Friday, August 5, 2011

Moving? Here's My Two Cents!: Estimates for Moves Within Texas

Moving? Here's My Two Cents!: Estimates for Moves Within Texas: "Moving companies in Texas acquire customers from a variety of places. Happy customers may refer their friends, some folks pop online and s..."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Estimates for Moves Within Texas


Moving companies in Texas acquire customers from a variety of places. Happy customers may refer their friends, some folks pop online and search for moving companies, and others submit their information to different websites who then send that information to different moving companies.  The companies who receive the customer’s information then call and try to book the job.
When you speak with a sales person at a moving company their number one priority is typically to MAKE THE SALE! As the owner of our company my priority is to make the customer feel comfortable and secure in choosing The Moving Factor. I would rather not book a job than have someone feel pressured or uncomfortable.
When you receive an Estimate over the phone it is impossible to give a Guaranteed Price.  This is particularly true when you are speaking with a sales person who has never even seen a truck being loaded. The sales person is going to make a commission off the final contract price. The final price is 99% of the time NOT the price you are quoted over the phone.
When you receive a quote over the phone there are some steps your mover is required by Texas law to take before they load a single box into their truck.
1)      The mover MUST provide you with a pamphlet entitled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move in Texas.

2)      Before ANY work is done in your home the mover MUST provide you with a WRITTEN ESTIMATE. It is imperative that you be very clear about the items you are moving. The proposal will either be a BINDING proposal (it gives the exact price of the move), or a NOT-to-EXCEED proposal (gives the maximum price of the move). You and the mover must both sign this form.

If the proposed price is significantly different that what was discussed over the phone I would seriously hesitate to proceed any further. Your mover should use a Table of Measurements to estimate the size of your shipment. Your estimate will be based upon the items on that list. Always keep a copy of that form.

3)      Your mover may offer to sell you Full Value Replacement insurance. If you choose to purchase this coverage your mover is required to provide you with a copy of the policy BEFORE the move. If they cannot provide it, look elsewhere.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a Binding Estimate (proposal) signed by the mover.
A word about choosing the lowest price for your move-
We recently provided an on—site estimate to a couple moving from the Dallas area to El Paso. Our quote was $3800 and it included full packing and moving a motorcycle. The customers received two other on-site estimates that were about $1,000 less than our bid.  To this day I worry about those folks! Considering the cost of fuel, packing materials, labor, licensing and insurance it would be a financial loss to our company to charge much less than our bid of $3800. Those folks are on a tight schedule and once the mover is there and has their property on his truck they are basically left at the mercy of the mover.  if the mover arrives at their destination and decides that he needs to charge extra for a long carry or that his truck can’t make it into the area and he needs to shuttle your shipment he could feasibly tack on hundreds of dollars in additional charges.
                                                                               
Ultimately, as the customer, it’s your money, your belongings, your home and your decision.  Just remember, you get what you pay for.  When you choose the lowest bid you may also be choosing an unpleasant surprise during your move, which is already stressful enough.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Moving Myths


Cheaper is Better
Lead brokers – Lead brokers are sites where you give your personal information and the company sells your information to 5-10 actual moving companies.  Those companies then compete for your business.  Good for you, right?  Not really.  The moving companies start calling you and bring their “quote” lower and lower in an effort to book your move. 

The mover arrives at your house, probably never having seen anything you are moving and suddenly they need to “revise the original estimate”!  You’re mostly packed, ready to go, have a time line and what are you going to do? Probably suck it up and pay a lot more than you planned.  Had you simply contacted moving companies directly, avoided a middle man who really doesn’t care about you or your move anyway, you would not be in that position!

Bottom line…contact moving companies directly.


The Better Business Bureau is an accurate representation of a moving company

http://youtu.be/Yo8kfV9kONw This video says it all.
To thoroughly check out movers first visit http://ai.volpe.dot.gov/hhg/search.asp
Go through your state household goods mover licensing bureau to check out intrastate movers.
After dealing with an awful plumber who I found with an A+ BBB rating…after he had jackhammered my floor and opened a 10 foot section of our slab…after that I actually called our state Plumbing Board to find the plumber with the A+ BBB rating had 19 complaints with the state plumbing board.
Yelp.com is also a great source for pretty accurate reviews.


I can wait until later to pack

No you cannot! Start packing at least 30 days before your move! If your mover arrives and things are not packed there is going to be a problem for you and the mover! If the mover suddenly has to start packing you will be charged for boxes, packing paper, tape and their time and it won’t be cheap!
I repeat – Start Packing Early! You will be amazed at what you can live without at least for a short time!

