Picking the Right Company for an International Move

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Picking the Right Company for an International Move

Picking the Right Company for an International Move

Relocating can be an exciting time in your life. However, moving all your belongings to their next location can also be one of the most stressful tasks anyone can undertake. Moving is never effortless. That’s why most people find themselves in a very difficult situation. For some, it is overwhelming and they don’t even know where to start.

Hire a mover or Do-It-Yourself?

Before coming to a conclusion, it is very important to know your options, considering your money, time, and everything else that’s involved, so you can come up with the best decision. Creating a plan for your move will ensure you keep on track.

Make sure you weigh all your options and understand what type of move you’ll be performing, so you can start it on the right path. There are some advantages and disadvantages to self-moving and hiring a moving company.

Pros or Advantages of a Do-It-Yourself Move:

  • Cheaper
  • Move according to your schedule.
  • You have total control over the moving process.
  • You can avoid hiring the wrong people or fake companies.

Cons or Disadvantages of Do-It-Yourself Move:

  • Time-consuming.
  • Requires hard work.
  • You need an army of helpers.
  • Poor packing due to your lack of knowledge.
  • Not recommended for long distance and/or complex moves.

Pros or Advantages of Hiring a moving company:

  • Saves time, allowing you to finish other tasks.
  • Convenient and stress-free.
  • You don’t have to lift a finger and no heavy lifting.
  • Provides a safe, efficient, and fast-moving experience.
  • Movers are experts trained to handle this particular task.

Cons or Disadvantages of Hiring a moving company

  • Movers come at a cost.
  • Dishonest or fraudulent companies.
  • You need to schedule the move.

We all have our preferences when choosing between hiring a moving company to move your belongings or going for a self-move. For longer and bigger moves, movers are the better and easier option, so you might consider hiring professionals for international projects.


A-1 Auto Transport can help you move your household goods nationwide. Call 888-509-3213 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote on interstate moving services.


You are likely to have a successful DIY move if you are not moving very far and if you have few things to transport. Set clear priorities when planning your move, including your budget, the move’s difficulty, time, and everything you need to consider to make it a little lighter and easier.

Hiring a Moving Company

There is so much stress involved in moving; it can be chaos if you did not make a careful plan.

Things that can cause the anxiety are:

  • Budget and travel expenses.
  • Dealing with your children’s emotional needs.
  • Finding an appropriate area and school for your kids.
  • Introducing yourself to your new neighbors.
  • Ensuring the safety of your pets.
  • Professional worries, the transition, and establishing new routines at work.

Having movers to do all the work can alleviate your stress and can make your moving experience more enjoyable.

How movers can help you cope with the stress of moving because:

  • Movers know how to transport bulky items safely.
  • Professional packers can handle all of your items’ packing. They use the right packing materials throughout the move to eliminate or reduce damage to your belongings.
  • You can avoid heavy lifting during the move
  • Movers can take the burden off of your shoulders.
  • They are insured and can cover potential damage to your items during the transport.

A smooth and stress-free moving experience is possible if you decide to hire a mover.

The reasons why you should hire a moving company are as follows:

  • Moving companies are experienced. They are trained to move your items with care.
  • Moving professionals know the right way to pack and unpack household goods. Proper packing reduces the risk of damaged or lost items.
  • Moving companies provide professional assistance in packing and unpacking, as well as in carrying your items. They give you exclusive use of the moving vehicle, and of everything else needed in a successful international move.

AMSA

The American Moving and Storage Association is an organization that supports government policies and regulations between moving companies and their consumers. This organization has the mission to improve the moving and storage industry and to represent the interests of professional moving companies.

How to Choose a Moving Company

Knowing what to look for in a moving company will help you minimize the stress and hassle:

  • Get referrals from your friends, family, and co-workers.
  • Check the company’s years of experience and make sure the mover is insured and licensed.
  • Verify the mover’s credentials, physical address and track record.
  • Check the ratings, trustworthiness, and make sure only professionals will handle your belongings.
  • Learn how the company charges for a move and don’t be swayed by the lowest price.

