Moving across town can be a task to accomplish. Moving across the country can turn into a massive undertaking that you were not prepared for. Making such a significant move is almost impossible without the help of a professional service. Professional transport companies offer services that can make a long-distance or cross country move easier on you or your family. Before you try to take care of moving arrangements on your own, call upon a professional transport company to see what they can offer you.
How do I choose the right company?
When looking for a company to move your household goods and even your vehicle, it is essential to look into their licensing information and insurance. After seeing that they are are a legitimate company, you will want to look into the reviews from past customers to see how the company operates.
The vetting process for a transport company to move your household goods is the same as if you only required your vehicle transported. You want to make sure that the company you hire is legitimate and can move your items with no damage. There are common traits that all professional companies share when they are legitimate. You have to look into a company before you choose that they are the right one for you.
Professional transport companies are required to have verifiable licensing numbers that are issued to them from the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The purpose of these numbers is to help track the safety information for the company. These numbers are used to keep all of the information in one place. If you want to know these numbers, the company should give them to you upon request. Once you have these numbers, you can then check with the US DOT and FMCSA to see what records they have regarding the company.
Professional transport companies are required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance by federal law. Some companies offer more than the minimum coverages, so you will have to request to see their insurance certification. You are entitled to purchase additional coverage to help protect your vehicle if you feel that the minimum is not sufficient enough.
Insurance is required to help cover damages while your belongings or vehicle are in the possession of the transport company. You can see if your personal insurance covers any part of the transport, but if it doesn’t, third-party options are available.
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a non-profit organization that was put together to focus on the trust of the business marketplace. This non-profit compiles its own investigations with reviews all in one location. The BBB also helps assist with disputes between customers and the company.
If a company displays that BBB accredited business seal, it means that they are a member of the Better Business Bureau. They have also received a rating from the BBB, which is compiled by independent investigations conducted by the BBB. If you go to their website and search for the business, you can find an assortment of information. This information includes:
- The Better Business Bureau Rating
- If the company is accredited
- Customer reviews
- Customer complaints
- Business details
- The address
- First BBB file open date
- Years in business
- When the business was started
- When the business was incorporated
- The date of accreditation
- Licensing information
- Type of business entity
- Number of employees
- Alternative business names
- Additional contact information
The Better Business Bureau website is one sure way to make sure that the business is legitimate. Using their rating can also help you understand the trustworthiness of the business you are considering.
How do I get a quote for moving household goods?
Just like getting a quote for your auto transport, you can call and discuss the items you need to move with the professional transport company. These companies have skilled and knowledgeable employees taking the calls to ensure accurate quotes are given. Make sure when trying to get a quote, you have as much information available and that it is accurate.
After figuring out if a transport company is legitimate, the next step is to obtain a moving quote. The quoting process needs to be as in-depth as possible, with as much information you can provide to ensure it is accurate. For the transport of household goods, the number of rooms and any unusually heavy furniture needs to be addressed. The origin and the destination of the goods are also important. Cross country moves require the truck being weighed at various weigh stations between your point of origin and the destination.
Truck weigh-ins are required by the Department of Transportation, not just the shipping company that you choose. In most cases, you will also receive a visit from a representative of the transport company. This representative will come to look over the household items you will need to move to help assess the weight and any items that they feel may cause issues.
Getting Multiple Quotes
Before making your final decision on the transport company you use for your move, you should get multiple quotes. These quotes will range from high to low. As a rule of thumb, you don’t want to go with the least amount quoted unless you are sure that the service is impeccable. Rates that are too good to be true generally are and can be filled with fees that you won’t be aware of until it is too late.
Please make sure you get your quote in writing, and it includes all the possible fees that may be assessed. When you are getting ready to move, most people create a budget, and you need to ensure you stay in this budget, especially with the moving company.
Should I hire professional packing specialists?
Packing professionals are often part of the white-glove services that transport companies offer when moving household goods. There is an extra charge for this service, but your items are often guaranteed safe during transport due to the way they get packed.