My shipment is fully insured

By law your long distance shipment is “covered” at .60 per pound per article. Read that again! This means your 50 pound Tiffany lamp is covered at about $30. If your mover offers to sell you Full Value Coverage you should ask to see a policy with your name on it. There are “tricks of the trade” movers use to sell this coverage then it can be a nightmare to actually collect on a claim.  I highly recommend purchasing full coverage insurance from any number of moving insurance companies. 
http://www.bakerintl.com/  If your moving company is affiliated with Baker you can use them – they’ve been in business a long time.
http://www.movinginsurance.com is a good source for full coverage insurance.


I can expect to pay in full when the movers finish unloading

You are required to pay your balance in full when the movers arrive and before they begin unloading.  Movers are fully within their rights to simply leave if you do not have payment ready.  Typically you are expected to pay in cash, US Postal Order or Cashiers Check. You may also be charged for waiting time if you need to go and get the money to pay your mover.  If your mover arrives at 7:00AM and the bank doesn’t open until 9:00AM, that can cost up to $100 an hour. (This isn’t to be mean! The mover is paying workers to stand around and do nothing because you weren’t prepared! Time is money!) You should be clearly informed of this on the documents you signed when your shipment was picked up. (You did READ what you signed, right?!)

Movers don’t get hungry or thirsty and if they do they should be prepared for that

Well, maybe they should bring food and drinks but I know that when I have people working in my home all day I offer drinks and snacks at least. Typically the movers are driving a large truck and making a trip for pizza or burgers can be difficult.  Be hospitable and at least offer a drink now and then!

Hopefully you are reading this before your move!  If not, give us a call if you have encountered a problem with any mover and we will try to help.  Happy Moving!

We'll keep you well informed from the beginning to the end of your move! http://www.themovingfactor.com

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Organizing Your Packing

Organization is key in preparing and executing a stress-free move. (OK, maybe not stress-free...) Still, being well organized can relieve a lot of stress and makes the whole process of moving much easier.

When using a professional mover, such as The Moving Factor, be sure to have wardrobe boxes delivered ahead of time! Set them up in each room with closets and immediately pack anything you absolutely don't need. Shoes can go into the bottom of the box and of course, the bar is for hanging things. Leave the box open until the day of your move to put last minute items in. (These are great for tossing in wrapping paper (for some reason I have tubes of wrapping paper in my closet!), and other miscellaneous, light items in your closets.

LABEL, LABEL, LABEL! 
Use a bold marker to clearly mark where each box will go in your new home. Using a specific color for each room makes the unloading and placing of your boxes even easier! You and your mover probably don't have ESP so having boxes clearly labeled by room and possibly by name make everyone's day so much easier!

ONE ROOM AT A TIME!
 Place plenty of various sized boxes in each room and near closets. I suggest starting with closets where rarely used items are stored. For example, start with a Linen Closet and pack almost all your sheets, towels and blankets.  Leave out enough linens to get by until your move. Whatever you leave in the closet try to keep all on one or two shelves so that when you come back to pack those last items they are all together.

 KIDS ROOMS
Start in the closet at the top shelf. Chances are top shelf items are rarely used. From the top down, start packing.  Seal each box as you top it off to prevent the kiddos from coming in and discovering items they haven't seen in ages and deciding that's the time they need to play with those things! Be sure to use book boxes to pack books! Keep like items together. Remember: label, label, label!

KITCHENS (my nemesis!)  

Start by setting up at least two China Boxes

Set up several Book Boxes.
Using the Top Down approach, start with upper cabinets and pack away anything you have not used recently and that you are sure you won't need in the kitchen for a couple of weeks. (You are starting your packing well ahead of time, right!?) You will be surprised at how little you actually need to get by in the kitchen. Pack as many pots, pans and bakeware items as possible.  I usually leave out one or two skillets, one large and one small pot (with lids), a cookie sheet and a casserole dish or two.

What about utensils? Packing paper is your best friend! Again, pare down to only the basic necessities and pack everything else! Wrap items such as tongs, skewers, basters, mixing spoons, etc in large packing paper and tape it up. It's a huge pain to try and sort these items out when you are unpacking.


Book Boxes Use book boxes to pack canned food, spices, boxed pasta, etc. Canned food becomes very heavy! Only use the bottom of the box for cans then layer on top of the cans with spices, pasta boxes, etc.


Take time to absorb this information and stay tuned for your next packing project - THE GARAGE!!

Of course you can save yourself a lot fo hard work by simply hiring a professional to do all your packing! We do that too!


























