How to Interview Professional Movers
When deciding to hire a moving company, the options can be a bit overwhelming. Which company will be right for your move, at an affordable cost, with satisfaction guaranteed? Here are some tips that will help you to interview professional movers:
An Inventory Report is a list of the household items and their condition.
It is crucial to have a detailed inventory of your household goods when your moving company will take possession of your shipment overnight or longer.
Movers are required by law to provide inventory of your items at no additional cost when they take your shipment to storage or transporting it long distance. If you want your movers to inventory your shipment moving locally, your mover may agree to provide that service, however local moves are charged hourly, and therefore inventorying your items will add time to the regular moving activities and will in effect cost you extra.
Please do not confuse regular inventorying of the shipment with providing special inventory of "Articles of Extraordinary Value". Articles of Extraordinary Value must be inventoried by the shipper (customer), and provide values next to each item listed in that report. Articles of extraordinary value are any household items with a value over $100.00 per pound.
Most movers use inventory reports that are recommended by California PUC, or US Department of Transportation. An inventory form will have the following information:
Inventory Forms, once filled out, become an integral part of the moving contract (bill of lading), your mover must attach it to the contract and have it with the shipment at all times.
Before signing forms, both at pickup and delivery, make sure that inventory lists all items in your shipment. Also it is very important to read the condition-descriptions section of your goods indicated on inventory forms. If you disagree with them, make your own remarks (you may even take some pictures of the items in question), otherwise you may have difficulty receiving compensation should the damage occur.
Before the movers leave, personally open and unwrap all fragile and valuable articles and boxes as they are delivered to you. If you discover any damages or missing items let your mover know and mark both mover's and your own copy of the inventory form. Have the mover sign and initial the damaged or missing articles (taking pictures is always helpful). If you have a large shipment, you should ask your family and/or friends help you with unwrapping and opening boxes while movers are still at your residence. You have up to 6 months to file a claim, however having notations on the forms signed on the delivery date will be extremely helpful.
Make sure to keep original forms from the pickup and the delivery. Keep in mind, that marking losses or damages on the inventory forms is not an official claim for the loss/damage, however having both copies of inventories (pickup & delivery), which are signed by both you and your mover will help you expedite the claim process and may help you with getting a fair settlement.
Having your inventory forms marked and signed will simplify processing of your possible claim. However, failure to do so in no way effects your right to make a claim and to have your claim processed on its merits.
Symbols used in the inventory forms
Example (Notations at pickup):
Item #1 - 3 Cushion Couch - W, F-10, SW. (Means: (W)Badly Warn, (F)(10)Faded-Top, (SW)Stretch Wrapped)
Item #2 - Large Box - PBO, CU. (Means: (PBO)Packed by Owner, (CU)Contents Unknown)
Item #3 - Medium Box - Stereo Player, CP, SCR, MCU. (Means: (CP)Carrier Packed, (SCR)Scratched, (MCU)Mechanical Condition Unknown)
Item #4 - Dining Table - SW (Means: Good Condition, (SW)Stretch Wrapped)
If there are no notations next ot the article in the inventory - this means that the article is in good condition.
Already included in the mover's rates is protection against possible loss or damage of your household goods at 60 cents per pound. However, you may purchase additional protection and set the value of your belongings for an amount that makes you comfortable. Be sure to speak with your insurance agent, who will help you check your existing insurance policies for relocation protection.
BASIC COVERAGE: at 60 cents per pound per article, this protection ensures recovery of articles determined by the article's weight multiplied by 60 cents. Therefore, if a stereo system was damaged during your move, it's weight was 25 pounds. 25 x $0.60 = $15.00 is what can be recovered. This is a minimal protection that comes included in mover's rates.
ACTUAL CASH VALUE: this protection ensures recovery at the actual cash value of your items, it covers the depreciated value of your goods and is determined by such factors as the cost of the item new, its age, its condition when received by mover, and the value you declared. Most movers charge for this protection, the costs will be stated on mover's freight bill.
FULL VALUE: this protection cost the most as it will recover the replacement value of any lost or damaged item. With this coverage your mover may choose to replace, reimburse or repair the damaged item. Remember to declare items of extraordinary value (items with value of over $100 per pound). The mover may offer this level of protection with deductibles. In this case you would be responsible for deductibles, unless the item was lost by the mover.
