Thursday, 26 January 2012

Packing to Move - Part One

When it comes to moving most people understand their need to enlist in some kind of help. However, you may not know the importance of having a professional pack your belongings, as well as move them. Packing is a bigger part of the move than most people would expect.

When hiring a moving company, people can pay to have everything packed, nothing packed or some things packed – depending on your arrangement. However, the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM) recommends customers get at least some of their belongings packed by professionals. Here is why:

•Since movers are not responsible for damage to items packed by owners, professional packing eliminates worry about damages to their belongings.
•Items like breakables, china, artwork and mirrors are very fragile and can break easily if not packed properly.
•Movers use special-purpose packing materials.

Based on the CAM’s outlines and my own experiences, If you choose to pack yourself, these are the items I recommend you use:

•China Barrels for breakables such as dishes
•Wardrobe boxes for clothes
•1.5 cubic-foot box for books, canned goods and heavy items
•4 cubic-foot box for bulky items like kitchen items and lampshades
•Picture cartons

Come Back next week for more tips on packing and wrapping for your upcoming move.

By: Andrew Brown and Sharon Osvald

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Getting an Estimate

According to the Canadian Association of Movers, Canada’s moving trade association, more than five million people move every year within Canada. They want those moves to be as pleasant as possible and therefore, give consumers some strong advice: When planning a move get several cost estimates from different moving companies. Also, understand what services and charges you are being asked to pay for and why. The cheapest price is not always the best deal.

Here’s how it should work:

•Get a visual inspection. The best (and only) way to get an accurate cost estimate from a moving company is for them to come to your home and list every article they are moving. This will avoid surprises and extra charges later.

•The mover will calculate the approximate weight and cubic content of your articles and determine what is being shipped ahead of time or there is any special packing or crating needs.

•The mover will create a cost estimate based on the weight of your items and their seasonally-based transportation rate per 100 lbs. This basic pricing formula will include loading, unloading and carrying goods from your current home to your new destination.

•The mover will provide you with the list of extra fees, such as: working after hours, moving a piano, ferry charges, packing materials, crating services, third party or appliance services or extra cargo particulars.
• The mover will also provide you with any discounts – i.e. special offers or senior’s rates.

Knowing what to expect and getting several estimates will increase your chances of getting the best deal for your dollar and having a smooth move. For more information about The Canadian Association of Movers or to ask to refer a mover: visit:

By: Andrew Brown and Sharon Osvald

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Avoiding Moving Day Disasters

Last week we talked about how to know you’ve found a good mover. This week I want to add to this theme by making you aware of some of the scams that people have faced when putting their trust in a mover and a few more tips to avoid this from happening to you.

According to Dakshana Bascaramuty’s Globe and Mail article Smooth moves: How to spot a moving day scam, many things can happen if you are not cautious when hiring a mover.

June to September is the peak moving season in Canada. If you don’t plan ahead, this can make you vulnerable to scams with movers being in such high demand. Last year, complaints from customers lead to arrests of a Toronto moving company.

These scams include:

1.Arriving several hours late for the move, causing large problems for people who are required to book a service elevator or who have to vacate their home at a set time to allow for the people coming in.
2.Holding furniture hostage. Bascaramuty talks about one Toronto woman was forced to lug her own furniture down to the loading dock because her movers were three hours late. The movers then placed her items in the truck, locked it and refused to move it or return it to her until they were paid over two hundred dollars .
3.Charging extra fees for moving heavier pieces of moving them to a third floor.
4.Double booking and not showing up at all.

Tips to avoid scammers

1.Get an in-person quote from at least three companies. The mover should assess your home to see if you are both on the same page.
2.Get the price of the move and how long they estimate it will take in writing.
3.Be wary of the lowest quote. Know that the prices are comparable to their competition or they are likely just too good to be true.
4.Do they online operate from an elusive cell phone number? Make sure there is a physical address and that they are not just operating a side business.
5.If they only take cash for the job, do not charge you the taxes and will not take credit cards or a certified cheque, find someone else.
6.If someone tries to hold onto your items, charging you more than the agreed amount, if you have the quote – call the police. You don’t have to pay them extra.
7.Ask about their insurance policy; get them to explain it in writing in case things are damaged.
8.File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau if the company is registered with the Canadian Association of Movers.
9.Use real people references over anonymous online ones.

Remember these, and the tips from last week, and you should have a happy moving experience.

By: Andrew Brown and Sharon Osvald

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

How to Know You are Getting a Good Mover?

Choosing a moving company that will be responsible for all the contents of your home or office is an incredible leap of faith. How do you know if you are choosing a quality mover – when there are so many scam artists out there? Here are a few tips:
1. Have you ever seen their moving trucks around town? Is this a company used often and has a history of being reliable and capable?
2. How does the truck look? Does the truck have a sign that looks like an established moving company or is this a side business?
3. If you get a chance, stop when you see them working and watch them. Would you want them to treat your furniture like they are doing right now?
4. Talk with your friends, family, the superintendent at your apartment or manager of the local storage company; they see a lot of movers and get to know the ones with a bad reputation.
5. Do the movers have a contract that discloses all of the charges? If their price over the phone is too good to be true then it probably is NOT true. Get it in writing!
6. Are they members of the BBB and the CAM with a good reputation? Check them out.
7. Do they have a registered business name or do they operate from a cellphone?
8. Do they answer the phone in a proper business manner or do they wait until they find out what you want to announce they are a moving company?
9. Do they hide the fact that they also do garbage disposal and lawn maintenance when they are not busy?
10. Go with your gut. If you get a bad feeling or vibe from someone, you are likely right.
By: Andrew Brown and Sharon Osvald