HOSTAGE LOADS

Just like auto shops can put a lean on your car and contractors can put a lean on your house for nonpayment for services. Moving companies can hold your stuff as collateral. State approved contracts normally state that you must pay for your move before the truck is unloaded. This is standard procedure. Failure to pay for your move could result is your stuff being hulled to storage at your expense. You could be charged for your move, the move to the company???s storage warehouse, the move back to your house and the costs of storage. If you refuse, you could forfeit your stuff. Because this is a civil matter you could take them to court, but the police will not help. ??If you call the police they will say ??”The movers have a signed contract and this is a civil matter”.

Quality moving companies have a reputation to protect. The “fly by nights” don’t. The “Name changes” could care less about BBB complaints. The “Bait and switchers” could care less about internet reviews.

KHOU TV out of Houston did a report-in 2001 about a clever moving scam. The bait, $39 per hour including shrink wrap, 2 men, the truck, everything. The ad was on Craig???s List. The Company name was a quality moving company with a BBB rating and a professional website linked to the Craig???s List ad. The number however went to the crook???s cell phone. On move day two professional looking movers showed up on time from a different company. “The company that you booked with had a truck break down, we are covering the move for them. We normally do not do $39 hourly???s but we will honor the contract. Please sign here.”

You are happy, before your mover told you they could not make it they got another moving company to cover your move. On time, fast, the right price. Well it turns out that shrink wrapping is $90 per item, and they are wrapping everything. You are presented a much higher bill at the drop off. Payment is demanded in cash before the unload. The KHOU TV/BBB undercover investigations showed the scammers charge $900 just for shrink wrap, on one move. It was in the contract: pay before unload and $90 per item to shrink wrap. Folks saw their $39.99 per hour moves, jump to $1200, $1700 and $2300 according the news report.

Anyone can post a Craig???s List ad and link it to a quality company. Call the moving company to ask a few questions about your move and confirm your move date. If they have never heard of you, you know you are about to be the victim of a scam.

Poor quality movers are notorious for dramatically increasing move prices on move day, once all your stuff is already on their moving truck. Poor quality movers get a lot of business from internet brokers.

CBS news reported in 2015 that one in ten moves will report that their furniture was held hostage. The Movers demanding more money.

Avoid scams, research the moving company. Avoid misunderstandings, review and understand what is included in your moving quote, and move contract.

DON’T BE A MOVING HORROR STORY

A lot can go wrong when you are moving to your new home. Most Problems are small and can be easily overcome. But sometimes things go so bad it becomes a horror story. Some bad moving experiences can affect your entire life. Not just your pocket book.

Doing your due diligence before you hire a mover and planning your move before move day will help you avoid most problems. There are circumstances that can come up, that you may never have thought of. ??There are moving scams out there that you may never have heard of before. Crooks that prey on people when they are most vulnerable.

The news does “special reports” on moving scams every so often, but a search online and with the BBB will reveal the depth of the problem is far greater. There are bad companies that jack up your move price at the last minute, with “add ons “, and then there are actual crooks that will hold your stuff hostage. There are bad worker that may be careless your furniture, and then there are thieves that do the job as an opportunity to ???case out” your new home.

I have heard a lot of, “I had a bad moving experience,” stories over the years. They normally start out with, “I thought I had found the greatest deal.” ??Sometimes folks get blinded with a low price. People that think they can hire a moving crew with all the dollies and moving blankets, truck and fuel for less than it would be to rent a truck and move themselves, are in for a surprise. People that think the $39 per hour ad on Craig???s List is a good deal are not seeing the whole picture. A good deal is a move quote that is real. A good deal is being happy at the end of the move, and paying what is expected.

Save yourself stress and hardship, or (worse) and hire a reputable moving company. Learn from other peoples mistakes, do your own research and plan your move accordingly. A smooth move is not an accident.

 

A NEW MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY

Settling in to your new house can takes some time. Finding where everything is, meeting the neighbors, and getting your new home just the way you want it.

Most Chamber of Commerce have a “welcome pack” with helpful information about your new town. Discounts and coupons for local businesses exclusively for new residents. Even upcoming festivals and the towns history, which would be fun for the kids.

Learning about the towns history, and meeting local small business owners can help your family develop a sense of community as your family lays down roots of their own. Small business owners are invested in the community with actions not words. Their long term success is tied to the future of the community. So it would make sense that they understand their town, and often sponsor events. If your daughter joins a soccer team, chances are a small business owners paid for her team’s uniforms.

If you were happy with your moving company, save this information. People often need a mover to do small jobs. New houses sometimes need additional furniture, or new appliances.

One of the most common questions new neighbors have is, ???How was the move?” followed with, “What moving company did you use?” People are always on the lookout for a good moving company. If your movers took care of you, take care of them with referrals.

Quality moving companies get most of their business from repeat customers and referrals.

