It seems there is no such thing as “standard business procedure” anymore, even in a straightforward-seeming industry like moving. That leaves the customer responsible for asking as many questions as possible and being entirely clear on what costs are covered and what the agreed-upon price includes, or else be surprised when the final bill arrives. To help you avoid such an unpleasant situation, here is our advice on heading into moving day confident and informed.
Tell the movers all necessary and important information in advance, before you agree to the price
Start by providing an accurate and detailed inventory of what you will be moving, including how many boxes. Will they need to navigate stairs, or is there an elevator large enough to carry all of your furniture? Are you asking them to disassemble and package any furniture? Is anything that you are shipping particularly fragile, requiring special handling? Are you fully prepared with packing materials, or will they need to provide things like wrapping and blankets for furniture?
Do your homework in advance to find free moving boxes and packing material if you can, and you might save yourself the hassle of those extra charges. Do your best to be clear about what is included in the price of the move, and don’t ask the movers to do anything else. Adding on charges at the last minute can be expensive.
Arrange for parking in advance
Is there a chance the moving vehicle may not be able to park directly outside of your home or apartment building? Look into securing a parking permit well in advance to avoid long-carry fees or time delays if parking becomes an issue. Many cities require that moving vehicles have special permits allowing them to occupy multiple parking spaces for an extended period of time, and the application process can take a couple of weeks. Proper moving day etiquette means making sure everything is ready for your movers to make a smooth and straightforward arrival!
Empty all the drawers, cabinets, and shelves
Movers will not transport furniture with full drawers, and your boxes all need to be accounted for in the agreed price if you are packing your belongings yourself. If the movers arrive and find that they need to empty your furniture, you will likely be charged for the packing materials as well as the labor — and the process might delay your move, resulting in a wait time fee if you decide to do the packing yourself.
Avoid adding any extra stops along the way
If you need to “grab something” from a storage facility or your parents’ house, it will be logged as an extra stop and you will be charged for it — as well as, most likely, charged for the distance required to detour from the planned moving route. Do all of your errands before the movers arrive.
Avoid last-minute additions to the inventory
If your price has been calculated based on your inventory, which is the system most companies use, any last-minute additions will result in an increase in price. When possible, transport the leftover items yourself to avoid costly additions to your moving inventory.
Give your movers clear directions
Most companies have GPS these days, but be sure your movers understand where to find you — especially if you live in an apartment building, if they need to navigate an alley, or if there is a particular parking arrangement that must be met. Any additional time spent trying to find your home, whether your old one or your new one, will mean an extra fee.
If you are moving into/out of an apartment complex, be clear on the guidelines and follow them
If your building has specific guidelines about times that are and aren’t approved for moving/delivering, parking limitations, required elevator reservations, or anything else that will delay their pickup or delivery of your belongings, you will be charged for wait time. If the shipment arrives too late and deliveries are not permitted after a certain hour, you will be charged for Storage In Transit for them to hold your shipment overnight. Then they will deliver the next day, and charge a re-delivery fee.
All in all? If you are organized about the details of your move, prepared with all of your boxes and inventory, and you know the details of where you’re going… you can avoid surprise fees on move day.