How to Spot a Bad Moving Company

Moving house requires many things, but planning and preparing are two of the biggest. These tasks help make a relocation easy and more successful, and you do want that, don’t you? Sure you do! Unfortunately, no matter how much effort you put into orchestrating a move that is flawless, certain events can occur that are simply out of your control. One thing, in particular, is to hire a bad moving company. After putting so much time and effort into planning and preparing a good local or long-distance move, it can be truly disheartening to have a poor moving company ruin it all. Though there are some movers out there who are dishonest, disreputable and fraudulent, let it be known that there are also many good and respectable moving companies that strive to make your relocation a success. So how do you bypass the “bad” movers and end up with a “good” one? The first step is by learning how to spot a bad moving company.

Bad Online Reputation

When on the search for a moving company to help with your relocation, one of the first things to research online are reviews and testimonials left by former customers. Good, reliable movers care about their reputation and work hard to keep their online record clean by providing excellent service and handling any claims, disputes and issues with clients in a quick and fair manner. Yes, there will also be a few bad reviews every now and again no matter what the business, but if a moving company is followed by mostly bad reviews, proceed with caution because you may be next to leave a bad review.

Not Licensed

All legit businesses must be registered with and licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This includes interstate movers. Before hiring a moving company, you should check out the FMCSA’s website and ensure they have the required licensing information. If they do not, run the other way because you may be dealing with scammers.

Refuse to Insure Your Belongings

Just as moving companies are required to have the proper licensing, they must also assume proper liability for the value of items they relocate. As a consumer, it is your right to ask a moving company for proof of insurance, request any additional information about insurance options they offer, and what their process is for filing a claim in case of lost or damaged items.

If a mover refuses to provide you with the proper moving coverage for your items, this is a big warning sign that something’s not right and you should take your business elsewhere.

Phone or Internet Estimates Only

Getting a moving estimate via the phone or internet is incredibly easy. But consider this – how will a mover be trusted to provide you with a precise moving estimate without performing a detailed, in-home inspection of all the items you have to move? Obviously, they can’t.

In order to get a detailed and accurate moving estimate, it is important to request an in-home inspection by a qualified representative from the company. The primary job of a moving expert is to determine exactly how many items a person has to move, along with any special circumstances there may be (e.g., an item is too heavy, awkwardly shaped, fragile, etc.). They are also responsible for noting any details that will affect the final cost of the move, such as special packing requirements, long flights of stairs, narrow hallways or doors, and so on.

With all of this said, to ensure you are not handed an alarming bill after your move, never accept moving estimates solely over the phone or internet. Also make sure you get an in-home estimate from several reputable moving companies (not just one!) before making your final decision in who to hire for your relocation needs.

Other Red Flags to Watch Out For

We have already discussed several things you should do to ensure you don’t hire a bad moving company for your relocation, but there are some additional red flags to be aware of. If you experience any of these things during your search for a moving company, don’t hire them.

  • They do not answer the phone with their company name.
  • They do not have a website, or their website does not provide licensing information, insurance options, nor an address.
  • The mover does not provide flexible payment options, but instead demands a large deposit or cash-only payment.
  • On moving day, your movers show up in an unmarked moving truck, seem unprofessional, bring dirty or damaged packing materials, or behave in a rude manner.

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Top Reasons People Move House

Have you ever wondered why people move? Are they seeking a new environment? Are they running to or from someone or something? Considering that moving house is one of the most difficult, important and life-altering decision one can make, there has to be a pretty good reason to endure such a long and strenuous act. So what makes someone say, “Yes!” to moving? Here’s a list of the top reasons people move.

Space

One of the main reasons people decide to move to a new place is because their old home no longer suits their needs/preferences. Here are the top space-related causes of moving:

Not Enough Space. One of the main reasons people opt for a residential move is the need for more space. Upsizing happens quite often, due to many circumstances:

  • When a family grows and a home starts to feel too small;
  • When kids become old enough to need separate bedrooms;
  • When the home becomes too full of belongings;
  • When it becomes possible to afford a larger, more spacious home;
  • When extra room is required for work, relaxation, etc.