DAMAGE CLAIM

The industry standard is 60 cents per pound for damaged items. However, quality movers normally have an in-house policy to repair or replace what their movers damage within reason. These are questions to ask before you book your move.

If you purchased supplemental insurance, you will deal with an insurance adjuster. If you bought valuation you will be dealing with the moving company, same as if they have an “in-house policy.” Again each company is different. The range for Legal movers is 60 cents per pound, all the way to repair and replace. ??Unlicensed (illegal) movers may do whatever. Know what kind of company you are hiring before you hire them. A little research will make your moving experience that much better. Smooth moves do not happen by accident.

Make any damage claims as soon as possible. Take pictures of the damage and email to the moving company along with a “statement of fact”. Some quality moving companies have an online form that streamlines this process. You should get an acknowledgement within twenty days. But quality movers will acknowledge the same day.

Depending on the damage a repair company may come out or a settlement offer will be made. Wood furniture almost always can be fixed by an experienced woodworker. Glass and mirrors can be custom cut. Some items are easier to replace or offer a settlement, e.g. TVs, dishes, and lamps.

If you and the moving company can’t see eye to eye, what recourse do you have? Make a complaint with the local BBB and request arbitration. If the mover is a member in good standing with the BBB, they will be bound by the arbitration. Most quality movers will protect their ??BBB record, and will try to avoid getting the BBB involved in the first place. The Department of Transportation offers mediation, for licensed moving companies. You can make a complaint with DOT that will go on the company???s record. Again, quality movers will take measures to protect their record with the state.

Quality moving companies know a damage claim is not the same as an unhappy customer. You can have something get damaged during your move and still be very happy with the service. A damage claim that is handled well can make you respect the moving company even more.

The important thing to remember is avoid misunderstandings. Know what coverage you have and what the in-house policy is before you pick your moving company and reserve your move date.

 

RATE YOUR MOVERS

Rate your moving experience. Some moving companies maintain an online testimonial board. Yelp, Angles List, Google Reviews and Yahoo are just a few places online to rate moving companies. People that take the time to rate the moving company help expose the bad companies, while highlighting the good moving companies.

Before you post bad reviews about your movers, give the moving company a chance to make it right. Posting bad comments online before contacting the company puts you in an adversarial position before you even begin to resolve your damage claim. You want a collaborative relationship as your damage claim is resolved.

Lots of moving companies rate their own movers and packers with customer feedback being a major factor. If a crew is getting bad feedback online, they may be fired. Local independent moving companies depend on customer feedback. Quality moving companies will protect their reputation.

If you have a great moving experience, please tell the company and post online to Yelp, Google reviews, and Angles List. Quality moving companies need good feedback, just like bad movers deserve to be flagged. When people are happy with their moving experience, they often don’t take the time to let others know. Quality movers get their business from referrals, and reputation. Help them out.

UNPACKING YOUR BOXES

Unpacking all your boxes can be as much work as it was to pack them in the first place. When you pack yourself you save money, but you are also responsible for packing the contents. Most moving companies will deny any claims for damage for boxes packed by customer. “Contents unknown”. If you hired a moving company to pack your boxes they should be responsible for any damage. ??Always ask about their insurance and company policy. Professional packers however rarely have damage, because they use so much packing paper.

Brake down all your used boxes so they are flat. All the old packing paper should be put the trash bags. Used moving boxes have value. ??You can store them in your attic for future use. Or have them hauled away. Some movers will come and pick up your used boxes at no charge. If you have hired professional unpackers, they will hall off all the used boxes and packing paper, as part of the service.

Unpacking is relatively stress free. There are no deadlines, and the move is already over. If the contents of the boxes were properly labeled, you can pick what to unpack first.

AFTER YOUR MOVE

Move day can be kind of hectic. Make sure your “priority boxes” are accessible, with all the items you are going to need first. If anything was damaged, note it on the move ticket and have the driver initial. If you notice damage later, you have a certain amount of time to make a damage claim by state law. The important thing now is to get settled in.

Organizing your new home can take some time. Hanging pictures, arranging decor, and getting everything just right. It is a good idea to look over all your furniture, make sure everything is in the same condition. You have time to make a damage claim, but it is a limited amount of time.

If you moved yourself and rented a truck, avoid fees. Fill up the tank, and clean it out before you return it. Just leaving a Star Buck’s coffee cup on the floor board could cost you. Sweep out the truck out yourself or the rental company will and charge you for the service. Save some pictures of the rental truck after you return it, just in case. Check your credit card bill for over charges. It is common for rental companies to charge you without notification. It is your responsibility to deal with charges that are in error. You probably will not know that there is a problem until the extra charges show up on your credit card statement.

Thank your friends, it is not uncommon to send “thank you” notes to those that helped you, and invite them to your house warming party for a nice meal. (This of course does not apply to the moving crew)

Moving into a new house is the perfect time to organize, and get everything just the way that you want it. It is also the time a lot of folks buy new furniture. The moving company that moved you can often help you with the small jobs as well.