Questions to ask movers about their company:

  • How long has your company been in the business?
  • Can you show references or recommendations?
  • Is your company properly licensed and what kind of liability coverage can you provide for loss or damage?
  • What are your rates?
  • How do you charge?
  • What are your safety measures and how do you prevent property damage?
  • How are you going to handle my belongings and treat special items?
  • Are your workers insured?
  • How do you handle claims and disputes?
  • When will I receive my household goods?

Moving mistakes and how to avoid them

  • Trying to DIY. A do-it-yourself relocation can save you a lot of money. However, doing it all by yourself is time-consuming and needs a lot of hard work. For international moves, where you have to deal with customs and the process is longer/more complicated, the DIY method is not recommended.
  • Phone estimates. Getting an estimate over the phone doesn’t provide a guaranteed price. Ask for a home visit to get an accurate quote.
  • Moving during peak season. It is wise not to schedule the move during the peak season. Book your dates as far in advance as possible.
  • Insufficient insurance for your valuables. Before you start the moving process, find out if the insurance of the moving company will cover all your things for damage or loss.
  • Picking the cheapest moving company. There must be reasons why some moving companies are cheaper. They could be unreliable, they may plan to steal your possessions or refuse to give reimbursement for damaged goods.

Moving rules and regulations:

  • Visit bbb.org to check out the reliability of the moving company you are planning to hire. The website can provide you information about a company’s rating, A being the highest and F the lowest.
  • FMSCA regulations apply to moving companies that provide interstate transportation of household goods. Its regulations also protect consumers who are moving interstate. The moving company should be licensed and have complied with federal regulations.
  • Have at least three moving companies give you an in-home estimate and compare the bids. If you’re moving interstate, ask if the moving company will give you a written binding estimate or a binding not-to-exceed estimate. These estimates put a guaranteed cap on what you are going to pay for your move.

Nonbinding estimates are legal for as long as they’re given. You should expect the final cost to be more than the estimate. Interstate movers are allowed to charge you for binding estimates, but usually, it is free.

It is important to know your rights and responsibilities when hiring a moving company.

Choose the Right Movers for You

It is crucial to choose the appropriate moving company to save time, money, and to prevent any possible damages during the process. There are a few easy ways to make sure you are making the right decision, such as:

  1. Find the time to decide on a mover. You need to research which mover suits your needs best. It is recommended you browse the company’s profile, feedback from past customers, and its reputation in the industry. You may want to refrain from cheaper prices because the companies offering them might compromise the quality of their services.
  2. A moving company may only provide you an official quote after a representative does a survey of your location and of the items that need to be transported. This will be a fair estimate of pricing since they consider the area, the value of the items (for insurance purposes), and often times, they even check your home’s corners in case they need to bring machines for transport. They should be able to inform you how they came up with their pricing, so make sure to ask them.
  3. When the quotation is given, you may negotiate if you think there is a need to. Also, gather and compare the prices from different companies that are reputable. This is an elimination process, and yes, it is easier to choose the cheapest offer. However, although pricing will be a major factor, if the company sacrifices the quality of its services to lower its quote, it will be a disaster, so you need to check other factors as well.
  4. Checking the company’s insurance is always important. You are trusting the moving company with your valuables, with money, and with your investment, so you must take precautions. Protection from any fortuitous events will give you peace of mind.

Getting Quotes from Moving Companies

A stable moving company will give you an estimated cost when moving. They will send a representative who will check your location free of charge. This is the more personalized option, as opposed to answering queries over a phone or on a website. A moving company representative will be there to give you an immediate quotation with no hidden charges. Just in case, you may want to check these factors:

Identify the items included in the quote. Not all moving companies will include all the details in their quotation. They may charge you extra fees if you do not check the details in it.


A-1 Auto Transport can help you move your household goods nationwide. Call 888-509-3213 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote on interstate moving services.


There are instances where apparently cheap moving companies indicate general charges, like labor costs, taxes, and other fees, but at the end of the day, some other charges will suddenly appear on your invoice, like fees for additional mileage, storage, packaging materials, etc.