Too Much Space. While people typically want a home with more space, sometimes too much room can be a problem. Downsizing is a convenient and cost-effective solution in these situations:

  • Their kids have grown up and moved out;
  • They can no longer afford it;
  • They are unable to maintain it.

Desire for a Better Home or to Own a Home

One of the major goals people have in life is to upgrade to a better home – one that’s newly built with a convenient layout, advanced home systems and attractive features. This is why so many work hard to save enough money to move into a better and more comfortable house. Doing so puts them closer to the life they’ve always wanted for themselves.

Owning a home is another major life goal and reason for moving house. While living in a rented property is typically the best choice for those who are young and do not yet have a stable job, or have not started a family or decided where they want to live, it is not a suitable long-term solution. Though it comes with a vast number of responsibilities, owning a home provides many great opportunities, which is why so many choose to tackle the moving process to do it.

Neighborhood Advantages

House-related problems pushed aside, sometimes people choose to move because other neighborhoods/areas come with more advantages, such as:

Convenience. Many decide to move house to live in areas that are more convenient for them – better infrastructures, abundant local amenities, and easier access to quality medical care, educational institutions, recreational centers, entertainment venues, etc.

Safer/Family-Oriented. When choosing to start a family, many decide to move to a neighborhood that is safer, better maintained, calmer and child friendly. These areas often offer plenty of grassy areas, playgrounds and more.

Bad Neighbors. If you’ve ever experienced “bad” neighbors, then you have probably either moved because of them or really wanted to. Bad neighbors cause many problems, from not trusting them to feeling uncomfortable in their presence – both serious issues that cannot be easily ignored.

Family-Related Reasons

Family-related reasons are another key cause of people moving house. Near 30% of home relocations are due to family-related reasons. This makes it the second most common reason people move. Family-related reasons include:

  • Change in marital status – marriage or divorce.
  • Following a spouse or partner due to change in work, studies or other reasons.
  • Moving closer to elderly parents or to children.
  • Moving in pursuit of love.
  • Moving to a child-friendly neighborhood.

Occupation

Another common reason people move house is due to their occupation. Job-related relocations are typically due to:

New jobs. The most frequent reasons for an occupational relocation is due to a new job. When presented with the opportunity to advance their career, or achieve a higher salary, stable job, better work conditions, etc., most people are more than willing to jump at the opportunity – even when it means uprooting themselves and their family halfway across the country or even halfway across the world.

Corporate transfers. A corporate transfer means an employee is sent to a different city or state with a specific long-term assignment, or to relocate to a different branch of a company they are working for. This is done in an attempt to improve a company or business or to cut down overheard costs.

Another reason people often move to a new job is because they are restricted by the lack of jobs available in their particular field in the area they currently reside in. A move to a new city or state can open the door for better employment opportunities in the future.

Moving closer to work. Long commutes and heavy traffic are both serious incentives for moving house. This is why many people choose to relocate closer to their place of employment in order to save time and money and to lower the level of stress to and from work.

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Easy Ways to Reward Yourself After a Move

Moving house is no joke. It takes tons of time, planning, packing and muscle. So, after a long adrenaline-filled moving day, there is no doubt that you will be exhausted. Though happy that you finally conquered your move and made it to your new home without any major accidents, it can be difficult to get your energy bar to raise from depleted to energized. So, what do you do? Reward yourself! To do this, you will need to turn your attention back on yourself. Yes, there are loads of post-relocation tasks that are begging to be completed, but after such a long and grueling moving process, it is important to let both your mind and body recuperate. So let the piles of boxes wait, and delve into one of the creative ways to reward and rejuvenate yourself that we’ve provided below.

