Long Distance Movers – A Complete Guide

What to Look for When Choosing Long-Distance Movers

Making a long-distance move requires more preparation than moving a few towns away. If you’re relocating to a home within easy driving distance, you can handle all the logistics yourself. You don’t have to worry about arranging car transport or having your belongings get lost in transit.

Long distance moving companies are there to help when your move sends you across state lines or clear across the country. Getting professional help with packing and hauling everything you need for your new home takes some of the stress out of an interstate move. Moving companies have the experience necessary to take care of whatever you’re bringing along to your new home.

To ensure a smooth moving process, you need to find knowledgeable and trustworthy movers. Although you may be tempted to go with the lowest price, there’s more to choosing a company to transport your belongings than the potential savings they can offer. You need to take time out of the craziness of the moving process to research all the options.

Finding the Right Long Distance Mover

Knowing what to look for in a moving company prior to your search can help you rule out poor prospects. Some companies are more experienced than others, and not every mover can be trusted.

Asking friends and family for recommendations and researching well-known movers in your area is a good place to start. Get the US DOT number of each mover, and plug it into the website of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Here you’ll find a wealth of information about each company, including:

•     Complete address and contact information

•     Number of trucks and drivers

•     Authorization to operate and carry out interstate moves

•     Types of cargo carried, including “household goods”

•     Licensing information

•     Insurance coverage

A lack of information in any of these categories should be a red flag. All moving companies are required to carry at least $750,000 in bodily injury and property damage insurance (BIPD) and a cargo insurance policy. Using unlicensed and uninsured movers removes all guarantee of your belongings arriving intact and any recourse for having damaged items replaced.

The FMCSA has a number you can call to double-check licensing and insurance for each company. You can also call the company directly to confirm the amount of insurance they carry and ensure they have a valid certificate. While you have them on the phone, ask how long they’ve been in business and how much experience they have with moves like yours. Make sure the company handles the entire move and doesn’t subcontract out to third parties at any time during the process. If your move requires shipping your car, look for companies with experience in and equipment for handling vehicles.

Narrow down your choices to a list of three to five companies by eliminating any with poor Better Business Bureau ratings or high numbers of negative car transport reviews. Read about others’ experiences with the companies you’re thinking of choosing, and pick only those with reputations for good service and honest policies.

Picking the Best Movers

Once you have your list, contact each company for a detailed quote on the whole moving process. This should include the complete price of all services plus any additional fees. Long distance moving companies usually use flat rates, so there aren’t any surprises if the move takes longer than you expected. Look for the best value instead of the lowest price. A quote with a “too good to be true” ring to it could come with a lot of very expensive fine print, leaving you saddled with a bill several times larger than the original quote.

Each company should do an in-person inspection of the workload before providing a quote. Moving companies offering quotes sight unseen or asking for money upfront should be avoided. During the inspection, ask what the company policy is regarding the transport of fragile items and how they compensate if damages occur. Inquire about the possibility of purchasing additional insurance to cover expensive belongings. Don’t hesitate to ask how well employees have been trained and how many moves they’ve performed in the past to find out which company has the most experience.

Before the movers leave, they should give you a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” a handbook all companies are required to provide by law. They should also leave contact information for everyone who will be involved in the move if you choose to hire the company so that you can get in touch if need be. Get copies of all pertinent documentation, and take the time to read and double-check everything no matter how busy you are preparing for the move.

Negotiating a Reasonable Price with Long Distance Moving Companies

Reading through price quotes reveals what types of additional fees each of the movers you talked with includes in their contracts. Some of these, such as charges for having to drive a longer distance than expected or performing assembly of items at the destination, can be avoided with clear communication and prior planning. You should be able to negotiate on all fees to reach a reasonable final rate. The more detailed the report, the better chance you have of saving a few extra dollars.

There are several other ways to reduce the cost of moving:

•     Take advantage of “off season” rates during the fall and winter months

•     Move in the middle of the week or the month

•     Inquire about special discounts, such as those for students or military members

•     Pack your own moving “pod” and only pay for the driving

•     Downsize as much as possible before moving to reduce the total load to be packed and transported

•     Keep all receipts to determine if any expenses can be deducted on your taxes

After you’ve assessed the paperwork and spoken with each company, make your final decision based on the best value for the money. One mover may be more expensive than another but have a better reputation or offer additional services to make your move easier. Sometimes the cheapest option is the best. As long as a company has the resources to meet your needs and isn’t hiding anything surprising in the fine print, you can feel confident entrusting your belongings to their drivers.

Packing for Long-Distance Moving Success

Some movers include packing as part of the deal, and others require you to pack all of your belongings in advance. If you’re handling the packing, be sure to get sturdy boxes. You can purchase these or ask around to see if anyone is willing to part with supplies they used for a previous move. Stores are always getting rid of boxes, especially in the produce department, and these may also be strong enough to protect your belongings during the move.

Make things as easy as possible for yourself and the moving company by:

•     Packing the items you can do without during moving preparations first

•     Arranging items by use or room

•     Color-coding boxes based on where you’d like them to be placed in the new house

•     Labeling each box with a clear description of its contents

This will speed up the unloading process for the movers and help you locate everything once you arrive at your destination. Precise labeling also allows you to assess all of your belongings, ensure everything was transported safely and confirm nothing is missing.

To minimize the potential for damage while your belongings are on the moving truck, wrap the delicate items in bubble wrap or newspaper. Fill all extra spaces with packing materials to act as cushions and prevent shifting. Biodegradable packing peanuts and brown packing paper work well for this purpose. You can also pack delicate items in with bedding or towels to provide protection.

If the movers will be packing for you, group items together inside the house before they arrive. Organize by room or by function so that everything gets packed in a logical manner. This option usually costs more but can save you a lot of time and frustration if you have too many other details vying for your attention.

Partnering with reliable long distance movers relieves some of the burden associated with relocating to a faraway city or town. Professionals have experience with packing, loading, car transport and unloading, so they can help make the transition from your current home to a new place much easier. You’re left free to focus on preparation and organization before the move and getting settled afterward.

Be diligent in your search for a moving company, and don’t settle for the lowest bidder just to save money. Pick the movers with whom you feel most comfortable based on credentials and reviews. Take your time with the process so that you can have peace of mind throughout the move.

You’ll feel better knowing your belongings are safe and will arrive when you do, ready to be unloaded and arranged to make your new house feel like home.

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