LIABILITY FOR VALUABLES
Items of extraordinary value (with cost of over $100 per pound), such as antiques, jewelry, valuable papers, currency, etc., should be separately described on the inventory with a value of each item indicated on the list. It is best not to ship valuable, such as jewelry or currency with your regular household goods, keep those items on you at all times.
When planning to move using services of a full service moving company you should interview and get estimates from at least three reputable moving companies.
Licensed moving companies are required to provide shippers with written estimates for every move. In case that your mover is located with in 50 mile radius of your original residence, the estimate that your mover provides to you must be based on the physical survey of your goods. If your mover is located over 50 miles from your residence then the estimate must be written on the morning of the move, prior to loading the truck. This allows customer time to review estimate of costs, understand all charges and fees associated with relocation. If there is no price agreement between the shipper and the mover, mover can refuse to perform the job. This may inconvenience the customers as they need to find a new moving company. That is why we strongly recommend to get at least 3 written estimates days before the move day. You can waive the right to receive a written estimate, buy your waiver will have to be in writing.
Keep in mind that getting a verbal quote of mover's tariff prices is not considered to be an official binding estimate.
The estimate must be written on movers official form, it must have moving company's name, address, phone numbers and the date of the estimate.
The estimate must describe pick up and delivery addresses, services required to be performed by mover, any special services, (such as, storage in transit, shuttle, long carry, hoisting, etc.), and it must provide mover's tariff and final cost for moving services.
The estimate must specify the form of payment the mover will honor upon delivery. Payment methods may include, but not limited to:
Before loading and upon mutual agreement between you and the mover, your mover can amend the estimate of charges. Your mover may not amend estimate after the loading has began, unless there are special circumstances. Such as, due to the road conditions the mover's truck can not be park near your delivery location and the mover must perform shuttle service. As this is an unforeseen situation the amendment may be made in this case.
There are three type of estimates provided by moving companies.
- Binding Estimate is a written agreement made in advance with your mover, indicating that you and the mover are bound by the charges. It guarantees the total cost of the move based upon the quantities and services shown on your mover's estimate.
Your mover may charge for providing you with a binding estimate. A binding estimate must be in writing and you must receive a copy of it.
- Non-Binding Estimate is what your mover believes the total cost of the move will be, based on the estimated weight of your shipment (long distance moves), hours of service (local moves) and the accessorial services requested. A non-binding estimate is not binding on your mover. The estimate will indicate that the final charges will depend on the actual weight of the shipment or hours of service and the mover's tariff provisions in effect. You should be prepared (if necessary) to pay 10% over the estimate at delivery.
You should also be prepared to pay for any additional services that were performed and requested after the contract was executed that were not on the original estimate.
- Not-to-Exceed Estimate is provided after physical inspection of your goods. It is provided in writing. Just like the binding estimate it guarantees the cost of the move, and like the non-binding estimate it may be based on the actual weight of the shipment or the actual service hours, which ever is lesser. Not-to-exceed estimate is beneficial to the customer as if the estimator made an error of over stating the weight of the shipment, the actual weight will be applied, however if estimator understated the weight of shipment or time of service, the customer will not be responsible for it, and will pay the guaranteed amount of the estimate.
When scheduling a time for the mover to provide you with an on-site estimate, depending on the size of your residence allot anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. The estimator will take a very detailed inventory of your goods and additional services you may require. This information will then be used to determine the size of your shipment and the total cost of the move.
Fist thing is to make sure that your safe is properly prepared for the move.
There are a few things you must do to ensure your safe's move goes smoothly and safely and most importantly that your valuables are not damaged.
All licensed household movers must have a program in place to make sure that the employees and public are kept safe during relocation process. Movers must make every reasonable effort to provide a safe and healthful place of employment and to control the recognized hazards of any project. Accident prevention program is a basic part of mover's primary responsibility.
All moving companies are required to follow safe work procedures and take an active role in protecting fellow workers and general public.
Same procedures should be followed when you are moving your household yourself with the help of your family and friends. In a self move situation the person relocating becomes the responsible party for the safety of your helpers as well as safety of the goods, residences and moving equipment, such as a truck or a van.
If anyone gets hurt while helping you move on your property, it becomes your legal responsibility. Even-though, they are not your employees and are helping you on their own free will.
Here is the list of procedures that are used by moving companies to protect their workers. Use same precautions when moving by yourself.