Go to the Movies

The moving process can make you feel very overwhelmed, causing a number of negative things to happen. For instance, your mood may suffer, you may not sleep as well as usual, and you may not be able to focus on non-moving-related situations. This is why it is important to do something fun to take your mind off of the stress weighing down upon you. Going to the movies is one way to reward yourself after a move. A couple hours of distraction will do wonders in helping you clear your mind and recharge your batteries so you can get your post-moving tasks accomplished more efficiently.

Have a Housewarming Party

Your new home may take some time to look and feel exactly as you want it to, but don’t let this stop you from having a housewarming party. Inviting friends – and even new neighbors – over for a night of fun is a great way to relieve stress, so order some pizzas and pop open a bottle of champagne and toast yourself to a job well done!

Give Yourself Some R&R

Nothing rejuvenates the mind and body like some genuine R&R. Whether you choose to combat post-moving exhausting by catching extra zzz’s, diving into a new book or just watching TV, how you choose to take it easy is totally up to you. Trust us, it will be worth it.

Browse the Internet

One of the best – and most fun – aspects of moving is making your house a home. This means arranging and decorating it so it ultimately becomes the dream home you’ve always envisioned for yourself. After a tough move, though, these tasks will be much too draining. So instead, browse websites like Pinterest, which offer millions of ideas at your fingertips and let your future decorating plans unfold.

Explore Your Surroundings

What better way to rejuvenate yourself after a move than to explore your new surroundings? It may seem somewhat scary at first, but going on this brave adventure will empower you as well as excite you when you learn of all the great sites that await you. So take the bull by the horns and venture into your new town so you can learn all there is to know about it. Who knows, maybe you’ll even meet some new people along the way.

Treat Yourself

Since moving house can be such a stressful and overwhelming event, it takes a lot of motivation to get the job done. So why not boost your motivation level by setting up a reward system prior to your move? For instance, once you conquer your move and it is officially complete, you can buy yourself something extra special. A fancy new smartphone perhaps? Or maybe a flat-screen TV for your new home? Whatever reward you decide on, it will be a nice treat at the end of a long and stressful event.

For all you need to know about moving, visit our blog!

Top 5 Tips for a Last-Minute Move

Getting your home and belongings organized and ready for a relocation can put a great deal of pressure on your shoulders. This is especially true if you are moving at the last minute. You may have a limited amount of time, but the job must still be done. No matter the reason for your speedy move – getting a new job, a home eviction, a natural disaster, etc. – you will need to prepare for your move quickly, and still manage to do it efficiently. When every moment counts, here are the top five tips you should use in order to make your last-minute move a success.

Separate Belongings

Since time is at stake during a last-minute move, you won’t have time to sell any belongings you don’t care to take with you. But it is still a good idea to organize and separate all items between those you plan to take with you and those you intend to donate or throw away. The more you decide to leave behind, the less time you will spend packing and moving, and you will also save a pretty penny in shipping costs.

Gather Packing Supplies

Once you know what you are taking with you, you will be able to plan what items need to be packed. You will also get an idea of what sort of packing materials you will need. Gathering all packing supplies in advance, and at once, is the ideal choice. If you have to stop packing to buy new boxes, tape, etc., you will lose a lot of valuable time. It will also ruin your concentration, which can be hard to get back into.

Pack “Open First” Boxes

For the first couple of days after your move, you will be met with piles of boxes to unpack and lots to clean. You will also more than likely be exhausted – body and mind – after such a long day of moving (not to mention the fast-action efforts you powered through to make your move happen). To get yourself through those first few days post-move, be sure to pack a box or two with all of your essentials, like clothes, toiletries, cosmetics, cell charger, and so on.

Label Everything

In your rush to pack by a very soon move-out date, you may feel there is no time to be spent on labeling boxes. During the chaos, you may even simply forget to do so. But labeling your boxes will actually save you time overall. Labeling boxes with their destination room will make moving day simpler and more organized, which are both excellent time savers. Also, marking boxes with special instructions (e.g., “fragile”) can save time by avoiding broken items that have to be cleaned up.

