1. Decide which goods will be shipped. To contain costs, and ensure that all your estimates are comparable, decide first which goods will be shipped and which will be sold or given away. Then decide whether your estimates should include high cost items such as cars.
2. Decide whether you want the mover to pack your goods. One way to reduce your costs is to pack yourself. Be aware that the moving company is not liable for damage to customer-packed cartons unless there is obvious exterior damage, specifically noted at delivery. Also, the driver has the right to refuse any carton he determines to be improperly packed. If the driver has to re-pack cartons that the customer has packed, additional labor will be charged.
3. Provide information about unusual situations on either end. Parking prohibitions, narrow streets, a winding driveway or elevator restrictions can all have cost and scheduling implications. The charge for offloading your possessions into a smaller vehicle can be quite expensive. Watch for neighborhoods which prohibit trucks over a certain weight, and be certain to discuss this situation with the moving counselor to get an accurate estimate.
4. Ask for and understand your pricing options. To get the best value for your money, understand what pricing options the prospective mover offers and determine which plan best fits your needs. National Van Lines offers guaranteed "not to exceed" estimates to avoid the risk of having to pay much more than anticipated at your destination. Discuss the pricing option best suited based on your shipment's requirements with your moving counselor.
5. Clarify discounts. If the mover offers you a discount from the published rates, ask whether or not the discount applies to all services, (such as packing and packing materials) or just to the linehaul (transportation) charges. Your National Van Lines moving counselor will offer you the best option available for your shipment. Movers cannot guarantee total charges for destination services, only the rate that will be applied. For example, if the local moving company provided a guaranteed estimate of 10,000 pounds and the shipment actually weighed 12,000 pounds; destination services, such as storage, would be based on the actual weight at the guaranteed rate and discount, even though the transit charges would be based on the initial guarantee of 10,000 pounds.
6. Compare weight estimates among prospective mover estimates. Make sure your prospective mover's estimate does not underestimate weights. Underestimated weight can result in delayed arrival of your goods. For example, another truck might be needed, or a driver might refuse to accept the load if he would not be adequately compensated for the weight he was to transport.
When weight discrepancies occur among mover estimates, compare the items on the cube sheet and look for obvious omissions. Also check the "multiplier." Moving companies tally furniture items and cartons based on the amount of space the pieces occupy. Then the mover multiplies the total number of cubic feet by a factor to determine the weight. Very heavy furniture might use a multiplier of seven or eight, while moderately heavy furniture would use a six or seven. There would have to be a significant reason for a mover to use a factor lower than six. At National Van Lines, our agents are rewarded for estimating accuracy.
7. Make sure your mover is properly licensed across state lines. Be sure your mover is licensed to transport goods in all the states between your departure and destination points or he will have to relay the load to another mover, increasing the chance for loss or breakage. To check the reliability of an independent mover, contact the local Better Business Bureau to inquire about the company's complaint record. National Van Lines is a Better Business Bureau member, and is designated by the American Moving & Storage Association as a Certified Van Lines.
8. Understand what services are included in the mover's estimate. To be sure you know what you'll be getting for your money, compare estimates for weight and services provided, as well as price. To compare performance among movers, seek the advice of family, friends and neighbors. Don't hesitate to contact the Better Business Bureau or your local Chamber of Commerce.
9. Be sure your shipment is adequately covered for loss. There are 2 basic, but very different, types of coverage.
A. Basic Carrier Liability: 60 cents per pound times the weight of the article (thus, a 20 pound television would be settled for $12).
B. Full Replacement Value: covers the cost to repair or replace at current prices. National Van Lines offers your choice of deductible options, which may lower the premium paid. When comparing estimates, always check to see if the valuation premium is based on a deductible and, if so, what it is.
10. Compare loading practices. Ask each prospective mover whether or not they stretch-wrap overstuffed items and whether or not they charge for this service. National Van Lines drivers will provide stretch-wrapping services at no additional charge.
11. Protect yourself against delays. Ask what type of compensation the mover offers if your goods are not picked up and delivered on time. With some companies, there may be an additional charge for this, and you may have to request it in writing. Check with your National Van Lines sales representative to see what delay compensation applies to your shipment.