SAFE WORK/MOVE RULES
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (MOVE RELATED)
HAND AND PORTABLE ELECTRIC EQUIPMENT
ALWAYS THINK SAFETY FIRST, IF YOU ARE NOT SURE OF THE TASK, ASK YOUR SUPERVISORS OR LEAVE IT FOR PROFESSIONALS.
We strongly recommend shippers, not to include articles of high value with their shipment of regular household goods. Keep those articles out of reach of others and take them with you. Such items as:
However, if shipper may not use any other means of transferring those items, make sure to follow instructions described below.
Shipper must create a separate inventory for "Articles of Extraordinary Value".
This inventory must describe each article and its value and condition, and mover has to incpect their condition and provide adequate protection of those articles at shippers expanse.
On mover's bill of lading there is a paragraph specifically designated to log those articles in.
The mover will not be held liable, on the following articles unless they are listed by description and value on the mover's bill of lading (contract):
Note 1 - Liability should be provided to firearms legally acceptable under the Federal Gun Control Act 1968, provided that the shipper furnishes to the mover the caliber, make and serial number of such firearms and that those firearms are packed by mover at shippers expanse at regular charges provided by mover.
Note 2 - Includes gold, silver and platinum household articles such as silverware, coffee or tea sets, trays, candlesticks, and dishes.
No liability shall be provided for loss or damage to articles of extraordinary value except under circumstances where each article is specifically listed on the mover's shipping document (contract), and the value of each article is listed on the same document, and the mover is afforded the opportunity prior to pickup of the shipment to pack and otherwise provide adequate protection for such articles (at shippers expanse), if the packing provided by shipper is deemed inadequate.
If you wish to pack boxes by yourself make sure to take your time at protecting fragile items and not to overload boxes, but here are a few more suggestions:
Two Months Prior to Moving Day
- Accessorial (Additional) Services - These are services Packing, Unpacking, Appliance servicing (connecting/reconnecting), etc.
- Advanced Charges - These are services performed by someone other than the mover. (Craftsman for wooden crates), other professional. Mover pays for these services and adds fees in your contract.
-Bill of Lading the contract for transportation and receipt for your goods.
- Carrier - Mover transporting your goods.
- Cash on Delivery (COD) - This means payment is required at the time of delivery, at home or warehouse.
- Expedited Service - This is an arrangement made with mover (long distance) by a set date in exchange for charges based on higher minimum weight.
- Flight Charge - A charge for carrying items up and/or down stairs (long distance only).
- Guaranteed Pick up and Delivery Service - Guaranteed dates of pick up and delivery (long distance moves), mover will provide reimbursement for delays. This premium service has higher tariff or higher minimum wight requirements.
- High value article (Article of extraordinary value) - Items valued at more than $100 per pound, or $220 per kg.
- Household Goods - in connection with moving means personal property used, or to be used, in a dwelling. You must request these items to be transported and pay mover for the transportation charges.
- Inventory - a detailed descriptive list of customer's household goods showing the number and the condition of the item.
- Long Carry - A charge for carrying article excessive distance between the truck and the residence. (Long distance moves only).
- Mover - A motor carrier engaged in the transportation of household goods.
- Order for Service - A document authorizing your mover to transport your goods.
- Pick up and delivery charges - Separate transportation charges applicable for transporting your shipment between short term storage and your residence.
- Reasonable Dispatch - The performance of transportation and delivery on the dates agreed upon by you and your mover and shown on your contract "order for service".
- Shuttle Service - A use of smaller truck to provide service to residence not accessible by mover's regular truck.
- Storage In Transit (SIT) - A temporary storage of your shipment, pending further transportation, with or with out notification to customer. If customer can not accept shipment on the agreed date, mover can place goods into warehouse (with out notification). In this case customer is responsible for SIT charges, as well as warehouse handling, and final delivery charges.
- Tariff - An issuance containing rates, rules, regulations, classifications or other provisions. California issued a Max 4 tariff for moves with in the state (contains of maximum rate, which movers can not exceed). Federal Department of Transportation, for moves across state lines, requires movers to post tariff. The tariff must contain 3 (three) specific items. First, description of services offered to public. Second, the specific applicable rates, (or basis for calculating rates), and service terms for services offered to public. Third, has to be arranged to that customer can determine the rates for services applicable to their shipment.
- Valuation - the degree of worth of the shipment. The valuation charge compensates a mover for assuming a greater degree of liability than is provided in base transportation charges.
- Warehouse handling - A charge may be applicable every time SIT service is provided. This charge compensates the mover for physical labor of placing shipment into storage and than taking it out.