Stay Focused and Avoid Distraction

Staying focused can be difficult, especially when packing can feel boring and endless. Not to mention, there are so many distractions surrounding us daily – TV, cell phones, computers. But if you are going to get your belongings packed efficiently, and super speedy, you will need to keep your focus intact. To do this, distractions, like those previously mentioned, should be avoided at all cost.

Following these simple tips and hiring last-minute movers can make your relocation fast and smooth. Don’t lose another minute – get started now!

Important Qualities to Look for in a Moving Company

During the strenuous process of preparing for a move, there will come a time where you’ll admit you need help. While friends and family can come in handy during the stressful events of your move, opting for the help of a professional moving company is the ultimate choice. Not only will it save you a whole lot of stress, it will also leave you time to focus on other important moving tasks. But before you hire the first help you find, here are some important qualities you should look for to ensure you make the right choice.

Are they legit?

Before you dive in and hire the first moving company you come across, it is extremely important to ensure that they are legit. There are a lot of “rogue” movers out there with the solid intention of reeling you in with ultra-low prices just to screw you over in the end. To avoid tragic situations like this, you need to do your research. To guarantee a safe move, you need to hire movers that are fully bonded and certified, who operate legally and meet all federal insurance, safety and financial standards.

The ultimate way to verify the legitimacy of a moving company is by checking their license. A legitimate intrastate moving company is required to have a USDOT number issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). So in order for an intrastate moving company to legally operate, they need a state license.

Another way to detect a legit moving company is by their membership with the American Mover and Storage Association (AMSA) and/or the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This guarantees that a company abides by the national guidelines and assumes liability for the items in their custody. When reviewing potential movers for your upcoming relocation, be sure to visit the FMCSA official website (or your states government website if you are moving locally) in order to find out if they have a valid USDOT number (or state license).

Are they affordable?

For most, price is the main factor in deciding if a moving company is the right choice for you. Moving is expensive enough without tacking on professional help, after all. The lower the cost a moving company asks of you, the better it seems. But is it? While you want to hire movers within your budget, it’s important that they also offer good customer service.

Finding the perfect balance between quality and cost can be tough. This is why it is worth your time to get at least three or four moving estimates so you can compare prices and conditions offered by different companies. During your estimate, be sure to find out these things:

  • What the quoted price includes;
  • What they consider to be “extra services” and how much is charged for them;
  • What packing materials and packing assistance they provide and at what cost;
  • What deposit is required and if it’s refundable under certain circumstances;
  • If they offer any discounts or promotions; and
  • What payment methods they accept.

Once you have all the necessary information, you can then make an informed decision on the best company for your move.

Are they experienced?

Hiring a moving company then finding out they are inexperienced is a situation you definitely don’t want to end up in. If you’re going to entrust your most prized possessions into the care of complete strangers, you want them to have expert skills and professional know-how in order to provide a smooth, fast and problem-free relocation.

Movers that have been in business for years have faced a large variety of relocation types and gained rich experience in all sorts of situations. This means they are good at what they do and will know exactly how to handle your belongings in a safe and efficient manner, as well as how to take proper care of all other aspects of the grueling moving process.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a moving company would only have remained in business for years if it had proved itself by performing well.

Finding a mover with a flawless track record is huge when it comes to choosing moving services. When speaking with potential movers, be sure to ask them these questions:

  • How long they’ve been in business;
  • If they hire full-time movers and provide adequate training;
  • If they employ temporary workers (Temporary workers lack experience and are likely to make mistakes.);
  • If they have specialized moving equipment (hoisting and rigging systems, for example); and
  • If they have storage facilities.

Are they reliable?

One of the most important qualities to look for in a moving company is reliability. A reliable company will provide all the key traits you are looking for.

