Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Mover...

There is such a large number of moving companies across Canada that sometimes it can be difficult to choose one to hire for your relocating needs. There has also been an increase of small "fly-by-night" moving companies (that are most likely unregistered businesses) as well, which can create confusion amongst which companies are reliable and which ones are scammers. Below I have listed the top 10 questions to ask prior to booking a mover.

1. What are the rates and is there a cheaper time to move? It is very common for moving companies to vary their rates through-out the month based on busy and slow times. The end of the month is one of the busiest times, which means you are more likely going to end up paying an increased rate for your move. If you can manage to move during the middle of the month, better yet a weekday during the middle of the month, many companies will drop their rates and offer you a deal.

2. Is there a charge for travel time? When paying an hourly rate, many customers believe the clock starts when the movers arrive at their door. In many cases this is not true. Most moving companies will start charging from the time they leave their location and will also charge you for the time to get back.

3. Is there insurance and what does it cover? Some companies will include insurance automatically into their rates, however others (especially "fly-by-night" companies) will not offer anything at all. Sometimes the insurance that is included in the rates will cover next to nothing after deductibles. Be sure to ask what there policy is, and have them send you a copy of their policy so you can read it over more thoroughly. Often, any boxes you pack yourself, particle/chip board furniture, and electronics are not covered. 

4. Are the employees covered by WSIB? Ask if the moving crew is covered by WSIB so you are not held reliable for any injuries that may occur on your property. 

5. Do you offer free in-home estimates? When receiving a quote over the phone, it is usually just based on averages from previous moves. The person on the phone does not know how much furniture and household goods you have, which varies from home to home. The best way to receive an accurate quote is to have a representative of the moving company come by and conduct a free in-home estimate. 

6. How will my furniture be protected? Damages can happen easily when furniture is not properly protected. A professional moving company will wrap all of your furniture in moving pads and occasionally shrink wrap to prevent damages. The moving pads will also protect the furniture from scuffing any floors or walls. If you are concerned with your flooring or have light coloured carpet, ask the movers to lay down floor runners. 

7. Are you members of any associations? Most reliable moving companies will be registered with the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM), and the company may also be registered with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Even if they are not registered with the BBB, still do a search on the company (www.bbb.org) as you can find useful information as to how reliable the company may be. If you can not find the company on the BBB website, or anywhere online when doing a basic google search, take that as a warning that they may be an unreliable "fly-by-night" company. 

8. Are there any hidden fees? Always ask if there are any hidden fees, as there have been tragic stories of customers who may think they are getting a deal, but later find out the mover charges for every step they take, or every box they lift. Surprises like these can lead to lawsuits involving extortion. Here is a perfect example.

9. Is there any risk with booking in the afternoon? During busy weeks moving companies will often book multiple moves throughout the day. If you are inquiring about a start time around noon, ask if there is any potential for delays. Sometimes moves are booked without knowing the exact size of the shipment, or a customer may be completely unprepared causing delays. Ask if this could happen, because if you need a guaranteed start time due to elevator schedules it is best to book a morning time slot. 

10. What differentiates your company from the rest? Ask the movers you are considering for hire why you should hire them. What makes them different from the rest? Sometimes companies will offer you discounts on packing materials, or include the free use of wardrobe boxes, flat screen t.v boxes, or mattress bags. You may find that they are a local family run business, which some may prefer to deal with over large corporate companies. It never hurts to ask about a companies history. 

Best wishes on your search for the right company!

By: Michelle Langdon and Andrew Brown