efficiently. Experienced moving companies build up their processes over many years of repetition, to the point where they know how to tackle every moving situation. They know what to get out first, how to properly load it and what needs additional attention. They know what is likely to shuffle during a move and how to make efficient use of space so everything can get there without trouble. These are the little things that homeowners are grateful for when the work is underway, because it means everything is properly taken care of. That’s not something a nonprofessional can provide.
5. Lacking in equipment or manpower – No two residential moves are the same, which is why professional movers maintain a fleet of trucks, plenty of manpower, a warehouse of equipment and storage space. With these resources on hand, experienced movers are ready for any challenges that come up.
A nonprofessional may only have a single truck and a few guys. They may not have the equipment they need, either. Furniture and appliances will need to be moved, but can a nonprofessional do it without dollies? Can they navigate stairs with the resources they have? Will they have to make several trips because they don’t have enough room? What if you’re downsizing, where will the extra stuff go? Professional movers have the answers to these questions, while nonprofessionals usually won’t.
6. The risk of a scam – Moving scams can cost a homeowner thousands of dollars and things that can’t be replaced, like photos, documents and heirlooms. Once a moving scam is underway, it’s usually impossible to stop because the mover already has all of your things. Once they do, they may charge you extra to get your belongings back, or they may just steal everything.
Even when homeowners are vigilant, it’s still tough to catch a scam. For example, the scammer may rent a truck prior to the move, so it’s extremely difficult to track, especially as time goes on.
The surest way to avoid this is to bring in an experienced professional. Moving is a challenge and most people could use a helper, but trusting all of your belongings to anyone else is taking a major risk.