  • Legitimate and insured;
  • Provide excellent customer service, treating your belongings with care and attention;
  • Will clear rates and conditions;
  • Will deliver on time; and
  • Will settle problems in a mutually beneficial manner.

So how do you find a well-rounded and reliable moving company? The best way to do this is by verifying the company’s credentials and performing extensive research on their background and reputation. Here’s how:

  • Read online reviews from former customers;
  • Contact the FMCSA’s safety violation and consumer complaints hotline to find out about complaints against your chosen movers;
  • Check the company’s rating with the BBB;
  • Find out if the company has won any awards for their services; and
  • Ask them to provide you with references and show you letters of recommendation.

For everything you need to know about moving, click here.

Prepare for Your Upcoming Move with This Week-by-Week Timeline

moving checklist - PHOTO (ABC)When preparing for something as big as moving house, it is important to be as organized as possible. One way is by creating a week-by-week moving checklist and sticking to it. Check out the following guide for help creating your own personal moving timeline – from eight weeks to one week prior to moving day.

Weeks Prior to Moving Day: 8

  • Decision time! Eight weeks prior to moving day is the optimal time to make that important decision – opt for a self-move or hire movers.
  • If you are currently renting, inform your landlord that you will soon be leaving the property, and begin your search for a new place in the city you are moving to.
  • Confirm with your current employer that you will be moving, and arrange your first day of work at your new job. Or, if you do not yet have a job in your new area, begin your search as soon as possible.
  • Create a moving budget so you will know roughly how much money you will need to organize and execute your upcoming move.
  • If you decide to use professional movers, being your search for a top-rated moving company that is affordable and professional.
  • Contact several moving companies and request an in-house estimation of your future relocation costs.
  • Inventory your home by making a detailed room-by-room list of all your possessions.
  • Review your home inventory list and decide which items you will take with you and which ones will be left behind.
  • Create a special binder to keep all of your moving-related paperwork.
  • Begin thinking about how you are going to pack your belongings.

Weeks Prior to Moving Day: 6

  • If you have opted for a self-move, begin strategizing your plans for renting a moving truck. Contact truck rental companies and compare prices and conditions.
  • Collect all medical records from your doctor and also from your pet’s vet. If you have school-aged children, now is the time to also obtain their school records. This is also a good time to take your pet(s) to the vet for a complete check-up, required vaccinations, and advice on the upcoming relocation.
  • Start looking for a new healthcare provider and a new school for your kid(s) in your future city. Be sure to ask around for suggestions and recommendations before the move takes place.
  • If your move is local, visit your soon-to-be home, and measure the dimensions of rooms and doorways. This will eliminate potential problems come moving day.

Weeks Prior to Moving Day: 4

  • If you will be having a self-move, four weeks prior to moving day is a good time to go ahead and contact your friends and family to ask them if they can help you move.
  • Begin collecting moving boxes of various sizes. Also, gather packing supplies, such as:
    • Bubble wrap
    • Tape
    • Markers
    • Packing paper
  • Learn what items your moving company forbids being transported due to their hazardous nature.
  • Cancel any subscriptions for delivery services and memberships to clubs/organizations.
  • Driving to your new home? Now is the optimal time to have your car serviced so your upcoming road trip goes smoothly.
  • If you are flying to your new home, you will need to find a trustworthy auto transporter to ship your car.
  • Arrange travel plans – book flights and hotels, collect important documents, etc.
  • Begin packing, being sure to label all of your boxes. This will make unpacking much faster and more efficient.
  • While packing, prepare one or two boxes/containers with all of the absolute essentials you will need during the time when you won’t have easy access to your belongings.

Weeks Prior to Moving Day: 2

  • Contact your chosen professional mover to ensure all plans are still in order.
  • If moving with kids, make a point to talk with them about the upcoming move. Discuss with them what is expected from them, and also use this time to calm down any fears they may have of the unknown ahead.
  • Contact your current utility companies to inform them of the date your services will need to be disconnected. Also, contact service providers in your new area, and arrange a connection date.
  • Consider how you will pack and ship any fragile or valuable items – artwork, paintings, antique furniture, and jewelry. For optimal protection, use appropriate packing techniques with materials that provide good cushion and padding, like bubble wrap and packing paper.