It will be safer to get as much information as you can, so your budget will not be affected. Most of the time, additional estimates are requested, not offered. Always assert your right to ask relevant questions pertaining to the cost, so you are well informed during the planning process.

The time frame for delivery. This is a key element to ensure the efficiency and success of the moving process. Obviously, there is an expectation the delivery will be completed on the agreed upon date. Let’s say you have a business meeting on a specific date. It will cost you money, and you risk even losing your business if the materials you need are not sent in a timely manner.

The Significance of Valuables and their Insurance

Have you thought of the risks associated with moving? What is going to happen if your items are lost or damaged? The moving company will have an important role in the transport. Your personal belongings will be in their hands.

Technically, your mover is responsible for making sure your things are delivered in the same condition they were in before the move. As for insurance, you will be given the option to choose your preferred protection. There are two types of insurance coverage to choose from: The Full Value Protection and The Released Value.

Requesting Quotes

After you have carefully chosen a few moving companies, you must communicate and request some estimates. There are different types of estimates: not-to-exceed, non-binding, and binding. Here is how they differ from each other:

  • Binding estimate: In this case, the client is required to pay the agreed upon price regardless of the weight of the items. However, if the customer requests to add items after the quotation, the price will change and the mover will provide him with a new invoice before the moving process begins. Be sure not to forget even the smallest items, so no re-calculations are needed.
  • Non-binding estimate: This an approximate quote of the things to be delivered. Hence, there is no guarantee the cost will not exceed the approximate quote. There is an assurance though that the moving company cannot ask for more than 10% above the price of the estimate at the delivery time. This is not commonly used as a method of pricing.
  • Not to exceed estimate: This is an assurance you won’t have to pay more than what’s written in the estimated quote. For it to be legal, it must be properly documented as part of your agreement with the carrier.
  • Important: Always check the details on the invoice for your reference so there will be no mishaps. Valuables missed in the invoice may trigger an increase in cost, so it is your responsibility to double check before agreeing to the company’s terms and conditions.

Eight Helpful Tips for a Smooth Move

  1. Check the profile of the moving company first before doing anything else. Some moving companies show some of the following dubious signs:
    • There is no contact information, like an address or a phone number, provided on their websites. Instead, you can only find a “Contact Us” email address.
    • The price is much lower than their competitors.
    • No information about their federal motor carrier number is provided.
  1. Gather a minimum of three in-home estimates. Be careful when moving companies provide you “guaranteed” estimates offered over the phone or on their website. This is not practical. Without first visiting your home, the actual cost of the move cannot be calculated accurately. Always ask for someone to check your area to ensure everything is included in the estimate. If they insist on providing you with a quotation over the phone or on their website, you may want to consider looking for a different moving company.
  2. Visit the Better Business Bureau and check how they performed in the past. Check for complaints regarding their services. Get feedback from relatives or friends that may have used their services. It will be informative, and most likely, they will help you make a decision. Exercise your rights.
  3. Do not pay a large amount of money upfront. Some movers may require a small amount as a form of security, but you have to be careful with those companies asking for a large deposit as an advance payment for whatever reason.
  4. Ask for a copy and review all the terms and conditions of the moving process before you sign. Make sure you understand each thing included in the agreement because some may be written in fine print. Please avoid signing any blank forms when asked by the moving company. This may waive or alter your agreement without you knowing it.
  5. Jewelry, important documents, photos and cash must be brought with you, or in some cases, sent as a separate batch for security purposes. This is your life investment, so the best security measures should be used.
  6. Keep your mobile and contact number open and active at all times. It is the duty of the moving company to notify you of any urgent matters that affect the transport. You must also get the contact number of the driver, his name, and his ID for easy communication.
  7. Clarify any terms that seem unfamiliar to you. If you still do not get answers from the carrier, you have the option of finding another moving company.

