For a lot of people, a quick move across town can be accomplished with the help of a few friends and a pickup truck. Yet, others recognize the value that a moving company can offer and elect to leave it to the professionals. While both options have their merits, what’s largely not up for debate, is the fact that long-distance moves are made easier by hiring a team to help. But before you trust your most valued possessions to just anyone, it’s critical that you do your due diligence. Here are five questions to ask a long-distance mover before you hire them.
1) Are you certified and insured?
Any list of questions to ask long-distance movers should begin with this one. No matter how careful or cautious a moving company is, accidents are bound to happen. And when they do, you’ll want to ensure that the company you hire is both certified and insured. The Canadian Association of Movers (CAM), the country’s only trade association representing moving and storage companies, has a stringent certification process that includes vetting each moving company’s processes and operations to ensure it can be trusted. That’s one to be on the lookout for as you evaluate your options. And in the event an accident does happen, a company with insurance should be able to immediately compensate you for the damage.
2) What is the pay structure?
There are several different ways that long-distance movers handle rates for their services, and it’s important that you’re clear on how you’ll be charged. A flat rate is the ideal arrangement, but some companies will instead charge by the weight of what they haul. Plus, you’ll want clarity on any associated mileage, gas, or toll fees that could come as a surprise when the final bill comes. Moving companies typically offer either a “binding quote” or “a not-to-exceed quote” that can dictate whether the final bill varies from the estimate. Lastly, make sure you confirm with the mover how they expect to be paid. Are you required to pay it all upfront? Is there a deposit? Or is the total bill due at the time of delivery?
3) What is the size of the vehicle you expect to use?
This one works in lockstep with the pay structure question because the size of the vehicle can determine the rate you pay. Moving a small one-bedroom apartment across the country certainly won’t require the same size truck as moving a four-bedroom house. Before you sign any agreements, ensure that the price you’re being quoted is for a suitably sized truck.
4) How long will the trip take?
Since you aren’t going to be riding in the truck with the moving company, don’t forget to ask how long they expect the trip to take and when your belongings will arrive. The last thing you want is a miscommunication on arrival time, leading to you beating your belongings to your new home by several days. Cross-country moves are long, so take the time to coordinate your personal travel with that of your long-distance moving company.
5) Do you subcontract out your work?
In a perfect world, the person you speak to about your long-distance move would be the leader of the team transporting your belongings. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. In fact, some long-distance moving companies subcontract out jobs either at the start of a trip or partially through it if they aren’t equipped to go the requested distance. You should always be comfortable with the long-distance movers you select, so it’s in your best interest to ask if they will be handling the job themselves.
The thought of a long-distance move can be daunting and terrifying, but feeling better about the experience is possible by doing a little bit of legwork in advance. Spend a few minutes asking these questions to each long-distance mover you’re considering, and compare and contrast their answers until you find the long-distance mover for you.