Thursday, June 2, 2011

10 Helpful Moving Tips!


1)      Choose your mover carefully!
a.       You can also do a Google search to find reviews – type in the movers name followed by reviews.  The search would look like this “The Moving Factor reviews” (Minus the quotation marks.)

b.      Make sure the mover you select has been assigned a USDOT number, is registered with FMCSA to engage in interstate transportation of household goods, and has the proper level of insurance.

c.       You can determine if a mover is registered with FMCSA by accessing www.protectyourmove.gov, or calling FMCSA at (202) 366-9805 for licensing and (202) 385-2423 for insurance.


2)      Read and Understand All Information Provided by the Mover
a.       The mover should provide you with the following basic documents as part of your move:
b.      Estimates The estimate should clearly describe, in writing, all charges for services the mover will perform. Make sure the estimate is signed by the mover.
c.       Do not accept verbal estimates.
d.      Order for Service The order for service is a list of all the services the mover will perform and shows the dates your household goods will be picked up and delivered.
e.      Bill of Lading The bill of lading is a contract between you and the mover and a receipt of your belongings. You should be given a partially completed copy of the bill of lading before the mover leaves the residence at origin.
f.        Inventory List The inventory is the receipt showing each item you shipped and its condition. Be sure you receive a written copy of the inventory after your household goods are loaded, and that you agree with its description of your household goods' condition.
g.      Your mover will probably ask you to sign other documents such as a release of liability for moving Pressed Wood furniture.  Read all of these documents carefully!



3)      Packing
a.       It is definitely best to use boxes made specifically for moving.  Be sure to have plenty of boxes, packing tape and packing paper available. Use book boxes for books, China boxes for dishes, etc. and Linen Boxes for well, linens! Loading China or Linen boxes with books could cause injury to the mover! Do not pack stuff into dresser drawers! Label boxes by room and a short description of contents. Clearly labeled boxes make it easy for your mover to put boxes in the appropriate place when they unload.  Not labeling boxes can result in a big pile of boxes and you won’t know where to start when it comes to unpacking.

4)      Pack ahead!
a.       Pack as much as possible before the day of your move.

5)      Prepare an OPEN FIRST box to be loaded LAST.
a.       Include basic toiletries (toilet paper, soap, etc.), keys, pens and paper, a set of sheets, towels and any other items you might want to have available right away when you reach your new home.

6)      Prepare children  and pets
a.       Will you take your pets with you or will you use a company to transport your pets? If your pets have a hard time traveling talk to your vet about medication that may help your pet relax.
b.      Prepare a box for the kids. Include snacks, small, inexpensive games or trinkets from the Dollar Store to keep them busy.  Coloring books, crayons, puzzles, etc. will help keep the kids occupied so you can focus on the tasks at hand.

7)      Keep important papers with you.
a.       Your list of "important" papers might include: birth certificates, school records, mover estimates, new job contacts, utility company numbers, recent bank records, current bills, phone lists, closing papers, realtor info, maps, and more. Don't leave these with the mover. Keep them with you!

8)      Moving Day
a.       Be present from the beginning to the end of the move! Accompany the movers as they inventory your household goods, and resolve any questions regarding the condition of materials being moved. 
b.      Stay hydrated and eat! (It’s also nice to provide drinks and maybe a snack for your movers; they are working very hard!


9)      Delivery Day
a.       Be present to answer any questions and give directions.  Pay the driver, according to the terms of your agreement, before your goods are unloaded. Supervise unloading and unpacking of your goods.  Note on the inventory list all boxes or other items that are damaged before you sign any documents.

10)   After  your delivery
a.       Be present (physically and mentally) when your movers arrive.
b.      Have your payment ready –if the contract states Cash only, be sure and have it on hand. Your mover is legally allowed to charge you for waiting time if you have to go to the bank or post office for a money order.
c.       Remain calm, try to relax and breathe!
d.      Since you labeled your boxes carefully it should be a breeze to unpack!   Your mover is responsible for reassembling anything they took apart. They most likely will not assemble cribs or attach washing machine hoses. If you would like unpacking services it will cost more but it can be very helpful.

As always, visit The Moving Factor for all your moving and relocation needs!

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Beginning of a New Kind of Moving Company!

Welcome to my Blog!  The purpose of this blog is to provide honest, accurate and reliable information for consumers who are preparing to move either local or long distance.  It will also serve to help those who have already moved and may have concerns about their mover. 

I chose to go into the Moving Business after my husband, Sean, spent more than 20 years running his own company and working for others.  During the time that Sean was working for other moving companies he found himself observing many unethical and illegal activities in Moving Companies nationwide.

There are very specific questions you should ask your mover.  There are many resources online that can help you investigate movers before you move.  My next post will include tips and links to help you carefully choose a local or long distance relocation company.

Happy Moving! The Moving Factor