When Move You Must, Affordable Movers You Can Trust

by Shaunna Privratsky

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Long Distance Move

Most people do not enjoy moving. Whether it is due to changing circumstances, a new job, medical reasons, to be closer to schools or just for monetary reasons, many of us will have to move in the near future.

Once you establish where you will be moving, it is time to make a moving plan, preferably one that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. A good resource is your real estate broker. They may have experience or knowledge of reliable companies in your area.

Another great source is word of mouth from friends, family and coworkers. They will let you know if they had a good experience, and if they would recommend the movers. You will also hear the bad reports, and know whom to avoid.

Yet, what if no one you know has any recommendations? This happened to us, when we were preparing to move into a different style of home, about one mile from our current address. I resorted to the Yellow Pages.

First, I looked at the various ads and only considered the companies that were licensed and bonded. Of the dozen or so that were left, I narrowed it down to five that looked promising.

Next, I went through the house and garage and made a detailed list of everything that I needed moved. I planned to move all boxes and small furniture in our van, so only the big or heavy items were left. Making a list is important, as the companies prepare a bid based on specific items.

I placed several calls and got various results. One company would not give a bid over the phone, required a non-refundable deposit of $500 and was based on an hourly rate. The representative could not give me an estimate on how long the job would take.

Another company came in at $500, six hours. A third said around $800, eight hours. Then I called Affordable Movers, who gave me a tentative quote of $300, four hours. The owner also requested a visit to get a look at the stairs, the different levels, the doorways and the furniture. I agreed and he came right over. He confirmed the total would be $300 and around four hours, and gave me several numbers to call for references, along with their license and insurance information.

Ask about the company's claim process, if anything should go wrong. You don't want to wait until your Grandma's priceless teapot is smashed to find out they don't have a claims process.

An easy way to tell if a moving company has had any complaints is to use your favorite search engine, put in the name, Better Business Bureau and complaints. Or try www.movingscam.com. You should also check references, and call the number on the license to double check. It is important to protect yourselves and your property.

The movers should inspect your home if possible, because you don't want any surprises on moving day. Some companies will not handle pianos, extremely large or heavy entertainment centers, adjustable or hospital beds or otherwise awkward pieces. They may ask you to sign a waiver for antiques and fragile items like china cupboards or mirrors, or refuse to handle them. This keeps you and the movers on the same page.

Since I was moving all of the small items, I needed a lot of boxes. A great source was the local grocery stores. Each one typically had five to twenty empty boxes set aside in a special area that anyone could take. I became a frequent visitor.

The better you label the boxes, the easier it will be when you unpack them in your new home. Also, try to group rooms together for quicker access. Don't forget the tops of closets, the drawer under the stove, pantry cupboards, rafters in the attic or garage, or outdoor items you may tend to forget. We had to make two trips back. One was for the pots and pans under the stove and a large plant above the cupboards.

If you have pets, you can either take them first with all of their equipment like food and water dishes, litter pans, beds, toys or blankets to make them feel at home, or wait until the last trip, so you can spend time with them and calm their nervousness. We knew the movers would be in and out for several hours, so we chose to bring our three cats over last.

Moving day arrived and the movers showed up early. They wore special booties over their boots to keep the carpets clean. We moved in December, with a lot of snow on the ground, so this was much appreciated. I also taped two shower curtains from The Dollar Store over the carpet by the front door. I later used the curtains for painting cloths.

The move went well, mostly as planned. The movers handled our furniture with care and placed each item where I wanted in our new home. Happy with their work, I paid them the agreed upon amount of $300 and the owner gave me an invoice with "Paid in Full" written on it.

Moving is never particularly enjoyable, but hiring a competent, affordable company makes it much easier. In our case, calling around for quotes helped us find the right movers for the right budget. Sometimes, it really is all in the name.

Take the Next Step:

  • If moving is on your horizon, check out other articles on affordable moving in The Dollar Stretcher Library .
  • Make sure you're not overpaying on your mortgage. If you haven't looked for a lower mortgage rate in the past year, use our simple tool that compares different lenders to see what your monthly mortgage payment could be. It's private, only takes a minute and could show you how to save thousands!

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