Warning Signs of Rogue Movers

You have to be aware of warning signs of rogue moving companies to prevent damages, wasted time, and wasted money. There are still some moving companies that have dishonest practices. Their goal is to simply get your money while doing a poor job or no job at all. Below are some tips you may want to pay attention to:

  1. No Official Examination: No representative comes to inspect your location and to check your belongings. Estimates are usually provided over the phone or by completing a form on their website. The prices are way lower than regular estimates. They even give discounts that sound too good to be true.
  2. They ask for payment immediately: They ask you to pay cash or a large amount of money as a deposit before the move.
  3. Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” details are not provided: Moving companies are expected to give copies of this article as mandated by Federal regulations. Always remind the mover to give you a copy, especially when you’re in the early stages of the moving process.
  4. No Physical Address, Business Permit or Insurance: It’s best you do not deal with a company that does not have information like a physical address, insurance, and license details on its website.
  5. No Company Name: In such a case, the person you speak to over the phone cannot give you a company name. You may also notice when sending them an inquiry via email that they do not have a company name included in the letterhead.
  6. Poor Working Conditions: If you visit their location, you may notice that facilities are few and there might even be instances where their office does not exist.
  7. Generic Rental Vehicles: A legitimate moving company has its own trucks with its company logo on them. In fact, their logo should be quite familiar if they happen to work near you.

If Moving Yourself

There are three options you have to consider if you’re planning a Do-It-Yourself move. They are: Personally driving your car with your belongings, hiring a DIY moving trailer or using truck rentals. While each option offers its advantages, one also has to consider the risks.

The conventional DIY move is chosen mostly when the new location is just a few blocks away or nearby the current area. It can also be considered a family affair, since you can ask your relatives or your friends to help, which makes the relocation less expensive and faster.

A DIY move is the cheapest among the choices but it has many disadvantages. Your belongings can be carelessly packed and squeezed tightly in your vehicle, which increases the possibility of them getting ruined or broken.

Friends and relatives may not show up or even if they do, they may not be willing to help. A DIY move is more likely to present an adverse outcome. It can exhaust you both physically and emotionally from all the packing, loading, and unloading you’ll have to do.

On the other hand, you may get pleasure and fun by hanging out with your friends and relatives. You’ll make some savings for utility bills and other expenses, and you’ll have the satisfaction of completing the move personally.

Self-Service DIY Move

This type of moving service allows you to enjoy the benefits of Do-it-yourself moves while hiring skilled movers at the same time. Your chosen container and/or trailer will be delivered at your present location, where you can load your packed items and belongings personally. Professional movers will pick up the containers when you’re ready and deliver them to your new home.

The moving company should have warehouse facilities where they can store your items. This allows you to schedule a date when you want them delivered for an extra charge. Self- service DIY advantages include providing you with flexibility and control, so you won’t have to worry about returning the trailer/ truck on time.

You have a wide range of container and trailer sizes to choose from, your personal belongings and items are safe and secured, and you’ll have less worries about the hauling process itself. Insurance coverage also applies to your items during the relocation.

Renting a Moving Truck

Moving truck rental has always been a preferred choice for transfers or relocations, be it a transfer to a nearby location or across the country. Trailer trucks and containers are big enough to load the belongings found in most households, making multiple trips unnecessary and saving you time and money.

The disadvantages of truck rentals are mostly attributed to poor planning and management. Common problems include limited pickup and return dates for the trucks, gas consumption while in transit and gas requirements upon the truck’s return. You could be subjected to credit checks and you may need supplementary insurance.

Deciding on a self-service moving option should provide you not only with convenience, but it has to be economical as well. You can save more by managing the transfer personally, leaving your savings to be used on other expenses, such as utilities or home improvements. Renting a truck or hiring a professional moving agency would be your best alternative if you’re looking for a manageable and hassle-free transfer.

Picking the Ideal Moving Truck

Knowing the correct truck size is very important for a Do-it-yourself move. This lessens the possibility of multiple trips within the moving process. Additional trips cost more, since the customer needs to pay extra for gas and an extension in lease terms. So, they are best avoided.

There are a few things you need to consider before picking the truck size for your move. Examine how many rooms you have and the kind of items you need to load. Individuals residing in a barely decorated single room apartment can use a van, while the same size room with multiple residents may need a larger cargo trailer to fit all their furniture and belongings. The truck rental company can give you suggestions based on their in-house inspection or with the information you provide them.