Double check that your utilities were shut off at the old house, some people find out latter that a utility service was not terminated as requested. There is a story about a cable provider, that did not stop the service, ran up over do charges, and sent it to collections. The person found out when they tried to buy a car and their credit score had fallen. The cable provider denied there was any request for termination of services. Of course this person was put on hold for an hour to find out this information. They ended up paying for services that they never used, and had requested canceled on move day. A form of extortion to save their credit score.

TIPPING THE CREW

If you are moving yourself, and your friends are helping, then pizza and beer is all you need to provide. Of course the understanding that you will at some point reciprocate is a form of soft payment.

If you have hired a moving company, the crew would appreciate a gratuity. The moving industry is a service industry. Just like you tip your waitress for good service, so you should tip your movers for good service. But movers are held to a higher standard.

If your movers are unprofessional, or they damage stuff, call the company and do not tip them. Tipping is a motivator in all service industries. The man/woman knows that if they do an exceptional job for their customer, they could receive a little extra. This is a great check and balance for quality service. In instances where the gratuity is already factored into the bill, the service worker gets paid the same regardless of performance, and it shows.

How much should you tip? If you are not happy with the service don’t tip the movers at all, and report it to the moving company. If you are happy it is entirely up to you. Consider what you would tip a waitress at Chilies. What percentage you normally tip, on the bill is a good number to consider to split between the crew. If you tip 15% to the Chilies waitress, then split that between the crew, if you are moving long distance, you don’t need to tip on the cost of the drive. Only tip for manual work, preformed not mileage.

THE UNLOAD

Unloading a moving truck is faster and easier then loading the truck in the first place. When packing a moving truck, everything has to fit together and not get damaged. Every piece has to be wrapped and padded. Unloads are fairly straight forward and considered to be the downhill, to the loads ???up hill???. Of course if there are stairs or long walks this will add to the time. Location conditions always affect the time and effort of a moving job.

I was once on a move from a house with a 36″ front door to a home with a 32″ front door. It was an older house, built when doors were smaller. Items that sailed out of the old house now needed to be disassembled just to make it in the new home. Feet off the sofa and love seat, fridge doors had to be removed, and so on. ??Move conditions are always a factor.

The most important thing for you to do, is to direct the movers. Be right at the front door and direct traffic. At the beginning before a single box is unloaded give the movers a tour of your new home. This way when you say which room, they will know what you are talking about. Show the movers exactly where you want things. It is much easier to place your furniture exactly where you want it while you have the man power. ??Instead of waiting and trying to move things around yourself later.

Some pet peeves of professional mover at the unload: Customers that talk on the phone or text excessively, or are otherwise distracted as the truck is being unloaded. ??Standing there with a heavy load in your arms and your customer is not sure where they want it, ??is another common problem. Customers that keep asking you to change the location of a piece of furniture. “That armoire I asked you to put in the upstairs bedroom, well I now want it in the downstair bedroom” is aggravating. Being right there for your movers and answering their questions will make the unload go fast and smoothly making everyone happy.

Double check the appliance connections. Any water leaks are the home owner???s responsibility. Double check each room and make sure that everything is exactly where you want it. If you need an item moved, ask, Professional movers are normally happy to help. This may contradict with the “pet peeves”, but this is your home and it needs to be perfect for you, re-moving a couple items is no big deal. Asking for the movers to rearrange the house is. Double check the moving truck. The Driver has already double checked the truck but this way you have the peace of mind of seeing for yourself. If setting up the beds and reattaching mirrors to dressers is part of the service or you have paid for this service, double check to make sure it was done. It is easy to overlook little things in the hustle and bustle of the unload, when the end of a hard day is in sight.

Pay your movers. Cash, checks, and major credit cards are normally accepted by professional moving companies. Although, some companies only accept cash. (a warning sign of a poor quality company)! Ask ahead of time about payment options.

THE DRIVE

Moving trucks drive slow. Experienced drivers try to reduce road vibration and road bumps. They will take turns slowly to minimize the centripetal force. This is a good thing, and if you are driving a rental truck, you would be wise to drive slowly as well.

Exchange cell phone numbers with the driver, if you have not done so already. There are two options, to meet the moving crew at the drop off, or have them follow you there. If they follow you, drive slowly. Keep the moving truck in your review mirror. If you are meeting the crew at your new home, set up the time. It is common for the movers to get lunch on the way to the unload

I once had a customer want me to follow them, only to take off like a race car driver. I did not even try to keep up. I had my helper look up the drop off address and we proceeded. My cell phone rang. “where are you guys” I replied that I would just meet them at the drop off address. I am not going to try and make a 26,000 pound fully loaded moving truck try and keep up with a 3000 pound sports car.