Weeks Prior to Moving Day: 1

  • Pay any remaining bills before your scheduled move-out date.
  • Begin disassembling large furniture – dressers, beds, desks, etc. Keep in mind, you may need help handling these tasks, so you will need to have enough time to find helpers.
  • If you have fallen behind in your moving schedule, seek aid from friends or professional movers.
  • Make a move-out cleaning checklist, and prepare all cleaning materials in advance.
  • Finish any last-minute organizing, packing and preparing for the big day ahead.

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Moving from Small Town to Big City: The Pros and Cons (Part 1 of 2)

For many who grow up in a small town, the idea of a big city with its bright lights and forever bustScreen Shot 2017-01-13 at 8.14.24 PMling streets is very intriguing. If you are someone who has always dreamed of the chance to escape small-town life and venture into life in a big city, it is a good idea to consider all of the pros and cons that such a move poses.

The Pros

A big city provides a whole new world of possibilities, potentials and prospects to discover. Here are some of the top pros of moving to a big city.

Great Opportunities. One of the top pros of moving to a big city is the number of great opportunities it presents. While there is a lot opportunities ahead - PHOTOof competition in a big city, there will be plenty of options and opportunities that you won’t be able to find in a small town. Whether you want to advance your studies, improve your skills, enhance your professional expertise, acquire new abilities, expand your world view, or pursue a specific passion, big cities will provide you with the opportunity. Whatever your passion, skills and interests are, you will be able to explore them in full and reach your full potential.

Unlimited Options. If there’s one thing a big city provides, it is options. In fact, it offers so many options that it may actually be overwhelming at times. But, having unlimited options is one of the great things about living in a big city. You’ll suddenly have access to:

  • Enormous shopping centers
  • Every ethnicity of food available, within walking distance
  • Different social events nightly
  • A huge number of restaurants, bars and night clubs

Cultural Diversity. Small towns are known for their like-minded folk, which can lead to only one outlook on every aspect of life. But when you move to a new city, you will be exposed to a variety cultural diversityof different perspectives, values, ideologies, points of view and more. These great cultural and ethnic diversities will expand your knowledge of the world and help you learn to appreciate differences and reject stereotypes.

The Cons

Life in a big city is set at a quicker pace than that of a small town. Everyone is in a rush, and everything happens twice as fast as it does in a small town. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it may make your head spin at times. It can also be added to the list of cons about moving from a small town to a big city. Here are some other cons to consider.

Higher Cost of Living. If life felt expensive living in a small town, then you are in a world of shock at the cost of living in a big city. Life in the city is much pricier than small-town life – it’s a fact. Not only will essentials, like housing, food and transportation, cost you more (around twice as much) than it does in a shigh cost of livingmall town, there are also many temptations that will quickly suck your wallet dry – pubs, theaters, museums and the like.

Strong Competition. One thing you will not be used to when moving to a big city is the strong level of competition among those that live there. While in a small town, there are only a few people with an expertise in a specific area or field. In a big city, there are hundreds – even thousands – of people with the same level of expertise or degree as you. This being said, you will face enormous competition in a big city, a problem that can make it hard to find a job.

Heavy Traffic. One of the biggest cons of city life is the massive amount of people – and cars – on the road. From vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and so on, citcity traffic - PHOTOy streets can be a continuous stream of traffic jams. Finding a parking space can also be a nightmare in a big city. Not only will it take you huge amounts of time trying to find a space, you will also be charged to park there. With such a raging mess, you will quickly become a fan of public transportation.

Now that you know about some of the pros and cons of a big-city move, continue to Part 2 of this blog to learn some necessary steps to take before venturing from small town to big city.