When to Schedule your Move

Moving is a very time-consuming activity, so it’s best to plan your course wisely. Packing your things alone can already take a couple days. Traveling to your new residence is very time consuming as well. Carefully planning your route and driving schedule can help cut short the time you’ll spend on the road.

During rush hour, superhighways and major thoroughfare are often congested and heavily crowded with commuters going and coming from work. Use service roads to avoid traffic, since this can help cut a reasonable chunk out of your travel time. For people who are within a school zone, remember parents normally start picking up their kids between 2 and 3 pm, so it would be wise to refrain from driving on this route or during these hours.

International Moves: Things to consider other than Choosing a Moving Company

When planning for an international move, it is important to evaluate and consider the things you will bring with you. Set a place in your house or a specific box tagged “Do Not Pack” where you can put your jewelry, pictures, sentimental keepsakes and other pertinent documents, such as your passport, tax returns, computer disks, and flash drives. Try to limit the items you will bring and properly tag them to help the movers identify the ones that are included in the shipping.

Air vs. Sea?

Another factor to consider is deciding whether to ship your items by sea or by air. Do some research on the shipping time and its cost to help you decide the most advantageous option. Pertinent and substantial items and documents can be Air shipped, while clothing, furniture, and other heavy belongings should be transported by sea.

Paperwork

Prepare all your customs and immigration paperwork ahead of time to avoid delays and problems. Important documents include your birth and marriage certificates, academic and medical records, travel visas, your passport, as well as shipping permits, and authorizations. Make sure you have all of these ready to avoid having your shipment held up by foreign customs and immigration officials due to incomplete paperwork.

Other things you should consider

Here’s a checklist for your International move:

  • Auto Insurance: Are your vehicles covered overseas? Check for any foreign policy that might affect you. Also, check if you’ll need to get a special driver’s license.
  • Bank Account: Do you need to open a new account? Make sure you have all the relevant documents in case you’ll need to open a bank account abroad.
  • Electronic devices, like mobile phones and laptops: Is the device going to work with the network abroad? Check if your phone or gadget is fit for use or if you will need specific adapters.
  • Debts: Do you have any bills to be paid? Settle your financial obligations (credit card balance, mortgages, etc.) before leaving.
  • Health and Life Insurance: Check with your insurance provider if your policy covers you abroad or if you’ll need to get a new one.
  • Insurance: Is your move insured accordingly? Protect your belongings for your security and peace of mind.
  • Living will and testament: Will there be a need to update or write a new one? It may be reasonable to keep your will up to date.
  • Money: Do you have enough cash or will you be using traveler’s checks? Ensure you have enough funds in the local currency.
  • The Moving Date: Have you chosen the best date? When choosing your schedule, bear in mind the start and the end of the month are normally the busiest days. Make sure to check your destination’s local holidays to avoid delays.
  • Pets: Are they allowed where you are staying? Obtain the necessary paperwork, like vaccination records and clearance.
  • Restriction and taxes: Secure the appropriate paperwork for all your valuables to avoid unforeseen expenses.
  • Schooling: Do you have enough knowledge of the country’s educational system and policies?
  • Translation: What will be your best way to communicate? You can use books, digital devices, and apps to help you understand the local language.
  • Vaccinations: Do you have all the appropriate vaccines done? This will ensure your health is protected from local viruses.

Picking a Mover

The search for the best moving service should start the moment you decide on migrating to another country or moving to a different state. List down your choices and begin evaluating your prospects as early as possible.


A-1 Auto Transport can help you move your household goods nationwide. Call 888-509-3213 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote on interstate moving services.


Your service provider must be competent, professional, have an excellent rating, be knowledgeable of foreign rules and policies, budget friendly, and using the newest technologies used both in the departure and the arrival of your items. The company should be able to provide you with a personal moving assistant that will act as your liaison.

He will coordinate with the packing staff, the ocean liners, the airlines, with overseas customs, with immigration officers, with the foreign delivery staff and with other necessary manpower. The company must have a highly skilled staff and be connected with reliable international moving partners. It is best to hire a seasoned company that is constantly innovating, employs highly skilled crews and has a chain of good overseas partners they work with.

Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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