1. Pay Close Attention to the Contract
The mover will issue you a bill of lading, a legal contract between the customer and the mover. Be sure to read it carefully and make sure you understand the agreement before you sign it. Then, be sure to hang on to your copy of the bill of lading. If something goes wrong, you'll want to have it handy to state your case. And once you sign the bill of lading, you must pay what it says you're supposed to pay. Look for the bill of lading to include the following: name and address of mover, the type of payment method it accepts, time of pickup, minimum and maximum amounts to pay and other details about payment.
2. Get Insurance
If you have renters or homeowners insurance, then your belongings are insured when they're at your home, but not when they're on the road between homes. So for a long commute, you might want to consider purchasing moving or relocation insurance. Unless you pay the movers to pack your belongings, it's unlikely that they will be insured against breakage caused by improper packing. If you want to ensure coverage for broken items, you can always ask the movers to pack your belongings. There are several types of insurance packages to purchase. The moving company is liable for a certain dollar amount multiplied by the weight of the shipment, up to a certain amount.
3. Make Sure the Mover is Aware of Everything that Must Be Moved
Make sure the mover is perfectly aware of everything that has to be moved. And here's why: The cost will increase if anything is added to the shipment that was not included in the estimate. Also, make sure the mover is aware of any special circumstances that might make the move challenging. For example, is there a possibility that the moving truck will have a hard time parking at your new place? If the mover has to park far away, you may be charged extra money for the walking that movers have to do to get your things to your new place.
4. Get More Than One Estimate
For interstate moves, charges are based on the weight of the items to be moved, the distance to be moved, packing and other services. Get two or three estimates well in advance of your move. You may even want to meet with a relocation consultant in person and have him or her come out to your home. That way, the consultant can take a look at your belongings and make a solid estimate on how much it will cost you to transport them. When you speak with the moving companies, ask whether their estimates are binding or nonbinding. Do not accept an estimate over the phone.
5. Research Companies
First things first -- do some informal research to see which moving companies do quality work. Send out an e-mail to friends to see if they have any recommendations or warnings about moving companies they've used in the past. If the companies you're interested in offer references, call those references. Once you narrow down your choices, check with the Better Business Bureau about any moving companies you're considering. If one of those companies has had a number of complaints filed against it, then that's not the company you want to use.