What you need to consider when hiring a moving company

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Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2012 8:00 pm

Though average Americans move approximately 12 times throughout their lives, many people are in the dark about the ins and outs of hiring a mover. Movers can make the stressful relocation process go much more smoothly, but if you don't do your research, you could be in for some surprises when hiring one.

It pays to take a little time to learn more about how movers determine their rates, and what types of things to expect as you go through the process with them. The experts at Nationwide Relocation Services offer the following tips to help ensure that you have a good experience when you hire a mover.

Getting an estimate

Not all estimates from movers are created equal. Some moving companies charge by weight and others charge by cubic feet. Weight is generally the more reliable option, as how well your mover packs the truck can influence measurements - and charges - based on cubic feet.

The most important thing you can do to get an accurate estimate is to complete a detailed inventory of what will be moved with help from the moving company. You'll want to include details like whether or not your bed has a headboard and whether your furniture is made from heavy wood or lighter material. You'll also want to find out if factors like fuel, labor and charges for movers climbing extra sets of stairs are included in the estimate.

Packing

Ask your mover for a list of packing tips. If you are packing yourself, you'll want to make sure that all delicate items are carefully packed. Be sure fragile boxes and items are clearly marked as such, so the movers know to take care.

Coverage options

Companies must offer one of two options for insuring your items: full value protection, which covers the repair or replacement of damaged items, or limited liability protection, which values your items for damages at 60 cents per pound, per article. Limited liability protection should be offered at no extra charge, but may not be adequate to cover your losses. Full value protection will likely come with an extra fee.

Another option is to purchase coverage through a reputable third-party provider. With this option, any claim would be processed through the third-party provider rather than through the mover. You should also check with your homeowners or renters insurance provider, as your policy may include coverage for household items during your move.

Do your homework

If you have any friends or acquaintances that have recently used movers, see how they liked the service. The Better Business Bureau and protectyourmove.gov are also reputable organizations that track complaints against moving companies, making for good resources as you research movers. Hiring a reputable mover can save you hundreds of dollars, so it's worth spending the time vetting your options. Once you've gathered a list of three to five companies, seek estimates to see which one might work best for you.

Hiring a mover can save you a ton of time, labor and headaches, especially if you are relocating somewhere far away. By finding the right mover and going through the process in a careful way, you'll help ensure that it's a positive experience.

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