Most companies that do the transport of household goods offer packing specialists for an added charge. These charges can run from $25 to $30 an hour, depending on the services needed. These packing specialists will bring the packing supplies, and that is also included in the hourly rate. Having a packing specialist to get your belongings ready for transport can help with insurance purposes as well since the items will be packaged according to the companies standards.
Hiring a professional packing specialist is not required when using a professional transport company to move your items. This service is something that you can accept or decline, but you will need to make sure that you have all of your items in order when the transport company comes to load them. That is the plus side of hiring a professional. They can generally get your home packed in a day.
How are my moving costs calculated?
Moving costs are calculated on several factors. The distance of the move and the weight of the items being moved plays a significant role. Extra services you request will also raise the price of the moving services.
The shorter distance you move, the less you can expect to spend on transport costs. By that same rule, you can expect to pay more the further away you move. Some moves can end up around $5,000 depending on the moving services you choose and the number of belongings you are moving to. You are going to pay more to move a four-bedroom house than you would a loft apartment. Most long-distance moves will be billed as a flat rate once all of the information has been gathered. Of course, any additional services you choose to implement will cost extra. These extras can include:
- White-glove moving services
- Packing and unpacking services
- Disassembly and reassembly of furniture
- Packing supplies
- Additional moving specialists
- Optional moving storage facilities
- Increased insurance coverages
- Last-minute or expedited services
- Specialty items like safes or pianos that require special care
If you choose to add additional insurance to your transported items, this will be included in your fees. Extra income may not be necessary, but keep in mind that the coverage required by transport companies is the minimum. These insurance coverages they offer minimum only cover a certain amount per pound, which means that your items may not be entirely replaced in the event of an accident.
Some things in our home are sentimental and cannot be replaced if they are broken. If these are included in your move, make sure you let the moving company know. You can request extra packing materials to be used, especially if it is incredibly fragile. A-1 Auto Transport has a lot of experience moving fragile items for our clients. If you find that you are in need of a special touch, make sure to ask about our white glove moving services.
Create a Master List
A master list is your insurance policy. Although you should request that a manifest of sorts is completed for the move, you need to go one step further and make a list of the items being moved and their condition. Taking pictures of your household goods in their present state furthers the proof of how items were before entering the transport vehicle.
Think of this as a Bill of Lading for your household goods. Make sure you have photographs of what the fully packed truck looks like as well. Sudden shifts in the cargo can cause items to break or become damaged.
Also, make sure that items being packed, either by you or a professional, are being labeled for their new location at the destination. This will make the unloading process a lot easier on the moving specialists doing the job.
Tips to Make Your Move a Little Lighter
When you are getting ready to move, it may be time to start downsizing the number of items you need to move. Giving away things, having a yard sale, or donating items can help you reduce the weight of the transported shipment. The lighter the load, the bigger the savings. Most people go through their clothing to start with. Many of the items in our closets are things we just haven’t wanted to get rid of. Shedding these unused clothes can make a significant impact on moving weight.
If there are things that are too nice and you would rather not give them away or donate them, you can sell them on various online platforms. You should start that process a few weeks before the move ever takes place if you want to make sure it is gone before the moving truck comes. There may be extra fees if you move items that were not included in the original quote.
A-1 Auto Transport and Your Move
At first glance, some may think that the services of A-1 Auto Transport do not include services such as moving with auto transport. Just because we move automobiles and other heavy equipment doesn’t mean that we aren’t a jack of all trades. We offer many different services that can get your vehicle and your household goods to your moving destination across the country.
When you are looking for a moving company that offers all of the industry’s highest services, A-1 Auto Transport has it all, including white glove and professional packing services. We are a full-service transport service that has a fleet ready to work for you.
Call today for a quote and to learn about all of the moving options that we can bring to you. After 30 years in the transport industry, we have learned and perfected the way that we approach a cross country move. If you have any questions, we can not only answer them but bring you reassurance in the process.
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 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.