Local Moving Services--Worth Every Penny - Part 2
You should get an estimate from several moving companies. You already know the questions they'll ask you; here are some questions you should ask.
Are your crews insured? If it's a company you're not familiar with, ask to see a copy of their declarations page for the business insurance policy. Get their damages policy in writing, so that if something breaks you know what the movers will pay for the loss.
Is the hourly rate per man or for the crew? What about additional men? Most companies will quote an hourly rate for a two or three-man crew. You might think three is unnecessary, but it's worth the money since that third or even fourth person makes things go a whole lot faster when stairs or bulky and heavy things are a factor. You can have a couple of people taking things apart and crating or packing while others do the heavy lifting; these are guys who work together every day and they're like a well-oiled machine, and get the job done much faster. It's not uncommon to have a quote for a two-man crew, and with a charge for an additional man, if requested. If your house has four or five bedrooms or you have a big garage, you could need more than one truck anyway, so spring for the extra men to get it done in one day.
Do they charge for travel time? Is the crew off the clock for lunches and breaks? Companies vary with the travel charges. Usually, once they get to your house, the clock is running. Most times they will stop at a drive through and eat lunch on the way to the new house, so there isn't really any down time.
What if I just want packing help? That's fine, most companies will give you an a la carte pricing list--you can buy everything from tape guns to a six-man crew that will crate your lawn mower if you ask. The prices for packing typically include supplies--tape, bubble wrap, newsprint paper (the unprinted and clean kind), packing peanuts, and a wide variety of box sizes. Expect an hourly rate quote for a packing crew as a basic estimate. Just make sure and read through the verbiage on the quote so that you know exactly what is and isn’t included.
What if I just want moving help? Some people like to pack while they purge and sort, and so hiring people for that is just not practical. Moving companies are happy to load, drive, and unload on moving day, but be sure you know their policies for what they can and can't move. For example, anything hazardous or toxic can't go on the trucks. Nail polish remover is on the prohibited list, as are most cleaning supplies, household chemicals, and paint. Firearms might not be permitted on moving trucks, so you’ll have to open any safes so that the movers know what is inside of them.
Movers Are More Expensive Than Your Poker Group, but They Are Insured
Reliable movers are not cheap, but your poker buddies won't pay a claim if something is damaged in the move. And, they're much more likely to hurt their backs or knees if they don't know the right way to lift heavy things.