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The average American moves seven times in a lifetime. When the decision to move has been made there are some necessary steps that need to be made.  You must select your mover with care.

Following these tips will assist the homeowner in a smooth and successful relocation.     

  • Be sure that the moving company (carrier) is licensed.  This should include being licensed by the state transportation commissioner.

  • Get at least two different estimates. 

  • Ask the carrier to provide you with a booklet referred to as �Summary of Information� this will notify you of your shipping rights. This needs to include the exact dollar amount of your bill upon delivery.

  • An inventory of all your belongings needs to be made.  This list should include the number of boxes, and a description of your furniture (write down the condition of all furniture.)

  • Find out from the mover the movers liability insurance and request more coverage if necessary. 

  •  Try to schedule your moving time of departure and arrival with some flexibility in order to allow for possible delays. 

  • Provide the movers with telephone numbers and addresses where you can be reached if needed.

Now you are ready to begin the selection of a moving company.  A good place to begin this is the Better Business Bureau, and local trade associations. Once you have decided on a mover (carrier), request a written estimate and a (Summary of Information booklet).  This describes your rights as a shipper.  

The cost of moving can range from several hundreds of dollars to eighteen thousand or more.  This amount is based on several factors, which include weight, distance, and manpower.  The moving company will provide a binder that guarantees the total cost of the move.  This quote is binding only to the mover.  The final price for the move cannot exceed the estimate.  The moving company can do the packing for you but this will increase the cost.  You will pay for the cartons as well as the labor.  Most movers will not usually accept liability for items that have been packed by the owner.  The consumer may choose to have additional insurance.  To cut costs of the move, the owner may want to consider having the moving company pack only the breakables.  

Before the first box is moved be sure you receive an �Order for Service.�  This gives the mover permission to move your goods.  Be sure to have someone at home at both ends while the movers are loading and unloading your belongings.  Do not allow the movers to pack jewelry, family heirlooms, or other priceless belongings.  Local moves do not require inventories, however it is recommended that you write down a list of all of your belongings. Be sure to document the condition of your furniture.  

Moving from one state to another requires a document called a �Conditional Inventory.�  The mover must prepare this list of items that you are moving and their condition.  You should sign this document at both ends of the move.  Upon arrival at your new home, be sure to check the inventory carefully.  Do not be pressured to sign until you have checked all items and are satisfied.  Any missing or damaged goods need to be reported to the movers claims department immediately.  Be sure to report the problem in detail on the drivers� copy of the bill.  This should be followed by a complaint with the BBB, if the movers are not responsive to your claim or claims.  If you are satisfied, for a JOB WELL DONE, it is then recommended to tip the movers. This is approximately 7 to 10 percent of the entire bill.

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